Smoking Triggers – Situations/places to avoid or change, smoking-associated habits
Be honest with yourself. Make sure if it’s an unavoidable place to have a solution to change the environment slightly. You need to break smoking patterns / routines. Who of your family and friends can you call upon to provide emotional support? Consider activities incompatible with smoking such as running, skiing, swimming. Do not use cigarettes as a reward. Even one cigarette decreases your success and increases relapse. See Coping Mechanisms in the next section.
While talking on the phone. Solution: talk in a different room, hold the phone in the other hand, sit in a different chair. Keep your hands and mouth occupied with sugarless candy or gum. Keep a squeeze-ball handy. Stand instead of sit. Limit the amount of time spent on the phone.
While in your “favorite chair.” Solution: Avoid that chair or move it to another location. Rearrange your furniture.
Restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Fortunately many are nonsmoking these days. However, it doesn’t stop you from taking a smoking break outside. If unavoidable, go with a supportive friend. Avoid busy hours where there is increased smoke. Consider changing your usual meal.
While drinking. This can be alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Break the smoking pattern: if you drink out of a certain glass, mug, or cup, change to a different one. If you drink in a certain location of your home or at a certain restaurant, change that location. Consider reducing or eliminating alcohol for the first few weeks during the cessation process. Consider alternative ways to socialize with friends for a few weeks. Limit yourself to one or two drinks. Change from what you usually drink. You can still have fun without drinking, can’t you (if not, there might be another cessation project ahead for you)? Willpower is weakened when you drink alcohol. Break the routine.
Finishing a meal. Need to form a new after-meal hobby or habit. Go for a walk or run, do the dishes, check your email. Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating. Brush your teeth.
In the car. Fill your ashtrays with little positive affirmations or reasons you are quitting. Keep your sugarless candy or gum in them. Consider removing the ashtrays from your vehicle all together. Consider a different route for routine trips. Keep your mind occupied: listen to talk radio or books on tape.
Being around smokers. Avoidance is the best policy but isn’t always possible. Limit access to the areas where smoking is prevalent (designated smoking areas at work). Avoid going outside when your friends smoke. If around smokers, try to keep your distance from the smoke. Identify your non-smoking friends and, at least initially, spend more time with them. Leave the scene from time to time if you have to be in a smoking environment. Politely explain to the other smoker that you are trying to quit and ask him or her not to smoke in front of you.
Living with another smoker. Negotiate with the other smoker about where and when they will smoke. Do not make demands. Have the other smoker keep their cigarettes where the quitter will not be able to find them. Give the smoker one ashtray and ask them to keep this ashtray clean and out of sight when not in use. Determine a reasonable length of time for these changes (three to four weeks). Surprise the smoker with a special dinner or gift after the first month of quitting as a thank you for their cooperation.
Social events / parties. Develop and practice a plan to deal with the situation before you go out. In your mind, rehearse going to the function. See yourself having a good time, meeting people and enjoying the situation—all without having a cigarette. Practice saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke” just in case someone offers you a cigarette.
Boredom. ALWAYS have something to do. Your Personal Planner for Success can help. Review and update your Personal Planner for Success. Carry a motivational book or email with your (QuitNet.com). Consider carrying a book/newspaper/crossword puzzle with you. Plan ahead so you don’t get caught with periods of long inactivity. Relax, it’s nice to have nothing to do from time to time.
Breaks (at work, school, etc) – Similar to boredom. Consider taking you break in a different place that you would if it is a usual smoking break. Plan ahead as in boredom above. Find other reasons to take a break: Go for a walk, call a friend, RELAX…
Evenings / end of day / before retiring for the night – Find projects to do while at home. Clean out the garage / basement, start a hobby, etc. Keep your self busy while watching TV. Do puzzles, make out the grocery list. Start an exercise program. Go for a walk.
Upon waking. Change the order of your routine. Look in the mirror first thing every morning and say, “I’m proud to be a nonsmoker.” Eat something for breakfast if that is not a normal part of your routine.
Mood swings / negative moods. Rethink your belief that cigarettes calm or relax. Ask yourself how a cigarette will make a situation any better. Do deep breathing throughout the day. As you do the deep breathing, think calming thoughts…”I can get through this” or simply, “I am calm.” Realize that smoking does not hurt anyone but the smokers. It is not a good way to get back at anyone or to punish someone you are angry with.
Emotions – Stress, nerves, anxiety. Separate the cigarette from the situation. Realize that smoking never made a situation any better or helped you deal with it. Step back, take a deep breath, and say to yourself, ” I can handle this.” Then deal with the problem. Strategize about how to handle stressful situations with friends, relatives or trusted clergy. Realize that every problem has a solution that does not involve smoking.
If you smoke at work. Rearrange your office or workspace as much as you can. Change your work routine as much as possible. Listen to music, talk radio, or motivational tapes. Have a support person at work.
Before, during or after sex
In the bathroom
Rejection – whether at work, play, or home
When I see smoking on TV or in the movies
When I’m hungry
When I have nothing to do.
Reminders of the past: special occasions, anniversaries, seasons of the year
Identify the times of day you usually smoke:
When you wake up
While getting dressed
With your morning meal or cup of coffee
While performing your “Honey Do” list or chores around the house
On your way to work or school
At work or school
Breaks or studying
Getting home from work
After your evening meal
While relaxing before going to bed
Coping Mechanisms – What are you going to do instead of smoking when you have a craving?
