Manage cravings

Two people in chairs

Cravings are normal and pass with time. At the beginning of your stopping smoking journey it can feel very intense and increases your risk or taking up smoking again. Over time cravings will decrease in strength and frequency.

Understanding what your body does when you smoke can help you manage cravings:

  • when you smoke your brain is filled with nicotine receptors. These receptors feed off nicotine delivered to the brain via a cigarette.
  • nicotine releases a feel good chemical called dopamine, giving you a feeling of relief. This does not last long, and the nicotine soon fades making the nicotine receptors ready for more. This is what we call withdrawal from nicotine or a cigarette craving.

For more information check out this video about how nicotine works.

If you have a plan for managing your cravings this will help you achieve your goal of stopping smoking.

Find something that can distract you for over 60 seconds (this is how long a craving usually lasts). Here are some examples:

  • wash the dishes (your hands will be wet and unable to smoke)
  • go for a short walk
  • listen to some music or a podcast
  • have a drink of water or a piece of fruit
  • download the QuitBuddy App.



Top of page