Whether you love to smoke with friends, or find yourself chain smoking when stressed, understanding your smoking type, and why you’ve developed a cigarette habit, will help you determine the best plan for a life free from cigarettes.
It’s safe to say that we all know smoking is bad for our health and highly addictive thanks to nicotine, the active, buzz-inducing ingredient in cigarettes. But smoking may be getting a hold of you in a different way.
Smoking habits differ for each person and understanding your motives, or smoking behaviours may help you quit smoking for good.
What are the effects of smoking on your body?
- carbon monoxide
And that’s just naming a few of the nasty chemicals you’re potentially breathing in. Every time you smoke a cigarette, you’re exposing yourself to dangerous carcinogens that will, over time, reduce your lifespan.
Smoking kills approximately 8 million people per year, according to the World Health Organization. If you’re a long-term smoker, you’re drastically increasing your rate of contracting health concerns such as:
- heart disease
- chronic respiratory conditions.
It’s more than just the nicotine
While we know nicotine cravings can bring us back to cigarettes time and time again, there are other factors at play; habits we create and associations with have with smoking. Some people may smoke with specific people, at a particular time of day or doing a certain activity like driving or drinking coffee.
This is why any successful approach to quitting smoking needs to be multifaceted and addresses your smoking triggers. Studies suggest that preparing your mind is just as important in treating nicotine addiction.
A good way to start your quit journey is to know which smoker type you identify with. This will help you better understand your cigarette habits and motives, and this knowledge could inform your approach to quitting smoking when you’re ready.
The four types of smokers
Not every smoker can be categorized, but there are four common types of smokers: chain smokers, anxiety, social, and diet smokers. You may identify with just one, or a combination.
Understanding why you’re hooked on the habit could help you decide your next step.
The chain smoking type
Do you smoke heavily each day, taking one cigarette after the other? If so, there’s a good chance you’re a chain smoker who’s highly addicted to nicotine. Withdrawal symptoms are particularly difficult to manage when you’re accustomed to chain smoking. This is because your body has become used to the steady flow of nicotine and the reliable buzz it delivers. When you don’t get your fix, your body screams out for it.
As an addicted smoker, it’s likely you’re chain smoking to keep the side effects at bay. But your high volume of cigarettes makes this smoking type the most dangerous because you’re exposing yourself more often to carcinogenic toxins.
If this is you, it’s a great idea to speak to your doctor. They can help you work out a plan to manage nicotine withdrawal and reduce the side effects of quitting chain smoking.
Calm your IBS in 6 weeks
Take our free assessment to discover if Nerva can work for you.
✅ 89% success rate Start
✅ 50,000+ people helped
✅ Created by Dr Simone Peters
❌ No appointments or waitlists
❌ No drugs or diet change
Hot Flash Relief
Manage your hot flashes in just 5 weeks.
✅ Science-backed & effectiveLearn more
✅ Natural & safe option
✅ Created by Dr Elkins
❌ No appointments or waitlists
❌ No medications
Unlock the power of your mind and embrace better health.Find out how
Refer, monitor and grow
A free and easy way to refer patients to digital hypnotherapy programs.Let's Connect
The diet smoker type
On top of giving you a rush, nicotine curbs your appetite and revs up your metabolism. But using smoking to keep your weight down is dangerous for your health.
If you’re a skinny smoker who is smoking for weight control, you most likely don’t want to stop because you already know that gaining weight is a common side effect of quitting cigarettes.
When you quit smoking, your body has to adjust to losing the metabolism boost nicotine provides. Also, turning to food for comfort can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, your weight might creep up once you stop smoking, with most people gaining around five to 10 pounds (2.25kg to 4.5kg) when they quit.
There are other ways to maintain a healthy weight that can also give you a variety of wellness benefits. Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and exercising can help with weight gain once you quit the habit. It can also assist your body in repairing the damage from smoking.
When you decide you’re ready to stop smoking, plan ahead and have healthy snacks on hand at home, work, and anywhere else that you’re used to lighting up, such as your car. Also, when you’re feeling restless, go for a walk or do your favorite exercise routine. It can distract you from the withdrawal side effects and help maintain your weight.
The anxiety smoker type
When stress hits, some people reach for their cigarettes to soothe their jangled nerves. But the relaxation you feel may just be the temporary relief from nicotine withdrawal. Once the nicotine wears off, your agitated feelings will return.
If you’re an anxiety smoker, you might also be hooked on the ritual of smoking. You may attach the act of smoking a cigarette to the sense of calm you feel when you take time out of your busy day for a smoke break.
Because hypnotherapy will help you enter a relaxed state, it’s a great option for soothing anxious smokers’ nervous systems too.
The social smoker type
The hook for the social smoker can be the feeling of kinship that comes with sharing a cigarette with friends.
Have a think about it: is your social circle filled with smokers? Being left at the table while everyone pops out for a nicotine hit can feel awkward and a bit isolating.
Also, it could be the ritual of lighting up after a meal with a drink in hand, enjoying a night out with friends. And with everyone else doing it, it’s easy to follow along.
This type of smoking is more intermittent and linked to specific activities, making you the least likely to be strongly addicted to nicotine. However, even though you’re smoking less than others, your health is still impacted by your social smoking habit. Some studies suggest that one cigarette may reduce your lifespan by 11 minutes.
For you, it’s a social habit, so planning ahead before events is important. When you’re ready to quit, let people know so they can lend support. Ask them not to offer you a friendly cigarette or encourage you to step outside with them for a quick smoke..
Are you ready to quit smoking?
There are many different paths you can take on the road to quitting smoking. Here are some methods that can help you manage your cigarette behaviors and show you how to quit smoking for good.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
If you’re a chain smoker or smoking every day, NRT can take the edge off cravings while you quit the habit. NRT also allows you to avoid the toxins in cigarettes while you gradually decrease your nicotine dosage as you step away from your chain smoking routine.
Just make sure you check with your doctor first as NRT isn’t suitable for everyone, such as pregnant people.
Hypnotherapy has been used as a tool to help people manage withdrawal symptoms and habitual smoking patterns for many years, and with good success rates. In fact, some studies suggest that hypnotherapy may be more effective than NRT.
Interested in hypnotherapy? Take our Quit Smoking Quiz to see if hypnotherapy could help you to give up smoking for good.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychological treatment that can help you develop strategies to change thinking patterns and behaviors. Through CBT you’ll learn helpful ways to react to the strong urges you may experience when you first stop smoking.
Read our Quit Smoking Guide for more information on quitting cigarettes for good.
The Wrap Up
Some smokers only indulge intermittently when out with friends. Some like the ritual of taking time for themselves, while others are hooked on nicotine and are caught in a chain smoking routine. Whatever your smoking type may be, knowing the ‘Why’ behind your habit can help you decide how to stop smoking when you’re preparing to quit. The road to quitting can be easier with tools like NRT, hypnotherapy, and CBT to boost your success rate and make the process less uncomfortable. Just know that you’re worthy of having improved health and a better quality of life.