The urge to smoke can be triggered by your daily routine and your memories of smoking. Memories of who you smoked with, when, where and why can all be triggers or cues to have a cigarette. When you are trying to reduce or quit smoking, cues that lead to cravings can be difficult. To read more about dealing with cravings
, click here. Cravings won’t last forever. The longer you have not smoked, the less your daily activities will remind you of cigarettes.
It is helpful to know your own personal cues so you can plan what you will do when they happen. One way to do this is to keep a smoking diary. Each time you smoke, write down your cues. Here is an example:
|7:00am||Front porch||Sitting with morning coffee||Alone||Tired||2|
|2:30pm||Picnic table||On break||Coworkers||Social||1|
|9:30pm||Kitchen||Just put kids in bed||Alone||Frustrated||2|
To download a blank copy of the cue diary that you can print out and use, click here
. When you know what your cues are, you can learn how to manage them.
Here are some examples of common cues, and some tips on how to avoid them:
Change your coffee routine. Drink it in a different place, with a new mug and at a different time. Try changing to tea or hot chocolate for a short time
Chew gum after meals, get up from the table right away, start a new activity after meals like walks.
| Drinking alcohol|
If drinking alcohol triggers your smoking, try not to drink when you are first quitting. Drink something without alcohol like cranberry juice and soda water.
Women find it harder to quit or reduce smoking when their partner and others who are close to them smoke. If it is possible for you and your partner to quit or reduce smoking at the same time, this would be best. To learn more about partner support, click here.
Tell your coworkers that you are quitting or cutting back. Don’t go to the smoking areas at your workplace and spend time with people who don’t smoke during breaks.
|Talking on the phone|
Use the phone in a different room when you are at home. Keep your hands busy when you are talking. For example: use a stress ball, doodle with a pen and paper or knit.
|In the car|
Remove the ashtray from your car or fill it with candies or coins. Drive a different way to work to keep your mind busy with directions.
When you are bored, do an activity that you enjoy such as knitting, reading, photography, painting or gardening. Do anything to keep your mind and body busy.
Keep your hands busy when you are watching TV. Try to watch less TV at first and do other activities for fun.
|Feeling angry or down|
When you are angry or down, try to find other ways to express your feelings. Try writing in a journal or calling a friend to talk. Go for a walk to clear your head and get some exercise.
Many women say stress is their top smoking cue. To learn more about stress, click here