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Help and advice on quitting smoking

What to do when you crave a cigarette

The urgent need to smoke disappears after a few minutes; you just have to wait until it passes or to find something to distract you. The cravings are at their most intense 3 to 5 days after smoking cessation, thereafter they decrease in number, intensity and duration.

Immediately seek diversionary thoughts or activities.

  • Drink something (water, fruit juice)
  • Never run out of chewing gum, candy or toothpicks (unwrapping a stick of gum replaces the act of lighting a cigarette)
  • Eat a piece of fruit
  • Brush your teeth
  • Breathe deeply and slowly several times
  • Change location or activity, leave the place where you are
  • Keep your hands busy (e.g. play with a pencil, write something, etc.)
  • Take a walk, do some sport or other physical activity
  • Take a shower
  • Start a new activity
  • Think about something other than cigarettes. Think about something nice (vacations, weekend projects that you can afford with the money you save by not smoking, somewhere you like to go after work...)

Use medication

Oral forms of NRT (microtabs, lozenges, gum or inhaler) rapidly lessen the intensity of cravings or even make them disappear completely.

Remember your decision not to smoke

Try to reason with yourself. List the reasons why you want to quit. Remember how difficult the first hours and days were. Tell yourself that if you smoke, you will regret it; it would be a shame to jeopardize the efforts you have already made.

What are the benefits of quitting?

After a meal

To avoid being tempted to smoke, leave the table immediately after eating and brush your teeth or find something else to do (e.g. go for a walk or do the dishes). Tell yourself that cigarettes do not make the meal any better. Instead, by reducing your sense of taste and smell, they interfere with your pleasure.

After waking

If you have crave a cigarette as soon as you wake up, find diversionary activities, like taking a shower or preparing breakfast.

Talk to yourself

Remember the inconveniences of smoking (odor, bad breath). Tell yourself, "If I hold out for another 5 minutes, the craving will have passed." "I am stronger than cigarettes." "Is my craving really so strong?"