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

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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.

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