4th of July blog
July 4th is a time to celebrate with family and friends – and also a time to celebrate a healthier you! You’ve already shown a commitment to a healthier future by deciding to stop smoking. Another way to feel better is to take steps to manage spending time with friends and family who might still use tobacco. With a little planning you can enjoy the festivities and still stay smoke-free!
Celebrations can bring back strong memories of tobacco use, and trigger powerful urges to smoke – especially if you have friends or family who still use tobacco. These three steps can help:
- Who will be there? Who will be supportive and who might not be? Who can you talk to ahead of time to line up support? What will be the most challenging moments?
- How will you actually handle the situation? Who will you plan to spend time with? Are there any places you plan to avoid? Practice in your mind how you want to tell people you have quit using tobacco and how they can help you.
- If your doctor has recommended medications to help you stop using tobacco, make sure you bring these with you to the celebration – and use them! Spend time with the people who have offered support. Drink some cold water, and find some fruits or veggies to munch on. If all else fails, excuse yourself and take a short walk. Even cut the evening short if you are concerned you might use some tobacco. Fireworks are not worth the price of all the hard work you have done so far!
There are a lot of “firsts” that go along with stopping smoking. You will probably always remember your “first” winter not using tobacco, your “first” big argument without smoking, studying for your “first” final exam with no cigarettes, and also your “first” 4th of July without lighting up. But your second 4th of July (and then your 3rd!) not smoking should get a lot easier.
Share your smoke-free 4th of July stories with your friends 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 more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org