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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?

Here are some tips to help avoid triggers for a cigarette.

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

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. 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.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

Step 1: Identify your triggers

Think about when you smoke – 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 work out your triggers. Here are some examples of common triggers:

  • Having your morning coffee

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

  • After a meal

  • When you’re drinking alcohol

  • Feeling angry at your kids

  • When you’re stuck in traffic

  • When you feel stressed at 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, 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, 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

  • 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: Call Quitline 13 7848

Sometimes distractions aren’t quite enough, and that’s okay – Quitline is here to help. Our Quitline counsellors can help you make a plan to quit and increase your chances of quitting for good. And it’s all for the cost of a local call, or free when you request a callback

Last updated June 2022.

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