When you quit smoking, the urge to smoke will come and go. Sometimes, such as during times of stress or when having a social drink with friends, your desire for a cigarette may become very strong. It is important during these times to avoid the temptation to have “one last cigarette”.
In addition, you should also expect feelings of withdrawal when you quit smoking, which is discomfort caused by giving up nicotine. Such discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that it is learning to be smoke-free.
These feelings may be very strong and uncomfortable, but they will subside with time. The most common effects of smoking withdrawal include:
- Being easily and quickly angered
Being easily frustrated
Feeling anxious, nervous, or restless
Feeling hungry or gaining weight
Having trouble thinking clearly
Insomnia (not being able to sleep)
During these times of strong desire for cigarettes, one or more of the following activities may help:
- Remember the impact and the price of smoking for you and those around you, and think of the resulting benefits that you are gaining by quitting smoking.
Try to wait it out the desire will eventually pass.
Think about your plan to quit smoking permanently, and try to stick to it.
Perform actions that will divert your attention away from the desire to smoke and keep you occupied. For example, go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air, go shopping, play a friendly game of social sport with friends or family, do some home cooking, and so on.
Keep other things around instead of cigarettes, and use these when the desire to smoke is strong. For example, carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, raisins, and sugar free chewing gum are all great ways to divert your attention away from the desire to smoke.
Wash your hands, wash the dishes, or take a shower.
Learn to relax quickly by taking slow, deep breaths.
Light an incense stick or a candle instead of a cigarette.
Most people who attempt to quit, go back to smoking within three months. So, the first three months after you quit will be the most difficult. You may be tempted to have “one last cigarette” when you are stressed or feeling down, but yielding to such a temptation is a sure-fire way to start smoking again.
No matter what, do not let yourself think “Just one more won’t hurt” or “Just one last cigarette”. One cigarette will hurt a great deal, as it will start you back down the slippery slope to smoking again and undo all the work that you have done so far.
Trying something to beat the urge to smoke is always better than doing nothing.
If you need help dealing with cravings or withdrawal, then consider using appropriate medications.