10 Small Routine Tweaks to Help You Avoid a Smoking Relapse

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in how give up smoking

Dr. Howell

Building a habit is easy, but breaking it is definitely not. It’s possible to create a habit in a few days but it may take months, even years to finally get free from a habit, especially an addictive one like smoking. Even though you have successfully quit smoking today, there’s still a big possibility that you go back to it in the next few hours or in the next days. It can be helpful to make some simple tweaks in your daily routine. Many smokers experience the urge to light up in specific times of the day. By making a slight change in your lifestyle, you can stop smoking now and for good.


  • Avoid going couch potato, especially after meal. If you’re like most smokers, you have the habit to light up right after meal. Many people find it very pleasurable. Some even think that smoking after meal helps speed up their metabolism. But of course, it isn’t true. To fight the urge to light up, go for a walk after eating. This does not only keep you away from smoking, but also helps you shed some pounds!
  • Clean your car. Having the urge to light up? Get your car washing tools and make your car look new again! Your goal is to remove any remnants of cigarettes, everything from the trash to the smell of nicotine. Once your car is completely cleaned, place a small bottle of lavender essential oil in your compartment. Aromatherapy relaxes your mind and reduces irritation – common symptoms of quitting smoking.
  • Find a non-smoking friend. Being with a smoker is never going to help you quit smoking for good. As much as possible, avoid interacting with those who smoke. If you have smoking friends, tell them you’re in the process of quitting and politely ask them not to smoke when with you. This is also the best time to find a new friend and the top criteria should be someone who doesn’t smoke.
  • Replace fruit for a mint. It’s really good to have some mint after a meal but this can trigger you to smoke again. A simple lifestyle tweak that can help you avoid a smoking relapse is to eat a fruit instead of mint or candy. Studies show that smokers who eat fruit and smoke right after find the taste of cigarette undesirable.
  • Be a little more ‘vain’. Give extra effort to make yourself look and feel good. Get a new hairstyle, invest a little on beauty and skincare products, and change your clothing style. This is a great way to motivate yourself to stay smoke-free. You know that smoking makes your skin look dull, triggers the onset of wrinkles and pimples, and stains your teeth. You really don’t want to look ugly don’t you?
  • Reward yourself. Make it a habit to reward yourself a little after being able to resist an episode of cigarette craving. Maybe you can reward yourself with a new book, a movie ticket, a healthy snack, or some extra hours of sleep!
  • Practise breathing exercise every morning. Start your day with a few minutes of breathing exercise. Stand up straight, with your hands on your waist. Breathe in deep and slowly and then breathe out. Do it for 10 to 20 counts every morning. Feel the fresh, clean air as it travels to your nose and to your lungs.
  • Do something new. Beat boredom by trying new things and building new habits – the healthy ones of course. Read a new book, try a new sport, learn a new skill, etc.
  • Go to the gym. The smoking cessation period gives you a perfect time to exercise. Physical activities have been proven to suppress nicotine craving. It also helps you recover from smoking easier.
  • Take part of the household chores. Being the one cleaning the house will make you realize how smoking can actually make your work much more difficult. After removing the clutter and sanitizing the bedrooms, kitchen and the living room, the last thing you want to do is allow the cigarette smoke to spread inside your home!

With these simple lifestyle tweaks, you can prevent a smoking relapse and enjoy a healthier, smoke-free life!




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