Supplies Needed When You Quit Smoking

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The first several weeks of smoking cessation can be difficult, which is why it's essential to stock up on a few supplies that can help distract you before the urge to smoke hits. A little preparation goes a long way in controlling cravings and helping you reach your quit-smoking goal.

Before choosing a smoking cessation aid, talk to your health care provider, who can offer advice and resources and weigh in on what's best for you and your overall health.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Many people turn to nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), which contain a measured dose of nicotine, to help ease the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. If you choose to try one of the following NRTs, it's important to follow the manufacturer's directions, as each dose will gradually reduce the amount of nicotine.

  • Nicotine gum is available in two strengths—2 milligrams (mg) for those who smoke less than 25 cigarettes a day, and 4 mg for those who smoke over 25 cigarettes a day—and is sold over the counter.
  • Nicotine inhaler releases nicotine into the user's mouth and throat via a plastic cigarette-like tube that houses a mouthpiece and replaceable nicotine cartridge. It is only available by prescription.
  • Nicotine lozenges are small, candy-like tablets purchased over the counter that release nicotine into the bloodstream when they are dissolved in the mouth.
  • Nicotine nasal spray is inhaled through the nasal passages several times a day to relieve nicotine cravings. It is only available by prescription.
  • Nicotine patches provide a steady, controlled dose of nicotine throughout the day. There are many different types and strengths available, both with and without a prescription.

Signs of Nicotine Overdose

If you smoke while using NRT, you run the risk of overdosing on nicotine. Signs of a nicotine overdose may include:

  • Bad headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Cold sweats
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drooling
  • Hearing problems
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness or fainting

Foods and Drinks

Snacking is a great distraction from smoking, but you want to choose the right foods and drinks to avoid weight gain and improve your overall health. Some supplies that might help you resist the urge to smoke and help with nicotine withdrawal include:

  • Herbal teas. Taking 15 minutes to savor a cup of tea and honey will go a long way toward calming you and beating the urge to smoke at the same time. Stick with decaffeinated or caffeine-free beverages, however, as caffeine can add to any jittery feelings you may already be experiencing as part of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Popcorn. High in fiber and low in calories, popcorn can be a good go-to. Add a little olive-oil spray and some seasoning if plain popcorn is too bland for your taste buds.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables. Carrots, celery, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, oranges, pears, and bananas are great choices. Keep containers of clean produce ready to eat in the refrigerator. Try freezing whole grapes and have small bags of them ready for snacking in the freezer.
  • Sunflower seeds in the shell. Vitamin-packed sunflower seeds will keep your hands and mouth busy. Since sunflower seeds are high in calories, however, it's important to keep your portions to no more than 1/4 cup (without the shell), or roughly a single dry ounce.
  • Zero-calorie candy. Gum, mints, cinnamon sticks, and hard candy (butterscotch or cinnamon drops) can help when you feel a craving coming on. Many ex-smokers also claim that flavored toothpicks keep their mouth busy and combat the psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal. If you smoke mentholated cigarettes, you may favor a mint-flavored toothpick.
  • Water. Nature's best quit aid, water can help beat back cravings and help flush residual nicotine out of the body. Water also keeps you well hydrated, which will make you feel better overall. If you used to light up while driving, always carry a bottle of water with you in the car. There are several great reusable bottles available that will keep your water cold all day.

A Word From Verywell

While stocking up on physical supplies is helpful, finding mental distractions can also help replace the habit of grabbing for a cigarette. For example, go for a quick walk, watch a funny video on YouTube, call a friend, or write a list of things you're grateful for.

Paying attention to the running dialog going on in the background of your mind is also important. We talk to ourselves all day long, and often our thoughts are negative and counterproductive. We tend to believe what we tell ourselves over and over, so give yourself positive cues. It may take some time, but you can change your thoughts and beliefs and beat your mind games by training yourself to listen closely to the mental dialog within and correct faulty thinking as it comes along.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.


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Article Sources
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  1. Ploderer B, Smith W, Pearce J, Borland R. A mobile app offering distractions and tips to cope with cigarette craving: A qualitative studyJMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2014;2(2):e23. doi:10.2196/mhealth.3209

  2. American Lung Association. What it means to be "nic-sick". Updated October 2, 2019.