When Did That Happen?

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Sep 10, 2010

Getting through urges and cravings to smoke is kind of like getting over a lingering cough.

Do you remember the last time you had a lingering cough?  You may have had other symptoms from a cold in the beginning, but eventually they went away and you were left with the cough.  You coughed in the morning, when talking, when going to bed, and just about all the time.  Perhaps you found yourself appreciating the times you were not coughing?  Many people wonder when it will ever get better!

Then all of a sudden, without fanfare or proclamation one day you notice that your cough is gone.  When did that happen?  What was the moment that the cough left?  It’s hard to say.  However it’s clear that it’s gone, and you are feeling better.  No one knows when that moment will occur until it has occurred.

This is like having urges and cravings to smoke when you quit.  The urges and cravings can hit you any time, certain times, or all the time but like the cough they do not last very long.  The key is to keep doing the things you know help you to get through them which could include calling friends and support people, distracting yourself, engaging in physical activity, and a whole host of other options.  Then, one day, you realize that you haven’t had an urge or craving when you normally would have.  HOORAY!  This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have one again, but it means that you are getting used to not smoking.  Just like that cough going away, step by step your urges and cravings are going away.

So take heart, be diligent, and remember that you never know when those urges and cravings will get better…it could be today!

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org