Cravings and yearnings

There’s no question that you will crave nicotine after you quit smoking. This eventually subsides however during the first 72 hours some of the worst cravings will come about. This is a result of our body’s conditioning to receive Nicotine, which has been activating certain circuitry in our brains for many years and embedded itself into the way our brains work. Cravings are part of our body’s mechanism for warning that some sort of discomfort due to a lack of Nicotine is on its way. These cravings are to be expected however you can always have a plan for how you are dealing with these cravings. When you are having cravings, remember that they only last 3-5 minutes and will go away. It might not seem like it however they will subside.


When you quit smoking, it is important to understand triggers. Cravings will be brought on by both Nicotine withdrawal and the fact that we are accustomed to Nicotine or cigarettes during certain times, events, and activities. Some of us smoke first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, others while driving to work, and many smokers choose to do so while having conversion over drinks. All of these are common triggers and each of us has our own routine that we are used to smoking during. While quitting, all of the activities we are used to smoking during can bring about cravings however as time goes by without Nicotine, the body gets used to the fact that a cigarette is no longer associated with that activity and the cravings or desires stop.

Craving Timeline

A study called Coping in Real Time, Research in Nursing & Health 1998, examined how often cravings occurred while smokers quit. The results are quite promising for smokers. Withdrawal associated cravings peak at the 72-hour mark. The typical smoker will experience approximately six crave episodes on day three. By the fouth day (96 hours), the number of cravings will reduce to around 3.5. By day ten, the average number of daily craves is less than two. For people who have been dealing with cravings for years, ten days should seem like very few to deal with in the scope of things. Of course, the first few days are the toughest and many smokers just cannot make it beyond these times during the first try.