Stressful situations, socializing, and mealtime rituals are three of the most common triggers for tobacco use. And during the holidays, it may seem as if they are ALL at every turn. That is why it can be tempting to postpone efforts to quit using tobacco until after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over. However, reclaiming your health and enjoying the holidays without nicotine can be the best gift you could ever give yourself. So instead of going through the motions, try opting for a little planning, support, and insider tips. After all, you don’t have to wait to set yet another New Year’s resolution to be smoke-free.
Here are five tips for staying tobacco-free during the holidays:
Tip #1: Stock up on nicotine replacement therapy
Whether you prefer the patch, gum, or lozenge, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a proven tool for reducing your dependence on nicotine while you change your smoking and vaping habits. While it may seem counterproductive to use NRT (which delivers a time-released moderate dose of nicotine designed to gradually reduce dependence) rather than quit cold turkey, NRT can help with the difficult withdrawal symptoms that are a common barrier to quitting. Ask your pharmacist or a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist for guidance in choosing the correct dose for you, or consult the directions on the box. When used properly, NRT can nearly double your success at quitting.
Tip #2: Take it one day at a time
If you’ve worked hard to develop new, more healthful habits, and are nervous about social events during the holidays that might be a trigger, take it slow and steady. Instead of thinking about the entire duration of the holidays ahead of you, renew your commitment each day with the tools and strategies that work best for you. The Kwit app for smartphones makes it fun and rewarding to keep nicotine at bay, builds community with others, and encourages you with achievements and goals. Or, keep track of your savings by visiting this tobacco savings calculator, and treat yourself with something fun!
Tip #3: Get enough rest and movement
Tobacco cravings can feel stronger when you’re tired or feeling run down. Get enough sleep at night, and take a power nap during the day if you can. If napping isn’t an option, take the opportunity for a 10-minute walk. Not only is it a craving-squasher, some research shows that a walk can give you a bigger energy boost than a nap!
Tip #4: Take a “smoke break”
Have you ever noticed that most people who smoke claim that it helps them reduce stress? You may be surprised to learn that nicotine actually has the opposite effect. But, everything else that happens on a smoke break is a proven stress reducer: getting up from your chair, walking outside, being in nature, having a change of scenery, and breathing deeply. Leave out the cigarette or vape, and you’ve got yourself a very beneficial and effective “smoke break,” without the smoke! Just one thing — go to a new place (not where you used to smoke) and practice some of these deep breathing exercises for nicotine withdrawal.
Tip #5: Stay in touch with a Health Advisor
Schedule regular appointments with your Health Advisor for objective, informed, supportive, and positive accountability through the holidays and beyond.
Not ready to quit? Here are some key facts from the World Health Organization that you mind find interesting!
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- Tobacco kills more than eight million people each year. More than seven million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Over 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.
- In 2020, 22.3% of the global population used tobacco, 36.7% of all men and 7.8% of the world’s women.
- To address the tobacco epidemic, WHO Member States adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003. Currently 182 countries have ratified this treaty.
- The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO FCTC and have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure.