You’ve read about them, you know they’re coming, and maybe you’ve experienced them before. Cravings have to be one of the hardest parts of smoking.
Your body has become conditioned to getting a steady dose of nicotine as long as you’ve been smoking and when you quit, your body doesn’t take the sudden adjustment kindly.
Many smokers will agree that the habit can be deeper than this. Are you used to a regular cigarette break at work, or when you go out with friends?
These are potential smoking triggers – activities or situations that you associate with smoking that can intensify cigarette cravings.
Coping with triggers
Smoking triggers can differ from person to person, meaning you’ll have to do the detective work. If you haven’t started your quit attempt yet, the best way to prepare is to take note of the times of day when you have a cigarette.
This approach should give you some idea of what the triggers could be and the cues that you will encounter once you have given up.
If you aren’t able to do this, the next best approach is to use the list of common triggers below as a starting point.
How many of these sound familiar?
- Talking on the phone
- Drinking coffee
- Watching TV
- Finishing a meal
- Having a break at work
- Drinking alcohol
- Feeling stressed or down
- Seeing someone else smoke
How to handle smoking triggers
If you’ve decided to make nicotine replacement therapy part of your quit journey, coping with smoking triggers should be a little more straightforward than if you choose to quit cold turkey.
That’s because the various forms of nicotine replacement therapy give your body the nicotine it craves without the toxic chemicals that you get in cigarettes.
The different forms of nicotine replacement therapy can work in different ways to help you deal with your smoking triggers.
In the case of nicotine patches like NICODERM, the patches release nicotine slowly into your body and help to relieve background cravings.
Mouth sprays such as the NICORETTE QuickMist are designed to help with sudden, intense cravings.
Beyond nicotine replacement therapy
Of course patches and sprays can make it easier for you to deal with smoking triggers, you will still need to be committed to the quit attempt yourself.
Try making things easier for yourself by avoiding trigger situations, especially early in your quit journey.
In some cases, avoiding the trigger isn’t an option, so in addition to your nicotine replacement therapy, think about ways you can get through the cravings.
Exercise can be an effective way to pass the time. If you’re feeling the urge to smoke, try doing something active like going for a fast walk or going to the gym instead.
If the trigger is part of your routine, try changing it up a little. For example, if watching TV is one of your triggers, and cutting TV out completely isn’t an option, try sitting in a different chair when you tune in.
Ultimately, it’s about finding the strategy that works best for you. It won’t necessarily be easy, and you might need more than one attempt, but whether it is with sprays, patches or good old fashioned willpower, you will get there in the end.