Dealing with the urge to smoke

What happens when you’ve finally quit and you continue to have the urge to smoke?




 

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it’s certainly one of the best things you can do for your health! What happens, though, when you’ve finally quit and you continue to have the urge to smoke? There are some steps you can take to deal with these urges and not give in to them.

When you were a smoker, your body became addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. Urges to smoke are one way that your body is telling you it wants nicotine. These urges are often triggered by certain people, places, things or situations.

Step 1 in taking control of your urge to smoke is to recognize these triggers. Some common smoking triggers include feeling stressed, finishing a meal, taking a work break, seeing someone else smoke and feeling lonely. Think about the triggers that make you want to smoke.

Step 2 is to come up with ways to cope with these triggers. For example, if you feel stressed and think you need a cigarette, take a walk to calm down instead. If you used to have a cigarette after dinner, brush your teeth or take your dog for a walk instead. If you used to smoke when drinking, cut down on alcohol so it doesn’t trigger an urge to smoke. Go where smoking isn’t allowed, such as restaurants or bars that have nonsmoking sections. Stay around people who don’t smoke and find support with a friend you can talk to when you feel the urge to smoke.

Step 3 is to put this plan into action. Have a plan for each trigger and review them often so you’ll be ready when an urge comes on. It’s important to realize, too, that urges usually last only five to ten minutes. So if you can distract yourself from the urge to smoke, it will pass. Call or text a friend, take a walk, keep your mouth busy (with sugar-free gum or mints) and take deep breaths. Before you know it, your urge to smoke will be gone and you’ll be ready the next time an urge arises.

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