During the first hours and days, the urge to smoke can be enormous. We asked former smokers what tricks they used to overcome those cravings. Their responses were varied and ingenious. Read through them to find the ones that you think might help you.
"When the desire to smoke hit, I would put the cigarette under my nose..."
"I carried one cigarette around with me. When the desire to smoke hit, I would take that one cigarette and put it under my nose and inhale the smell. This went on until the cigarette fell apart. I do not remember how long that lasted and I really don't want to know. All I know is that I am free!" — Donna C.
"I kept an unsharpened pencil handy for the times when I needed something to do with my hands."
"I kept an unsharpened pencil handy for the times when I needed something to do with my hands, like after meals and first thing in the mornings when my smoking was heaviest. I would sort of twirl the pencil through my fingers much like a baton and sometimes just wiggle it back and forth, anything to have something in my hand and doing something to break that habit." — Joetta C.
"When I got a craving, I told myself it was my body telling me it was thirsty, and I drank a glass of water."
"I did two things to help me through a craving... When I got a craving for a cigarette, I told myself that it wasn't a craving, it was my body telling me it was thirsty, and I drank a glass of water. This does a couple really good things for you. It gets you drinking water, which your body needs and it is not fattening, so you won't gain weight. The second thing I did was I got some peppermint sticks, or candy canes, and sucked on those throughout the day, and you can get low sugar or sugar free ones if you like and again, you won't gain weight from this new 'habit.' — M.M.
"...chewing on anise seeds or other herbs." "Some of the tricks included lots of fresh water with lemon in it, holding a pencil or straw in fingers, chewing on anise seeds or other herbs (licorice root is a good one because you can hold it like a cigarette), and getting up and going for a short walk whilst others lit up was very healthy." — D.A.M.
"I bought a pack of herbal cigarettes, which are made without tobacco."
"I bought a pack of herbal cigarettes, which are made without tobacco. This satisfied the urge to 'smoke' but were so nasty that it was actually a relief to get to the end of the pack. It took about 2 packs of these to really make me glad I had quit. I was a 2-pack a day smoker (for 46 years) but each pack of the herbal cigarettes lasted about 10 days to 2 weeks." — Freda W.
"Part of smoking is breathing, so just pretend you are smoking."
"One thing I remember doing while early in my nonsmoking was I seemed to run around the house here with a Bic ballpoint pen in my mouth. I know it sounds odd, but hey, it worked! I didn't chew on it, just sucked on the cap mostly. Also doing deep breathing exercises helped me. Part of smoking is breathing, so just pretend you are smoking. The over 20 years of smoking created a habit of inhaling and when I quit that I was sort of lost. It seemed like there was something I was supposed to be doing, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The deep breathing help me a lot." — Mona B.