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Seven tips for a smoke-free holiday season


Snowflakes and the Northern Health logo

December is a busy month with lots of celebrations that bring people together.

However, for those who have recently quit smoking or vaping, these festivities can be difficult. Being around friends, family, or coworkers who smoke or vape can be a common trigger for many people trying to stay smoke- and/or vape-free.

Staying smoke-free is tough, but don’t forget that you're tough too!

It’s important to remember that a nicotine addiction causes withdrawal symptoms when we don’t have a constant supply of it, making it harder to quit.

However, there are ways to improve your chances of living smoke- and vape-free by having the right tools, supports, and coping mechanisms in place.

Even though it might be challenging at times, especially during celebrations, here are some tips to help you preplan and succeed in staying smoke- and/or vape-free this holiday season:

  1. Have a plan in place. This is a lifestyle change, so it’s important to plan for triggers and situations that may tempt you to smoke or vape.
  2. Talk openly about your smoke-free goal with friends, family, and coworkers. This can keep you on track and may encourage them to support you.
  3. Identify your cues. Find alternatives to holding a cigarette or vape pen, such as using a stress ball, holding a stick of celery or carrot, or even holding a pen.
  4. Be aware of temptations and plan for slip-ups. Remember the 4D’s: delay, practice deep breathing, drink water, and do something else to distract yourself.
  5. Give yourself permission to leave or go home early. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel tempted, it’s okay to remove yourself from it.
  6. Don’t worry if you have a slipup! It doesn’t mean you failed. Look at what made you slip and take steps to avoid that situation in the future.
  7. Make use of cessation services in combination with nicotine replacement therapy and medication. Having access to these resources can be helpful in your journey to stay smoke-free.
  8. Keep up the great work! Nicotine replacement therapy can help you resist the urge to smoke.

Remember, you can do this! Stay strong and make a commitment to yourself to have a smoke- and/or vape-free holiday season.

If you want support in your journey to being smoke- or vape-free, the following resources can help:

  • The BC Smoking Cessation Program helps with nicotine replacement therapy if you need it.
  • The Talk Tobacco Indigenous Quit Smoking and Vaping Support specifically supports Indigenous individuals in their journey towards quitting. You can call them at 1-833-998-8255 (TALK).
  • The quitnow.ca website (or call 1-877-455-2233) provides more information and resources on how to quit smoking and vaping.