In my previous articles I have been writing about facing the triggers that get people to smoke, and coming up with a plan to avoid smoking cigarettes. One of the most common reasons people smoke is after a meal. I thought for a long time, and was unable to come up with a good reason why I smoke after I eat. So I decided to take a few moments to look on the Internet, for a scientific reason people smoke after meals. To my surprise there was no true answer. Indigestion, dieting, and rituals, were the few answers I was able to find that I believed to be true.
Indigestion seems to be the number one reason people smoke after meals. I am sure that most people understand that smoking does not cure indigestion, but psychologically makes us think we feel better. The long term affects of this self medicating could cause serious physical problems. Indigestion can be caused from the acids burning up from the stomach, burning the lining of the esophagus. If indigestion is this severe, it needs professional medical attention. There are over the counter remedies that are available to aid indigestion. This are also quick fixes, and not recommended for long term use. Only a medical professional can prescribe medications and other treatments that can create a long lasting, and healthier alternative to smoking after a meal.
Dieting is another reason people smoke after meals. Smoking helps curb an appetite, which minimizes the amount of food intake per meal, if there is even any ingestion happening at all. This is another serious medical problem, more commonly known as Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is a eating disorder where the person is not eating any food at all. These people may graze little amounts of food each day to avoid fainting, or worse, starvation. Weight gain is a major worry for many people quitting smoking. Finding a healthy solution for smoking is the goal, not to create a new one like obesity. Finding an alternative to smoking needs to keep hands and mouths busy to help with the habit of smoking. Chewing gum, or having a lollipop are quick ways to conquer the oral fixation that most smokers develop from smoking cigarettes. Joining a gym may help with the confidence of weight loss.
The best answer I found for why people smoke after meals was written by a woman named Mylinda. She stated that smoking after a meal was a type of ritual. This made the most sense to me seeing that asking several different smokers the same question, and they all looked stumped. I agree that this is more of a ritual than a habit because only smokers do it. It is like you need to be in the “club” to participate. Having that after meal smoke is a signal that the meal is over. The best solution is to find an after meal activity.
Checking email, washing dishes, reading, walking family pet, and playing a board/video game are all activities that can become a habit to replace the ritual of smoking after a meal. This is difficult especially when living with another smoker because the ritual was performed together, and now that needs to change. Suggesting activities to the smoker can help separate their ritual to your new habits. Allowing the smoker to walk the family pet, or take the children for a walk can allow the quitter a chance to complete their activity. The important thing to remember about quitting smoking is that it is a process, and needs to be taken step by step.