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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.

Close up of woman lighting cigarette.

Common triggers

  • Frustration

  • Fatigue

  • Anger

  • Stress

  • Hunger

  • Boredom or loneliness

  • Drinking or socializing

  • Watching others smoke

  • Smelling cigarette smoke

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 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.


For more information


  • National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)


Online Medical Reviewer: Images Reviewed by Staywell medical art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 2/1/2017
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