As well as an addiction to nicotine, you will have a habitual dependence on cigarettes. To quit successfully you need to beat both the nicotine addiction and the habit. Beating the habit means learning to cope with situations you link with smoking and which may trigger the temptation to smoke.
These temptations can be intense and last for weeks, attacking your willpower. Examples of situations that many people link to smoking are:
- Times of stress
- Work breaks
- A social setting, such as a bar
- Having a cup of coffee
- After a meal
Just knowing that there are parts of your world that you link more closely with smoking will help you form a plan for beating temptation. Here are some ways you can guard against these situations.
Make use of your Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Your Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) product – Nicorette® Gum, Nicorette® mini Lozenge or Nicorette® Lozenge - is important because it will help reduce the temptation you experience. Always carry it with you throughout the day and use it regularly. If you are using gum, taking an extra piece when you feel tempted to smoke could help you get through the situation.
Remove yourself from danger
When you begin quitting it’s best to avoid tempting situations until you are ready to deal with them. If you do find yourself in a tempting situation, leaving, even for a few minutes, can help you beat the desire to smoke.
Get out of the rut
If you are like most people you will have little routines that you go through every day. Your smoking is a deep-rooted part of this routine. That’s why it pays to change your day as much as possible when you quit smoking. Try doing things:
- In a different order
- At different times of the day
- With other people
- In different places
Get some exercise
You don’t necessarily have to join a gym. Just setting aside 20 minutes a day for a walk can make a big difference to your motivation to stay off cigarettes.
Deep breathing and meditation
Using deep breathing or meditation to relax will make you less likely to smoke a cigarette when you are stressed.
It is when you are idle or bored that temptation is most likely to strike. It helps to always have something close at hand to occupy your hands and mind. It could be something as simple as a squeeze ball or as involved as a crossword or video game.
Talking to somebody is a good way of distracting yourself when temptation strikes. Talk about the weather, sports results, shopping, your feelings – anything to occupy the time until temptation disappears.
Wait it out
When you experience temptation it usually only lasts a few minutes. Distract yourself with an activity for that time and keep reminding yourself how happy you are as a non-smoker and temptation will soon pass.
Water is a better way to remain hydrated than tea or coffee. It fills you up, keeps you busy and won’t increase your desire to smoke.