You know that driving is a major trigger. You smoke on your way to work or school in the morning, when you’re driving home, and everywhere in between. Why not? What else are you going to do while sitting in traffic?
That is precisely the question to answer.
As you get ready for your quit day, think about things that you can do while you are driving that do not include smoking. Maybe it’s turning up the music and singing your heart out. You could even make some great playlists to keep you in the right mood. Or, maybe it’s playing a game with yourself to see how long you can keep your hands at 10:00 and 2:00. Whatever it is, think about what works for you.
And, then try it out. Practice driving without smoking before your Quit Day so you know what works and doesn’t work for you.
If it’s too hard to drive without lighting up in the beginning, get creative. Take the bus or the subway where smoking isn’t allowed. Or carpool with a nonsmoking friend or co-worker. Biking or walking to your destinations are also great options—you’ll get to enjoy fresh air, and you’ll notice how different your lungs feel since your Quit Day.
Sooner or later (probably sooner), you are going to have to drive somewhere. So, make your car a smoke-free zone: empty out your ashtray, throw away your dashboard lighter, and get rid of everything else cigarette-related (e.g., that extra pack you keep in the glove box? Gone!). Grab some mints, candies, or nicotine gum (if you’re using this product) and put them within easy reach of your driver’s seat.
Treat yourself – and your car – to a nice detail. Ash can lodge itself into places you wouldn’t expect—in the edges of your car windows down to cracks in the seat cushions. A deep, thorough cleaning will help remove the smell of smoke that may later cause cravings.
Ask your friends not to smoke in your car. You’re working hard to keep it smoke-free. They should too!
Need some more ideas of ways to keep your mind occupied when driving? Here are just a few:
- Remind yourself that a craving only lasts 5-10 minutes. So pick a spot far down the road, and let yourself know that when you get there, you will feel very differently.
- Practice deep, calm breathing: Inhale slowly to the count of 6, and exhale slowly for 6 counts. Repeat.
- Give rides to your non-smoking friends so you have someone to chat with as you drive.
With a bit of planning and practicing, you can become a non-smoking driver. Do it!