Smoking Triggers

Subconscious use cue extinguishment
Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

June 11th, 2003, 10:31 pm #41

Time distortion is a normal early recovery symptom.
Subconscious crave episodes are less than three minutes.
Be sure and look at a clock as the minutes can seem like hours!
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

July 12th, 2003, 6:34 am #42

My first visit to the pub this evening since I quit. This is the first time in 10 years I've been out for a drink and not had a cigarette, and furthermore not even wanted one. Kewl.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

December 13th, 2003, 10:30 pm #43

The holiday season can likely pose many new triggers unique to this time of year. The way to break all of these triggers is to simply keep reminding yourself that the only way to stay successfully smoke free no matter how often you may experience these passing thoughts regarding cigarettes is to stick to the commitment that you made to yourself to never take another puff! Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 11th, 2004, 1:00 pm #44

Oh boy is this the truth. Just yesterday I realized I was having a craving whenever I finished doing something, almost anything. I never thought about my smoking in those terms. Finish something, smoke. Finish something, smoke. And I used to start thinking about it just before I finished. The ice cream is a great example. Thanks again for your wisdom, Joel!

Kay
Eighteen Days, 18 Hours and 30 Minutes of Freedom.
Abstaining from 375 cigarettes has saved me $120.23,
and extended my life expectancy by 1 Day and 7 Hours.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 8th, 2004, 3:50 am #45

From: Joel Sent: 12/17/2003 8:17 AM
Sometimes the triggers don't make so much sense, at least on the surface. The trick is just to always have your guard up, being prepared daily for anything. For no matter how long you are off smoking, triggers can and will occur. Sometimes triggers will be obvious and easy to identify, like running into an old friend who is a chain smoker and you always smoked with them in the past. Sometimes they will be less obvious though, like when it is an old friend who has always been a non-smoker. Whenever you were with them in the past, you too would never smoke because they were around. So why would they make you think of a cigarette?

Well, before you would ever go to see them, you would smoke a few extra cigarettes just to be able to stay with them a little longer. Or more likely, the trigger wouldn't happen when you first see them, but rather as soon as they would leave. More accurately, it would hit as soon as you were out of their line of vision. In the past, that is when you would instantly light up. Even though you never smoked in their presence, you were still a smoker when with them. This association will last until these initial first encounters with them breaking the pattern and mindset that you are a smoker in this particular circumstance.

As more and more time passes, experiences like this become more sporadic. But keep focused daily. When you wake up say today is another day you will not smoke. So if these rare occurrences happen, you are ready. And again at the end of the day congratulate yourself for another victorious day without smoking.

Hang in there and don't let the triggers get you. Make each one just another learning experience. The lesson, no matter what triggers a thought, to beat it, Never Take Another Puff!

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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:06 pm

September 15th, 2004, 6:36 am #46

Joel, your insights continue to amaze me. I'm so glad I find these links everywhere I go on this site. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to add them to my posts. I know - the instructions were up yesterday. I'll figure it out eventually!!! In the mean time, thanks to everyone for the support.

Sue
I have been quit for 3 Weeks, 1 Day, 16 hours, 5 minutes and 39 seconds (22 days). I have saved $68.00 by not smoking 453 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 13 hours and 45 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 8/23/2004
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 24th, 2004, 2:28 am #47

I see we have a few people who are just over the first three days now so I thought I would bring up a few posts about the thoughts for cigarettes still happening and contrast them with the demands your body was creating the first few days for nicotine, or true urges. They are different and you will find that if focused on now, the desires can be squelched. Good posts to read on the topic are:

Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges
You said it would get better but it's just as bad!
Just think about something else?

Joel
Last edited by Joel on January 18th, 2012, 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 26th, 2004, 7:37 pm #48

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the day when the Christmas season is kicked into high gear. In many countries, even people who don't celebrate Christmas will still encounter new trigger situations surrounding the holiday. The sounds of Christmas music will permeate the stores where you shop, and Christmas decorations will begin popping up in homes and businesses. All of these sounds and sites will be new first time triggers for any person who has quit smoking any time in the past ten months. Being aware of the potential of these triggers will likely make you more prepared to get through them with minimal effort. Not all triggers though are as easy to warn people of or to prepare for.

Sometimes the triggers don't make so much sense, at least on the surface. The trick is just to always have your guard up, being prepared daily for anything. For no matter how long you are off smoking, triggers can and will occur. Sometimes triggers will be obvious and easy to identify, like running into an old friend who is a chain smoker and you always smoked with them in the past. Sometimes they will be less obvious though, like when it is an old friend who has always been a non-smoker. Whenever you were with them in the past, you too would never smoke because they were around. So why would they make you think of a cigarette?

