What cravings might I experience while quitting smoking?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Cravings are powerful. When you quit smoking, there are a few doozies you'll have to contend with. First, you'll have to handle your body's response to needing more nicotine. You'll also need to deal with the tactile desires related to smoking: The pack-opening ritual, the habit of holding something in your hand, and the act of flicking ashes into an ashtray. Then there's the oral satisfaction to deal with. You may feel you need to have something in your mouth. You might also want different foods. Smokers tend to have a dampened sweet tooth, so when you stop smoking you may crave more sweets. By the way, that's the time to grab a piece of fruit, not a pint of ice cream.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
A great number of ex-smoker may crave junk food or sweets. A good idea is to maintain yourself busy with hobbies that you enjoy like arts and crafts or home repairs. If the cravings for sweets is challenging, keep crunchy fruits and vegetables on hands (carrots, grapes and apples). Going for a walk or exercising will help with the withdrawal symptoms and food cravings.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Cravings are part of quitting smoking for just about everyone. You may feel strong cravings for sweet foods. Give in, in moderation, especially if you need to watch your blood sugar. Try sugar-free gum, jelly beans, hard candies, low-fat frozen yogurt, diet soda, a handful of raisins or a piece of fruit. You'll also have moments when you just have to put something in your mouth. Keep a stash of sugar-free mints, candies or gum handy. You can often satisfy the craving with something crunchy, such as a carrot stick or handful of nuts. In an emergency, try crunching on an ice cube.

You might experience the following cravings:

Cravings usually begin within an hour or two after you stop smoking, peak for several days, and may last several weeks. The urge to smoke will come and go. Your cravings will be strongest in the first week after you quit using tobacco. Cravings usually last only a very brief period of time. You may also experience cravings that follow each other in rapid succession. As the days pass, the cravings will get farther apart. There is some evidence that mild occasional cravings may last for 6 months

This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.