How to overcome tobacco cravings
For most smokers and tobacco users, tobacco cravings are overpowering, making quitting difficult. It is important not to succumb to these cravings. Although the cravings can feel intense and cause anxiety, they are temporary. With appropriate measures, a good support system and time, it is possible to permanently overcome these cravings and quit using tobacco. Quitting smoking can take time. Certain foods and drinks can help when trying to quit smoking, but this alone may not help you quit completely. Quitting smoking or other tobacco products usually requires a combination of lifestyle changes and counseling, which can also help.
Drinks that can help you stop smoking
The following drinks can help you stop smoking
- Fruit and vegetable juices: Cigarettes block the absorption of important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin C. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet by juicing them can help restore these nutrients and may help reduce tobacco cravings.
- Ginseng tea: Ginseng can help reduce nicotine addiction by weakening the effect of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with pleasure and is released when smoking tobacco. Drinking ginseng tea every day can help reduce tobacco cravings, making it less enjoyable.
- Milk and dairy: Milk and other dairy products can worsen the taste of cigarettes, leaving an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste. Consuming milk and other dairy products every day can make cigarettes taste bad and may help you quit smoking.
Other ways to reduce tobacco cravings and quit smoking
Other ways to reduce tobacco cravings and quit smoking include
- Using nicotine replacement therapy: Options for nicotine replacement therapy include the following.
- Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges may be used to satiate the cravings. These are available over-the-counter.
- Non-nicotine medications to stop smoking, such as Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline), require a prescription.
- Avoiding triggers: Situations where an individual may smoke or chew tobacco include at parties, while drinking or in stressful situations. Identifying trigger situations and avoiding them entirely or coping with them by finding methods of distraction without using tobacco can help.
- Delaying and positive reinforcement: When a tobacco craving arises, delaying smoking or chewing tobacco by finding excuses or going to smoking-free areas until the craving disappears can help. Giving in to the feeling of “just one” can make you fall back into the habit of smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Using coping mechanisms: Using various coping mechanisms can help you overcome tobacco cravings. Chewing gum, candy, nuts, seeds or anything chewy or crunchy can be helpful. Brushing your teeth leaves a clean feeling in the mouth and can help get rid of cigarette/tobacco cravings. Distract yourself by doing other activities, such as doing the dishes, watching TV, playing with pets or talking to friends and family, to overcome cravings.
- Engaging in physical activity and hobbies: Engaging in physical activity, such as exercise, sports, yoga, brisk walks and even dance can help create a distraction from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. If physical activity is not possible, cultivating hobbies such as writing, arts and crafts or even chores can be equally helpful.
- Practicing stress management: Stress management is essential for those who smoke or chew tobacco and those who develop cravings due to stress. Managing stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music can help.
- Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids and green tea and avoiding coffee and black tea, especially during the first few days of quitting, can help flush nicotine out faster. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve digestion and overall health and combat tobacco cravings.
- Finding a support system: Connecting with friends and family can help you stay motivated and cope with nicotine cravings. Doing activities with friends and family can help distract you from cravings. You can also consider working with a professional therapist to help suppress cravings and manage stress. There are various support groups available online and offline where people can support each other to quit using tobacco.
- Reminding yourself of the benefits: Constantly remind yourself of the benefits of quitting tobacco by either writing them down or saying them out loud. The benefits could be things such as getting healthier, sparing loved ones from exposure to second-hand smoke and saving money.
- Using positive reinforcement: Rewarding yourself after overcoming a craving can help you stay motivated.
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