How can I Manage Nicotine Cravings?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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Unfortunately, for many people who quit smoking, overcoming a nicotine addiction is very hard. Even when using some type of nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine cravings can be difficult to manage. Some ex-smokers have these cravings for months after they quit smoking. To deal with these cravings, you can try waiting it out, relaxing, getting a change of scenery, or beginning a new hobby.

One of the first pieces of advice that many doctors give to people dealing with nicotine cravings is to wait it out. Every craving eventually goes away, although some may take a little longer than others. When you get a strong craving for a cigarette, resolve to wait at least ten minutes. At the end of that ten minutes, if the craving still has not subsided, repeat the process until the craving goes away completely.

Relaxation techniques can be very beneficial for people who are going through nicotine withdrawal and craving a cigarette. Chances are, when you are stressed, you want to reach for a cigarette. There are a couple of simple relaxation techniques that you can do just about anywhere at any time to calm yourself down.


One relaxation technique involves relaxing the muscle groups in your body one at a time. To do this, sit comfortably, and begin by relaxing your toes. Work your way up your body, completely relaxing every muscle group from your toes to your nose. Breathing exercises can also help manage nicotine cravings. Taking ten slow, deep breaths can relieve stress quickly, preventing you from lighting up a cigarette.

Many smokers light up in certain places or at certain times out of habit, so a change in scenery can help manage nicotine cravings. If you tend to light up when you're having a drink in a bar, walking outside for a few minutes can help to curb that urge. Smoking a cigarette after dinner or while watching television is also very common. To deal with a strong nicotine craving at times like these, try going for a walk or reading instead.

Any kind of activity or hobby that makes it difficult for you to smoke is great when dealing with nicotine cravings. Doctors consider exercise a great way to get past these cravings. Walking, running, swimming, basketball, or tennis are all great activities that will not only help you manage your cravings, but also benefit you in a number of other ways. Activities that keep your hands busy are also recommended when attempting to deal with nicotine cravings. Try picking up a new hobby, such as drawing, woodworking, or origami.


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