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Smoking Habits and Rituals

Topic Overview

The habit of smoking is very strong: you puff on a cigarette hundreds of times each and every day—and for many years. When people who have smoked for a long time stop, they find it strange to have nothing in their hands or mouths. They have become so accustomed to handling cigarettes that their hands seek cigarettes from habit, even when they aren't strongly craving them.

Signs of a strong habit include:

  • Waiting less than 30 minutes from the time you wake up until your first cigarette.
  • Smoking automatically without thinking about it or realizing it. You find a cigarette in your mouth and don't remember putting it there.
  • Lighting a cigarette without realizing there is one burning in the ashtray.
  • Feeling that handling a cigarette, the process of lighting it, or watching the smoke as you exhale is part of the enjoyment of smoking.
  • Smoking automatically as a part of other things you do, such as drinking coffee or alcohol or talking on the telephone.

But these signs do not mean that you cannot quit smoking.

Credits

Current as of: July 4, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Michael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine