Quitting Tobacco: Driving or Riding in a Car … Without Smoking
What To Expect
- Expect to want to reach for a cigarette when driving a car or traveling as a passenger.
- On longer trips, you may find yourself getting more sleepy than usual.
Did You Know?
- Like many smokers, you may like to light up when driving to and from work as a means to relieve stress, stay alert, relax, or just pass the time.
- Your desire to smoke may be stronger and more frequent on longer trips.
What To Do
- Remove the ashtray, lighter, and cigarettes from your car.
- Turn your radio on or put on your favorite tape or CD and sing along.
- Clean your car and make sure to use deodorizers to reduce the tobacco smell.
- Tell yourself:
o “This urge will go away in a few minutes.”
o “So, I’m not enjoying this car ride. Big deal! It won’t last forever!”
o “My car smells clean and fresh!”
o “I’m a better driver now that I’m not smoking while driving.”
- Ask friends and passengers not to smoke in your car.
- If you’re not driving, find something to do with your hands.
- Take an alternate route to work.
- Try carpooling.
- For a little while, avoid taking long car trips. If you do, take plenty of rest stops.
- Keep non-fattening snacks in your car (sunflower seeds, licorice, and sugarless gum and hard candy).
- Take fresh fruit with you on long trips.
- Plan stops for water or fruit juice.
Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
- You may have become used to smoking while driving—to relax in a traffic jam or to stay alert on a long drive.
- There is some evidence that smoking actually does make you feel more awake and alert. In the past, you may have relied upon this during both short and long rides. Remember, on longer trips, you may not be able to stay awake for as long as you used to.
- Nicotine cravings may be reduced by using nicotine replacement products, which deliver small, steady doses of nicotine into the body. Nicotine replacement patches, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhaler appear to be equally effective. Buproprion pills (which don’t contain nicotine) also help relieve withdrawal symptoms.
How To Get Help
- If you or someone you know wants help with giving up tobacco, please call the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline toll-free at 1–877–44U–QUIT. The information specialists on the Quitline can provide suggestions and support to help smokers break the habit.
- The Federal Government’s Smokefree.gov Web site
allows you to choose the help that best fits your needs. You can get
o View an online step-by-step cessation guide.
o Find state quitline telephone numbers.
o Instant message an expert through NCI’s LiveHelp service.
o Download, print, or order publications about quitting smoking.