When do cravings actually stop?

Hi everyone

Almost at 3 weeks and doing reasonably well. Not on any NRT's and thought at this stage any serious cravings would be gone by now! Started the week with a little bit of stress by going back to college (it's where i smoked the most). Found Monday and Tuesday quite tough but survived. Wednesday and Thursday were surprisingly very easy and even accompanied my class mates for their smoke break and didn't feel any urge to smoke atol. Was feeling really positive yesterday but the bloody cravings are back quite strong today. So do the cravings actually stop or will they always have unexpected visits from time to time?

19 Replies

  • I think it will be a while yet, it also depends on the person all you can do is fight each one as it comes and well done for not using NRT, I wish I hadn't now as I am six months smoke free and still hooked on them.......................but am going to try and cut out the patches this weekend but still use my inhalator once a day.

  • Thanks for reply Linda

    In a past attempt at quitting using the patches i would have taken the odd sneaky fag here and there so was really messing up my attempt by putting extra nicotine in my body so using the patches was a waste of time for me. I think i gave up after 2 or 3 weeks. This attempt is the longest I've gone without any sort of nicotine so i was expecting the cravings to be nearly gone by now. I think I'm expecting too much too soon ha :-)

  • Hi Jmcf81, Like linda says everyone is different. I will put some information on about cravings which may help you.

    Dealing with Cravings

    Even though you’ve officially quit smoking, the urge to smoke may come and go. Many times, cravings can result from being hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or bored. Think back to your triggers for smoking and use your action plan for how you’ll deal with cravings and keep the tips below in mind to help you through them. Remember that trying something to beat the urge is always better than trying nothing.

    Keep other foods around that can help you get through a craving. Try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, raisins, licorice or sugarfree gum.

    Wash your hands when you have an intense craving.

    Stay busy, especially with activities that use your hands.

    Don’t get down on yourself.

    Think positively and find healthy outlets for stress or anger. If something bothers you, learn to relax quickly by taking deep breaths. Take 10 slow, deep breaths and hold the last one. Then breathe out slowly.

    Picture a soothing, pleasant scene. Think only about that peaceful image and nothing else.

    Light incense or a candle instead of a cigarette.

    Go outside, or move to a different room. Try changing what you are doing.

    Remember, having just one cigarette will hurt. Don’t allow yourself to go down the path of justifying the urge to smoke. It will undo the work, commitment and progress you’ve made thus far.

    Months or Years After You’ve Quit

    Cravings can pop up even after you’ve been smoke-free for months or even years. What if you do smoke? The difference between a slip and a relapse – going back to smoking as you used to – is within your control. You can use the slip as an excuse to go back to smoking, or you can look at what went wrong, learn from what happened, and renew your commitment to staying smoke-free.

    If you do relapse, try not to get too discouraged. Quitting smoking is difficult and it takes most people several attempts before they quit for life. What’s important is understanding what helped you in your attempt to quit and what worked against you. You can then use this information to make a stronger attempt at quitting the next time.

    It’s important to remember that substituting other forms of tobacco, like low tar/nicotine cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pipes or cigars is not a safe alternative to smoking. These products contain nicotine, are harmful to your health, and do not reduce your risk of smoking-related disease.

  • Thanks for the info Jilly

    Even though the cravings have been tough at times I've still not been tempted to walk to the shop and buying a pack thankfully :-)

    Really don't want to slip or relapse! It's funny how you tell yourself that one cigarette won't do any harm! But i know if i had one that would be me back smoking permanently.

    Still on the jaffa cakes so hopefully no slip ups :-)

  • Haha nom nom nom :-)

  • Well, I'm five months in now and I am past the really evil cravings that are there at first, but and its a big but I am absolutely stunned at just how many triggers there are for me. The ones I've particularly had to watch for are the ones when I'm doing something that I don't do frequently but in the past would have smoked afterwards. For example getting off a train after a long journey and lighting up as soon as I get out of the station, that is something I don't do often but hit me like a ton of bricks last Sunday. I must admit I frequently would like to smoke that desire hasn't gone, but I'm not 'craving' in that sense any more in the end it is a deeply ingrained habit that I've had for a long long time and I think it will take time now. Good luck well done you are so cool doing it without substitutes I know I couldn't have done it without. :)

  • Thanks for the reply Friez

    It really has been tough the last 2 days. Tougher than the previous 3 weeks so it's kind of knocked me back a bit and got me doubting myself a bit but I'm not gonna give in! I naively thought that by this stage it would be ALOT easier but it's not. I know what your saying about the triggers. I'm the same after long journeys. Going to Lisbon for valentines wknd so I should be ready for the cravings to hit me like a tonne of bricks when i get off the flight :-) 4 months is a long time i hope i can make it that far :-)

  • I'm with Friezefriend, I'm nearly at 5 months without a cig and have been nicotine free for 3 weeks.Those awful cravings of the early days have totally gone but the memory of having a cig is still very much there.We flew on holiday in November & I would have killed for a smoke but only because it's what I used to do,get off plane,find somewhere to smoke.Don't know if that will ever leave me.Well done on the cod Turkey,again I'm with Frieze & know I couldn't't have done it.

