Staying Smoke Free on Holiday

It’s that time of year when many of us are thinking about taking some time out. Holidays are a great opportunity to relax and recuperate which is essential for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

However, when quitting smoking is concerned, a break from your normal routine can expose you to hidden triggers that can sabotage your quit journey. Whether you plan to fly off to an exotic location or have a staycation here in the UK, here are some top tips to help you stay smoke free whilst enjoying yourself:

  • Limit your alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol can increase triggers to smoke, lower your inhibitions and affect your decision making. Alcohol also makes you dehydrated which can make cravings stronger. You don’t have to be alcohol free but be responsible, drink plenty of water before, after and between alcoholic drinks to avoid dehydration. Try changing your usual tipple for something different. Evidence shows that smells of certain drinks that you drank regularly when you were a smoker can act as a trigger and create cravings to smoke.

If you are concerned about your alcohol use, or think you may have a problem with alcohol you can speak to Path to Recovery or Compass Drug and Alcohol Service who can offer advice and support.

  • Eat regularly – With your normal daily routine disrupted it can be easy to forget to eat breakfast lunch and dinner. Being hungry can make cravings more intense and add to low mood which can be confused with cravings to smoke. Plan your food and have easy quick snacks to hand that you can take with you if you’re heading out and about and are not able to sit down for a meal.
  • Stay Hydrated – As mentioned above dehydration and hunger can both make cravings stronger and harder to ignore. Remember to drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquid and stay hydrated. For more advice on how much you should be drinking and signs of dehydration visit NHS  hydration advice.
  • Take enough medication – Running out of Nicotine Replacement Medication, Champix or E-cigarette liquid or battery can spell disaster on holiday. If you are using aids to help you quit and stay smoke free make sure you have enough to keep the cravings away. If you are receiving support from the Stop Smoking Service speak to your advisor or one of the team on 0800 013 0553 to get your medication for travel. (Please leave at least 4 working days to receive your prescription.)
  • Treat yourself – It can feel like you are missing out if it is your first holiday without smoking. But have you considered what else you could spend this money on? Work out how much you would have spent on holiday on cigarettes and plan a trip or a treat to take home for the same amount. It’s surprising how much extra cash you will have to spend on trips and treats when you don’t have to spend out on tobacco or cigarettes.
  • Plan for cravings – Sometimes cravings will strike unexpectedly, keep calm you can handle them. A craving last approximately 5 minutes, so here are some things to do to get you through:
    1. Use your medication or e-cigarette. There are lots of products available from the Stop Smoking Service which are designed to provide safe nicotine without the nasties and help nip cravings in the bud.
    2. Get up and move away from where you are (as there may be triggers to smoke nearby).
    3. Read a book, play a game on your phone, talk to a friend or go for a walk. The key is finding something else to do to take your mind off of the craving until it passes.
    4. Chew gum, suck mints, have a healthy snack or sip water to keep your mouth busy.
    5. If you are feeling uptight or a little ‘stressed’ close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to help you relax.
    6. Avoid sitting in smoking areas in bars or restaurants where possible.  If there are smokers nearby move away from them (if you can)