Nicotine cravings can be powerful. But you're not at the mercy of your cravings. When a nicotine craving strikes, remember that it'll pass — often within less than five minutes — whether you smoke a cigarette or not. Each time you resist a nicotine craving, you're one step closer to quit smoking for good.
In the meantime, here are some ways to quit smoking.
1. Move. Do deep knee bends, run in place or climb the stairs. A few minutes of brisk activity may stop your nicotine craving in its tracks.
2. Replace. Try a stop smoking product instead of a cigarette. Some types of nicotine replacement therapy — including patches, gum and lozenges — are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription.
3. Face yourself in the mirror. List out loud the reasons you want to quit smoking. Include the benefits of staying tobacco-free, such as a longer and healthier life, and more money — and time — to spend on things you enjoy.
4. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. You might even inhale air through a drinking straw.
5. Call for reinforcements. Team up with someone who doesn't smoke for a quick chat or brisk walk.
6. Make believe. Imagine your lungs getting healthier as each minute passes.
7. Do the math. Add up how much money you'll save by not smoking for a week, a month or a year. Make a list of luxuries you could buy with your savings — or calculate the interest you'll earn by investing the money.
8. Read a quitter's blog. Post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with nicotine cravings.
9. Drink up. Sip a glass of ice water slowly. When the water is gone, suck on the ice cubes.
10. Sort your recipes. Jot down the ingredients for a few good-for-you recipes you've been meaning to try. The next time you shop for groceries, you'll be a step ahead of the game.
11. Laugh. Share a funny story with a friend, or search the Internet for a funny joke.
12. Plan ahead. Make a list of all the ways you can reward yourself for making it through another nicotine craving.
13. Freshen your breath. Brush and floss your teeth, rinse with mouthwash or suck on a breath mint.
14. Clean your closet. Discard any clothes yellowed by cigarette smoke or damaged with cigarette burns.
15. Try a mind bender. Do a crossword puzzle, word game or number puzzle.
16. Get soapy. Wash your car, scrub the floor or give the dog a bath.
17. Keep your mouth busy. Chew on a cinnamon stick, flavored toothpick or sugarless gum.
18. Get musical. Whistle, sing or play a musical instrument. Ask a partner to dance.
19. Have a ball. Dribble a basketball, hit a tennis ball against the wall or play catch with a partner.
20. Be positive. Remind yourself that the power to quit smoking is in your hands.