Withdrawal and Coping with Cravings

When you quit smoking, you’ll be faced with situations that will trigger the urge to relapse or slip. We call these high-risk situations. Review this emergency coping plan to help you deal with these situations. If you feel the urge, or are tempted to slip:

AVOID the situation.
Identify the situations when you normally smoke or feel cravings. For most, high-risk situations include work breaks, finishing meals, having coffee or being in a bar. Plan how you will avoid these situations for a few weeks. Plan for alternate activities.

LEAVE the situation.
If you find yourself in one of these high risk situations, leave if you can. And, leave before you get a craving.

DISTRACT yourself from the craving.
If you find yourself in a situation you can’t leave and you get a craving, distract yourself from the craving by:

  • Thinking about something else, like your Benefits of Quitting (or how much money you’re saving every week, how your body is healing itself).
  • Doing something else to distract yourself like drinking water or deep breathing exercises.
  • Thinking about an upcoming event in your life, such as a vacation.

DELAY acting on the craving
If you can’t keep your mind off it, then make a deal with yourself that you will wait 5 minutes before you give into the craving. The craving will usually pass in a couple of minutes anyway. If you delay, the craving will go away.

A craving may be accompanied by negative thoughts about your ability to resist it. Use positive self talk statements to combat your negative thoughts.