How to tackle cigarette cravings

Overcoming cravings is one of the biggest battles you’ll face when quitting smoking. But, a few simple ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ could really help keep cravings at bay…Do...

Keep active

Just a little bit of exercise could go a long way to helping curb cigarette cravings. Plus, doing something active could work wonders for helping take your mind off withdrawal symptoms while you quit. We’re not suggesting you go on a 10 mile run every time a craving comes on, but even getting outdoors for a walk could help. And factoring in some regular exercise will get those crucial feel-good endorphins pumping, giving you an extra boost.


Delaying is a clever tactic for dealing with cigarette cravings. If you think you need a cigarette right now, tell yourself you have to wait 10 minutes. Find something to do in that time to take your mind off the craving – read a book, make a cup of tea, do a short piece of work - often you’ll find that once 10 minutes has passed, your craving has too.

Write a list

Nicotine cravings are very much a physical thing, but mind-over-matter definitely comes into play, too. To keep your willpower topped up, write lists of all the brilliant reasons you’re quitting, and all the rewards you’re set to reap – like better health, more money, smoke-free clothes, a whiter smile… Every time you need a little reminder why quitting’s worth it, get the list out and read it. Planning to treat yourself to a dream holiday, a shopping spree, with the money you’ve saved after a year? Stick a picture of it to your fridge!

Be prepared

When you craving cigarettes, what your body really wants is nicotine. This is where NRT products come in handy - they give you a nicotine fix without resorting to smoking a cigarette. Being prepared in this way could really help, especially if you have a long day ahead where temptation might strike, such as a wedding, or a busy day at work. There are a range of products available so choose ones right for you. Carrying NICORETTE® Gum means you’ll always have a quick source of nicotine at hand. Or, popping on a NICORETTE® Invisipatch in the morning will give you a regular dose of nicotine all day.


Have just one

If a really strong craving hits, it’s tempting to convince yourself that one little cigarette won’t hurt. The thing is, one cigarette often leads to many, and before long you could be back to square one. So next time that little devil on your shoulder says ‘go on, just the one’, remind yourself how well you’re doing – and refer to the tips above!

Avoid Temptation

Going for a drink or to see your mates might seems like a good distraction when cravings strike. But if you’d normally associate the pub with lighting up, it might not be the best idea! Think about it – it could be temptation overload. How about going to somewhere different where you don’t get reminded of smoking? Best to avoid temptation-triggers until the cravings have died down.

Keep schtum

Cravings are a normal part of the quitting process and almost everybody will experience them to some degree, so there’s no need to feel bad about them. If you’re finding cravings tough, tell someone. Call a friend, tell your colleague, or even find an online forum for support. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say, and just speaking about those darn cravings could give you the extra willpower boost you need.

Listen to success stories of people that have overcome their smoking challenges or find a product that could help you reach your goal.