Health Effects of Tobacco

What are your tobacco triggers?

What makes you crave a cigarette?

When you want to quit smoking, one of the first things to do is to find out what exactly makes you crave a cigarette. By understanding these triggers, you can start to make changes to your daily routine to help avoid these situations.

What is a trigger?

A trigger is an activity or situation that makes you want to smoke. It can develop over time through routine activities, like a smoke-break at work. It can also happen in certain settings, like spending a night out with friends who smoke.

Don’t worry, it is completely normal to have triggers. Understanding what your triggers are and how to deal with these situations when they happen are all part of your journey to quit smoking.

What are some common triggers?

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can make you less able to fight your cravings.

What should I do? Try to avoid alcohol when you first quit because that’s when your cravings will be the strongest.

Stress: Many people cope with stressful situations at home or at work by smoking.

What should I do? When you are stressed out and feel the urge to smoke, call up a friend or loved one, or try some deep-breathing exercises, to relax. If you have time, go for a walk or run outside and put some distance between yourself and your stressful situation.

Smoke breaks: It’s common for people to look forward to smoke breaks at work.

What should I do? Try to break the daily routine by going for a walk or getting to know some of the non-smokers in your office or job site.

Boredom: Lots of people crave a cigarette when they are bored.

What should I do? If you feel the temptation to smoke, try something new – dig out an old recipe book and cook something special for your partner or pick up a new hobby like fishing, sewing, or gardening.

Hanging out with smokers: It can be hard not to join your friends for a smoke.

What should I do? If your friends head outside, let them know it’s nothing personal, but you’re just trying to quit.

Discover your triggers:

When you first quit, it helps to keep a journal of all the times you crave a cigarette.

Some things to pay attention to:

  • What times of day do you most want to smoke? First thing in the morning? During breaks at work?
  • Where are you? At work? At home? At the bar?
  • How are you feeling? Upset? Grumpy? Bored? Stressed out?

You may start to notice you smoke with the same people at the same places at the same time over and over. Once you recognize these patterns, you can start trying to think of ways to change up your routine. That way, you won’t have to put yourself in situations where you know you will want to smoke.