While 68 percent of smokers would be more than happy to snuff out their habit, quitting is easier said than done. Tobacco cravings can be so intense that it can be really hard not to light up a stick or two when the discomfort settles in. Thankfully, you have all kinds of ways to quit smoking, including using everything from a nicotine pouch to meditation methods to curb those intense cravings.
1. Try Nicotine Pouches
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. In fact, many studies have shown NRT to double the chances of quitting. Nicotine pouches are a type of NRT. What are nicotine pouches exactly? These pouches are a tobacco-free alternative that still contains the nicotine your body craves.
While all nicotine pouches are different, the best are made with synthetic nicotine, which is nicotine not derived from tobacco. NIIN pouches are a good example of pouches made with synthetic nicotine. To use a pouch, you simply tuck one between your gum and your inner lip to release the nicotine into your system.
2. Give the Delay Method a Go
The delay method to quitting smoking is all about pushing yourself through cravings for as long as possible before having a smoke. For example, if you really start to crave a cigarette, make a resolution to wait for 15 minutes before you light up. It can be helpful to do something to stay occupied or fill your time to delay smoking. Maybe you could get up and get active, head to a smoke-free zone, or simply try to focus on something else.
As you push yourself through cravings, you can try to delay smoking even longer. Keep in mind, even the most intense cravings tend to last about 10 minutes, so when your time is up, pay attention to the intensity of your craving—you may be able to push yourself even longer. Over time, you can cut back on how many cigarettes you are smoking just by putting more time between each one. The fewer cigarettes you are smoking, the easier it can be to completely quit.
3. Look for Herbal Cravings Busters
Herbal remedies to quit smoking can sometimes be effective, especially where controlling cravings are concerned. Certain herbs offer properties that could potentially help alleviate some of the stress that comes along with nicotine withdrawal. For example, Rhodiola rosea was shown to help deter symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in animal studies.
4. Avoid Cravings Triggers
When you're quitting smoking, avoiding triggers can be just as important as it would be with any other addiction. You no doubt have some triggers that make you crave cigarettes more than usual. Triggers can be related to emotions, typical routines or patterns, social activities, or even just feelings of withdrawal. Some of the most common triggers include:
Talking on the phone
Eating certain foods
Handling a lighter or matches
Feeling bored, stressed, or excited
If you know there are certain times when your nicotine cravings will be more intense, do what you can to avoid those triggers. For example, if your normal routine involves having a cigarette when you get done eating, make it a point to insert another activity after eating, such as going for a ten-minute walk.
5. Get Active
Getting active can do a few things for your body physiologically that may counteract the effects of nicotine withdrawal. For instance, most people feel stressed or down as a result of nicotine withdrawal, but exercise can stimulate endorphins that can give you an emotional lift and deter stress. It can also be helpful to know you are doing something good for your body instead of giving your body something that will cause harm. So, consider joining a gym, planning daily walks on your usual smoke breaks, or even doing micro workouts when a craving hits.
6. Practice Mindful Relaxation
While most smokers feel like nicotine helps their body relax, the chemical from tobacco is actually a stimulant and disrupts chemical processes in the brain. When nicotine withdrawal kicks in, your brain feels like it has been disrupted, and feelings of anxiousness and stress can kick in. These mental processes actually affect the body—you may feel tense, overwhelmingly fatigued, and even jittery.
Mindful relaxation is all about focusing your mind on something while practicing deep breathing to help your body relax. This gives the mind and body a welcome distraction from the cravings, but may also encourage physiological processes that keep stress hormones from over accumulating in your system.
7. Get Help
Make no mistake, quitting smoking can be tough. People can face a lot of emotional distress, even depression and feelings of loss when they try to leave tobacco behind. You may need some reinforcements and support throughout the process. Let your non-smoking friends and family know you are trying to quit so they can give you emotional support when you need it, and consider getting professional counseling if needed. Keep in mind, there are several good resources that you have access to that are absolutely free, such as:
1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) - Speak with a trained coach to help you quit
SmokefreeVET - Veterans can get daily text messages to support them through quitting
SmokeFree.gov - Make a personalized plan to help you quit
Freedom From Smoking - Online counseling program from the American Lung Association to help you quit
SmokefreeTXT - Get daily support in the form of text messages to help you quit
Online support groups are also something to consider—millions of people get addicted to cigarettes and want to quit, so there is no shortage of people who know what you are going through.
Quitting Smoking Can Be Tough, but the Right Resources Make a Difference
Smoking can bring about so many dangerous consequences for your health, but the hold that cigarettes can have on your life can be huge. By taking things a step at a time, knowing how to reduce cravings, and having access to the right resources, you can let go of the detrimental habit and break free. If you are looking for a good nicotine replacement option, be sure to take a look at NIIN Nicotine Pouches, which are available in several flavors and completely tobacco-free.