If you take Nicotinell’s quiz to discover your smoker profile and discover that you’re a social smoker, you may query how much of your social life will be affected if you choose to step smoking. Fortunately, there are ways to be a socialite without the need to smoke — as this guide showcases…
A look into the links between smoking and alcohol
Close links have been made between drinking alcohol and smoking. At the extreme, government data has found that up to 90 per cent of people who are addicted to alcohol will also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.
More generally, consider that alcohol and nicotine both act on common mechanisms located in the human brain. When it comes to nicotine, the chemical compound will enter the bloodstream as soon as you smoke a cigarette and rapidly get transported to your brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.
Within 72 hours of quitting smoking though, the nicotine supply found in your bloodstream will decrease. Those receptors won’t disappear that quickly though, so your brain’s chemistry will react to cause powerful cravings and strong emotional reactions. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit.
When it comes to alcohol, research has been done which suggests that this substance fosters feeling of pleasure. If this is the case, this reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.
How to socialise when quitting smoking
It can be challenging when you’re in the process of stopping smoking but faced with a scenario where you’d previously have enjoyed with a cigarette. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:
Try to socialise in places where no smoking is involved
Put the brakes on heading to a location where there’s a good chance that people will be smoking by inviting your friends to your home instead for a get-together. You can possibly celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.
Even when you have doubts, don’t put off going out to socialise. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socialising with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.
Socialise with non-smokers and supportive friends
Having supportive friends and non-smokers around you as you progress along your quit-smoking journey will help you reach your goal. Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.
Give yourself a pep talk
Your smoking cravings can be triggered for a number of reasons, including the place you choose to have a drink. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.
Head to social events with a quit buddy
Asking one of your friends or members of family to be your quit buddy can prove a huge help when you’re quitting smoking. They should be invited along to whatever social event you’re attending too. A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.