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Break the habit and overcome cravings and withdrawal once you quit smoking

Quitting smoking can be tough. As you get ready to quit, think about how tobacco fits into your life and what’s going to be hard about giving it up.

Perhaps you smoke to cope with stress or when you’re lonely or bored. It’s also likely that tobacco has become a part of your daily ritual. Maybe you always have a cigarette with your coffee or after a meal.

If this is true for you, quitting will be not only about handling nicotine withdrawal but also about finding other ways to reduce stress, build new routines, and get emotional support without tobacco.

Starting with small steps can increase your confidence and make it easier to quit when the time is right. The more prepared you are, the better your chances for success.

Successful quitting takes:

  • having a plan
  • knowing your motivation to quit
  • learning about your smoking habit and triggers
  • finding a new, healthy habit to replace smoking
  • making a commitment
  • choosing the right time
  • asking for support from family, friends, and your doctor

Make it easier on yourself and tips when you quit smoking

Symptom Activity
Dry mouth (sore throat, gums, or tongue) Sip ice-cold water or chew gum.
Headaches Take a warm bath or shower.
Trouble sleeping Don’t drink coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine after 6 p.m. Try relaxation or meditation techniques.
Constipation Add fiber to your diet, such as raw fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
Fatigue Make sure to schedule time for extra rest. Go easy on yourself during this time. Your body is working hard to heal, especially in the first few weeks.
Hunger Drink water or low-calorie liquids. Eat low-fat, low-calorie snacks.
Irritability Take a walk, soak in a hot bath, try relaxation or meditation techniques.
Cough Sip warm herbal tea. Suck on sugarless cough drops or hard candy.

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