Break Your Nicotine Addiction and Control Cravings

Addiction is a complex disease, and one that can apply to a wide spectrum of ills. From a simple addiction to nicotine that you just can’t give up to a complicated and multi-layered drug addiction deep-rooted and impossible to break. Whilst most people think of stumbling alcoholics or shuffling drug addicts when they think about addiction, what many people don’t realise is that an addiction to nicotine can be just as difficult to break.

An estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. That huge figure means that an incredible 1 in 5 deaths in the country are caused, either directly or indirectly, by smoking. [1] If you are a current smoker then one of the very best things you can do is give up your nicotine addiction: not only will this have almost immediate benefits to your health, it will also save you money and positive impact on every aspect of your lifestyle. Given up nicotine but still struggling with uncontrollable cravings? Here are a few tips for helping you to control those nicotine cravings:

How to Control Nicotine Cravings

If you’re still struggling with regular nicotine cravings then it is important to remember that you’re only human, and as humans we are hard wired to have cravings. [2] The history of your DNA holds deep imprints of all of your behaviors, and seeks to replicate these even when those behaviors are not good for your health. The physical addiction to nicotine is hard to tackle [3] and is just as severe as an addiction to any other drug. However there are some hard and fast ways in which you can control your cravings. The first and most vital step is to be proactive. Knowing when you are likely to experience a craving is key, as it means that you can take steps to change your behaviour pattern and control your craving. So if you usually have a cigarette during your lunch break from work then you can avoid heading out of the office at lunch time (instead opting to eat your lunch at your desk) or head outside and do something instead of smoking: go for a run, have a massage, head to the store and buy a healthy smoothie.

Creating healthier habits and healthier routines is an important way to stave of cravings. Many former smokers gain weight when they give up their nicotine addiction [4] because they often choose to eat sweets or unhealthy snacks to control their cravings and still have something to do with their mouths and hands. However rather than turn to unhealthy snacks and replacing one addiction (nicotine) with an equally unhealthy one (sugar) why not form a new healthier habit? If you really do feel the need to eat something, try sweet fruits such as melon and pineapple that can help to stave your sugar urges but in a much more healthy way. Alternatively why not turn to exercise to provide distraction instead? You could practice yogic breathing, or enjoy some stretches or squats wherever you are: this is a wonderful thing to do when you really feel the craving for a cigarette.

Many people minimize the struggle that an addiction to nicotine can pose [6] and feel that quitting smoking is a relatively easy process that just requires a little will power. Sadly this simply isn’t the case. Giving up smoking can be as difficult as entering rehabilitation for any other form of addiction, and it requires a great deal of internal strength to achieve. By controlling your cravings and proactively seeking to overcome your addiction you will soon be living  a happier, addiction free life.

Resources

[1] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Statistics For Tobacco Use

[2] Recovery.org, Stop Cravings in 7 Steps

[3] American Heart Association, Why Can it Be Hard to Quit?

[4] Health Line News, Gaining Weight After Smoking Cessation

[5] Share Care, Breaking Nicotine Addiction

[6] “National Institute on Drug Abuse, Is Nicotine Addictive?

 

*Image courtesy of Vaping360 on Flickr Creative Commons.

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