Posted in Health, news

Smoking cravings, how to stop them

By Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP


Some of you are trying to get a head start before the family makes you come up with a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking.  So you’ve cut back on tobacco and nicotine and have decided to quit.  Awesome!    Within the first half hour of quitting, studies have found your blood pressure and heart rate improve, so your health starts to improve immediately!!!

So, way to go!!!!  But now what?  Its not that easy.  You’ve got cravings.

So we break this down into biological and psychological.

Biologically, we can hit this a few ways.  One, is the food choices you make can help with your cravings.

Vegetables like celery and carrots are great quick-to-grab veggies when you’re in a bind. Citrus fruits like oranges work well. Bananas with their vitamin b and potassium melt in your mouth and don’t leave room for a cigarette.  Potatoes have potassium and when not loaded up with butter and cheese are….well… not as yummy.  Let’s move on.  Peppermint is awesome, so when you’re walking out of a restaurant don’t forget to grab some of those free candies sitting there.  Ginsing and ginger help with cravings, and don’t forget fiber.  Stuffing your mouth with oats, bran and fibrous foods keep you so busy trying to pick them out of your teeth that you are too exhausted to smoke.  Top all of this with lots and lots of water, and you’ll find yourself off the nicotine in no time.

Let’s celebrate.  Some one grab me a beer….no wait! No alcohol!  Alcohol fuels your cravings as does meat and caffeine.  Sorry, I never said it would be easy.

Exercise also helps because it will help you keep busy, increase your endorphans and works on the weight gain that might accompany smoking cessation.  Take a nice stroll every time you feel the need to grab a cigarette.

Which transitions nicely into psychological ways to quit. Distraction is huge.  As the cravings come on, distract yourself by exercise, reading, dancing, yelling at your spouse….no, nix the last one.  Have index cards written out with reasons to quit.  Have a disgusting picture of tobacco-destroyed lung in the kitchen or wherever you get the urge to smoke.  And get your friends and coworkers on board to help. If they smoke in front of you, it will make it that much harder.  Have a friend, family member designated as your support guide who texts you encouraging messages throughout the day as you try to quit.  Remind them that the content cannot include chores or reminders to pick things up on the way home.

There……if these tricks don’t help you quit smoking, try to use them to get out of chores…..



Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Assistant Professor Touro University Nevada

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