While the above diet aims to reduce the strength of nicotine cravings, it’s possible they will occur. This is partly because nicotine is incredibly addictive, and so there may be some effects on your body even with the dampening effects of the diet, but there’s also a psychological element to cigarette cravings. Many of us use smoking to tackle emotions. If you’re stressed, bored, tired or need to focus, and it has become a natural reaction to reach for a cigarette at these points, when you encounter these feelings as you stop smoking your natural instinct will be to smoke again. But don’t give in. Instead, when you feel a craving, if you know why it’s happening use the specific craving controller below that suits your true feelings. If you don’t know why your craving has been triggered, use the general craving controllers. And remember one thing: according to doctors at the F Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington, USA if you can get through the first 24 hours without a cigarette you increase the chance of giving up successfully tenfold. Just focus on one day at a time.
Specific craving controllers
Stress: Many smokers think that cigarettes calm them down, but studies by New York psychiatrist Professor actually showed the opposite. This doesn’t make you feel any better, however, if you’re getting wound up but can’t reach for a cigarette to help. In this case, inhaling oil of lavender is the fastest way to reduce symptoms.
To clear your head: If you used to smoke in order to help you think, try sniffing peppermint oil or drinking peppermint tea instead. Studies at the University of Cincinnati, USA found this helped people think more clearly; in fact, testers scored 28 percent higher on accuracy tests when using it.
Needing something to do with your hands: This is quite simple – do something else. Doodle, play with computer games, play with stress balls – anything that keeps your hands busy.
Low energy: If you’re used to smoking to lift your energy when your blood-sugar levels get low, you’ll need to prevent this. Try eating little and often, or snack on fruit as that will give your energy a rapid lift without a subsequent fall. The ideal smoker’s snack is a satsuma. This is because the segments will help feed the hand-to-mouth action you’re used to, while the citrus scent energizes the mind. Ginger tea and the supplement ginseng can also provide a fast lift.
Smoking chair: If you find yourself wanting to smoke in a particular chair or when you watch a particular TV program, try inhaling some frankincense oil at this point. This is used to help break ties with the past: the Bach flower remedy Honeysuckle has similar effects.
General craving controllers
Black pepper oil: Add three drops of this to a tissue and inhale if you can feel a craving coming on. Studies published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence showed that this oil cut the craving for nicotine, possibly because it causes the same feeling right at the back of the throat.
Nicotiana: This is a flower essence from the family of American Flower Essences and it’s made from the leaves of a flowering tobacco plant. Take a few drops on your tongue each day to reduce cravings, or use it just when one hits.
Lobelia: This herb has actions similar to those of nicotine in the body, and can therefore be used if your cravings are very bad. It is, however, an incredibly powerful herb and therefore you should never use it without being under the strict supervision of a herbalist.
Curled tongue breaths: This yoga technique is said to reduce tobacco cravings possibly because it mimics the action of smoking. To do this, sit upright and breathe normally. Now stick your tongue out and curl it up at the sides to form a tube. Next, inhale slowly through the tube. Put your tongue in and breathe normally for a few seconds. Then repeat the whole process for as long as the craving lasts. (If you find you can’t roll your tongue, go back to using one of the other general controllers.)
Living The DETOX Life
Once you’ve successfully stopped smoking, staying away from cigarettes is the main way to lead the detox life, however, you can also take some steps to help repair some of the damage smoking has caused in your body.
Start taking multivitamins: A host of nutrients can help repair some of the damage that will have occurred in the body. Vitamin B12, for example, can help rebuild cells in the lungs, and vitamin B3 opens up cells that nicotine has damaged. You should not take individual supplements, however, since this can imbalance the body and has been shown to be dangerous in smokers; instead protect yourself by regularly taking a good multivitamin.
Eat at least three tomato-based meals a week: The antioxidant nutrient lycopene found in tomatoes seems to offer protection against the damage caused by smoking.
Start drinking green tea: Japanese researchers found less cell damage in smokers who drank green tea, and it’s possible that the tea may help mop up damage after smoking.
Avoid passive smoking: A night in a room full of heavy smokers is the same as smoking four cigarettes yourself – so why redo old damage? If you can’t avoid smoky places, at lease increase your consumption of orange juice and watercress; both of these have been shown to increase the rate at which the body excretes the harmful by products of smoking.