Tobacco Use - How to Avoid It Once You’ve Quit
Know Your Triggers
What is a trigger for tobacco use? This is a
feeling or situation that is likely to lead a
person to smoke or chew tobacco. Being
aware of the feelings or situations that
trigger you to use tobacco helps you to plan
ahead for dealing with them without using
What are my triggers?
Here is a list of some common triggers.
Circle your triggers. Add others to the list
as you become aware of them.
ξ Waking up
ξ Talking on the
ξ Drinking coffee
ξ Drinking alcohol
ξ Meeting new
ξ Being at a party
ξ Being on
ξ Waiting for a bus
ξ Relaxing after
ξ Watching TV
ξ Working under
ξ Feeling nervous
ξ Feeling angry
ξ Feeling bored or
ξ Feeling hungry
ξ Having free time
ξ Having free time
before or after
Use Your Coping Skills
What is a coping skill to deal with triggers
for tobacco use? This is what you do to deal
with a hard feeling or situation so that you
don’t use tobacco. It is something you do to
distract yourself from nicotine cravings.
What are my coping skills?
Here is a list of ideas to help you become
aware of your coping skills and make new
ξ Make a list of things you like to do
for fun and to relax. When you feel
stressed or a have a craving, reach
for the list and keep trying until you
find one that works.
ξ Get some exercise. Try different
kinds of exercise to see what you
ξ Keep items in your home, car,
backpack, purse, or pockets to keep
your hands busy. These items may
include things such as straws,
pencils, small toys, electronic
devices, or marbles.
ξ Try something new. Stay away from
things you did when you smoked.
ξ Spend as much free time as you can
in places where smoking is not
ξ Ask your family and friends for
support when you see them or by
phone or e-mail.
ξ Eat several small meals. This
maintains constant blood sugar levels
and helps prevent the urge to smoke.
Avoid sweet or spicy foods that can
cause a craving.
ξ Try using toothpicks, cinnamon
sticks, gum, raisins, or celery, if you
miss the feeling of having something
in your mouth.
ξ Brush your teeth and enjoy the clean
ξ Take a shower or a bath.
ξ Tell yourself “no.” Say it out loud.
Practice doing this a few times and
listen to yourself. Some other things
you can say to yourself include “I’m
too strong to give into smoking,” “I
am a nonsmoker now,” and “I will
not let my friends, family, and
ξ Never allow yourself to think that
“I’ll just have one, it won’t hurt.”
Because it will.
Practice with Coping Skills
Here are a few feelings and situations that
often trigger tobacco use. How would you
use your coping skills in these cases to avoid
ξ You’re at a party with a group of
friends. Your friends are smoking.
You always used to smoke at a party
and a cigarette would sure be good
now. What would you do or say?
ξ You’re alone. You’re feeling sad
about a family member or friend who
has died. How do you cope with the
feelings without smoking?
ξ You have a fight with your sister.
You feel so angry as you walk away
or hang up the phone. You used to
smoke when you felt this way. What
do you do now?
ξ You are at work and it is time for a
break. Instead of going outside and
having a cigarette with your smoking
co-workers, what will you do now to
take a break?
What if I slip?
A number of people slip and use tobacco
after they have quit. The good news is that
many of these people learn from their slip
and stop using tobacco.
Here are some tips to get back on track:
ξ Stop smoking or chewing right away.
ξ Throw the tobacco away.
ξ Get yourself out of the situation that
caused the slip.
Once you have removed yourself from the
situation, take a moment to ask yourself
ξ Where was I when this happened?
ξ What was I doing?
ξ Was I alone or with someone?
ξ How was I feeling? Was I hungry,
angry, lonely, or tired?
If you slip, learn and keep trying. You can
succeed in quitting.
Reference: American Cancer Society,
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have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7008