Your Cravings

Stop fighting. Instead, when you crave a cigarette, try to become more aware of what is happening inside of you.  

Does the idea of quitting smoking scare you? You’re not alone. Your fear is without a doubt linked to: 

  1. having started smoking again despite your efforts to quit; 
  2. the negative view you have of this past experience; 
  3. a loss of self confidence and confidence in your ability to get through the situations, feelings and sensations that make you crave smoking.

The three exercises in this section aim to rebuild your confidence and make you want to get going again.  

  1. The first aims to develop a better understanding of your nicotine cravings.
    • The more aware you are of your nicotine cravings, the better you’ll be able to use our method in the THAT'S IT, I QUIT! section.  
  2. The second one aims to help you regain your interest in quitting smoking soon by letting you experience success starting now!   

  3. The last one aims to make you find your motivations for quitting smoking.  

First exercise - Nicotine Cravings Journal (PDF template)

For a week write down : 

  • The period of the day when the cravings arise (ex.: before lunch, after lunch, evening, night)
  • What provoked the craving (ex.: waking up, going out with friends, insomnia, heavy workload/unemployment, arguments, etc.) 
  • What are the emotions or sensations you felt at that moment:
    • In your mind: feelings or emotions like angriness, sadness, impatience, anxiety, worry, panic, annoyance, nervousness, melancholy, boredom, helplessness, joy, relief, pleasure, pride, relaxation, etc.
    • In your body: unpleasant physical sensations like knots in your abdomen, chest, or elsewhere, tightening sensation, tension in the neck, shoulders, throat, overall nervousness, etc.
  • Scale the intensity of the craving on 1 to 5. 1 = weak and  5 = strong
  • What have you done to get through these situations and let the urge pass? (ex.: drinking water, snacking on vegetables, chewing gum, talking on the phone, doing a physical activity, thinking of other things, etc.).

Smoking cravings

Period of the day

Situation experienced

Intensity of the craving

Physical sensations, emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Strategies used to let the urge pass




Waking up


Knots in the stomach, tremors, bad moods.

Drink some juice. Listen to music and have a good breakfast.



3 PM

Difficulty at work


Stress, tightness in the shoulders, feeling like crying, discouragement.

Do some stretches with deep breaths.




Going out with friends


 Feeling “connected,” good mood, feverishness.

Dance, avoid going outside with the smokers



2 AM



Anxiety, indecision following a  dispute, financial problems.

 Listen to relaxing music, think of other things




Experiencing frustration


Rage, grief, rapid heartbeat, tension in the neck.

Go for a walk, a drive, or listen to music.



Second exercise

In the following week, practice this effective trick to re-motivate yourself to quit smoking :

  • Set small and attainable goals and actions that bring you closer to your biggest goal : getting rid of cigarettes! 

Even if these objectives are only “small,” they are very effective in giving you back your confidence!  

What to do 

  • Concentrate on one goal at a time. Instead of focusing on quitting smoking completely, focus your efforts on not smoking in certain situations! For example: 
    • in your car; 
    • when you consume alcohol;
    • while talking on the phone;
    • when you’re bored;
    • while chatting with friends; etc. 
  • Write your small goal on a sheet of paper in capital letters and stick it someplace where it will be visible every day! When you have achieved your first small goal, move on to the next one!  

You’ll find it encouraging to see the sheets of paper with the goals achieved on them all over your refrigerator!  

Write your first small goal on a sheet like this:  


Do the same for your next small goals!  

Sometimes even a little goal can seem intimidating!  

Here’s an effective solution if you don’t know where to start: cut the task into little pieces!   

For example, if no longer smoking in your car is your goal, try driving the first five minutes or one time out of two without smoking.  

Do the same for all the other goals you decide to achieve!  You’ll see the successes pile up, which is really motivating!  

Third exercise

On your 90th birthday…


Following research on the method we’re using, we know that it is especially important for you to identify what quitting smoking means to you. The reasons you find will be powerful motivators to succeed in quitting smoking.  

Here’s a simple and fun way to identify the reasons that inspire you to really rid yourself of cigarettes.  

What to do 

Imagine today is your 90th birthday. This birthday is a good time to take a look at your life. Many ex-smokers reported the importance of their family, the desire to be in better shape, to be rid of the obligation to smoke. These reasons are powerful motivations for quitting smoking. 

Write down your answers to the four questions below.  

  • 1. Looking at what you’ve done up to this remarkable age, what are you most proud of? 
  • 2. When you think of your past, what would you like to have done or done more of?  
  • 3. What was most important to you in your life?  
  • 4. How could the answer you just gave inspire you to quit smoking today? 

Now, review your answers. If they show an accurate picture your motivations, print this page right away!  

Re-read your answers every day: they describe what gives your life meaning which is why it’s important for you to live your life free of cigarettes (and tobacco in general). 

Well done! 

You’ve finished the second part of this section. 

You should feel a stronger desire to quit smoking and a greater confidence in your ability to succeed. (If this is not the case, talk to one of our specialists on the I Quit Now helpline or at a Quit Smoking Centre near you!

Before moving on to the next section of the site, That's it, I quit!, we encourage you to do the last part of this section Your Confidence. You’ll have a better idea of your confidence level in relation to your ability to succeed in quitting smoking.  

See also

  • Your Mental Roadblocks

    Say goodbye to your doubts, fears, and long held beliefs about smoking. Identifying your mental roadblocks will help you succeed in quitting smoking!

    Learn more
  • Your Confidence

    Evaluate your confidence in your ability to not smoke when faced with different situations on a daily basis. You could be ready for the next step!

    Learn more