On July 4th, the United States celebrates Independence Day. It is traditionally a day full of family, fun, and fireworks. For many, this day can also symbolize an independence from smoking. At the same time, holidays often include socializing, laughter, alcohol, and other factors that were once triggers to smoke. Whether you stopped smoking 20 days or 20 years ago, it is important to create a game plan for dealing with any situations that may bring up urges to smoke
Here are a few suggestions for helping you celebrate a tobacco free Fourth of July.
* Make a commitment tomorrow morning to end the day smoke-free. Making a clear decision about how you want to start and end your day can increase awareness of the choices that will support your recovery.
* Examine your plans for the day and look for potential high risk and “trigger” activities. There are many examples of traditional July 4th activities that can be difficult for the newly quit tobacco user including: being outside, drinking alcohol, and being around others who are smoking. It’s good to have a plan for how you want to manage each of these and any other predictable trigger moments.
* Identify and enlist people from whom you can get support. Having tobacco-free allies can help to keep you on track, and to overcome difficult spots. I encourage folks to talk with support people ahead of time so that if things get tough, they can quickly tap into the support they’ve lined up.
* Enjoy the day! Having more experiences that prove life can be fun and enjoyable without tobacco is important. Find ways to continue to do the things and be with the people you enjoy all while smoke-free.