Are you still feeling the urge to smoke months after you’ve quit? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Even the late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew felt those urges after quitting smoking, according to The Straits Times[1].

Former US President Barack Obama wasn’t immune to his urges either. The Telegraph reported that before successfully quitting, he kept caving into his urges despite chewing on nicotine gum[2].

Why aren’t my urges going away?

Feeling these urges is not a sign of weakness. Nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, much like heroin or cocaine. Plus, the longer you had smoked, the harder it is for your body to get used to the absence of nicotine.

The good news? The intensity of your urges should lessen the longer you stay smoke-free, so stay strong! In the meantime, try out these ideas to help you control your urges.

Related: Weather the Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Start a Self-Care Routine

Don’t beat yourself up when you feel the urge to smoke. Instead, try to stay calm by doing relaxation exercises. Do deep breathing[3], stretch to relax muscles[4], or give yourself a massage. Lightly squeeze your arms and legs, or use roller balls to massage your body.

Have a self-care routine: go for massage or spa sessions (use some of the money you’ve saved by quitting!). Alternatively, take the budget route and sit in a mall massage chair or take a relaxing bath.

Related: Reduce Caregiver Stress by Practicing Mindfulness

Talk to a Friend or Family Member

Call up a close friend or family member when you feel the urge coming on. Chatting to your loved ones can help distract you from reaching for a cigarette. Plus, they can be a source of motivation for you to stay strong and not give in to your urges.

Related: Getting Support

Get a Good Snooze

Lack of sleep will make you feel tired and more irritable. You’ll then be more tempted to smoke when the urges come. Try to clock in about seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep recharges your body and mind, giving you more control over your urges.

Related: The Importance of Sleep

Stay Active with Physical Activity

Exercising regularly will help take your mind off cravings, and give you a mood and energy boost. Go for a brisk walk in the park after lunch, or cycle during the weekends. You can also take part in the free activities offered by the Health Promotion Board.

Related: Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

Think Positive

Whenever craving hits, remind yourself how far you’ve come and pat yourself on the back! Think of what you’ve gained from quitting: better health for you and your family member and loved ones, more savings, no more dependency on cigarettes… the list goes on.

With these ideas on hand, try them out the next time you feel the urge to smoke. Don’t give up, stay strong, and keep on going!

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000* for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice that can help you quit.

*Kindly note that airtime charges apply for mobile calls to 1800 service lines and calls are free of charge only if made from regular land lines.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:


  1. Tan, S. (1992, May 10). From 20 cigarettes a day to none. The Straits Times, pp. 2
  2. The Telegraph, (2011, Feb 09). Barack Obama quits smoking after 30 years. The Telegraph.
    Retrieved from
  3. Health Promotion Board. [HPBsg]. (2017, Jun 05). HealthHub Pre Diabetes — Deep Breathing Technique[Video file].
    Retrieved from
  4. Health Promotion Board. [HPBsg]. (2017, Apr 05). HealthHub Pre-Diabetes - Stress Relief Exercises[Video file].
    Retrieved from