How long do the cravings last
Welcome to our community!
The length of time cravings last is different for each person, and also depends on whether you use a quit aid. Here is a link to a blog that includes a quit timeline: What To Expect In The First Four Months.
The most important thing you can do right now is to educate yourself on what nicotine does to your body and mind. To that end, I highly recommend Allen Carr's “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” This is an easy and entertaining read. Here is a link to a free PDF version of it:
You should also read the posts here and perhaps go the the pages of folks who you think might be helpful. You might visit whyquit.com, quitsmokingonline.com and livewell.com for the good information contained there. @Best of EX has lots of blogs written by members of this site with their experiences and guidance. You should also do the tracking and separation exercises suggested in My Quit Plan My Quit Smoking Plan | A Program To Help You Stop Smoking: BecomeAnEX
After you have completed the recommended reading, it will be time to make an informed choice of the quit aid, if any, you will use. If you go that route, I personally recommend the aids that don't let the addict control the dose such as the available prescription drugs or the patch. If used properly, gum, lozenges and inhalers are fine, but they need to be used only as a last resort. I have seen folks become addicted to them if they substitute them for every cigarette they used to smoke - just trading one addiction for another. I do not recommend the e-cigarette for three reasons: 1) the vapor has been compared to the polluted air in Bejing on a bad day, 2) they just provide another nicotine delivery system while continuing the hand to mouth smoking motion, and 3) the batteries can spontaneously catch on fire. . But – any method that you think will work well for you will be best for you.
The idea is to change up your routines so the smoking associations are reduced. Drink your coffee with your OTHER hand. If you always had that first smoke with your coffee, try putting your tennies on right out of bed, going for a quick walk, then taking your shower and THEN your coffee! Rearrange the furniture in the areas you used to smoke so the view is different. Buy your gas at a different station. Take a different route to work. Take a quick walk at break time where the smokers AREN'T.
You need to distract yourself through any craves. You can take a bite out of a lemon (yup - rind and all), put your head in the freezer and take a deep breath of cold air, do a few jumping jacks, go for a brisk walk or march in place, play a computer game. Don't let that smoking thought rattle around in your brain unchallenged. Sometimes you need to quit a minute or an hour at a time. You will need to be disciplined in the early days to distract yourself when a crave hits. Get busy! Here is a link to a list of things to do instead of smoke if you need some fresh ideas:
101 Things to Do Instead of Smoke
The conversation in your head in response to the "I want a cigarette" thought needs to be, "Well, since I have decided not to do that anymore, what shall I do instead for the three minutes this crave will last?" Then DO it. You will need to put some effort into this in the early days, but it gets easier and easier to do.
Stay close to us here and ask questions when you have them and for support when you need it. We will be with you every step of the way!
A very open ended question - I'll let some of the elders perhaps give you better info but it takes awhile.
1st week - Hell Week - most intense cravings
2nd week - Heck Week - start to subside
3rd week - Hope Week - begin to see that it will ease
then at about day 30 - 100+ is No Mans Land - cravings fewer and farther apart, but come unexpectedly at random times
beyond that, even years later, one may experience cravings from time to time, but they are not hard to ignore
Another observation - to me there are cravings and urges; cravings are just there and not hard to ignore; urges come out of nowhere and hit you, they're more intense but don't last as long as cravings. And a WHOLE lot of it depends on your attitude - if you let cravings fester, then you end up fighting your quit and it becomes a losing battle!
i like that. i had the same question. Thank you
I wrote this a while back - perhaps it will help. Expectations, Timelines and the Reality YOU Create
Cravings will end and you can take this as the one absolute in quitting smoking. When they end will depend upon when you decide to stop obsessing on the behaviors that you have allowed yourself to develop surrounding smoking. You have heard about the triggers and the almost addictive behaviors that we indulge ourselves in. While nicotine is addictive, the physical withdrawal symptoms mostly are generated by your mind telling your body what to do. Nicotine withdrawal is not the problem, its the learned behaviors and responses to triggers. Gee, I feel kind of adrift, I MUST need a cigarette So Bad. Think about this for a minute. If this were the nicotine causing the need, why would it come and go so unpredictably? When you are thirsty, hungry, have to take a pee or any other physical condition that is part of our lives, the physical symptoms come on as the need increases. If you get distracted by a phone call on the way to the bathroom, its agony, but depending upon the call, you may completely pop out of the intense need for a cigarette. This need returns Full Force when you have the time to indulge the behavior. This is not a response to chemical addiction. While you will hopefully need to take a pee for a long time, its entirely up to you how long you indulge the smoking triggers. So anytime you like the cravings will go away. All up to you.
Head On! Same thing I was about to say but your wording is much better! It's all in our mind! How long will you allow it to last? It's either "oh I'm having a crave I need a cig when will it go away!?" OR "well looky here a crave good thing I don't do that anymore so oh well" your craves is you! You have control over your mind! Change it! It may take some practice but it'll be perfected sooner than you think! That pee analogy reminds me of when I went out shopping today I have a very strong stomach but the bathroom of my favorite store is unbearable I really had to go but I wasn't going in there lol so I continued to shop the "urge" went away until I got in the car and went to a store that didn't have a public restroom go figure I was excited to be purchasing a nice new fridge so there was another mind shift still never peed long story short I didn't make it to a bathroom until hours later but was able to shift my mind and you can do it too! Change your mind change your life :-)
welcome. The cravings will last for the first month. then it's all a mind game. Just remember from then on, those cravings only last as long as you want them to. Be sure to distract yourself, take the time to figure out when and why you smoke, develop a game plan to replace those whens and whys with something else and you'll do just fine !!!
You are starving the nicotine receptors in your brain and they will go dormant. Think of them as a healing process. Here is an article with information about that. Abstinent Smokers' Nicotinic Receptors Take More Than a Month to Normalize | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
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