We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


7 quick things you can do to help stop cigarette cravings...

It’s all about distraction in those first weeks of quitting.

IT’S THE FIRST day of the New Year and if you’ve decided to quit smoking: congratulations. It’s a big step and a huge accomplishment.

But, as you already probably know, it’s not without its struggles.

One thing that will probably hit you as you endeavour to stay off the cigarettes are cravings. Those sneaky urges to have ‘just one’ smoke, could be the rock your resolve perishes on.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Quit Scrabble jeffdjevdet jeffdjevdet

What’s a craving?

A craving is that seemingly unstoppable urge to smoke a cigarette that hits at the worst times – or anytime, really.

Luckily you help yourself defeat the cravings with a little will power, and a lot of distraction.

Quit.ie says, “Your craving for nicotine will peak at 3-5 minutes and will pass if you deal with it. This desire will weaken over 4-6 weeks.”

Seems easy enough, right?

So to help you out, we’ve rounded up seven distractions that will keep you occupied for a few minutes – and help that craving pass.

1. Drink a glass of water

Giphy Giphy

Even something as simple as drinking water can help break a craving.

Unlike our feline friend there, we’d suggest getting a glass but each to their own.

There are no judgements here.


2. Dance party

Giphy Giphy

Now, this mightn’t be one you can do in the workplace – although you could run off to the bathroom and bust a move there for a minute or two, but having a little dance party for a few minutes will help shake off that craving (Taylor Swift style if you so choose).

Throw on some banging beats and sh-sh-shake it off.

3. Jumping jacks

Giphy Giphy

Again, probably not for the workplace, but jumping up and down for a few minutes will not only distract you, it will increase oxygen around the body and make you feel energetic.

If you do it for a period of time, you’re sure to see vast improvements in your stamina and breathing – so why not turn it into a competition with yourself? How many jumping jacks can you do in 5 minutes?

4. Send a text… or make a phonecall

Giphy Giphy

Is there anyone you’ve been meaning to catch up with, recently?

Someone who you owe a text or call to?

Now’s your time. Pick up that phone and give them a shout. It’ll distract you and you’ll have a great ol’ natter with someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to.

And if you can’t call, a text will do just as well. Take a minute and compose something funny. They’ll appreciate it, and so will your lungs.

5. Walk around the block

Giphy Giphy

Getting outside for five minutes will really help to distract you and, combined with a brisk walk, will kick those cravings to the kerb.

If you don’t have time to leave work to go out for a quick stroll, try going up and down the stairs a couple of times, or even just heading to the bathroom and back.

Anything that takes away the focus from wanting a cigarette.

6. Coffee break

Giphy Giphy

Oftentimes the urge to have a cigarette is often the urge to have a break – so why not swap that cigarette break with something else?

You could have a coffee or tea break. It’s all about breaking habits really so it doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you don’t have a smoke.

7. Deep breaths

Giphy Giphy

Hey, if Don Draper can quit the smokes, so can you.

Taking a few deep breaths will distract you from the craving and also have a calming effect.

You don’t need to do it for a full five minutes – even three deep breaths will help to distract you from the craving, but if you can add a little mediation (otherwise known as quiet deep breathing) to your life, you’ll see even more benefits than just helping to beat the cravings.

Win win.

Tackling those cravings can be tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. The QUIT service from the HSE is here to help you at every stage, and using our service will double your chances of success. There are lots of ways to find support and share your success stories and quit tips – from Facebook to live chats on the Quit.ie and the Quit app.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.