The worst cravings generally end within 10 to 14 days, and although some people may have cravings for longer than that, the cravings always become less intense and less frequent. For many people, an occasional craving is normal and will never go away.
If you’re still less than two weeks from your quit date and using quit medication, the first thing to do is to make sure you’re using it correctly. Many people who use the gum or lozenge tend to use it less frequently than is recommended on the package. If you don’t take the recommended amount at the right time, it won’t be as helpful. If you’re using your medication the right way, talk to your doctor about your cravings. He or she may want to change the dose or have you try a different medication. Many doctors, for example, will combine the patch and the gum if cravings are severe.
Either way, your cravings should become less intense after two weeks’ time. This is the hardest part of quitting, and if you can get through it, then you can do anything!
When you have a craving, remember the 5 Ds:
- DELAY: The urge to smoke should pass in a few minutes.
- DISTRACT: Keep your mind off the craving. Go for a walk, listen to music, or text a friend.
- DRINK WATER: It helps distract you, keeps you hydrated, and gives you something to do with your hands and mouth.
- DEEP BREATHING: This can help you relax and stay calm. Try 3 slow deep breaths.
- DISCUSS: Talk about how you’re feeling with a friend or other person who supports you, or visit the feed. You can give your post a “Craving” tag, which lets everyone know that you want to smoke and need support right away!
Medical review: Nathan Cobb, MD, November 15, 2017