For many smokers the holidays are a popular time to quit smoking. It can be a way to symbolize the renewal that often comes with the holidays themselves. This time of year also has its own challenges. The holidays are usually a time when stress can be a bit higher than usual with everyone preparing for travel, holiday menus, visiting relatives, etc. That extra stress can be seen as an "excuse" to postpone quitting or it can be seen as a "reason" to put off the quit attempt. Excuses are not helpful, but "reasons" are. Excuses too often can produce guilt. Reasons are the result of a thoughtful process to intentionally position your quit attempt in your favor. If you're going to quit smoking during the holiday season, set yourself up for success by picking your quit date and preparing for it. Get the support you'll need, and have your medications available.
There is no perfect time to quit smoking. It just doesn't exist. But, if you intentionally have a definite plan, you can stop smoking even during the holidays! Don't make quitting smoking any harder than it needs to be. Pick your time to quit, make the necessary preparations and then quit on your date. Sometimes the holidays can actually be a good time to quit, if you are well prepared. Enjoy your holiday season by becoming smoke-free! You will never regret it.
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