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Assess your smoking habit

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Assess your smoking habit

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Smoking is not only a physical addiction but a psychological addiction (used as a coping mechanism) and habit (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:

  1. Smoking gives me an energy boost. ____
  2. I find smoking pleasurable and relaxing.____
  3. I like holding a cigarette in my hand. ____
  4. Smoking is something I seem to do automatically. ____
  5. I smoke when I feel upset. ____
  6. I smoke when I feel that I'm starting to slow down. ____
  7. I enjoy the process of lighting up a cigarette. ____
  8. I smoke when I'm stressed out. ____
  9. It almost feels like torture when I can't smoke. ____
  10. I find cigarettes enjoyable. ____
  11. Sometimes I light up a new cigarette before I even finish the one that's in the ashtray. ____
  12. I'm very aware of when I need a cigarette. ____
  13. Smoking perks up my mood. ____
  14. I enjoy exhaling smoke. ____
  15. I tend to smoke more when I'm relaxed. ____
  16. Sometimes I'm not even aware that I have a cigarette in my mouth. ____
  17. I seem to crave a cigarette when I haven't had one for a while. ____
  18. I smoke when I feel sad or want to forget something painful. ____

Your score

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 ______
Stress reduction
: 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 smoke.

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. ____

Other situations: __________________________________________________





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 triggers:

  • 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 a swim.
  • 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: ____________________
  • ______________________________
  • ______________________________


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