Many smokers fear that when they quit, withdrawal will never end. They’ll say, “What if I’m always miserable?”
That’s a natural concern. After all, nicotine cravings are real, and they’re not fun! But this doesn’t mean you’ll be plagued by cravings — or that they’ll be strong enough to drive you back to smoking.
Here are 3 ways to minimize how hard cravings hit and how long they last.
- Use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with a strong enough nicotine dose. When smokers say, “The patch didn’t work” or “the gum didn’t help,” it’s often because they chose a patch with an inadequate nicotine dose or didn’t chew their gum on schedule. A trained tobacco specialist can help you use NRT correctly.
- Don’t quit medication prematurely. Some newly quit smokers, emboldened by their success, ditch their medication when they’re still highly vulnerable to relapse. Remember: It’s smoking, not medication, that poses a danger!
- Don’t expect medication to eliminate cravings. Even after nicotine has cleared your body, you can be tripped up by habit or emotional triggers. Be prepared! Learn alternative ways to occupy your hands, mouth, and mind, and work on replacing old routines with new ones.
You might hear former smokers say they still “crave” cigarettes years after quitting, but they’re not talking about “my chest is going to explode” feeling common in the first few weeks. They may occasionally think, “A cigarette would be nice right now,” but they quickly move on.
As one former smoker put it, “My fear of suffering was far greater than my actual suffering.”
Let us know: If you’ve relapsed recently, ? Next time around, what will you do differently to ease withdrawal?
If you’ve quit for good, how long did it take for your regular cravings to stop?