Whether you're a former smoker or a current smoker who is trying to quit, summer brings on temptations that can make it hard to stay away from cigarettes. Pool side parties and barbecues can make you crave a cigarette, and your friends who still smoke may try to tempt you with their unhealthy habit.
But there's no need to give in to the social pressure to smoke. It is possible to stay smoke free, or even to quit smoking, without sacrificing a single summer party. By adopting a few simple strategies, you can stay on track with your health goals and keep cigarettes out of your summer.
Select a Substitute
Most smokers are addicted to the taste and sensation of smoking. Fortunately, summer parties usually have plenty of options to keep your hands busy and your taste buds happy.
To combat your cravings for these physical elements of smoking - and keep nicotine at bay - try to distract yourself with a healthier habit. Chewing gum can be a helpful substitute, or grab a few crunchy treats, such as carrot sticks or nuts. Even a less-than-healthy snack, such as a piece of hard candy, is better than picking up a cigarette.
Don't Linger with Smokers
You needn't avoid your smoking friends at a party - but you also don't need to hang around them every time they light up. Former smokers often describe missing the social element of smoking, since chatting during a cigarette is an easy way to make friends. There are plenty of other ways to meet people at a party, so make sure you spend time with circles of non-smokers too.
Instead of hanging with the smoking crowd outside the house, or in a backyard cluster, find some non-smoking friends or meet new people. Try the indoor crowd if you need to separate yourself from secondhand smoke. If cooking is in progress in the kitchen, offer to pitch in. If a game is underway in the living room, ask if you can join the fun. Better yet, suggest your own favorite board game or pastime.
Remember the Reasons
In the heat of the moment, when people are lighting up around you, it may seem like the advantages of smoking outweigh your reasons for wanting to quit. Don't let this happen. Remind yourself of why you've stopped smoking, or why you're trying to free yourself of cigarettes.
In case you need a few reminders, there are numerous health benefits associated with a smoke-free lifestyle. Smoking damages virtually every organ in your body, and can lead to numerous forms of life-threatening cancers, including lung, mouth, and throat cancer. According to estimates smoking kills around 900,000 people in India every year. Secondhand smoke is also harmful to those around you.
When you feel the urge to smoke, do whatever it takes to remind yourself of the dangers of smoking. Try writing out a list of reasons, and keeping it in your wallet to refresh your memory when you're feeling tempted. Alternatively, ask a non-smoking friend or family member to help you stay on track, and give you support when you need it.
Keep It Real
If ever you waver in your desire to quit, or to stay smoke free, it may help to be aware of these facts and statistics from the Tobacco Control Foundation of India (TCFI): Smoking is limited only to human species; the first smoking experience is not pleasurable. Less than 30 percent of the total population in India now smokes. Non-smokers have smokers outnumbered by over 70 percent. So even if you feel like an outsider among the smokers in a summer crowd, remember that you're far from alone. You're part of the majority of Indians who have decided to prioritize health and longevity over an unhealthy habit.