Top 10 Smoking Triggers

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable diseases such as stroke, heart attack and cancer. However, majority of those who try to quit find themselves smoking again and again. Why? It’s because they are confronted with smoking triggers that promote a relapse.

If you are trying to quit smoking today, you may need to avoid the following to stay smoke-free for the rest of your life:

 1. Eating fatty or oily foods.

Studies show that diet has a significant impact in smoking cessation. Eating fatty foods like sweets, meat, chips and other fatty meals was found to increase cigarette cravings while eating fruits and vegetables was found to suppress it.

 2.  Drinking coffee.

There’s something about coffee that makes nicotine craving more intense. So make sure you cut back on your coffee intake. Avoid other foods that contain caffeine as well, such as tea.

 3.  Being with smokers.

If you want to stop smoking for good, you need to avoid being with people who smoke. If you want to hang out, avoid restaurants, bars and places where smoking is allowed. Seeing other people smoke can greatly increase your cravings.

 4.  Drinking alcohol beverage.

A survey reveals that 84% of alcoholics are smokers. Studies found that even a small amount of alcohol enhances the pleasurable effects of nicotine in the brain. This is why smokers find it more enjoyable to smoke when they are drinking.

 5.  Boredom.

If you are quitting smoking, it can be helpful to stay physically and mentally active. If you keep yourself busy, you are less likely to think of smoking in the first place. During the first two weeks of smoking cessation, nicotine craving is at its peak.

6.  Stress.


The least thing you want to experience when quitting smoking is chronic stress. Many people turn to smoking when they are severely worn out. Good thing, there are relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress. They include yoga, meditation and exercise. You also want to take a break once in a while from your usual routines and enjoy time with your loved ones.

 7.  Driving in a car.

Many smokers feel the urge to light up while driving. If you are one of them, try chewing a gum instead or singing along the radio. These are very effective ways in suppressing nicotine craving while driving.

 8.  Celebrations

In this modern world, celebrations often involve alcohol and cigarettes. To avoid a relapse, tell your friends, co-workers and family that you are in the process of quitting. This way, they will be more cooperative when with you. Also, you can bon with these people in a way that smoking is not a part. Encourage them to watch a movie with you, play a sport, or attend an exercise class.


9.  Break time

Coffee breaks are a common smoking trigger in the workplace. To reduce nicotine craving, tell your colleagues that you are in the process of quitting. Instead of socializing with them, take a walk or do some breathing exercises. If possible, stay with those who don’t smoke.

 10.  Negative emotions

Just like stress, negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and loneliness are smoking triggers. It is advisable to seek help if necessary so you can manage these emotions and be able to quit for good.



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