If you’ve delved into advice on giving up smoking in any detail then there’s every chance that you’ll already be familiar with a few buzzwords surrounding the topic. Even if you aren’t, we’re sure you’ll have experienced ‘triggers’, even if you haven’t yet defined the term.

In short, a trigger is something that prompts you to pick up a cigarette. Most of the time, smokers are completely oblivious to what causes them to do this – it just becomes part and parcel of life. But learning to recognise them can be the difference between succumbing to another cig and giving up. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL  ways to deal with smoking triggers.

HABIT TRIGGERS

Most of us live our lives by habits, on auto pilot and unaware of the pull of routine. To be smoking specific, certain actions and activities of the day are naturally followed with a cigarette. It just feels normal.

Hone in on these habitual actions in order to address them. Do you smoke immediately before going to bed? Do you smoke while you watch television? Do you have a celebratory cig when the clock strikes 5pm and you bid your colleagues farewell? Acknowledging both the problem and the trigger is the first step on the road to abstinence.

SOCIAL TRIGGERS

For those wishing to end their long dalliance with smoking, being out, about and open often presents too much of a temptation. It’s all too easy to spark up in a beer garden when you’re hanging out with friends and the light headed, heavy handed grip of booze and peer pressure takes over. 

Nope, we’re not here to suggest you should let sociability suffer. Instead, get your mates on side. Tell people that you’re done with smoking and implore them to execute some tough love if you ask for a ‘drag on a ciggy’ after a few drinks. If your friends are incapable of this small but important request, get new ones.

Should your crowd be drawn outside, it’s easy to suffer from FOMO. Nope, that’s not ‘fumo’. We mean ‘fear of missing out’, of course. And if you do still want to be part of the much dwindling ‘cool’ crowd, huddled in plumes of smoke outside the pub, there are a whole host of different mechanisms to help you give smoking the boot but still be part of the action. Some vape, some simply sup their beer outside, while others are getting inventive and using CBD within e-cigarettes

WITHDRAWAL TRIGGERS

If you’ve already tried to give up smoking, there’s every chance you’ll already be familiar with the sense of withdrawal acting as its own trigger; the cruel bastard.

For a long time, your body has been used to getting a steady supply of nicotine. When you take this away, you’ll feel all sorts of sensations. So often you succumb when stress rears its ugly head. Instead, seek out other ways to relax. You could try massages, yoga or even listening to chilled out music, immersively and with headphones. 

FACE THE FACTS

Do you mutter the words “I only smoke when I go out”? to no one in particular, in a vain attempt to justify your ‘occasional’ habit. Do you think you’re not a ‘real smoker’? Get real. It’s time to face the facts; even if you smoke only occasionally when out with friends or just on weekends, you’re still a smoker.

Moreover, if you think that the odd cigarette with a glass of wine is no big deal, you’re fooling yourself. Every single cigarette you smoke harms your health and puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and cancer than those who don’t smoke. The stats are astounding; researchers from the University of Bristol estimated that over a lifetime, each cigarette takes 11 minutes off your life. 

SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

Though quitting smoking generally relies on self-discipline and the motivation of peers, sometimes medical help is needed. The NHS offers a whole range of dedicated services designed to help you stop smoking, including facilitating access to prescription treatments such as Chamix, to one-to-one counselling sessions and stop smokings aids. There’s absolutely no stigma in seeking help – that’s what it’s there for, after all – so visit your GP, find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking service on their devoted Smokefree website, or call the Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044 to speak to a trained adviser.