Well, before you would ever go to see them, you would smoke a few extra cigarettes just to be able to stay with them a little longer. Or more likely, the trigger wouldn't happen when you first see them, but rather as soon as they would leave. More accurately, it would hit as soon as you were out of their line of vision. In the past, that is when you would instantly light up. Even though you never smoked in their presence, you were still a smoker when with them. This association will last until these initial first encounters with them breaking the pattern and mindset that you are a smoker in this particular circumstance.

As more and more time passes, experiences like this become more sporadic. But keep focused daily. When you wake up say today is another day you will not smoke. So if these rare occurrences happen, you are ready. And again at the end of the day congratulate yourself for another victorious day without smoking.

Hang in there and don't let the triggers get you. Make each one just another learning experience. The lesson, no matter what triggers a thought, to successfully overcome it is as simple as sticking to your personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff!
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

January 24th, 2005, 8:22 am #49

*ding, ding* Well, this one hits home! I was doing serious housecleaning today, the first time I've done *serious* housecleaning since I quit. Just after I finished vacuuming, I had a teeny-weeny urge to sit down and light up before I moved on. Yep, it takes me about 20-30 minutes to vacuum my house, lol.

Amy
Free and Healing for Twenty Days, 12 Hours and 57 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 3 Hours, by avoiding the use of 616 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $154.18.
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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:12 pm

February 5th, 2005, 7:09 am #50

I have had only two cravings today and both were after I ate. This morning was the first time since I quit smoking 8 days ago that I did not crave a cigarette when I woke up. I even crave a cigarette right before I clean my cat's litter box, yep, use to smoke one every time i cleaned that box. Had a cigarette burning while I use to do the dishes also, so sad.

I have done a lot of drugs when I was much younger, but nothing I have done even comes close to the effects of giving up smoking, it is so powerful. One day at a time, that is how I am dealing with it, one day at a time.

It's amazing how many people smoke, I bet 95% of the people that were in my office yesterday smoked. I could smell it on them and the thought that I use to smell like that just sickens me.

My son called me today to tell me how proud he was of me for making it over a week so far, that call made this day just a little bit easier.

Cory
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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:41 pm

April 30th, 2005, 6:24 am #51

I LOVE THIS WEB SITE ---
I was doing a serious scrubbing of my kitchen ( the kind you do before company arrives) and got hit with this horrendous crave ---- It was bad --- took a few deep breaths and tried to think WHY now??? It's been a pretty good day . So I remembered some of the things that I had read on triggers and realized that this is the first time that I had done this since I quit. Normally I would have taken a butt break (or 2 or 3.....)
Came to the computer instead and found this discussion .. When I read what Amy wrote, I almost fell off the chair. I really love Freedom and the support system that it provides.. Thanks everyone
Anne Joy
One week, two days, 19 hours, 53 minutes and 14 seconds. 235 cigarettes not smoked, saving $64.87. Life saved: 19 hours, 35 minutes.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:00 am

July 11th, 2005, 10:37 am #52

"It is important to do these things though to break the triggers. Time doesn't teach you how not to smoke, experience does. The more things you experience and the sooner, the more you recognize that there is life after smoking."

Joel
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

February 1st, 2006, 5:19 am #53

Time doesn't teach you how not to smoke, experience does.
The more things you experience and the sooner, the more you recognize that there is life after smoking.

No matter what triggers occur, all that you need to do to overcome it and learn a new experience as an ex-smoker is to Never Take Another Puff!

Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

April 12th, 2006, 8:05 am #54

I had crazy triggers all day today. I was craving like never before. I couldn't understand what was going on. Then I realized. Today was Opening day for Baseball here. I associate baseball season with smoking. I associate everything sports related with smoking.

Because I was educated about such things, I survived. It was tough today, I can't lie and say it wasn't. It was brutal. But I didn't smoke, and I am so happy.

Two weeks, 9 hours, 6 minutes and 27 seconds. 575 cigarettes not smoked, saving $158.17. Life saved: 1 day, 23 hours, 55 minutes.
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

August 11th, 2006, 9:08 am #55

From above:
It is important to do these things though to break the triggers.

Time doesn't teach you how not to smoke, experience does.

The more things you experience and the sooner, the more you recognize that there is life after smoking.

Don't let it get you down, acknowledge the crave, recognize you don't want to be a smoker and congratulate yourself for overcoming another trigger.

Never take another puff!
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 23rd, 2006, 9:31 pm #56

A new study was released today from University of Southern Florida that reported that smokers who quit start suffering symptoms of withdrawal within 30 minutes of their last cigarette. I see it in various news releases as if this is ground breaking news, like no one has ever realized this before. I suspect there are a lot of smokers and ex-smokers looking at this report and thinking to themselves, "this is news?"

