Tobacco use is a real addiction, and kicking the habit requires an immense amount of will power and dedication. If you’re trying to quit, it’s important to realize what’s physiologically happening in your body. Once you understand that, it can help you overcome some cravings and anxieties you experience.

Last cigarette: After you finish your last cigarette, you should feel proud of yourself for taking this step for your health. However, you may also feel a sense of panic. Just remember, quitting is about taking it one step at a time.

A few hours later: This is when your first cravings start to kick in. Try to find something to keep your mind off the cravings, like cleaning the house or taking a walk. You may also start to feel symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, like irritability, headaches, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and hunger. These symptoms should pass soon.

Day 1: You’ll start to find that some of your daily routines involve cigarettes, such as drinking your morning coffee, and cravings will kick in around then. Try to temporarily change these routines, like drinking tea instead of coffee. Also, keep healthy snacks or peppermints on hand to keep your hands and mouth busy when cravings kick in.

Day 3: By day three, the worst should be over, the cravings should be subsiding, and you’re well on your way to quitting for good. Try giving yourself a small reward for every week of being nicotine-free.

Remember the first two weeks are the hardest! If you’re struggling, find a friend or support group to help you keep up the good work.

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