Smoking is not only a
(used as a coping mechanism) and
(reinforcement through repetition). Many people who
have successfully quit smoking say that they found it helpful to
understand their individual smoking habit. They learned about why
and when they smoked before developing strategies for coping. You
probably haven't spent much time thinking about your own smoking
habit, but you can start now by looking at the times, places and
moods that influence when you reach for a cigarette.
Why do I smoke?
Using a rating scale of 1 to 5 (1 = never, 2 =
sometimes, 3 = often, 4 = very frequently, and 5 = always), answer
the following questions:
- Smoking gives me an energy boost. ____
- I find smoking pleasurable and relaxing.____
- I like holding a cigarette in my hand. ____
- Smoking is something I seem to do automatically. ____
- I smoke when I feel upset. ____
- I smoke when I feel that I'm starting to slow down. ____
- I enjoy the process of lighting up a cigarette. ____
- I smoke when I'm stressed out. ____
- It almost feels like torture when I can't smoke. ____
- I find cigarettes enjoyable. ____
- Sometimes I light up a new cigarette before I even finish
the one that's in the ashtray. ____
- I'm very aware of when I need a cigarette. ____
- Smoking perks up my mood. ____
- I enjoy exhaling smoke. ____
- I tend to smoke more when I'm relaxed. ____
- Sometimes I'm not even aware that I have a cigarette in my
- I seem to crave a cigarette when I haven't had one for a
- I smoke when I feel sad or want to forget something painful.
Total your scores on the following groups of questions. Your
highest scores will show you which aspects of smoking are the most
problematic for you, so that you can develop alternatives.
Your total score on questions 1, 6, and 13 ______
Stimulation: You feel that smoking gives you energy and keeps you moving. You need to find energy-boosting alternatives such as regular exercise, walking, running or playing a sport.
Your total score on questions 3, 7, and 14 ______
Fidgeting, handling, process: You enjoy the process of smoking and having something in your hand. Instead of a cigarette, hold a pen or a fake cigarette, or squeeze a rubber ball.
Your total score on questions 4, 11, and 16 ______
Routine: Cigarettes are primarily a habit for you. You need to develop more awareness of each cigarette you smoke. Breaking the habit aspect of smoking is probably one of the easiest parts.
Your total score on questions 5, 8, and 18 ______
: You look to cigarettes to relieve tension and provide comfort. You need alternative coping/stress-reduction methods such as exercise, writing in a journal, talking to a friend, or expressing your feelings assertively. See Stress Center.
Your total score on questions 2, 10, and 15 ______
: You enjoy it for the simple pleasure. Try some alternative sources of pleasure: a bubble bath, massage, or hobby.
Your total score on questions 9, 12, and 17 ______
: Physical and psychological addiction. This is the most difficult obstacle to overcome. A combination of quitting strategies and nicotine replacement therapy can help.
What triggers my smoking?
Your smoking triggers are the situations and actions that urge
you to reach for a cigarette. The following is a list of common
triggers for smokers. Check off the ones that bring on your urge to
Getting out of bed. ____
Sitting at the table. ____
Driving, or sitting in the car. ____
Drinking coffee. ____
Going to work. ____
Waiting at a bus stop, train station, subway or airport.
Taking a break at work. ____
Dealing with a stressful situation at work. ____
Watching TV ____
Having a drink. ____
Being at a social event. ____
After lunch. ____
After dinner. ____
Dealing with a stressful situation at home. ____
After sex. ____
How can I cope?
Distract yourself from the urge to smoke for a few minutes and
the urge often goes away. Here are some ideas for coping with your
- Change some of your routines around for a while(those that
trigger smoking). If you normally head for the breakfast table when
you get up in the morning, take a shower instead.
- Take a walk on your break time.
- Socialize with nonsmoking friends.
- Get physically active: play tennis, go for a bike ride, go for
- Drink a glass of water.
- Take a bath or shower.
- Call a friend.
- Send someone e-mail.
- Surf the Internet.
- Talk to a neighbor.
- Work on a hobby.
- Try some deep breathing.
- Listen to some music or a relaxation tape.
- Other ideas: ____________________