Smoking Triggers

Triggers are the little reminders of your former life as a smoker that are still around and that can fire off a craving inside you to smoke once again. Unfortunately, even if you moved to another country, changed your name, changed your profession, and changed every other thing about you that you could possibly imagine, you will still run into triggers. But you can take some measures to cut down on the number of triggers you encounter, and the temptation they create.

You are already aware of some of the places and situations that could trigger cravings—after a meal, first thing in the morning, 10:30 at work every day—so be ready for them. But you can’t anticipate all of them, so try and arm yourself with a way out.

Start to frequent places where people can not smoke—the library, the movies, the mall—and avoid places they can (you likely already know what those places are).

Start spending your work breaks with people who don't smoke. If your close friends still smoke, tell them that you won’t be able to spend much time with them unless they agree not to smoke around you.

Buy a bag of suckers, lollipops or gum and keep them in your car. While driving, have one of these instead of a cigarette.

Take a different route to work, and once there, use an entrance that people do not smoke near.

Beverages like coffee and alcohol are big triggers if you’re used to having them while you smoke. Replace those drinks with water or healthy juices—keep some stocked at work, home and in the car, if necessary.

Triggers, like cravings, could go off for days, weeks, months and years after you’ve quit smoking. Keep in mind that addiction to nicotine is a disease—this means that, even if you haven’t smoked in three years, you may always be somewhat susceptible to a smoking trigger. In short, while you won’t require 24 hour vigilance, you should be aware that these temptations may never fully go away. However, the better you get at side-stepping triggers early on, the better your chances of staying smoke-free.


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