6 Common Smoking Triggers

smoking tips

Whether you are a casual smoker or chain smoker, there are a host of things can create the urge (trigger) to light up. When you are trying to quit, it is important to know these triggers so you can be prepared for them.

While some triggers are more powerful than others and everyone is different, here are just a few that every smoker experiences.

After Eating

Mostly because of routine, most smokers like to have a cigarette after eating, whether it was a snack or an entire meal. If you experience the urge to smoke after you have eaten something, there are several things you can do:

  • Spend the time immediately after eating, cleaning your dining area and tossing rubbish.
  • Wash dishes (it is difficult to smoke when your hands are wet).
  • Cleanse your pallet with a glass of water.
  • Give yourself a deadline to get back to your pre-meal task(s).

Upon Waking

Our bodies begin to crave nicotine when we stop smoking. During a night’s sleep, since no cigarettes have been smoked, the body will naturally begin to experience nicotine withdrawals. Some people seek that first cigarette immediately upon waking. Others have a morning routine that leads them to that first puff. Whatever your usual schedule is, there are ways to change it up and help remove this tendency:

  • Change up your morning routine.
  • Shower/brush teeth immediately.
  • Sleep in. Shorten the time you have that would allow you the option of smoking before you have to leave.


Like many triggers, driving is more of a routine-based trigger. Often, smokers find themselves lighting up behind the wheel, just out of habit. To battle this urge:

  • Thoroughly clean (or remove) any ashtrays in the vehicle and any residual smoking memorabilia
  • Be sure there are no cigarettes in the vehicle.
  • Roll down the windows and take deep breaths.

On the Phone

If you have always been a smoker, chances are you had experienced moments when you had more than one cigarette lit. This is because it is not a cigarette your body needs; rather it is one of routine and habit. Often, when we are on the phone, we pay little attention to what is going on around us which is why we will absentmindedly light more than one smoke.

Next time you are on the phone:

  • Sit down instead of walking around. Stay focused on your phone conversation.
  • Be sure there are no physical reminders of cigarettes around you such as ashtrays, lighters, empty packs, or scents.
  • Keep your phone conversations short.

With Coffee/Tea/Drinks

Nicotine is often associated with common experiences. For most smokers, having a morning cup of coffee or tea or an afternoon/evening drink triggers the automatic association from previous experiences. It is important to replace these associations with new ones so the next time you are enjoying leisure time, you are not caught off-guard by this common trigger.

  • Keep a glass or bottle of water with you and drink from it frequently.
  • Consider adopting a different “usual” drink.
  • Retrain your mind to know that nicotine changes the flavours of anything you eat or drink. This can help your brain build a different association.

When Hungry

Nicotine is an appetite suppressant so smokers who are hungry, tend to smoke, rather than eating to curb their appetite. While weight gain is a common concern for people who are trying to kick the habit, there are plenty of healthy ways to be prepared for this trigger.

  • Have a healthy, low-fat snack always available to you.
  • Drink Water.
  • Chew some gum or have a breath mint.
  • Eat a healthy meal.

These are just 6 Common Smoking Triggers that could steer you away from your goal of quitting. Generally speaking, if you ever experience these or any triggers, air and water are perfect to help you stay focused. That is, breathe deeply and drink a glass of water.

Contact us today to find out how you can finally free yourself of your tobacco addiction for good!

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