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Why is day 3 the hardest when quitting smoking?

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Whether you have tried to quit smoking before or it’s your first time, kicking the habit is a challenge and getting through the first few days can be tough.

But, did you know the third day after you quit smoking is often the hardest one?

This is because day three is when the nicotine levels in your body are depleted which can cause moodiness and irritability, severe headaches, and cravings as your body adjusts.

There are things you can do to help you maintain your will power and get through the day. Below our pharmacist shares the top five tips for coping with cravings.

Tips to get through the third day

Remove temptations

Make sure there is nothing around that could tempt you. Remember nicotine leaves your system within 48 to 72 hours of your last cigarette, so keep going. 

Avoid your triggers

If there is a particular time that you usually have a cigarette this might trigger a craving, so to avoid this try changing your routine slightly. For example, if you normally smoke when you wake up in the morning, try having a shower first thing instead.

Remember why you wanted to quit in the first place

Whether it’s to improve your health, you’re trying to start a family or, you just want to save some extra money. Perhaps visualising the damage smoking does to your body could help. Whatever it is, write it down and put it up somewhere you can see to give you the extra boost you might need.

Get moving

Day three is also the day where your bronchial tubes relax. This makes breathing easier and gives you more energy, use this to get active to distract yourself from cravings and boost your mood with endorphins released from exercising

Treat yourself

Use the money you’ve saved in the last three days from giving up smoking and reward yourself, whether that is with your favourite magazine, a nice bath at the end of the day, or something else you really enjoy to take your mind of the cravings. If you don’t know what to do, you could always give the money to charity.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

If you’re looking to try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), try our Stop Smoking Tool which can help you choose the right NRT for you. Just answer three simple questions on your smoking habits and get a product recommendation to suit you.

Did you know that in selected stores we offer the FREE NHS Stop Smoking service, an 8 or twelve week programme with a trained stop smoking advisor who can give you advice and help you find the best way to quit smoking. Find your nearest store that offers this service here.

If you need more advice, or want some support, visit your local LloydsPharmacy and talk to our health care team. They can offer you further support to help you quit.

Stop smoking tool