Quitting Tobacco: How to Beat the Cravings
Nicotine and Your Brain
- As a smoker, you are used to having a certain level of nicotine in your body.
- Smoking gives the “pleasure center” (amygdala) in your brain repeated “hits” of nicotine.
- In response, your brain grows dependent on nicotine to feel better (relaxed or in control or content)
- The cycle of nicotine hits and brain dependence leads to more packs smoked and more money spent (What a marketing tool!!)
- “Triggers” are sights, sounds, smells, tastes and places that the brain remembers as “nicotine time.”
- Cravings happen when nicotine in the brain is reduced or eliminated.
What To Expect
- Cravings may last 2-3 minutes, but will occur repeatedly during while staying quit.
- The length and strength of cravings varies between individuals but the following tools may relieve, or even beat nicotine cravings!
What To Do
- Visit www.BecomeAnEx.org, a free website where you can get a quit plan and connect with an online community.
- Talk to your doctor about the different nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that can relieve cravings during the first 4 months of staying quit.
- Take deep breaths to get through a craving.
- Eat fresh vegetables, chew gum or sugar free candy instead of snacking.
- Exercise to lower the chance of gaining weight due to replacing smoking with snacking.
- Get support from family and friends.
- Be good to yourself if you slip.
How To Get Help
- If you or someone you know wants help with giving up tobacco, go to I Want to Quit on QuitNowNH.org and click on the Sign Up for a Quit Coach, you will be able to request a call from a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist and free Quit Counseling;
- Or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). This is a free and confidential service for all NH residents.
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