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8 Ways to Snuff Out Cigarette Cravings

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    The first few smoke-free hours might seem like a breeze. But a few days later, those cigarette cravings can become awfully tempting. First, the bad news: An urge to smoke can crop up anywhere — and sometimes feel impossible to ignore.

    But there’s good news, too: Cravings pass in about three to five minutes, says Bill Blatt, director of tobacco programs at the American Lung Association, so learning what to do when the urge strikes can help you ride it out. Use these simple tools and tricks to kick your cravings — and smoking habit — to the curb.

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    Breathe Deeply

    Not only does deep breathing help you forget about your cravings, it can also slow your heart rate and keep you calm, says VJ Sleight, a former smoker turned tobacco treatment specialist in La Quinta, California, and author ofHow to Win at Quitting Smoking. Breathe deeply through your nose for five seconds and exhale through your mouth for five seconds, she says.

    Yoga-style breathing may help, too. A February 2013 study in the journalPsychopharmacologyfound that breathing exercises based on pranayama yoga reduced cigarette cravings in people who were trying to quit smoking.

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    Keep Your Mouth Busy

    The urge to puff on a cigarette can feel overwhelming at times. So when that happens, it’s important that you do, well, anything else — especially if it’ll occupy your hands. Try chewing sugarless gum, sipping on some cold water, or eating hard candies, suggests Smokefree.gov, the federal government’s online anti-smoking campaign. Or, try crunching on carrots, nuts, or celery.

    To replace the hand-to-mouth motion of smoking, Sleight says she chewed on coffee stirrers while she was quitting. Find the combination of strategies that work for you. “Every method will work for some smokers, no method will work for every smoker,” Sleight adds.

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    Work More Exercise Into Your Schedule

    Going for a walk or jog is a known way to quash a cigarette craving, but even if you’re pressed for time, short bursts of physical activity (like a run up and down the stairs) can work, too, according to a January 2013 study published in the journalAddiction.

    Plus, taking up exercise reinforces the idea of improving your health. “You know exercise is good for you and quitting smoking is really good for you,” Blatt adds. Bonus: It can also help fight off weight gain, which is one possible side effect of quitting smoking.

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    Find a New Favorite Drink

    If you’re the type of person who’s been taking your morning java with a side of cigarettes, you may need to find a new brew — at least, temporarily. That’s because your body has grown accustomed to getting a nicotine hit after your cup of coffee, which triggers a craving, says Blatt. If you can’t switch to tea, try changing your environment. Sip your coffee on the porch or wait until you arrive at work to pour a cup from the office pot, he suggests.

    Another trigger is alcohol, which often goes hand-in-hand with smoking. If that’s the case for you, skip happy hour until the cravings wane, which usually takes about three months, says Blatt.

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    Play a Game on Your Cell Phone

    Pull out your phone or tablet: Playing games — especially ones that require some mental effort, like Tetris — may be particularly good at weakening a person’s cigarette cravings, according to a December 2015 study in the journalAddictive Behaviors. “Try a new one that challenges you and makes you think," says Sleight. “When you are concentrating on something else, you are not thinking about smoking.”

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    Find a New Hobby

    Another way to ward off a possible relapse: Expand your horizons. An April 2014 study published in the journalPLOS Onesuggested that participating in a new activity with your significant other can help fight cigarette cravings, possibly because novel, exciting experiences activate the same reward pathway in the brain that’s stimulated by nicotine.

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    Change Your Routine

    Similar to switching up your favorite drink, you might also have to change your daily habits. If you normally light up while driving to work, take a few different roads, Blatt suggests. Or, turn up the radio and belt out a tune: “You can’t have a cigarette when you’re singing,” he adds.

    Many people also smoke after a meal. After you finish eating, leave the table and take a quick walk. It may help you shake that after-dinner smoking habit.

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    Use an App

    Yep, there are apps for this, too. QuitSTART (free) is recommended by Smokefree.gov and distracts you with games and challenges when a craving hits. It also suggests ways to get back on track if you slip up and take a puff or two.

    You can search for a number of other smartphone apps that can help you track your progress, learn daily quit tips, find support, and even calculate how much money you’re saving by not smoking. Look for the one that best fits your needs and quit-smoking style.






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Date: 12.12.2018, 11:47 / Views: 64195