I quit a few days ago but I’m still craving a smoke

There are some things to take into account when quitting smoking. The first is nicotine withdrawal. Our support video is designed to answer your questions

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There are some things to take into account when quitting smoking. The first is nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine withdrawal takes a few days and is characterized by very slight, empty, insecure feeling or the feeling that you need to do something with your hands.

We are used to translating these symptoms as “I Want A Cigarette” (IWAC).

However, now you understand that you aren’t in fact craving a cigarette, but are in fact experiencing nicotine withdrawal.

It’s the nicotine “monster” that wants to smoke but if starved, will weaken and die forever. This feeling will come and disappear after the first few days of quitting.

Remember, these aren’t new feelings. You’ve experienced them your whole life.

They are here not because you’ve quit smoking but rather because you started smoking in the first place!

They’re so slight you probably won’t even be aware of them – but even so – after a few days these symptoms will disappear forever.

Consider it like recuperating from an illness, like fever from the flu, or a mosquito bite. If you don’t scratch the bite, the feeling passes.

If the thought of smoking arises, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  1. Would you want to go back to smoking a pack or more, like you did before you quit?
    Remember, there is no such thing as smoking one cigarette. It just doesn’t work that way. Cigarettes themselves are designed in a way to trap you and get you hooked, to smoke one then another, then another etc.
  2. Try to remember how you felt while you were a smoker?
    This is a good time to take a look at the list you prepared at the end of the program (If you didn’t make a list, now is a good time to do so – the guidelines were sent to you by email). When you look at the list, notice how these things don’t affect you anymore.

Even if you’ve already gone through nicotine withdrawal and the “I want a cigarette” thought enters your mind, there are a few things to consider:

  • You don’t always do what you want to do. There are consequences to actions. You might think “I could kill him” out of anger when a friend lets you down but you don’t do it – because you simply don’t mean it. Just because you think about doing something doesn’t mean you really want to do it and it doesn’t make you a bad person. Not everything you think about doing – or even think you feel like doing accurately represents what you really want. Not everything you feel like doing is the right thing for you.
  • It might be you are still feeling that you are “giving up” on something when you quit smoking. So what benefits does a cigarette actually provide?

For example, let’s say 20 people are in a room, half smokers, half non-smokers.

After an hour the smokers would experience restlessness, and/ or anxiety. The non-smokers wouldn’t feel this way.

The smokers go outside, light up, and experience relief. An hour later, again restlessness.

What in fact did the cigarette do? It provided temporary relief from the anxiety it itself caused.

You gained absolutely nothing.

It’s like taking your hand out of boiling water or your foot out of a tight shoe. It’s a relief, yes but provides absolutely no benefit.

Absolutely none. It’s a fraud.

A fraud that costs us our health and thousands and thousands of dollars for nothing. The only sensation of relief is in feeling normal again i.e. the ending of a dissatisfied condition caused by the previous shot of the drug.

To summarize, if you think you want a cigarette, just remember:

It’s natural to think about cigarettes over the first few days, partly out of momentary triggers (leaving work or having a coffee) and you might feel some mild nicotine withdrawal symptoms. But there is no reason to be alarmed.

But be aware that smoking just 1 cigarette will cause you to going back to smoking a pack or more a day.

At this point, the most important thing to tell yourselves is cigarettes give you no benefit at all, absolutely none.

Just be happy and content you are no longer a smoker and remind yourself how lucky you are to be free.

Watch our full support video presented by one of our senior therapists / facilitators.