Making the decision to quit smoking can be hard, but dealing with the symptoms and cravings afterwards can be even harder. Whilst cravings come and go, some people experience insomnia, depression, anxiety and mood swings which last way longer than the craving itself. When it comes to quitting, learning how to cope with and manage cravings can make or break your success, even if it means not quitting cold-turkey.¹
How long do cravings last when quitting smoking?
There are two main types of cravings. The first is a constant, dull craving that lasts for about 3 to 5 days. The second type is sudden and more intense, which can come and go for weeks or months, lasting only a few minutes at a time before it subsides. Of course, if you can make it through the craving, you’ll be more likely to stop smoking. And each time you delay smoking a cigarette, you’ll make progress. Eventually, cravings will become less frequent and intense.²
Ways to manage cravings
Certain activities, like exercise or finding a new hobby can help you to delay or avoid smoking when you have a craving. Exercise has also been found to strengthen lung capacity and health, as well as improve your mood through stress-reducing endorphins. For this reason, exercise can help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.²
Another way to manage cravings is by distracting yourself, like by setting personal health or life goals to help you to stay motivated, and prioritise what matters to you the most. Each time you conquer one of your goals, you’ll boost your self-esteem and be one step closer to rewiring your brain in the right direction.
If you’re used to numbing hunger cravings by smoking, you might find you have a larger appetite once you quit. In fact, most people find an increase in appetite as the nicotine wears off. This can cause anxiety. A good way to curb these hunger cravings can be by keeping a bulk supply of healthy finger foods at hand to grab instead, like chopped veggies, for example.
It’s natural for your body to act out when first quitting because you’ll no longer be feeding it with its usual supply of nicotine and toxins. Insomnia is another symptom that comes along when you don’t give in to your cravings. This can last for a few days up to a couple of weeks.
Apart from getting regular exercise and finding ways to de-stress, you can also try lowering your caffeine levels. Smokers metabolise caffeine twice as quickly as non-smokers, so if you’re still drinking the same amount of coffee as you did before, then you might be over caffeinating, leading to poor sleep quality.²
How long does a nicotine patch last?
A nicotine patch lasts for about 16 hours, releasing a low dose of nicotine into the system slowly over time. These are great to combat those constant background cravings, whereas gum is usually used for sudden cravings and lasts for about 30 minutes.
Why some people find it easier to quit than others
No situation is the same for any person quitting smoking. Certain people might find it easier to quit than others, but don’t let that get you down. Each person is fighting their own battle, and allowing their success to make you feel like you are failing will only cause you more harm. Naturally, people who are bound to their triggers or environments will have a tougher time overcoming their addictive coping mechanisms, but it’s never impossible.¹
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0565. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0566. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0520. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0523. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 2 mg: Reg. No A46/34/0164. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 4 mg: Reg. No A 46/34/0165. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 10 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0952. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 15,75 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 15 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0953. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 23,62 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 25 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0954. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 39,37 mg.