Health Advocate Blog

Commit to quit tobacco with these healthy behavior swaps

Part of the difficulty that tobacco/nicotine users face when quitting is the symptoms of withdrawal. They can often make people feel irritable, frustrated and grumpy. As a result, some users feel like they need tobacco or nicotine in order to feel good. However, the nicotine in tobacco only tricks your brain into thinking you need it—that is part of its addictiveness.

But you don’t need tobacco to feel better. The key to feeling good is within you! Think about some healthier activities that make you feel good and replace your cigarettes, dips/chews, and vape with those activities. Consider trying some of the ideas below to not only help you quit, but to be healthier, too!

Ex-tobacco/nicotine users often find it challenging to overcome the hand-to-mouth sensation. Try healthier ways to occupy your mouth and hands, like:

  • Snack on whole grain crackers, sliced peppers, carrots, a banana, an apple—or any other healthy snack you enjoy
  • Chew gum or eat dried fruit
  • Drink a glass of water or 100 percent fruit juice
  • Write a letter of gratitude to yourself or someone important in your life
  • Pick up a hobby that requires you to use your hands like knitting, woodworking, or scrapbooking
  • Read a book, magazine or newspaper

Ex-tobacco/nicotine users often find themselves unsure of what to do with the extra time they gain by quitting. Stay busy to avoid boredom with healthy activities such as:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Healthy cooking or baking
  • Journaling
  • Reading
  • Starting a hobby
  • Plan a fun activity for members of your household or a virtual hang-out with friends

Tobacco/nicotine use is often associated with specific times and behaviors, like first thing when you wake up, after meals, while driving, before bed, etc. Switch your routines to overcome urges after/during these times. Rather than using tobacco:

  • Take a walk in the morning
  • Listen to an audio book during your morning commute
  • Brush your teeth or chew gum after meals
  • Practice deep breathing before bed

One of the most common reason people use tobacco/nicotine—and find it difficult to quit—is the belief that it helps to reduce stress. Find healthier outlets for stress relief and relaxation, such as:

  • Cuddling with your spouse, kids or pet
  • Tai chi
  • Take a nap
  • Meditation
  • Watch your favorite show or movie
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga

We hope you find our ideas helpful. Remember, quitting isn’t easy, but it is possible! Visit the Tobacco Cessation section of our blog for more tips to help you quit.