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How to Avoid Holiday Smoking Pressures
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
December 20, 2016

How to Avoid Holiday Smoking Pressures

Mom and son building a gingerbread house
Mom and son building a gingerbread house

It may feel like the holidays are a long and challenging season of not smoking you need to get through. But remember, quitting is all about taking it one hour, one day and one week at a time. If you have concrete strategies to make it through tough moments, you’ll be able to resist the urge to smoke when it strikes and move on. Let’s talk about the biggest pressures of the holiday season and how you can avoid them.


If you know that attending a certain get-together will make you want to light up, think about skipping it this year. If you must attend, come with a game plan. Urges usually last for three to five minutes, whether you smoke or not. Tools like your Quit Kit and a list of things you can do instead of smoking (like drinking a glass of water or chewing a piece of sugarfree gum) will help distract you until the feeling passes. Ask your host if you can help them serve apps or DJ the tunes — whatever it takes to stay busy!

Friends and family who smoke…

If you know you’ll see a group of friends and family over the holidays who you’ve smoked with in the past, especially if you’re hosting, you might want to give them a heads-up you’ve quit. If they still pressure you to smoke, know exactly how you’ll say no. It might be, “Nope, I actually quit,” or “No thanks, I’ve had enough of those already!” Practice saying your response out loud in a mirror before you have to say it for real. 

Food and drink…

'Tis the season of an endless supply of cookies. But it’s important that you continue to make healthy choices. Avoid spicy and sugary eats, which may increase urges, and lean in on that veggie platter. Crunchy healthy snacks like nuts and carrot sticks will keep your mouth busy and give you the energy you might need to handle potential stress. At parties, stick to low-cal non-alcoholic options, like seltzer with lime. Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water can reduce headaches and help you manage your weight. 


Stresses like having lots of family in town, tons of gifts to buy and hardly any vacation time may cause you to want to light up.  Your preferred relaxation techniques — from deep breathing to pillow punching — will help get you through those hectic holiday moments. Don't be too hard on yourself either. If you don't tackle your whole shopping list or have seconds on dessert, that’s okay. You’re accomplishing so much just by not smoking, like saving money from not buying cigarettes and improving your family’s health by avoiding secondhand smoke.  Stay focused on those victories and before you know it, you’ll be ringing in the New Year smokefree and feeling better than ever!

What are your tricks for avoiding holiday smoking pressures? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.