While many individuals continue to smoke, just as many are attempting to quit. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, over half of smokers (53.9%) have attempted to quit smoking in a single year. However, many are unsuccessful, as quitting smoking is a difficult task. On top of this, doing so while abroad presents its own unique set of challenges, as the new schedule and environment can increase the chances of a relapse. Whether for leisure or work, the new environment that comes with traveling can make it especially difficult to kick the smoking habit. As such, below are several tips to help avoid a smoking relapse while abroad.
Maintain connection with your reason for quitting
Being in a new environment, surrounded by different influences, and potentially feeling more overwhelmed or stressed can all contribute to the temptation to pick up the habit again. However, it is important to remember the reason you decided to quit in the first place in order to avoid smoking relapse while abroad.
There are numerous reasons why people choose to quit smoking. It could be for health reasons, such as reducing the risk of developing lung cancer, or for financial reasons since smoking is an expensive habit to maintain. Others choose to quit for the benefit of their loved ones, as secondhand smoke is harmful to those around them. Whatever your reason may be, it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your mind while you are abroad.
Carry a water bottle with you
For individuals who are trying to avoid smoking relapses, one of the simplest ways, and also a key factor, to stay on track is through drinking water. Smoking has been shown to dehydrate the body, causing individuals to lose water and important electrolytes. When the body becomes dehydrated, it leads to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and heightened stress levels, all of which increase the likelihood of reaching for a cigarette.
By carrying a water bottle and making a conscious effort to drink enough throughout the day, individuals can combat the temptation to smoke. Additionally, having your own refillable container eliminates any excuse not to stay hydrated. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even use a hydration app like WaterMinder or My Water. These apps send you customizable timed prompts while also tracking your daily water intake, thereby ensuring you’re actually making use of your water bottle.
Utilize tobacco alternatives over cigarettes
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a proven method of quitting smoking that helps alleviate symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. They can be particularly useful for individuals traveling abroad, as they typically come in the form of small, discreet products. For example, popular nicotine patches deliver controlled dosages of nicotine through the skin. Specific variants like Nicorette Invisipatch are great for travelers as they can be worn for 16 to 24 hours.
Another NRT option for travelers is nicotine pouches, which are designed to be placed under the lip for nicotine to be administered orally. Whenever a craving arises, these smoke- and tobacco-free alternatives can be used without fuss. For those with higher cigarette dependency, some of the best strong nicotine pouches include the Bridge Citrus and Bridge Cool Mint, which may be especially helpful. These stronger pouches have higher pH and moisture content, which also makes them more fast-acting. As such, they serve as a great choice for busy tourists who need their cravings satiated quickly.
Reward yourself for staying smoke-free
Quitting smoking in itself is already difficult, and as mentioned, being abroad comes with factors that could further contribute to a smoking relapse. As such, rewarding yourself for staying smoke-free could be an effective method to avoid a smoking relapse, especially if you’re traveling abroad on your own. This can ring especially true, as being in a new place could make you feel more excited about self-reward purchases.
For example, if you go a certain amount of time without smoking, treat yourself to a nice meal at a local restaurant or buy yourself a small souvenir to commemorate your achievement. By rewarding yourself for your progress, you can reinforce the positive behavior of not smoking and motivate yourself to keep going.