Coping With Triggers

Coping with Triggers

Triggers are situations that make you feel like you want to smoke a cigarette. Certain activities, places, moods and feelings can all be triggers for smoking. Everyone who smokes has his or her own unique smoking triggers. Strong urges to smoke brought on by triggers is one of the most common causes of relapse, so planning ways to cope with these urges now is an excellent way to increase your chances of success.

To plan how to deal with your triggers, it's important to first understand what they are. As you identify what your triggers are, think about different strategies for coping with (or avoiding) each one. Below are some common smoking triggers with strategies that may help:

Trigger Coping Strategy
Finishing a meal
  • Get up from the table immediately and do something you enjoy, like a new hobby.
  • Go for a walk or ride your bike.
Driving your car
  • Remove the ash tray from your car or fill it with potpourri.
  • Clean the inside of your car so it does not smell like smoke.
  • Play your favorite music while you are driving.
Talking on the telephone
  • When at home, use a phone in a different room than you normally do.
  • Keep candies, toothpicks or other objects nearby to replace cigarettes.
Drinking Coffee
  • Change your morning coffee routine as much as possible. Use a different mug, or drink coffee in a different location than usual.
  • Wait until you get to work to have your first cup of coffee.
  • If you drink coffee with caffeine in it, try to reduce the amount you drink daily by half. Consuming the same level of caffeine after you quit smoking can cause symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia, which can heighten urges to smoke.
Taking a break from work
  • Avoid places where people congregate to smoke.
  • During breaks, spend time with people at work who do not smoke.
Drinking alcohol
  • Alcohol can be a powerful trigger that weakens your resolve not to smoke. The best thing is to avoid alcohol (or at least minimize drinking) when you are first quitting.
Going to parties
  • At first, it might seem like quitting impacts your social life. But this feeling rarely lasts once you adjust to a smoke-free lifestyle. There‚Äôs no need to stop having fun, just avoid situations where people are having cigarettes as much as possible. If people are smoking inside, step out for a breath of fresh air.
  • While you're in the process of quitting, try to spend more time with people who do not smoke.
After an argument
  • Go for a brisk walk or get your energy out in some other form of physical activity.
All triggers
  • Go to the Quit Companion and send yourself e-mail or text messages that will help you deal with specific triggers.

Find out what your smoking triggers are

Smoking Fact

Health-related costs due to smoking total more than $167 billion each year.