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Quick Tips: What to Do When You Crave Nicotine

British Columbia Specific Information

The BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible B.C. residents stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. For more information about the program, including how to get started, visit BC Smoking Cessation Program. For information about the health risks from smoking, tips on how to quit, an overview of smoking cessation aids, and more, see our Quit Smoking health feature. For more tools and resources to help you quit smoking and remain smoke-free, visit Quit Now.

Got a craving right now?

The cravings for nicotine can be intense for the first few days when you stop smoking, but they will get better with time. Here are some tips on how to cope:

  • Use nicotine gum, lozenges, or an inhaler.
  • Distract yourself. Stop what you are doing, and do something else.
  • Try to stay away from other smokers, at least in the beginning of your quit. Seeing others smoke often makes cravings worse or triggers you to want a cigarette.
  • Stay away from cigarettes, or, better yet, get rid of them.
  • Remind yourself why you stopped smoking.
  • Remember that most cravings do go away after 20 minutes.
  • Take a bath.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get active. Go for a walk, a bike ride, or a swim.
  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Suck on a piece of hard candy.
  • Listen to music.
  • Chew on a toothpick or a piece of gum.
  • Relax! Try deep-breathing exercises or yoga.
  • Do a puzzle or some other activity that uses your hands.
  • Take on a household task.

What else works?

Use the space below to add to the list of things that help you get through a craving.

Credits

Current as of:
March 12, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Hughes MD - Psychiatry
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health