Ideas to have a special and memorable summer transitioning to a smoke-free “new normal”

For a typical summer, you might have planned to go hiking, camping, visiting family or even travelling to other countries. This summer, however, is different than most due to the coronavirus outbreak. While some states have lifted their stay-at-home orders, many local businesses are still not up-and-running, which means it is harder to take normal summer vacations. The pandemic brings the recognition that we need to adopt a “new normal” with the outbreak in mind.

Here are a few ideas to make an “at-home summer” memorable and special while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. And while adopting a new routine to break the smoking habit.

1. Eat like you are on vacation

Food is a great way to create the feeling that you’re on vacation. Bummed to miss out on seafood from that beach vacation this year? Get some shrimp cocktail. Had to cancel the summer barbeque? That’s ok, you can still set up a backyard barbeque yourself or do some indoor grilling. Since traveling is not recommended, why not have food from around the world come to you? Browse the internet for cooking ideas, there is something there for everybody to create international dishes at home. If you do not feel like cooking, you can also order your favorite indulgent food to be delivered. Share the dish you cooked or the food you enjoyed on social media to connect with your friends and family members.

You can also let them know that you would like to start living a smoke-free life and are planning to quit smoking. Gaining social support will help with quitting.

2. Enjoy a movie or TV marathon

Sometimes nothing is as relaxing as simply turning your home into an entertainment center for watching a movie marathon. Besides a movie marathon, you can watch a TV drama series or a YouTube video marathon. You can still watch movies and shows together even if you are apart from family or friends via chat applications. Ask each family member to pick their favorite shows, then take turns watching everyone’s top picks. You can even have an “intermission” to break up the couch time, with themed games, meals, or discussions about the plot. This can help you stay busy, and keep you from stepping outside to smoke.

3. Plan a tournament

Competition is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. And winning feels just as good now as it did to folks living many years ago. Competitions can bring out some really fierce, but hopefully friendly rivalries. Pull out the board games, find a deck of cards, play video or mobile games with family members. You can also play games with friends via video conferencing. In between games, connect with the kids to share a family secret or a family tradition or express an interest in learning new technology from them. Ask about things like using Instagram, how to take a nice selfie or use those face filters on the phone. Learning new skills can help you keep busy and distracted in order to get through cravings to smoke.

We may be experiencing unprecedented times, but we can take this opportunity to spend precious time with family—time we often can’t find in our regular schedules. This also creates an excellent chance to take the first steps toward quitting smoking.

If you feel pulled in multiple directions during these difficult times and are finding it hard to adjust to the new normal, it is completely understandable. Why not reaching out for help?

Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) understands the stress current and former tobacco users are going through can be extremely difficult. Our friendly and non-judgmental counselors from language specific quitline speak Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Korean, or Vietnamese and to provide one-on-one telephone counseling to help tobacco users to adopt smoke-free living style during this challenging time. Here are the language specific quitline information:

Mandarin & Cantonese 1-800-838-8917
Korean 1-800-556-5564
Vietnamese 1-800-778-8440

ASQ service is free and nationwide. Please feel free to contact us via phone or visit us at Eligible smokers may receive a free two-week supply of nicotine patches and it will be sent directly to smokers’ home. Friends and family members of tobacco users are welcomed to contact ASQ to receive advice and materials to help others quit.

Wishing you continued safety and good health!

1 Comment
  1. If you’re attempting to quit smoking, a movie or video marathon may not be the best idea. Fifty-five percent of Netflix’s youth-rated original TV series globally feature smoking, as do 72 percent of its adult-rated original TV series. More than half of 2019 top-grossing films from the U.S. also show smoking.

    On-screen smoking serves as a powerful trigger for viewers, stimulating the brain to “act out” smoking. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that exposure to onscreen smoking causes adolescents to start smoking; the effect has also been observed among young adults. The University of California, San Francisco has estimated that U.S. films alone delivered 84 BILLION tobacco impressions to moviegoers, globally, in 2018. The (U.S.) Motion Picture Association has reported data indicating that movies are now watched at least ten times more often on digital media (including vide-on-demand) than in theaters — varying by country, of course.

    This must fulfill the wildest marketing fantasies of the multinational tobacco companies, which invested heavily to put smoking in movies and TV shows over the past century, through cross-promotion deals with studios, massive TV advertising outlays, and systematic product placement.

    So — you may want to consider picking up a book, learning to cook new dishes, or taking a brisk walk. I stopped smoking 20 years ago. I still notice the smoking on screen, though. Now, I just wonder who paid for it.

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