How To Manage The Smoking Cravings

How do you manage those smoking cravings and resist the temptation to have ‘just one more’ in the mistaken belief that it won’t do any harm? The following advice will help you to effectively manage your cravings, so that you won’t give in during those tempting moments and spoil all that hard work!

Consider using a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

The most common way of managing the nicotine cravings is to opt for an NRT, which will supply the body with nicotine in smaller and gradually reducing doses than the body is used to getting from cigarettes. It can be used in different forms: chewing gum, patches, inhalers, tablets or lozenges, or nasal sprays. All of these are available over the counter at pharmacies and also in some supermarkets.

Find a new behaviour

Smoking involves having something to do with your hands and mouth. In the same way as you might feel uncomfortable without a drink in your hand in a pub, the same applies to a smoker without a cigarette. So, find something else to do – such as chewing gum, drinking more water or tea, sucking on sweets, or even using a plastic cigarette (naff I know) – just so that you’ll be doing something other than smoking.

Avoid smoking triggers

Some situations may go hand-in-hand with your smoking. For example, many people will always have a cigarette while drinking in the pub – and the same can apply to a cup of tea or coffee during a break at work. By stopping these actions, if only for a while, you could reduce your desire to smoke. Feeling low or stressed can trigger the need to seek solace in a drink and a cigarette, so try looking for other coping mechanisms instead.

Treat yourself

Rather than reaching for a cigarette when you feel stressed, take yourself away from the situation and take your mind off the need for a cigarette. Take a break – for example, go for a short walk or make it a long lunch break – and go and spoil yourself using the money you’ve saved from not smoking. Anything that will boost your self-esteem or make you relax is a good idea – for example, get a new haircut or book yourself a massage.

Ask your doctor for a prescription

Your doctor may prescribe Zyban tablets for you, which aim to help break the nicotine addiction by suppressing the craving, rather than by supplying the body with smaller doses of nicotine. Research has shown that when used together with regular counselling, Zyban tablets can double a smoker’s chances of quitting successfully. Ask your doctor about when you should start and finish a programme of tablets.


If the craving for a cigarette is getting to you, why not get up and help yourself rather than just waiting for the craving to subside? Taking some exercise will lead to the release of endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good hormones – which can help to relieve anxiety and stress, and provide you with a feeling of well-being. These are just the things that you may have felt cigarettes did for you!

Helplines and counselling

If your own best efforts to curb the cravings are not enough, you could turn to organisations which can offer advice and support to help you give up smoking. These organisations are usually able to offer booklets, advice, personal support, and top quitting tips. Your doctor may be able to refer you to free smoking cessation sessions, which can consist of either one-to-one counselling or group sessions.

Quitting for good…

The early days of quitting are particularly tough. Although it can feel like you’re the only one having to battle with temptation, everyone goes through a difficult patch initially. By keeping positive, focusing on the reasons why you’re doing it and changing your habits – and even planning to quit at the same time as a friend – you will be able to succeed.

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