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Chew On This: The Need to Engage Your Mouth and Hands After Quitting
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
March 10, 2015

Chew On This: The Need to Engage Your Mouth and Hands After Quitting

A common theme among ex-smokers can be fidgety hands and the need to chew gum, toothpicks, or other foods. After potentially years of smoking, some quitters miss the sensation of a cigarette in their hands or between their teeth. We have a bunch of suggestions to help you deal with this adjustment.

Why do I feel the need to chew or bite after quitting?

Long story short, testimonials often reveal that smokers get used to having a cigarette in their mouths. Eventually, that habit—of picking up a cigarette and placing it between one’s lips—becomes a routine of comfort. Once cigarettes are removed from the picture, that desire to chew, bite or smoke often remains.

What do I do about it?

There are lots of suggestions for getting past the urge to place a cigarette between your lips. Instead, engage your mouth by chewing on:

  • Sugarless gum

  • Sugarless hard candies

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Natural licorice

  • Pretzel sticks

  • Flavored toothpicks

  • Carrot and celery sticks

And what about my hands?

Great question! Many smokers also feel at a loss with what to do with their hands. The habit of moving one’s hand from cigarette to mouth is repeated so often that sometimes quitters feel the need to do something with their hands. Instead of grabbing a pack, try these alternatives:

  • Hold a pen between your fingers

  • Hold a cinnamon stick or peppermint stick between your fingers

  • Knit

  • Crochet

  • Pick up a book

  • Play with a rubber band or squeeze ball

Do you have your own tricks for dealing with the urge to chew or keep your hands busy? Tell us about it on the Quitter’s Circle Facebook and Twitter pages! 

Want even more tips on how to manage your quit? Get Quit Tips along your journey with the Quitter’s Circle app!