Trigger Happy: Smoking Triggers And How You Can Avoid Them

By: Talia Gamble

If you’ve been smoking for any length of time, and let’s be honest, most of us have. You know that we all have our triggers, or things that make us want to smoke. Below you will find the most common of triggers and what you can do to avoid and deal with them.

Motorin': Nearly every smoker I have ever known tends to smoke like a freight train while driving or riding in a car. I’m not sure why this is the most common area to light up, but it is. It could have something to do with boredom or the monotony of holding a steering wheel for the duration of your drive, however there are some things you can do to temper this problem.

1. Try chewing some gum, this will keep your mouth busy and also has the added benefit of cleaning your teeth.  

2. Try listening to a book on tape, this will keep your mind off of smoking and also help stave off the boredom associated with driving.

Snarf City: I don’t know about you, but this is one of my worst triggers. There is something about finishing a meal that makes me want to light up as soon as my dishes are in the sink. This may be the hardest and probably the last of your daily cigarettes you will succeed in giving up. If you need something to signify the meal is over, try having a peppermint and then using a toothpick. This is a double whammy, tricking your brain into feeling as though you’ve smoked and also busying your mouth and hands.

Good Morning Sunshine: My morning a cup of coffee and a cigarette are how I greet the day, and if my research serves me well, I’m not alone. However, there is something you can do to change this, replace your coffee with tea or hot chocolate. The change up will help with the cravings. You will learn to associate the tea or hot chocolate with a different morning routine. It may even stop the cravings the first time you try it. What have you got to lose?

Cocktail Hour: I am notorious for going through a pack in a few hours when I’m drinking with friends. There is just something about group conversation and alcohol that makes me want to smoke like crazy. If I’m not mistaken, I would probably be what’s commonly referred to as a “social smoker.” This one is tough, because those around you will probably be smoking as well. The best advice I can offer you is to use a nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch or the gum when you go out. The patch is probably your best bet if you don’t want the gum flavor in your mouth while you’re drinking, and you certainly don’t want to accidentally swallow nicotine gum. Let me tell you darlings, the stomach ache is NOT something you want to experience. Like ever.

Get Your Freak On: Ahh, there’s nothing like that blissed out feeling you get in post sex haze. You start to reach for a smoke and….Okay, this one is probably the hardest conundrum to solve, but the best thing I’ve run across in my travels are e-cigarettes. These are nifty little mechanical cigarettes that allow you the nicotine without the all of the chemicals. You can buy them in just about any flavor and strength to satisfy even the pickiest of smokers. While there are those who would discourage these as a quitting aide, I have found them to be wonderful when you’re in a bind and about to scratch out your eyeballs from nicotine withdrawl.

There are many things you can do to avoid, control, and live with your triggers. The main thing you want to remember is not to get discouraged if your first few attempts at quitting are unsuccessful. It takes the average smoker four to five attempts before getting off of the things for good and those who are heavy smokers take even longer. Just remember to be good to yourself and do the things that work for YOU. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks, if standing on your head and yodeling reduces the urge to smoke for you, DO IT. Keep at it and you’ll be living a smoke free life before you know it!

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