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In order to have the best chance of quitting successfully, it’s helpful to know why and when you smoke, so that you can prepare for withdrawals, cravings and triggers.

Here are some common reasons why people smoke:

  • Addiction―you do it to satisfy your body’s craving for nicotine.
  • Emotion―you do it to relieve immediate stress, to console yourself if you’re upset, or as a reward when you’re happy.
  • Habit―certain situations can trigger you to think about smoking, like seeing your friends smoke, or having a cup of coffee.


Nicotine addiction

Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco and is what makes you want to keep smoking.

Smoking soon after waking, or waking at night to smoke, are signs of nicotine addiction. The more you smoke, the greater the nicotine addiction.

Do you have any of these signs of nicotine addiction?

  • You smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up
  • You smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day
  • You have cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit

Nicotine affects the chemicals in your brain, and after a puff, you may feel good for a moment or two. It produces different effects on the body at the same time. It may make you feel relaxed or more alert but this doesn’t last long.

When you go without cigarettes it’s common to feel the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as feeling anxious, hungry and irritable, and finding it hard to focus on what you are doing. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can make quitting difficult.  It may take a few attempts to work out how to handle your nicotine withdrawal.

The most intense nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually ease after the first few weeks. Planning to deal with withdrawal from nicotine can increase your chance of successfully quitting. You may also appreciate the help of quitting products and medications.

Even after successfully giving up smoking, most smokers who try to just have an occasional cigarette quickly return to regular smoking.

For ongoing support in understanding and dealing with nicotine addiction, call Quitline 13 7848.