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How to cope with cravings

Even if you have decided to quit smoking, there may still be a battle ahead. Cravings for a cigarette can happen at any time and some ex-smokers have described cravings as intolerable. Learn how to cope with cravings.

They are tough to combat and can strike when you least expect it.

These are our top 5 tips for how to cope with cravings.

How long do cravings last after quitting smoking?

Cravings for a cigarette usually peak within three days of quitting. This is when the cravings to smoke will be their hardest to ignore. This difficult phase can last for around two weeks.

While it gets easier these feelings may not go away all together. They can be triggered by certain situations such as after eating or with a drink. In certain social situations and during times of stress. Follow the tips below and coping with the cravings will be easier.

Tips for coping with cigarette cravings

1. Wait and wait some more

Craving a cigarette has a shelf life. It usually lasts for around 10 minutes. So, say to yourself “I am not smoking for 10 minutes”. If you make it to 10 minutes, simply say the same thing. If you can last 10 minutes, you can go another 10.

Before you know it, the craving has passed and you can move on with your day.

2. Move yourself

If you feel that familiar pang of a cigarette craving, get moving. Physical activity is a great distraction and can reduce the intensity of the smoking craving.

Run up the stairs, do a few jumping jacks or even have a brisk walk around the office.

3. Call in back up

If you read our article ’10 Tips to stop smoking’, you will know that surrounding yourself with a solid support structure is imperative.

So if you are struggling, call in back up. Call your friends or family and tell them you are struggling. Not only will it feel better to talk it out, but it will distract you long enough for the craving to subside.

4. Look online

There is a huge online community of smokers from around the world who are going through the same thing. Have a look at a quit smoking forums, or find a support group on social media.

5. Deep breaths

A lot of us smoked as a way to deal with stress. If you are feeling the pressure take a deep breath. Instead of reaching for the cigs, try to calm down yourself by employing deep breathing techniques and muscle relaxation.


Even after quitting smoking the craving for cigarettes can linger. Be prepared for this and remember that you are not alone. Follow these tips and read guides on how to cope with the cravings.

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