Health Advocate Blog

Healthy swaps to reduce your need for nicotine

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Nicotine might make you feel good temporarily, but the habit is killing you. It contributes to cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and many other health risks. 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:

  • Enjoy a healthy snack such as sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, apples, or whole grain crackers
  • Chew gum or enjoy a mint
  • Pick up a hobby that requires you to use your hands, like 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:

  • Calling a friend or family member
  • Treat yourself to a movie
  • Exercise
  • Go out to do something fun
  • Cook a healthy meal
  • Reading

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:

  • In the morning, drink a glass of water
  • Sing along to your favorite band during your morning commute
  • Take a walk on your work break
  • 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
  • Taking a nap
  • Meditating
  • Watch your favorite show or movie
  • Exercise

We hope you find our ideas helpful. Remember, quitting isn’t easy, but it is possible!