Stay smoke-free with these 10 holiday survival tips

16 December 2013


With the holiday season here, many may be thinking of ways to kick-start their New Year’s resolutions. For those trying to quit smoking, today the Canadian Cancer Society offers 10 tips to stay smoke free over the holidays and launches the annual Driven to Quit Challenge presented by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., the makers of NICODERM® and NICORETTE®.

“Tobacco users account for 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canada and 15 per cent of people in Ontario smoke,” says John Atkinson, Director, Tobacco Control and Cancer Prevention, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “With accessible resources such as Smokers’ Helpline and motivation like The Driven to Quit Challenge, Ontarians who use tobacco have an opportunity to improve their health and make 2014 their healthiest year yet.”

The Canadian Cancer Society is encouraging tobacco users to get a head start on their New Year’s resolutions and consider quitting smoking by registering for The Driven to Quit Challenge, contacting Smokers’ Helpline for support, as well as by following the tips below.

10 Tips to Stay Smoke-Free During the Holidays

10. Let your family and friends know - For many, this time of year is when we see our family and friends the most. Let them know that you are becoming smoke-free and how excited you are about it. Most importantly, let them know that the greatest gift they could give you would be their support.

9. Know your triggers and be prepared for them - Understand your smoking behaviour, such as what makes you want to light up. Avoid those situations, where possible. If you can't, come up with an alternative to smoking. For example, if your morning coffee is a trigger, switch it up with a morning walk.

8. Know your reasons and believe you can do it - Write down your reasons for quitting smoking and keep that list with you so you can refer to it often. Holiday stress can sometimes overcome holiday joy, but a visual reminder just might be the encouragement you need to put your quit plan into action.

7. Limit alcohol consumption - Too much alcohol can impair your judgment and make it easier to slip up and reach for a pack of smokes. Get creative and make some fun mocktails so that you don't feel like you are missing out during the festivities.

6. Avoid events with a lot of other smokers - This can be tough, but it’s an important tip to follow if you know your trigger is being around other smokers. Keep in mind that you can suggest alternative social gatherings that don’t emphasize smoking or you can connect with them in other ways such as by phone, Facebook or email.

5. Don't forget about your health - This time of year can be busy, so your routine might be compromised. If you normally exercise for 1 hour but are struggling to fit a workout into your schedule, try 20 minutes of physical activity. Some physical activity is better than nothing.

4. Start now! - The rush of the holiday season can often be an excuse to say, "I'll start Monday" which can easily turn into, "I'll start in the New Year." The sooner you begin your journey to become smoke-free, the more progress you will make by the time the New Year begins.

3. Get help - Quit Coaches at Smokers' Helpline can help you develop a plan and answer your unique questions. They have the tools to share with you so that you can succeed. And they are really nice and non-judgmental!

2. Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy – It might be hard to imagine going through your day without a
cigarette in your hand, but nicotine replacement products such as the patch, inhaler, oral spray, gum
and lozenges can help control cravings and keep you focused on your quit plan. Everyone
who registers for the Driven to Quit Challenge is eligible to receive discount coupons for purchases
on a NICODERM® transdermal patch or one of the selection of NICORETTE® product formats.
Coupons are available for a limited time only and while quantities last.

1. Give yourself an incentive - Having a specific milestone or goal in mind can help motivate you. Register for The Driven to Quit Challenge!

The Driven to Quit Challenge invites Ontario tobacco users to register and break their addiction for a chance to win a new car or one of several cash prizes.

“We know smokers and ex-smokers participate in seasonal festivities and face many situations that might sabotage all the hard work they have done to become smoke-free,” says Krista Scaldwell, Vice President, Communications at Johnson & Johnson Inc. “Holiday gatherings are often occasions to overindulge, making it even harder to fight the urge to use tobacco. But by planning ahead and finding support, quitters can arm themselves with an arsenal of smoke-free strategies and successfully navigate the season's social challenges and help you start off the New Year by doing something amazing.”

Registration is NOW open until February 28, 2014. To register and for more details about The Driven to Quit Challenge, go to or call the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333. 

About the Driven to Quit Challenge
The Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division’s Driven to Quit Challenge, presented by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., makers of NICODERM® and NICORETTE®, is a health promotion campaign that is intended to motivate adult Ontario tobacco users to quit smoking or other forms of tobacco for one month with the help of a support “buddy” for their chance to win a grand prize of a car. Participants are encouraged to access Smokers’ Helpline and Smokers’ Helpline Online for cessation support. To claim a prize, selected winners must demonstrate that they have remained tobacco-free for the month of March 2014.

About Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline
Smokers’ Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use. Operated by the Canadian Cancer Society and funded by the Government of Ontario, Smokers’ Helpline has three ways to help Ontarians quit: phone support, online program and text messaging at 1-877-513-5333 and

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

About McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter products. McNeil Consumer Healthcare is most widely recognized for the TYLENOL® brand. Other McNeil Consumer Healthcare brands include NICODERM® and NICORETTE® Nicotine Replacement Therapies, BENADRYL® and REACTINE® allergy medicines; IMODIUM® anti-diarrheal; PEPCID® and ZANTAC® for digestive health, and MOTRIN® Ibuprofen.

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Michaelides

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Cancer Society


Phone: 416-323-7039