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Tobacco Triggers

Lark Team
September 16, 2020
Tobacco Triggers

Triggers can get in the way of success when you are trying to quit using tobacco products. Triggers are what cause you to want a cigarette or another tobacco product, and they can be strong. However, identifying your triggers and practicing ways to overcome them can help you quit successfully.

Common Triggers


Triggers can come from anywhere, and most tobacco users have many triggers throughout each day.

Common triggers include the following.

  • Social triggers. These can include smoking at the bar with your friends, going to a concert with friends, and celebrating a holiday or other event.
  • Pattern or environmental triggers. These can include habits of using tobacco after waking up or before going to bed, while driving or talking on the phone, and after dinner or with coffee.
  • Emotional triggers. These can include feelings of stress or anxiety, boredom, happiness, and loneliness.
  • Physical triggers. These can be related to nicotine withdrawal, such as smelling cigarette smoke, feeling restless, and craving the taste of tobacco.

Strategies for Overcoming Triggers


There are many strategies for overcoming triggers. They include the following.

Avoiding or defusing the situation.

For example, don’t go to a smoky bar or concert if they make you want to smoke. If being hungry is a trigger, eat a small snack and drink water before you get too hungry. 

Defuse the situation. For example, you can’t avoid driving entirely, but if you are used to smoking in the car, practice driving short distances without smoking. 

Changing your routine. If you are used to smoking when you wake up, consider heading right out the door for a quick walk around the block. Instead of smoking at breakfast, consider moving breakfast into the office where smoking is prohibited. If smoking is your usual way to end a meal, try brushing your teeth or having a mint instead to tell your brain and body that the meal is over.

Finding an alternative activity. When a craving comes, alternate activities can keep you from caving or at least delay it. Walking around the block, blogging, washing the floor, and folding laundry are all healthy, simple, and effective alternatives to using tobacco.

Manage emotions differently. If stress is driving you to smoke, consider other forms of stress management, such as exercise, deep breathing, and meditation. It can also help to pre-plan other forms of dealing with emotions, such as phoning a friend when lonely and shopping for a new workout outfit when you need to celebrate.

Monitoring triggers. By recording your craving, what may have triggered it, and how strong it was in Lark, you are exerting some control over the trigger. Even if you give into the craving, this small amount of control can eventually build into greater control and you may one day be able to overcome that particular trigger.

Overcoming triggers can be a slow process for most people, It is bound to include many setbacks, but that is no reason to quit! Lark is there for you all the time, ready with ideas and encouragement to keep you on the path to achieving your goals.

Written by Lark Team on September 16, 2020
We are passionate about providing scalable virtual care. We pioneered the use of AI for better health. Combining the power of data, behavior change science, and smart devices, Lark’s digital platform provides scalable, personalized coaching 24/7 to help people manage or prevent chronic disease.
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