Skip to main content Skip to footer

Related Reading

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Health Library Explorer
A-Z Listings Contact Us

Why Do You Smoke?

The more you know about why you smoke, the easier it will be to quit. You may reach for a cigarette during a stressful commute. Or you may want to smoke when you first wake up in the morning. Learn what your smoking triggers are, and how to handle them.

Man smoking cigarette and holding class of whiskey.

Common triggers

  • Frustration

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)

  • Anger

  • Stress

  • Hunger

  • Boredom or loneliness

  • Drinking or socializing

  • Watching others smoke

  • Smelling cigarette smoke

  • Certain daily routines such as driving, or after meals

Track your smoking habits

To learn about your smoking habits, track them for a week. Attach a small notebook or piece of paper to your cigarette pack. With each cigarette you smoke, write down the time, where you are, who you’re with, and how you feel.

How to cope with your triggers

  • Change the habits that lead you to smoke. For instance, if you often smoke at a morning break, go for a walk instead.

  • Distract yourself from smoking. Keep your hands busy by playing with a paper clip or by doodling. Keep your mouth busy by chewing on gum or a carrot stick.

  • Limit contact with people who are smoking. When you eat out, sit in the nonsmoking section.

  • When you first quit, have some fast-acting nicotine replacement products on hand. These include lozenges or gum. Use these during very stressful triggers to reduce cravings.

For more information

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.