  • I F****D up tonight

    Went out to meet a mate of mine that's back visiting from Australia and I've been smoking all night. Sorry for the bad language but I've f*****g messed up again. I'm so bloody pissed off at myself. Just short of 3 weeks and I'm gonna have to start all over again if i can. After all the great support I've had on here i feel like I've let you all down. Maybe cold turkey wasn't the approach for me or maybe I'm just a bloody idiot that cant drink without smoking (first drink in 6 weeks). Thinking of getting an ecig to maybe take steps with? But at the same time if i was 3 weeks without any nicotine will an ecig actually help me? Sorry I'm still drunk here and feeling like a bloody failure

  • Hey dont beat yourself up hun, i couldnt do it cold turkey i tells thee :( i would be climbing the walls, maybe an e cig without any nicotine in, just for when you go out. x

  • Hey stop being so hard on yourself, none of us are perfect and alcohol in my mind goes hand in hand with smoking. It's because you had a drink you let your guard down, I can't have a drink without thinking of a ciggie. You can and will do this so pick yourself up and dust yourself down and start again, you have let nobody down and we all struggle with this addiction. You will get there you really will and we are all here to help you through this x

  • I second that - please don't beat yourself up over this. Just get in the right frame of mind, start again and you will be stronger this time. Big hugs

  • I think it's not so much a f*ck up, but a blip. Lasting 3 weeks cold turkey is an amazing achievement, and at least you now know that having a drink is the hardest part. From here you can look at how to handle that in the future. Maybe buy an e cig and have it at home always charged up but keep it for moments like that?

    You can totally do this

  • Hey Jmcf81,

    It can take around 12 weeks for those nicotine receptors to die down. Just when you think you are in controls, you let your guard down a bit and then those pesky cravings are lying in wait for this moment. Your moment as last night, with alcohol.

    Try not to feel too bad this morning, and I hope you haven't any hangover to make it worse :-/

    I would suggest one of two choices;

    1. Pick up where you left off and crack on with your quit. Think of all the cigarettes that you haven't had.


    2. Reset your quit day, plan towards it and stick to the date set.

    Having said that, and knowing how well you have done so far, if it was me.. I would be more likely to choose number 1. Learn from what happened last night. Stay away from the alcohol but if you feel this isn't something you can do, buy an inhalator for the next time you do have a drink.

    The key to success here is learning from last night and think what you would do differently next time. Next time you are likely to go out on the pop, let us know and we'll help you put an effective plan in place for it :-)

    As Kaprin and Bethjayne says, don't beat yourself up, it's just a huge learning curve.

    Get back on it... Like a car bonnet ;-)

    You can do this :-)

  • Thank you Jillygirl, that made very interesting and helpful reading. I'm going to revert back to what you've said if I get a craving.

    I'm 4 weeks and a couple of days smoke free now and it seems to be getting much easier. Cigs go through my mind maybe 3 or 4 times a day now as opposed to all the time in the beginning and I just try to switch off when they come in to my head (if that makes sense :-) ) Thank you also to everyone on this forum for been so sportive and helpful ... Sue xx

  • Hey Sue, it sounds like you have it beeeeeeeet gal :) :) 4 weeks quit, just ACE gal :) :) but just please remember to stay focused and above all, Positive on your quit journey eh :) :) cos if you let your guard down for one minute, mr nic will get in there !!

    I will help you in any way I can gal :) :) pete :)

  • Aww cheers Monky, I think you were one of the first to offer support and make me feel welcome on here. Yeh I can't believe it myself, I've not weakened at all., I don't even carry any in my bag now, not done for the last 2 weeks, my break to Vruges on the 18th of this month will be a testing time, I'm a wee bit worried about that but hoping to stay focused and not hive in :-) hope you're doing ok too xx

  • Thanks so much for the support everyone. Guess i just have to start again! Still very annoyed with myself. Been smoking today, have 5 left and once they are gone i start again! Think I'll purchase an ecig with little or no nicotine so see how i get on with that. Not going to drink again for a while so should give myself a better chance hopefully

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