Tips For Dealing With Cigarette Cravings at Work

Feeling the urge to light up right before a big meeting? Learn how to curb those feelings quickly.

Breaking the habit of taking a smoke break during work can be hard. Even if you mentally want to resist your old routine of stepping outside for a cigarette, we are, in fact, creatures of habit. Your body is hardwired to do what it’s used to – in this case, have a cigarette. Try these strategies to help manage cravings during the day so you can devote less time to smoking, and more time prepping for your big work presentation.

Tips For Curbing Cigarette Cravings at Work

Decorate Your Desk

Make sure you have photos of your friends and family, as well as some goal words for why you want to quit smoking (things like, “So I can see my kids get married,” or “To hike with my friends, and beat them to the top!”), advises Dr. ErinKate Stair, MD, MPH, founder of Blooming Wellness. This will help you visualize the bigger picture and realize that having a cigarette isn’t worth it.

Use a Positive Distraction

When a craving hits, do something that takes you out of your work space to take your mind off what it’s itching for. Dr. Stair recommends going for a walk, as sitting in the same place (particularly the place where your craving started) can make it worse. If you don’t have time to take a walk, you can get up and refill your water bottle, or stroll over to a coworker’s desk for a quick chat.

Don't Bring Cigarettes Into the Office

If you were on a diet, you wouldn’t want to have a desk drawer filled with junk food, so the same theory should apply if you’re trying to quit smoking. Clean out your desk and don’t even bring cigarettes into your office (or car, if you can help it), suggests Dr. Stair. This way, when a craving strikes, you won’t have access to satisfy it in the first place.

Use a Discrete Smoking Cessation Product

Using a product designed to curb your cravings, especially a product that can help with an oral fixation like a Nicorette Lozenge or Nicorette Gum, is extremely helpful for easing cravings during work hours. Studies have shown that people who use a cessation product are 50 to 60 percent more successful in their attempt to quit smoking than those who don’t use anything.

Phone a Friend

Designate someone to be your coach when it comes to quitting smoking. By sending them a text or calling them when the urge strikes, they can help you stay accountable and keep your eye on the prize – a life without cigarettes — explains Dr. Stair. You can also use the buddy system with a friend who is trying to quit, so you can help them with their cravings, too. When it comes to trying to stop smoking, there’s strength in numbers, and getting through a craving is easier when you don’t have to do it alone.

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