Pulling the Trigger on Tobacco: Why Do You Light Up?

If you’re a smoker, chances are you taught yourself to weave smoking into just about every activity in your life. Now that you’ve decided to give up tobacco, you’ll have to reprogram the events that trigger the urge to smoke by inserting healthier habits into your daily routines. Yes, this will be a challenge – but then again, learning to smoke was a challenge too, wasn’t it? The good news is that when you arm yourself with knowledge and have a plan in place ahead of time, you’ll be well on your way toward conquering any reprogramming challenges you may face.

So, what triggers your urge to light up? Are there certain foods, drinks, people, or situations in your life that are interwoven with cigarettes? Make a list of these triggers and alternative activities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Coffee:
Switch coffee brands for a few weeks, or try flavored coffees, flavored creamers, or a steaming cup of tea or hot chocolate instead. Drink your morning coffee in a different place, and if you always drink your morning coffee from the same mug, switch to another beverage container. Treat yourself to an elegant china cup and saucer or snazzy new travel mug. (While it’s best to avoid caffeine, trying to tackle too much at once can set you up for failure; remember, the emphasis for now is kicking the smokes.)

During Breaks at Work: Avoid going to the smoking area during break. Seek out the company of non-smoking coworkers and spend your break with them. Whenever you have the chance, take a short walk, read a snippet from the latest bestseller, or enjoy working a crossword or Soduku puzzle.

After Meals: Avoid the urge to smoke by going for a short walk or brushing your teeth immediately after eating. Have a travel-sized toothbrush with you to use after lunch at work or at restaurants.

While Driving:
Remove the cigarette lighter and ashtray. Give your car a thorough cleaning that leaves it smelling fresh, and remove all traces of tar and nicotine from the windshield. Do not allow others to smoke in your vehicle. Keep a travel bottle of water with you while driving, and sip instead of grabbing for a cigarette.

Each smoke-free day is a testament to your new, healthy lifestyle. The more practice you get, the less the urge to light up will plague you. Soon, you’ll have the chance to clear most of the events and routines in your life that you associate with smoking.

So, what are your triggers? What healthy replacements will you be making in your routines? Drop me a line or share your comments – I’d love to share in your smoke-free success!

Related Posts: What’s Your Reason to Quit?, Get Ready for the Great American Smokeout

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