6. Get physical
Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Even short burst of physical activity — such as running up and down the stairs a few times — can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog.
If you're stuck at home or the office, try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs. If physical activity doesn't interest you, try prayer, needlework, woodwork or journaling. Or do chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.
7. Practice relaxation techniques
Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Resisting a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music.
8. Call for reinforcements
Touch base with a family member, friend or support group member for help in your effort to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together, share a few laughs, or get together to commiserate about your cravings. A free telephone quit line — 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) — provides support and counseling
9. Go online for support
Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
10. Remind yourself of the benefits
Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These might include:
- Feeling better
- Getting healthier
- Sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke
- Saving money
Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to being totally tobacco-free.
Nov. 15, 2016
See more In-depth
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- Weinberger AH, et al. Gender differences in self-reported withdrawal symptoms and reducing or quitting smoking three years later: A prospective, longitudinal examination of U.S. adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2016;165:253.
- How to manage cravings. SmokeFree.gov. https://www.smokefree.gov/node/343. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- Stead LF, et al. Combined pharmacotherapy and behavioural interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008286.pub3/full. Accessed Oct. 10, 2016.
- Mason RJ, et al. Smoking hazards and cessation. In: Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Tobacco use. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2016.
- Rigotti NA. Pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation in adults. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- Beard E, et al. New pharmacological agents to aid smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction: What has been investigated, and what is in the pipeline? CNS Drugs. 2016;30:951.
- Park ER. Behavioral approaches to smoking cessation. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- Ask for help. Smokefree.gov. https://www.smokefree.gov/node/341. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- Deciding to quit smoking and making a plan. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/deciding-to-quit-smoking-and-making-a-plan. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
- Know your smoking triggers. SmokeFree.gov. https://www.smokefree.gov/challenges-when-quitting/cravings-triggers/know-your-smoking-triggers. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.