Ever noticed how certain things trigger your smoking?
There may be specific situations which make you crave a cigarette.
For most people, triggers are activities they used to do while smoking. Like going out for a drink or having a coffee. Sometimes a feeling like stress is a trigger.
For Damien McFaddden, his triggers were being around other smokers, stress and also having a smoke with his coffee.
“Being with friends was a major trigger. I was the treasurer of the local football club, where I would have a smoke with all my mates and was there five days a week."
Triggers vary from person to person, and so does choosing how to deal with them. Once you have worked out what your triggers are, you can use strategies, like changing your routine or doing something to distract yourself, to avoid and overcome them.
This could be as simple as getting a glass of water, doing some exercise or playing a game on your phone when you get a craving.
Doing some prep, and thinking about how to break down his triggers, helped Damien lessen the cravings:
“It wasn’t easy and there were some hiccups.”
“I set myself goals and made sure to reward myself. With the money I saved from quitting I would go to see a movie or buy a DVD. Rewarding myself kept me going – as well as reminding myself of my reasons for quitting – my wife.”
Thinking ahead and being prepared is the key to staying quit for good. Fighting cravings and dealing with your triggers does get easier with practice.
“Four years later I’m the happiest man alive! My sense of taste and smell are back, my teeth are better and I feel free.”
What are 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.
Charlie's story - how knowing his triggers helped him to stop smoking
Watch Charlie talk about how he stopped smoking and how identifying and planning around his triggers helped me to stay quit.
Want more stories? Head to Confidence to Quit.
Adapted with permission from Make Smoking History. Make Smoking History is supported by the Department of Health WA, Healthway and Cancer Council Western Australia.