Ash tray

Identifying Your Smoking Triggers

Identify the routines you associate with smoking. Then avoid them!

Easy enough, right? Not really. We understand that a lot of routines are often essential parts of your life, like eating or sleeping. The routines we want to concentrate on are ones like your morning cup of coffee or the things you do when you get in the car.

The goal is to identify your personal triggers and find ways to handle them. See below for tips on handling some of the more common smoking triggers:

  • Feeling stressed. Know what causes stress in your life. Once you know you’re stressed, try different relaxation techniques, like breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Feeling bored. Plan more activities than you have time for. However, if you get stuck waiting for a friend or a bus, try to distract yourself with a book, crossword puzzle, or anything that keeps your hands busy.
  • Drinking alcohol. If drinking alcohol is a trigger for you to smoke, do your best to avoid the places, people, and drinks you usually smoke with. Try nonalcoholic drinks, too.
  • Driving. If driving is a trigger, try letting someone else drive you for a while. Make sure to have something to do with your hands and avoid frustration with plenty of rest stops.
  • Finishing a meal. You can’t avoid eating, so be sure to know what kind of foods increase your urges and try to stay away from them. After your meal, brush your teeth and wash the dishes to keep your hands and mouth busy.
  • Seeing other people smoke. Avoid people who smoke, when possible, but if you find yourself in an awkward situation, be sure to let people know that you’re trying to quit and remember all your reasons for doing so. Try really hard not to buy, light, or hold anyone else’s cigarettes.
  • Caffeinated drinks. If you can’t give up caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or soda, make sure to drink them slowly and take deep breaths to inhale the aroma. If you’re feeling especially anxious, try switching to decaffeinated versions of your favorite drinks.
  • Starting the day. Change up your morning routine, add some exercise, read the paper, cook breakfast, and make sure to keep busy. This is especially important, since your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
  • Holidays. The overindulgent, stressful nature of holidays can be cause for temptation. Try to stretch out meals and nibble on low-calorie foods to stay full and busy. You could also host a get-together or prepare a dish to help you stay focused on something other than cigarettes.