There is a Physical Difference Between Wanting to Smoke and Craving One.

Apples and OrangesCravings are never easy, and the ultimate reason why so many quit smoking attempts fail. Every other symptom of withdrawal is a walk in the park, on a sunny afternoon filled with butterflies and singing birds, compared to cravings.

The way we view our cravings can make all the difference in the world. Being able to make the distinction between wanting to smoke and craving one, in addition to knowing what an actual crave is, can make or break your quit.

Being able to make the distinction between what you want and what you crave, in addition to knowing what an actual crave is, can make or break your quit.

Our conscientious wants, come from the prefrontal cortex of our brain. An area of the brain we use to reason and apply logic. It is where you decided that you no longer wanted to be a smoker. It is also where you decided that you want to live a better life, have more money, live longer and be free from addiction.

In direct contrast to this, your cravings to smoke are entirely irrational and in no way the result of a logical thought process.

Your cravings to smoke are entirely irrational and in no way the result of a logical thought process.

Cravings very literally occur AGAINST your will and are the result of complex neural pathways that trigger across different areas of the brain during the addiction healing process.

Nicotine addiction injures the brain and cravings can be better viewed as the mental pain of that injury. Smokers who don’t quit, ultimately smoke because they don’t want to face the pain of cravings, not because they want to smoke.

Consider how it feels to nurse a broken arm or a deep cut, the pain is most intense early on and declines as we heal. It is the same for cravings.

When you can make the distinction between your wants and craves, it can become easier to rationalize your way through a craving and survive.

You do not want to smoke, your brain is injured and it is healing. Breath… and the pain will pass. 



  1. annette smith says:

    another good posting…reading such postings, esp in early days of quit, helped me so understand what is happening to your body while quitting is certainly of great importance…i thankyou for all your help. x

  2. Thank you Annette 🙂

  3. I am on day 14 quit after smoking for 42 years and this post was a real Eureka moment. I will treat every craving like a pain and know each time I get through it I have healed a bit more from the worst injury I’ve ever had. Thanks so much for this website, I have visited it regularly when things have got tough.

  4. Bikram Pratap says:

    Its my day 7 after quitting and worst day after quitting. Felt some most intense cravings after quitting but my wuit survived. It was never in danger though thnx to the knowledge thst i got from joel spitzer anu u

  5. Eric Jerrad says:

    Tomorrow will be day 14! I really craved a cigarette today, but I did not succumb to the temptation. I have smoked for 20 years and am finally done. I read your site everyday. Everyone stay strong. You all are my motivation.

  6. One month yesterday was the last one. Getting there. Mmmmmmmmm

  7. The first two days were brutal! Third through seventh a breeze , with the exception of a couple days where I woke up around 5:30-6am (normally I sleep until 9) with really strong cravings and when I’d close my eyes any half-dreams id have were of smoking. Around day 5 I started to get a scratchy throat. Day 9 which was yesterday however was without a doubt the absolute worst. It seems like this illness is almost going to break but was at its peak yesterday combined with mood swings (I cried for a couple hours for no apparent reason), and a small headache. I’m buckling up for the next few weeks and hoping it passes fast and mercifully.

  8. Helen Farleigh says:

    Excellent advice; so true. I am doing well so far and these pages have helped to reinforce my experience and given me encouragement for the future.
    Thank you.

  9. Had a come to “jesus” moment on jun 27th when i had a couple heart attacks. Haven’t touched one since. And what scares me is the psychological craving still there. I deep breath and pop a hard candy. And wait even pray for it to pass. And it freaks me out that even after the scariest event in my life the crave remains. Any insight, helpful tip or just a good NCIS head slap

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