Beat Smoking Cravings

When you quit smoking, you’re going to encounter cravings from time to time. Be prepared to beat them. Remember, cravings only last for around 10 minutes, so hang in there. Have some strategies ready to help you cope until the craving passes.

General strategies to beat smoking cravings

  • Practice deep breathing. Every time an urge hits, take in a slow deep breath through your nose, hold it for three to five seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth.

  • Drink a glass of cold water.

  • Calm yourself down using guided meditation. Try

  • Talk about the urge. Call your Quit Buddy or a Quit Counselor at 1-800-QUIT NOW.

  • Go take a quick walk or get up and stretch for a few minutes.

  • Suck on sugar-free candy.

  • Use straws/swizzle sticks/tooth picks.

  • Crunch on carrots or celery sticks.

For more specific situations, see the categories below:

● Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating

● Brush your teeth after every meal or pop a couple breath mints.

● Take a short walk after each meal.

●   If you choose to drink, change from what you usually drink and limit yourself to one or two drinks.

●   Have a support person with you at parties and let them know if you’re having the urge to smoke

●   Leave the scene from time to time if you have to be in a smoking environment.

●   Always carry distractions with you, like a book or a game on your phone.

●   Try some mindfulness exercises.

●   Use idle time to make a grocery list, plan your schedule, or call friends/family.

●   Take your work break at a different time.

●   Change the place where you take your break.

●   Take a short walk instead of staying indoors.

●   Choose a slightly different route for routine trips.

●   Remove all smoking paraphernalia such as lighters or ashtrays from the car.

●   Listen to a talk radio station, audio books, or sing along to a song to keep your mind occupied.

●    Change where you have your coffee breaks at work.

●    If you always have your morning coffee at home, have it at a café or at work.

●    Drink tea instead of coffee.

●   Find projects to do while at home – clean, reorganize furniture, or fix the things you’ve been putting off fixing.

●   Begin a new hobby or start volunteering somewhere after work

●   Start an exercise program or plan to at least take a brisk half hour walk each night.

●   Change the order of your routine

●   Jump into the shower as soon as you get up.

●   Eat something for breakfast if you normally do not.

Find more tips and motivation to beat cravings on Facebook or Twitter.

Do you need additional help with a craving right now? Visit our Get Help Now page to connect with a cessation counselor.