Remember the 7 “D’s”
1) DRINK lots of water. It will help flush the nicotine from your system and reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
2) DO something else!! Pull out your Personal Planner for Success. Write the time of day, situation, and feelings concerning your urge in the Daily Activity Section. This is exactly where A+ Smoker’s Control, Formula D – Aromatherapy, comes into play. When the urge subsides, write down how you coped with it and whether there is something different you can do for the next time. DO physical exercise. Go to a gym; sit in the steam, exercise. Change your normal routine – take time to walk or even jog around the block or in a local park.
3) Distance yourself from the situation or trigger. Just walk away.
4) DEEP breathing. Perhaps the single most powerful and important technique. Every time you want a cigarette, do the following. Do it three times.
Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly.
As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out.
This is a variation of an ancient yoga technique from India, and is VERY centering and relaxing. If you practice this, you’ll be able to use it for any future stressful situation you find yourself in. And it will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings sure to assault you over the first few days. This deep breathing technique will be a vital help to you. Reread this point now, and as you do, try it for the first time. Inhale and exhale three times. See for yourself!
5) DISTRACT yourself.
6) DIAL a friend.
7) Delay. Count to ten, use your Aroma Therapy. Check your Coping Mechanisms list.
Keep your hands and mouth occupied. Treat yourself to a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy. Nibble on low calorie foods like celery, apples and carrots. Chew sugarless gum or suck on cinnamon sticks (the kind used for cider). Sometimes typing messages keeps fingers busy and gives support during a strong craving. Other items which may help include: toothpicks, plastic straws, swizzle sticks, a stress ball (or any small ball that you can squeeze when you feel stressed such as a tennis ball), rubber bands, paper clips, pencils. Sometimes finding something your can snap, bend, break, or squeeze can help you relax. Sewing, knitting, gardening and jigsaw puzzles are options many people take. Caution: do not use fake cigarettes. They do nothing but maintain the visual/hand to mouth/oral connection to real cigarettes. Play cards. KISS your significant other!!
Talk about the urge. Call your support person or let people around you know you need to talk for a few minutes.
Write an email to your support person. Read an email from QuitNet. You did register with QuitNet, right? Hit the forums, live chat. This should be planned out IN ADVANCE. Remember, preparation meeting opportunity is a golden key for success.
Acceptance. Thinking about smoking during cessation is natural. Flip the rationalization bug around. “It’s natural to think about smoking and it doesn’t bother me.”
What are you going to do to keep your mind off smoking? KEEP BUSY!!
Read a book.
Take up a new hobby.
Go to the movies or rent a movie.
Go for a walk.
Work around the house.
Call or visit friends.
What are you looking forward to as a nonsmoker?
I am looking forward to overall feeling better.
I am looking forward to being more calm.
I am looking forward to having more energy.
I am looking forward to having more money.
I am looking forward to being happier.
I am looking forward to having more control in my life.
I am looking forward to having better quality of life (as well as longer).
Support System – Who are you going to call, visit, text-message, or email for support?
What are you going to do to reward yourself? Today? Next week? Your first year anniversary? Make it pleasurable but not destructive: a bubble bath, a new article of clothing, a computer game
What are you going to do with all that extra MONEY (Monetary Motivation / realization of the cost of smoking)? You calculated the amount of money you are spending on smoking, right?
What are you going to do with all that extra TIME? It is estimated the average person uses 64 minutes in the average working day smoking.
MILESTONES – Your smoking cessation is a journey. You have much to look forward to. Place a checkmark when you reach each milestone. What are you going to do to celebrate each new change in your health?
I have been smoke-free for:
_____ 20 minutes
My blood pressure has dropped
My pulse rate has returned to normal
My body temperature of hands and feet has increased to normal
_____ 8 – 12 hours
The carbon monoxide level in my blood has dropped to normal.
The oxygen level in my blood has increased to normal
_____ 24 hours
My chances of heart attack have decreased
_____ 48 hours
My nerve endings have started to regrow
My ability to smell and taste has enhanced
_____ 2 weeks to 3 months
My circulation has improved
Walking hasbecome easier
My lung function has increased up to 30%
_____ 1 to 9 months
My coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath has decreased
The cilia in my lungs (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) have regained normal function, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean my lungs and reduce infection
My body’s overall energy has increased
_____ 1 year
My excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker
_____ 5 years
My risk of dying from lung cancer has decreased by 50% (average former smoker with a pack a day habit)
My risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker’s
My stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker (5-15 years after quitting)
_____ 10 years
My risk of lung cancer is similar to that of a nonsmoker
Any precancerous cells in my body have been replaced with normal ones
My risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas have decreased
_____ 15 years
My risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker
DAILY ACTIVITY SECTION – What did you do today to help reinforce your smoking cessation? Any motivating thoughts which kept you going? Words of encouragement for a friend or loved one who is, or soon to be, involved with smoking cessation.
Did you have any cravings? If so, add the time of day of your craving, what the possible trigger was, what you did, how long the craving lasted, how you can avoid it in the future, did your response to the craving help, and what you will do in the future if your avoidance strategy didn’t work quite as planned. Review and update, as necessary, your Coping Mechanisms and Smoking Triggers section(s).