Chrome 2001
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
. .
Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001


Tobacco Cessation
Predict the Potholes
Cravings start within an hour of when you crush out your last smoke.
InteliHealth Medical Content

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Conquer Your Cravings
As you begin your journey to a smoke-free life, be prepared to face a tough foe — cravings.
Cravings are a symptom of your physical withdrawal from nicotine — the addictive ingredient in tobacco. When you quit and deprive your body of nicotine, it fights back, with vigor. It desperately wants that nicotine.
Cravings start within an hour of crushing out your last smoke. They are similar to hunger pangs — they are, after all, a hunger for nicotine. And they may be accompanied by other withdrawal symptoms: headaches, irritability, and poor sleep, to name a few.
Reducing Their Severity
The desire to smoke will be overwhelming at first. If you are like many smokers, you used cigarettes to help calm yourself during stressful times. But now you won't have that crutch when faced with the stress of a nicotine craving.
You can, however, do a few things to make your cravings less severe.
  • Keep candy or other munchies nearby. (Concerned about your waistline? Stick with carrot sticks and other nutritious snacks.)
  • Try a different oral fix. Chew on a toothpick, a toothbrush or other object.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Exercise.
Using a smoking cessation aid will greatly reduce your cravings. If you're quitting cold turkey and haven't spoken with your doctor about smoking cessation aids, call the doctor now. It's never too late to start nicotine-replacement therapy or a prescription drug.
Individual cravings only endure for several minutes, so short, planned distractions are very helpful. Cravings are most frequent for the first couple of weeks after you quit smoking. Don't succumb to them and ruin all of the effort you've invested. Remember, quitting is tough, but it will get easier with time.


Last updated June 09, 2014

    Print Printer-friendly format    
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.