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Craving Cigarettes? 5 Things You Can Do to Resist the Urge

We all know that smoking is bad for you. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2010 alone (the most recent year numbers are available), 158,248 people in the U.S. died from lung cancer.
For people trying to quit smoking, it’s easy to forget these dire numbers when a cigarette craving hits. People trying to quit have two options when they experience a nicotine craving: they can give in to their urge and light up, or they can take their mind off their craving by doing something else instead. If you are trying to quit and have powerful cravings, here are some ways to distract yourself until the urge passes.

1. Endure pain

You can train yourself to associate cigarette cravings with pain. Luckily, you don’t need to endure terrible pain in order for this technique to work. Find a thick elastic band and always wear it. Whenever you feel like smoking, ping yourself as hard as possible. The pain will take your mind off smoking and you will eventually start to have negative feelings whenever you dream about putting a cigarette in your mouth.

2. Start meditating

Once you start craving nicotine, the inner-voice inside your head will start going crazy. It will keep asking you if you’re going to give in. When you try to resist, your inner-voice will try to convince you otherwise. It will tell you to have one more. Meditation can help you learn to ignore that inner voice.

3. Eat some fruit

Some people want to smoke because they have an oral fixation. They’re used to having a cigarette dangling from their mouth, so it feels weird when there is nothing there. You can combat this by eating a piece of fruit.

4. Do something important

Everyone always seems to go into “the zone” when they’re doing something they care about. When a craving hits, do something that interests you, whether it’s knitting, running, reading or putting together a puzzle. You’ll be absorbed in the task at hand, which will distract you from your urge to smoke. In addition to avoiding cigarettes, this approach might also make you feel more productive.

5. Brush your teeth

Smoking straight after brushing your teeth is pretty gross. Whenever a craving hits, brush your teeth. If you decide you want to smoke throughout the day you could run to the bathroom to brush your teeth. Eventually the cravings will go away and your teeth might start to look white again after all those years of smoking.

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