Newswise — NEW YORK, December 19, 2014 - Shopping, traveling, and spending time with the family—the holiday season is an overwhelming combination of joy and stress. For many former tobacco smokers, stress is a trigger to reach for a cigarette. Stay smoke-free during the holidays with these tips.

(1) Remind yourself of the reasons you quit in the first place.Write down the top three reasons you quit smoking and put them somewhere you can see daily. For example, quitting smoking is beneficial for your health, reducing your risk of cancer and other diseases. By quitting smoking, you will also protect your loved ones from the dangers of secondhand smoke. There are many reasons to quit smoking— remembering your personal reasons will keep you motivated and determined to stay smoke-free.

(2) Make an action plan for how you are going to handle your holiday triggers.For example, during the festivities, try to stay away from drinking alcohol and going overboard with holiday feasting, as these behaviors can often trigger craving a cigarette. Instead, reach for a low-calorie snack, chewing gum, or a glass of water. Have a plan for every trigger.

(3) If you feel the urge to smoke, don’t give in, and remember the 5Ds:Delay. The urge will soon pass.Drink water.Do something else.Deep breathe.Discuss feelings with a friend or family member.

(4) Reward yourself for staying tobacco-free. Treat yourself to something as a reward for making this important step to improve your health and well-being. Use the money you saved from not buying cigarettes.

(5) Finally, if you relapse, take the immediate steps to get help.Talk to your health care provider and get the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) you need to get back on track. Take advantage of the free resources available to you, including the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS, which offers free telephone counseling and provides those who qualify with a free starter kit of NRT. Remember, it often takes multiple quit attempts to stay smoke-free, so do not feel discouraged, and keep trying! The more help and support you have, the better your chances of quitting for good.

About NYC Treats TobaccoNYC Treats Tobacco (NYCTT) is a project funded by the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control and is led by the NYU School of Medicine, Department of Population Health. NYCTT supports health care organizations, particularly those serving low income and mentally ill patient populations, to implement policies and system changes that will ensure that all patients are routinely screened for tobacco use and all tobacco users are offered evidence-based treatment for nicotine dependence.

About NYU Langone Medical CenterNYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated academic medical center, is one of the nation’s premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research, and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of four hospitals—Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; Rusk Rehabilitation; the Hospital for Joint Diseases, the Medical Center’s dedicated inpatient orthopaedic hospital; and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, a comprehensive pediatric hospital supporting a full array of children’s health services across the Medical Center—plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The Medical Center’s tri-fold mission to serve, teach, and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education, and research. For more information, go to www.NYULMC.org, and interact with us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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