How to stay smoke-free in summer

Summer parties, BBQs and drinking can all be social triggers for smoking. Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White shares some tips for controlling cravings.

Written by Dr Sarah White

Summer can be a testing time for people who want to quit smoking or have recently gone smoke-free. It’s a popular time for BBQs, parties, festivals, and, of course, drinking, which is both a strong social trigger for smoking and reduces will-power to refuse ‘just a puff’.

So if you’re trying to quit – or want to avoid lighting up again – here are some tips to help keep the urge to smoke at bay:

  • Take something to keep your hands busy – playing with your necklace, watch or phone can help.
  • Take a walk around the block or step into a no-smoking zone (e.g. indoors) for 10 minutes if it's getting tough.
  • Plan ahead and consider what you’ll say to people if they offer you a smoke. Something like “No thanks, I don’t smoke anymore” is a good idea.
  • Ask your friends to support your decision to quit smoking and to not offer you cigarettes.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. Too much can weaken your resolve to quit smoking (or avoid lighting up again) and make you more likely to slip up.
  • Be wary of the ‘just one’ thought. It nearly always leads to full-time smoking again – do you really want to go through the hard stuff again?

Each time you resist a craving you’re helping your mind to break the link between that activity – such as drinking and smoking. You’re teaching yourself to be a non-smoker, one day and one habit at a time. You are also breaking the physical addiction to nicotine, which is where the withdrawal symptoms like headaches and crankiness come from.

If you need a little more support, give the Quitline a call or ask Quitline to call you. They can help you work out what to say and do in these situations.

MORE: How to quit smoking.

Written by Dr Sarah White

Dr Sarah White is the Director of Quit Victoria. Her previous roles include Director of Communications at the Royal Women’s Hospital and global director of communications at the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research.

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