Holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable time when family and friends gather together with food and drinks, but it can also be stressful as people rush from place to place. A cigarette can sound like the perfect way to de-stress, especially during a busy holiday season, but cessation coaches at the Asian Smokers’ Quitline have tips and encouragement for people attempting to quit, or want to stay quit through the season.
“Holidays are fun but they can also be stressful, so it’s important to be aware of triggers and to get extra support,” said Dr. Caroline Chen, project manager of the Asian Smokers’ Quitline. “Let family and friends know that you’re trying to quit, and ask for their support in helping you lead a healthier life.”
Here are some other general tips from cessation coaches on ways to avoid triggers and stay quit during the holidays:
- In the midst of holiday busyness, get adequate rest.
- Avoid spicy and sugary foods, and alcohol. Holidays are often all about the eating and feasting, but avoid foods that will make you crave cigarettes even more. Eat fruit or less sugary dessert on the menu. As for alcohol, put it away, and instead, reach for a sugar-free seltzer, club soda, or apple cider.
- If weather allows, go for a walk. To prevent taking up a new bad habit such as eating whatever you can find to avoid having a cigarette, stay active and exercise.
- Spend time with non-smokers. If all your friends are smokers, it may be time to make some new friends. Keep some distance from smokers, and create a community of people who are ex-smokers or non-smokers to help you keep busy and away from smoking.
- Having a supportive community is important on this journey. Call the Quitline! Call the Asian Smokers’ Quitline, a free nationwide telephone program for Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-speakers who want to quit. When you call, a friendly staff person will offer various services: self-help materials, a referral list of other programs, one-on-one counseling over the phone, and a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches.
- Lastly, don’t give up on quitting. You can do it!
About the Asian Smokers’ Quitline:
The Asia Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) provides FREE, accessible, evidence-based smoking cessation services in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese to Asian communities in the U.S. ASQ has been shown to double their chances of quitting successfully. Services are provided by native speakers trained in smoking cessation. Eligible callers receive a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches.
Health care providers and others in the community are encouraged to refer Asian language speaking smokers to ASQ. To learn more about referring, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the web referral link at www.asiansmokersquitline.org. Smokers can also call ASQ directly or enroll themselves online at www.asq-chinese.org, www.asq-korean.org, or www.asq-viet.org.
ASQ is funded by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has served over 8,000 callers since it was established in 2012.
ASQ is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 9pm Pacific Time
Asian Smokers’ Quitline
To learn more about ASQ (in English), visit: www.asiansmokersquitline.org.
At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking.
Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
This post was created by the Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) of University of California, San Diego