Cravings can be triggered by certain situations or feelings. Understanding your triggers can help you make a plan to handle them.

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Even if you have been quit for a while, a craving can come out of nowhere. But more often than not there is a specific cause or “trigger” that turns on your need for a smoke. Those “triggers” can be people, places, situations, feelings or moods. Knowing your triggers will help you avoid them or find ways to handle them.

Consider tracking your nicotine use to notice patterns in your smoking or vaping behaviour. Once you have this understanding, you can take steps to change these patterns, one at a time.

Download the tracking template

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Breaks

If you usually step outside to smoke or vape during breaks at work, stay inside instead or go for a walk around the block. Spend time with co-workers who do not smoke or vape.

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Driving

Before you quit, try to stop smoking or vaping when you are in your car to disconnect the association as much as possible. Remove all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and vape pods and clean the upholstery to get rid of the smoky smell in your car.

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Alcohol

Alcohol both triggers cravings and undermines your ability to resist them. To try to increase your chances of quit success, avoid drinking for the first few weeks until cravings have faded. If you do drink, drink less, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and avoid drinking with friends whom you usually smoke with.

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Drinking Coffee

When possible, practice taking your coffee break without having a cigarette or vape, even before you have actually quit. Alternatively, try switching to tea and breaking the rhythm. Nicotine changes how you metabolize caffeine, so you may also feel the effects of caffeine more when you quit smoking/vaping. If so, try to reduce your caffeine intake. 

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Parties or Social Events

If you have decided to quit, it is best to avoid places where people smoke and vape, like bars, parties, concerts and other social events, for the first few weeks. Ask your friends to support you by not smoking or vaping around you and joining you in smoke- and vape-free activities while you adjust to being nicotine-free. 

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Watching TV or Videos

If you are used to smoking or vaping while you watch TV or videos, try changing your routine. Sit in a different chair or watch in a different room. Keep your hands busy with something else, like sipping water or playing with a stress ball or Rubik's cube.

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Talking on the Phone

If you are used to smoking or vaping while talking on the phone, try changing your routine. Go for a walk while you talk on the phone. Keep your hands busy with something else like playing with a fidget toy.

Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Finding healthy ways of managing and coping with stress will help you stay nicotine-free in the long term. Read our tips on how to cope with stress without smoking or vaping. 

Meals

If you used to smoke or vape after meals, change your routine. When you finish your meal, brush your teeth right away, go for a walk or do the dishes. Have a breath mint in place of a cigarette or vape.

Being Around People Who Smoke

Let all your friends know you are quitting and ask them to support you by not smoking or vaping around you. Avoid places where your friends are likely to be smoking or vaping. Click below for some tips to share with your friends and family on how they can offer support,