Assess Your Smoking Habit


smoke_lady 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 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, list all that apply:


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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