Cravings when you stop smoking

From the moment you stop smoking, your body starts its recovery process. During this time, especially in the first month, you may find that you experience some nicotine withdrawal and recovery symptoms like:

  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • frustration
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping or concentrating

Your craving for nicotine will improve after the first 2 to 3 weeks as your body adjusts to being smoke-free. You may get a chesty cough, but this is positive - it means your body is getting rid of the debris in your lungs.

All withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your body is recovering from the effects of smoking.

Dealing with cravings

When you give up smoking you might also have to deal with cravings. These are caused by the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine.

Cravings happen because your body misses its regular dose of nicotine. A nicotine patch can help control your constant desire for nicotine. There are other NRT products that can be used alongside your patch to give you a nicotine boost.

Read more about medicines to help you stop smoking

Take your mind off smoking

If you're craving a cigarette, there are lots of things you can try to help take your mind off smoking.


  • use your nicotine gum or inhalator
  • take a break if you’re feeling irritable
  • have a drink of water or a sip of orange juice
  • get some exercise – walking is a great distraction
  • keep busy to distract yourself – perhaps try a new hobby
  • focus on the benefits of stopping smoking, like the amount of money you'll save

Quit Your Way Scotland

Contact Quit Your Way Scotland for advice on the best way to deal with your cravings.

Last updated:
19 December 2022

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