Triggers are the things that make you want to smoke. Different people have different triggers, like a stressful situation, sipping coffee, going to a party, or smelling cigarette smoke.
Most triggers fall into one of these four categories:
Knowing your triggers and understanding the best way to deal with them is your first line of defense.
Many people smoke when they have intense emotions. An emotional trigger reminds you how you felt when you used smoking to enhance a good mood or escape a bad one, like when you were:
How to deal with emotional triggers. You can learn how to cope with your feelings without leaning on cigarettes. Try these ways to deal with emotional triggers:
Find out more ways to cope with stress and emotions without smoking.
A pattern trigger is an activity that you connect with smoking. Some examples of these activities include:
How to deal with pattern triggers. One way to beat pattern triggers is to break the association with the trigger and transfer the feeling to another activity.
Social triggers are occasions that usually include other people who smoke. Here are some examples:
How to deal with social triggers. Once you’ve made the decision to quit, it is best to avoid places where people smoke, and ask your friends not to smoke around you. Over time, it will get easier. Tell your friends and family that you have quit. Ask them for their support.
If you’ve been a long-time smoker, your body is used to getting a regular dose of nicotine. When you quit, withdrawal symptoms will produce cravings for nicotine. Withdrawal triggers include:
How to deal with withdrawal triggers. Distract yourself. Find something to take your mind off the craving. See if nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is right for you – it can reduce withdrawal symptoms. Teens, women who are pregnant, and people with severe medical conditions should talk to their doctor before using NRT.
Now that you better understand triggers, identify the ones that you want to control, and make a plan to manage your cravings.