Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / NOV. 01, 2014
version 8, draft 8

How to Successfully Quit Smoking While at Work

Quitting smoking

There are more than one billion smokers worldwide. The United States ranked 51 regarding cigarette consumption, Canada ranked 63, while the United Kingdom ranked 73. If the United Kingdom ranked 73, how many people are smoking? Even though 73 doesn’t seem impactful, more than ten million Brits are smokers. Of those ten million, 60% said they could not go a day without smoking.

We now know more than ever. Not only are cigarettes packed with chemicals, but they’re an expensive habit. Within the British population, 22% of women are now ex-smokers, while 27% of men no longer smoke. Of those currently smoking, an estimated 70% say they’d like to quit. And the best help they can get would be through a vaping product that is designed for people who are determined to quit smoking.

If you’re a smoker, you know how addictive cigarettes can be. Although they’re causing a decline in both your health and bank account, many just cannot seem to quit their habit. You CAN quit, you just need to stay motivated.

Withdrawal effects seem overwhelming, however, these will subside. If you’re currently trying to quit, how are you affected at work? What challenges are there? The following reasons provide clues as to why it’s so hard to quit at work and what you can do to avoid a smoking addiction relapse.

Why Quitting at Work is Challenging and What You Can Do

We spend a lot of time at work. If you’re a smoker, you more than likely sneak a few breaks throughout the day to hold you over. There are also individuals that chain smoke during their lunch break. If you’re trying to quit, your work environment may not only be tempting, but overwhelming.

The following symptoms are associated with withdrawal, creating challenges. There are also tips included, allowing this transition to be as smooth as possible.


Let’s face it, if you’re feeling anxious, work is probably the last place you’d like to be. Anxiety can be extremely overwhelming. It is said that between 60-90% of smokers experience anxiety while trying to quit. This generally surfaces after 24-hours, peaking within the first week.

Some research supports the theory that nicotine actually helps curve feelings of anxiety. When individuals quit, they experience a temporary change in their brain chemistry. This will typically subside after a few weeks.

In order to help curve your anxiety at work during the first week, practice self-management. It’s beneficial to be alone in a quiet area. You can then practice deep breathing, as this helps reduce feelings of anxiety.

Speak to a colleague about the way in which you’re feeling. Let them know that you may become agitated and overwhelmed. It can be helpful to talk to someone, especially if they understand what you’re going through. If you know someone that has successfully quit, approach them. They can provide you with encouragement, assuring you that those feelings will pass.


Many people work with a group of individuals who smoke. It may be a ritual, all going out for a cigarette and chatting. You may have individuals that ask you to come, even though they know you’re trying to quit. Smoking at work is a common scenario, so simply being at work may trigger your cravings.

Focus on the times you get the worst cravings. When lunch rolls around, are you thinking about where you’d normally be? Smokers generally head out for a smoke during this time period, so it can be tempting. Simply ask others not to invite you to join them. If someone else is interested in quitting, try to quit together. You can create a little support team for one another.


If you’re trying to complete an assignment, yet all you can think about is cigarettes, you may find it challenging to be productive. It’s important that you eliminate cravings, so that you can continue your work. Your cravings will be the strongest within the first week, so prepare yourself. If you can make it through the first week, then there’s no reason not to continue.

You need to keep reminding yourself that the cravings will pass. They do not control you, you control yourself. When you think about having that next cigarette, remind yourself why you’re quitting. Has your health deteriorated? Has smoking negatively affected your marriage? Remind yourself of what’s important.

You should also keep a few healthy snacks at your desk. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. Snacking throughout the day is recommended whether you’re a smoker or not. However, when smokers try to quit, they tend to eat more. If you’re eating healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and fruit, there’s no need to limit consumption.

Lack of Concentration

It’s important to stay focused and alert at work. When you lack concentration, you may not complete as many tasks, falling behind. This is one of the most common symptoms. When you first try to quit, smoking may be all you can focus on. This tends to hinder your productivity.

It’s important to stay distracted. Instead of sitting at your desk obsessing over a cigarette, make sure you’re constantly staying busy. Set up all of your tasks for the day. That way, once one task is completed, you can start on another. It’s important to stay busy, distracting yourself from cravings.

Smoking may have been a part of your life for years. However, it no longer needs to control you. Prepare yourself, because work may create stressors and tempting moments. You need to continually remind yourself why you’re quitting. Believe in yourself.

Once you do quit, you’ll see how strong and motivated you really are. After you overcome the smoking hurdle, you can focus on more productive goals. If there’s an upcoming promotion, focus on that. After you quit smoking, you’ll see that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

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