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3 ways to tackle your triggers head on

Did you know that the things we do, the people we see, the places we go and the way we feel can make us want to smoke or vape?

Here are some tips to help avoid triggers for a cigarette or vape

You might be stuck in traffic, having your morning coffee or catching up with a friend. Suddenly, you really want a smoke or vape.

Some cravings strike because your body wants nicotine. There's often more to it. Many cravings happen because the brain links certain routines and emotions with smoking and/or vaping. Routines (such as your morning coffee) or emotions (like anger) can trigger a craving. 

So how can you tackle those triggers? The first step is to know your triggers. Then you can change your routines and trick your mind into not expecting a cigarette or vape.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

Step 1: Identify your triggers

Think about when you smoke or vape – it might help to keep a diary at first. Write about what you were doing or feeling at that time when you felt like a smoke. This will help you recognise your triggers. Here are some examples of common triggers:

  • Having your morning coffee

  • Catching up with a friend who you used to smoke or vape with

  • After a meal

  • When you’re drinking alcohol

  • Feeling angry

  • When you’re stuck in traffic

  • When you feel stressed at school or work

  • When you feel bored

  • When you finish a task or a job.

Do any of these sound like you? If you’re having trouble working out what triggers your smoking or vaping, give the Quitline a call. You can also request a Quitline callback.

Step 2: Make a plan to avoid triggers

The next step is to work out how to avoid your usual triggers. Now that you've worked out what can make you want to have a cigarette or vape, you can use strategies to avoid those triggers. Here are some tips to try:

  • Have a shower first thing in the morning rather than a coffee

  • Meet your friend in a smokefree area. Remember anywhere you can’t smoke, you can’t vape

  • Avoid having a drink for the first few weeks of quitting

  • Try deep breathing when you're feeling stressed

  • Go for a quick walk around the block if you're feeling bored 

  • Change your usual meal time to mix it up. 

Step 3: Contact Quitline 13 7848

Sometimes distractions aren’t quite enough, and that’s okay – Quitline is here to help. Our Quitline counsellors can chat with you about your triggers and help you work out ways to manage them. They can help you make a plan to quit and increase your likelihood of quitting for good. They're here for you. Find out ways to contact Quitline.

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact 

Last updated February 2024

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