smoking triggers

6 Spotting Smoking Triggers and ways to Avoid Them

What is triggering you? What keeps bringing you back for a smoke? Miriam-Webster dictionary defines “trigger” as something that acts like a mechanical trigger in initiating a process or reaction. “Initiating a process or reaction;” this is the phrase that stands out. And it stands out because that’s what happens when many of us addicted to nicotine reach for a cigarette.

Unfortunately, triggers are very common among those who smoke. As a matter of fact, studies show that triggers like stress, at work or in home, can be the biggest reason why people cannot find the power to drop the cigarette.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common triggers. You may be surprised at how many of them apply to you:


For many, smoking is a great excuse to get away from it all. Being at parties or public gatherings can be stressful, scary or uncomfortable. And for others who have more serious mental illness problems, it can feel downright impossible. Though unhealthy, the inherent excuse to smoke seems to provide a calm down and relief or those who are shy, and looking to hide.


Nobody likes to be by themselves for too long. A very common trigger, loneliness often brings about many thoughts that we’d rather not focus on. It may even remind us of responsibilities that we have been procrastinating about, or just bring about plain old boredom. As a result, smoking can help give us something to do, and take us away from out mental bind.


Nothing can put you in a bad mood more than an argument with a loved one. Emotions get high, people things are said that maybe should not have, and we are left feeling hurt and unsure of what to do next, or worse, if the situation can even be fixed. This is the perfect moment for those addicted to cigarettes to go out and have a puff in order to ease their racing mind.


Some may know it as “road rage.” Driving can bring out a lot of anger in those who don’t usually display it, resulting in needing a smoke. Similar to an argument, tempers flare and emotions get high, but in this case, you’re likely all alone with no one to discourage you. Driving can be an emotional episode that requires many to wind down and cool off, which often means it’s cigarette time.

Work Breaks

Work breaks can be looked at two-fold. On one hand, someone may have had a bad day and excuse themselves in order to cool off, or simply hide. On the other hand, smoking can be seen as a reward to oneself. Make that big sale? Get a promotion? Or maybe your boss praised your hard work? All of these actions can result in feeling like you’ve earned a celebratory smoke.

Finishing a Meal

After eating something delicious and filling, most go for dessert or perhaps a drink. However, this need for a treat could also easily become a trigger for smoking. Similar to rewarding yourself after a good day, a smoke after cooking a good meal could be a sneaky trigger not many consider.

Peer Pressure

We all want to be liked. Peer pressure sits as one of the most classic smoking triggers, and is often cited as a primary reason people start in the first place. No one wants to feel left out, or uncool, amongst their peers. Taking a puff with them could make you feel like you’re apart of an exclusive club, but the consequences are that it also starts, or continues, a bad habit.

How do I Avoid these Triggers?

Ultimately, your best bet is to understand that smoking requires a holistic approach that involved your mind and body. Engaging yourself in certain activities can raise awareness as to when those triggers are setting in, so you can do something about them in the moment — or at least take your mind off them, is key in quitting.

6 Spotting Smoking Triggers and ways to Avoid Them

  • Exercise
  • Chewing gum
  • Deep breathing
  • Connecting with a support group
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Sleep
  • Eating healthy foods and meals
  • Attending church or connecting with your faith

These are a few things that can you can do to help ween yourself off those smoking triggers that keep you locked up in nicotine addiction.

In Conclusion

After viewing this list, ask yourself: how much commonality do I see between this list and my own life? Does it hit home? If so, you may be ready to quit smoking. Please contact us to start your journey today.


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