The results of this study kind of fits into the original post in this string.

It is kind of interesting because the researchers based their conclusions on their observations of 50 one pack a day smokers. I think that the researchers would find a little bit of a different result if they mixed one pack a day smokers with people who smoked half a pack a day or people who smoke two packs a day or more. Then they would see that the onset of symptoms are a tad more variable than they are reporting here, some shorter some longer.

The research went on to say that withdrawal symptoms peaked within 72 hours and could go on to some degree for a couple of weeks.

Then there was of course the conclusions drawn of how NRT can assist smokers during this time period. Instead of getting the message out that these symptoms are temporary, usually minor and ALWAYS non-life threatening, the study is being used as a platform to push the merits of NRT.

The bottom line is when a person stops smoking his or her body will likely start wanting nicotine. If he or she doesn't give in to the desire or perceived need, the body will adjust and in a relatively short time period the body's demand for nicotine will cease. Then for the person to avoid ever having to face these kind of physical symptoms again will be as simple as sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 19th, 2006, 1:51 am #57

Audio lesson addressing this issue: Relearning to do things without cigarettes
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

December 17th, 2006, 11:46 pm #58

Avoiding situation where you used to smoke Dial Up
4.67mb
HS/BB
13.94mb
Audio
1.51mb
Length
12:39
Date Added
11/29/06
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

March 26th, 2007, 7:37 pm #59


Limbic Activation to Cigarette Smoking Cues Independent of Nicotine Withdrawal:
A Perfusion fMRI Study

Neuropsychopharmacology. March 21, 2007 [Epub ahead of print]

Franklin TR, Wang Z, Wang J, Sciortino N, Harper D, Li Y, Ehrman R, Kampman K, O'brien CP, Detre JA, Childress AR. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Exposure to cigarette smoking cues can trigger physiological arousal and desire to smoke. The brain substrates of smoking cue-induced craving (CIC) are beginning to be elucidated; however, it has been difficult to study this state independent of the potential contributions of pharmacological withdrawal from nicotine. Pharmacological withdrawal itself may have substantial effects on brain activation to cues, either by obscuring or enhancing it, and as CIC is not reduced by nicotine replacement strategies, its neuro-anatomical substrates may differ. Thus, characterizing CIC is critical for developing effective interventions.

This study used arterial spin-labeled (ASL) perfusion fMRI, and newly developed and highly appetitive, explicit smoking stimuli, to examine neural activity to cigarette CIC in an original experimental design that strongly minimizes contributions from pharmacological withdrawal. Twenty-one smokers (12 females) completed smoking and nonsmoking cue fMRI sessions. Craving self-reports were collected before and after each session. SPM2 software was employed to analyze data.

Blood flow (perfusion) in a priori-selected regions was greater during exposure to smoking stimuli compared to nonsmoking stimuli (p<0.01; corrected) in ventral striatum, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, medial thalamus, and left insula. Perfusion positively correlated with intensity of cigarette CIC in both the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (r(2)=0.54) and posterior cingulate (r(2)=0.53).

This pattern of activation that includes the ventral striatum, a critical reward substrate, and the interconnected amygdala, cingulate and OFC, is consistent with decades of animal research on the neural correlates of conditioned drug reward.

PMID: 17375140 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Online link to this study abstract
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

October 20th, 2007, 11:01 pm #60

From above:
The kind of trigger talked about here is not just when going out to different places though, home based activities will have the same reaction. Any activity that takes over 20 minutes would eventually get tied into smoking. Mowing the lawn, laundry, using the bathroom, paying bills, talking on the phone, basically, anything that took time very likely became a smoking based activity or had built in smoking breaks associated with them. The first time encountering any of these activities after cessation would be a powerful trigger.

But again, the only way to break these associations is by encountering them the first times, and overcoming them. After a few repeated episodes, not smoking will become the habit for the event. Again, not by time passing but rather by repeated experience. But my closing statement above still applies to them. No matter what triggers occur, all that you need to do to overcome it and learn a new experience as an ex-smoker is to Never Take Another Puff!
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

January 5th, 2008, 8:59 am #61

From  Restoring volume control :
So what do you do, if you are addicted to smoking cigarettes and you want to stop? When use of an addictive drug like nicotine is stopped, the level of signaling along the many affected pathways will change to levels far from normal.

If the drug is not reintroduced, the altered level of signalling will eventually induce the nerve cells to once again make compensatory changes that restore an appropriate balance of activities within the brain.

Over time, receptor numbers, their sensitivity, and patterns of release of neurotransmitters all revert to normal, once again producing normal levels of signalling along the pathways.

