Do YOU Know Your Smoking Triggers?

Published at 04 May, 2017.

Do YOU Know Your Smoking Triggers?

Triggers are the specific people, places, emotions, activities, and occasions that make you feel like smoking. It’s important to know your smoking triggers so you’ll be able to anticipate when you may have a craving and learn how to deal with them.

Some of the most common activities that can trigger a craving include:

  • Drinking coffee
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Finishing a meal
  • Talking on the phone
  • Driving
  • Watching TV
  • Taking a work break

To deal with these triggers, you need to break the association of smoking with the activity. This can be done by either finding a replacement, doing an activity that keeps your hands busy and mind distracted, or by changing your routine. For example, if your morning cup of coffee triggers a craving, try drinking tea, milk or juice instead. If an after-meal cigarette is your favourite, try brushing your teeth immediately after eating. The just brushed, clean feeling can help get rid of cigarette cravings. If watching TV triggers a craving, try chewing sugarless gum or doodling whilst you watch.


quit tip

Many people also have cravings with certain emotions. This is such as being:

  • Stressed
  • Anxious
  • Lonely
  • Excited
  • Happy
  • Bored

Instead of relying on cigarettes to cope with these emotions, try talking about how you feel with family or friends. Exercise is another great way to handle emotions, due to your brain releasing endorphins that make you feel good. Try listening to calming music as well; it can relax you by slowing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress hormones.

Cravings can also be triggered by certain occasions, usually where people around you might be smoking. This includes:

  • Going to the pub
  • Going to a party
  • Being with friends who smoke
  • Celebrating a big event
  • Smelling cigarette smoke
  • Handling cigarettes, lighters, or matches

To reduce cigarette cravings whilst socialising, make sure you tell friends and family that you’ve quit smoking and ask them not to smoke around you. Spend more time with non-smokers in the early stages of your quit attempt and participate in activities not associated with smoking, such as going to the cinema, going on a walk, or attending a gym class.

If you still need help with cravings, you can also try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This is such as patches, gum and mouth strips. Learn more about stop smoking medication here.

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