Knowing what triggers cause you to light up and actively avoiding them can boost your chances of quitting. Find out how!
Whether you’re on your journey to becoming smoke-free or thinking of quitting, here’s a way you can boost your chances of quitting successfully. Take note of your smoking triggers, and think of ways to avoid or overcome them.
What are smoking triggers? Simply put, they are events that cause you to crave a cigarette.
Learn to recognise your triggers: grab a notebook (or your smartphone) and jot down the following each time you light up or feel the urge to light up:
Time (e.g. 6pm)
Intensity of craving (e.g. strong)
What you were doing (e.g. having a cup of
Where you were (e.g. at the beach)
Who you were with (e.g. your army
How you were feeling (e.g. happy)
Tracking these details will tell you what triggers cause you to crave cigarettes. And knowing what sparks your cravings will help you think of ways to get past them.
Here are some common triggers and things you can do to avoid or overcome them.
Maybe you’re used to smoking after certain activities e.g. lunch — it’s a habit you’ve built over time. Avoid the trigger by going to an indoor food court or restaurant for lunch.
Try replacing your cigarette with another activity like drinking a cold unsweetened beverage or taking a stroll, and enjoy a bonus dose of mood-boosting endorphins, the happy hormone.
Maybe you’re triggered by feelings like boredom or stress.
Do you reach for a cigarette whenever you’re stressed at work? Find another stress-reliever! For example, take a short 10-minute nap, do some stretching, or practise deep breathing.
If you smoke because you have nothing to do, avoid this by keeping your hands or mouth busy. Have a stash of healthy snacks such as fruits to munch on, or play a round of Candy Crush on your phone.
Another possible trigger is more social in nature: you might find yourself craving a cigarette when you’re with other friends who smoke.
Ask for their support: tell them about your intention to quit and request that they not smoke around you. You could even try to invite them to go on their own quitting journey!
Another trigger could be designated or familiar smoking areas. If that is the case, put in extra effort to avoid going near those areas by changing your daily routes.
When you’re out and about, try going to places where smoking isn’t allowed, like the movie theatre, shopping centre, or library.
Join the I Quit Programme and remain smoke free for 28 days and you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. You can nominate your loved ones as a supporter when you sign up for the programme. Validate your smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and you'll also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!
*Terms and conditions apply.
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This article was last reviewed on
Thursday, March 3, 2022
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The Health Promotion Board (HPB) conducts annual school health visits to provide free health screening and immunisation services. HPB also conducts health education and health promotion programmes on lifestyle practices. HPB’s Student Health Centre, which generally provides preventive and screening services, follows up children referred from the school visits above.
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