Quitting Smoking: Knowing Your Smoking Triggers


If you have a chronic lung disease, one of the best things you can do to improve your health and slow down the progression of the disease is to quit smoking. However, after years of smoking, it can be extremely difficult to break the habit. One of the ways to help yourself conquer your nicotine addiction is to recognize some of the triggers that make you want to smoke so you can try to avoid them.

MORE: 5 Ways Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Impacts Daily Life

According to smokefree.gov, smoking triggers generally fall into four categories: emotional, routine, social and withdrawal. Each category may need different approaches.

Emotional Triggers
Smokers will reach for their pack of cigarettes to help deal with a variety of emotional issues, both good and bad. Stress, joy, happiness, anxiety, nervousness, boredom, sadness, anger, relaxation, loneliness, and excitement can all be smoking triggers. To successfully quit, you will need to look at alternative ways to get you through these emotions, and some may be more difficult than others, particularly negative emotions.

Deep breathing, going for a walk, talking to friends, exercising or listening to music are all good ways to help you through some of the negative emotions that may have led you to smoke in the first place.

Routine Triggers
There are certain times of day or events that smokers associate with smoking. After a meal or having intercourse; while drinking coffee or alcohol, driving, talking on the phone, or watching television; during work breaks; and before going to bed are all common routine triggers.

Replacing cigarettes with something else is a good way to help you quit smoking. Eating gum or sugar-free candies, occupying your hands with something such as knitting, sewing, a fidget spinner, or a stress ball can help you overcome the physical act of smoking. Avoiding alcohol and coffee in the first few weeks may help to avoid these triggers, and brushing your teeth directly after eating may take your mind off wanting to smoke. Physical activity can help to distract you and may be useful during work breaks or other set times that you would usually smoke.

MORE: Finding medical care for pulmonary fibrosis

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One comment

  1. Lea says:

    I have a question for others with lung disease. This article reminded me of one of my frustrations. When you tell someone, “I use oxygen because I have a lung disease”, is it assumed that you invited the disease with poor lifestyle choices?

    On one hand, the advice I receive is all very good. On the other, I hesitate to tell a good person that their advice simply doesn’t apply to me. I’m not a smoker, don’t live with heavy pollution, and I mostly eat natural fresh foods. It is possible that my reaction comes from the many years that I was quite a smart mouth.

    Or is it possible that healthy people believe you can’t have lung disease unless you smoke?

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