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Stoptober: How To Manage Your Nicotine Cravings

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We know how hard it is to quit smoking, particularly when nicotine cravings start to kick in. So for this Stoptober, we are here to provide some useful tips on how to manage and overcome your nicotine addiction.   

When you first make the decision to put down the cigarettes, it may feel completely overwhelming. If you’ve tried to quit before, you will know that you start to suffer from nicotine withdrawal. However, you can learn to control these symptoms and reduce your cravings for nicotine. 

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Nicotine withdrawal usually lasts for around a month depending on how long you’ve smoked for. The first week is known for being the worst, as the nicotine begins to leave your body. However, cigarette cravings will continue to emerge for some time after you’ve quit smoking. 

According to the NHS, the most effective way to tackle nicotine cravings is a combination of stop smoking medicines and behavioural changes. But did you know that there are actually two types of cravings that people experience when they stop smoking.

Physical Cravings:

Physical cravings include symptoms such as tightness in the throat or belly, coughing, headaches, fatigue and an increased appetite as well as feelings of tension or anxiety.

Psychological cravings:

Smokers develop subconscious cues to certain everyday situations, which can leave them feeling like they need a cigarette. These are usually triggered when facing stress, such as commuting, social situations or work environment. 

Now you know a little bit more about the different types of cravings you may experience, let’s get into how you can learn to control your nicotine cravings.

 

How To Manage Your Nicotine Cravings

1. Start Exercising

Women partaking in yoga in a class
Image source: Bruce Mars, Unsplash

Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress and keep you distracted from those pesky cravings. 

Studies have shown that exercise decreases nicotine cravings rapidly and remains reduced for up to 50 minutes after exercise.

When you have the urge to smoke, take yourself to the local gym, swimming pool or try something more gentle like a short walk.

2. Keep Busy

A group of friends relaxing, drinks cups of coffee and having a laugh
Image source: Toa Heftiba, Unsplash

It’s important to keep distracted when you get the urge to smoke, which is why it may help to identify your triggers and find a way to keep away from situations that set off your nicotine cravings. 

A great way of keeping distracted is by spending time with friends, visiting new places, watching a movie or taking up a new hobby.

3. Use a Form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy

a man wearing a nicotine replacement therapy patch
Image source: Andrey Popov, Adobe

There are a range of nicotine replacement therapy options to choose from. Some of these include over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum and lozenges, prescription medication, and prescription nicotine nasal sprays and inhalers. 

Make sure to visit your doctor to discuss the potential nicotine replacement therapy options available to you. 

4. Try Vaping

a red vaporesso vape mod sat next to a black rock
Image source: Vaporesso, Unsplash

Vaping has quickly become the most popular and most successful quit smoking aid in the UK. 

Many ex-smokers use a vape to help manage their cigarette cravings as you can control the level of nicotine intake with e-liquid. This way, you can slowly reduce the amount of nicotine you’re taking in until you no longer crave it.  

For more reasons why vaping is a great way to help you kick the habit, have a read of our 5 reasons to quit smoking with a vape article.  

Don’t Give Up

You may find that some techniques don’t work as well as others, so keep trying different ways to beat the urge to smoke, and don’t give up!

The most important thing is to take each day as it comes and remain positive. 

For some more quit smoking motivation, take a look at what happens to your body when you stop smoking.

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