5 Ways to Conquer Triggers During Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 through October 15, individuals across Oklahoma will celebrate another fun and eventful National Hispanic Heritage Month. While the month is sure to be filled with delicious food, social gatherings and exciting events, you may also run into several triggers to use tobacco.

Avoiding triggers altogether could be difficult. So it’s important to make a plan to deal with them. Use these tips for support.

1. Talk to someone.

Even happy events like family get-togethers can be stressful and loaded with triggers. But remember that there are people in your life who care about you. If you’re at a family gathering and feel an urge to smoke, pull a friend or family member aside for a chat. An engaging conversation can help turn those stressful feelings around.

2. Go somewhere else.

From potlucks to huge fiestas, the month will be filled with all kinds of social gatherings. While parties are often overflowing with fun, they’re also crawling with tobacco triggers — like drinking alcohol and seeing others smoke.

If you’ve been invited somewhere where smoking could be a temptation, don’t feel required to go. Suggest hanging out at places where smoking isn’t allowed, such as a smokefree bar or restaurant, instead. When you can’t get away physically, take a mental vacation. Try closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a place where you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Stay there until the craving passes.

3. Distract your body and mind.

Wherever you are, look for opportunities to distract yourself when a craving surfaces. If you’re at a friend’s house, suggest playing a game or activity. Strolling around a street festival like the 13th Annual Fiestas de las Americas? Strike up a conversation with a friend, vendor — anyone! You could even dance to the music.

The University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma have many on-campus and off-campus events planned to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month — including luncheons, street festivals, salsa dancing and more. The Gathering Place in Tulsa is also having events this month, such as salsa dancing and concerts. If you plan on attending one of these events, don’t forget your gum or toothpicks. Remember that drinking water can reduce nicotine cravings, too.

4. Keep busy.

Stock up on sugar-free gum, toothpicks, stress balls, spinners or anything other than tobacco to keep your mouth and hands busy. Carry your gum/toothpicks and things to keep busy with you at all times — that way, you’ll be prepared wherever and whenever a craving strikes.

5. Contact the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

You don’t have to fight cravings alone. If you’re struggling with fighting off cravings, give the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline a call for support and encouragement. You can call 1-800-QUIT NOW any time for FREE, nonjudgmental support from a Quit Coach™. Or take advantage of our free, customizable services to help you quit your own way. Learn more here.

Whether you’re thinking about quitting, trying to quit or trying to stay tobacco free, we’re here to help — during National Hispanic Heritage Month… or any time.