There is no way to avoid the down side. The pleasure pathways will not function at normal levels until the number of receptors on the affected nerve cells have time to readjust.
Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on January 18th, 2012, 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

August 6th, 2008, 8:21 am #62

Your brain is healing! Stay smart and let yourself continue to heal through each trigger experienced. The truth is that you will become experienced at living life comfortably without your drug controlling you. Let time and triggers come and go. It is so worth it.

Sal
Five years, six months, three weeks, three days, 18 hours, 20 minutes and 26 seconds. 48786 cigarettes not smoked, saving $9,757.07. Life saved: 24 weeks, 1 day, 9 hours, 30 minutes.
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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:41 pm

September 27th, 2008, 7:44 pm #63

Obviously, I'm in no position to disagree with someone of Joel's background on a subject like the cause of cravings (!), but when I read this, I wanted to offer up an alternative theory for why this woman encountered a craving in the ice cream isle.

My thought is that ice cream, particularly chocolate ice cream, causes truckloads of endorphins to be released into the system. Many of us have a strong desire to eat ice cream as we walk down the ice cream isle - a result of marketing and the body's own recollection of the endorphin releases from burying a spoonful of chocolatey goodness into one's mouth.

I would suggest, Joel, that it is possible that your friend wanted to buy and eat ice cream, and that the nicotine craving that she had may have been triggered by this having been her first time addressing the fact that she a) wanted an ice cream endorphin boost, b) couldn't have it until she purchased the ice cream and got it home, and therefore c) had the urge to tie herself over with nicotine until she could get to the ice cream.

As to the increased duration of the craving, I would suggest that it is possible that seeing the ice cream, wanting the ice cream, denying herself the ice cream and not being able to smoke her way through it in the store could cause one craving, and that leaving the store (a common trigger on its own) after having suffered through an ordeal inside the store (less common) may have triggered a second craving, as smoking after an ordeal is pretty habitual.

This is an alternate suggestion - might well be wrong :)

John

P.S. I'm hitting five months without nicotine this weekend thanks to this site, this community, Joel's commitment to helping people and my understanding (finally) that the way to beat this addiction is to know that at any given point in time, I may be called upon without warning to go five minutes without allowing nicotine to enter my body. Never take another puff!
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

September 28th, 2008, 6:07 am #64

Whether the trigger was a response to wanting ice cream or a response to just not having smoked for the time period in which she was shopping is not really that important. What was important was that a thought for a cigarette was now triggered by some affiliation with the isle. By not taking the cigarette, the person started the process of breaking the specific trigger, whatever it may have been. The next time she faced the same situation the response would probably have been less pronounced and after a few times getting through the isle it probably no longer resulted in any smoking thought.

As it says above:

Sometimes the triggers don't make so much sense, at least on the surface. The trick is just to always have your guard up, being prepared daily for anything. For no matter how long you are off smoking, triggers can and will occur.
Sometimes triggers will be obvious and easy to identify, like running into an old friend who is a chain smoker and you always smoked with them in the past. Sometimes they will be less obvious though, like when it is an old friend who has always been a non-smoker. Whenever you were with them in the past, you too would never smoke because they were around. So why would they make you think of a cigarette?

Well, before you would ever go to see them, you would smoke a few extra cigarettes just to be able to stay with them a little longer. Or more likely, the trigger wouldn't happen when you first see them, but rather as soon as they would leave. More accurately, it would hit as soon as you were out of their line of vision. In the past, that is when you would instantly light up. Even though you never smoked in their presence, you were still a smoker when with them. This association will last until these initial first encounters with them breaking the pattern and mindset that you are a smoker in this particular circumstance.

As more and more time passes, experiences like this become more sporadic. But keep focused daily. When you wake up say today is another day you will not smoke. So if these rare occurrences happen, you are ready. And again at the end of the day congratulate yourself for another victorious day without smoking.

Hang in there and don't let the triggers get you. Make each one just another learning experience. The lesson, no matter what triggers a thought, to beat it, Never Take Another Puff!
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

October 31st, 2008, 6:24 am #65

From  Restoring volume control :
So what do you do, if you are addicted to smoking cigarettes and you want to stop? When use of an addictive drug like nicotine is stopped, the level of signaling along the many affected pathways will change to levels far from normal.

If the drug is not reintroduced, the altered level of signalling will eventually induce the nerve cells to once again make compensatory changes that restore an appropriate balance of activities within the brain.

Over time, receptor numbers, their sensitivity, and patterns of release of neurotransmitters all revert to normal, once again producing normal levels of signalling along the pathways.

There is no way to avoid the down side. The pleasure pathways will not function at normal levels until the number of receptors on the affected nerve cells have time to readjust.
Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on January 18th, 2012, 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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