Planning ahead – When preparing for that holiday soiree, take some time to think about what kind of situation it will be. Will there be smokers there? Do you have former smoking buddies who will be there expecting you to join in? If so, what is your plan? Will you tell them up front that you no longer smoke or find some other way to manage it? How will you handle alcohol use? Some people abstain, some reduce their use if it will be a situation that puts them at high risk for relapse to smoking. The important thing is to make an honest assessment of yourself, and then plan accordingly.
Fire Escape Plan – Like the saying goes, it is best to plan your fire escape when the house is NOT on fire. The same goes for planning how you will get yourself away from a cigarette BEFORE it is offered to you. Whether your plan is to say you need to call and check on the kids, signal your significant other that you need to talk, or rush to the bathroom, decide ahead of time how you will handle it so that you can put your plan into action immediately should you need it.Other important considerations include utilizing your support networks, and establishing alternatives to smoking. We’ll talk about those considerations in our next holiday blog. Until then – enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season. Be sure to also check out our section on Staying an EX at BecomeAnEX.org.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org.