You may be wondering how your social calendar will alter if you decide to stop smoking but deem yourself as a socialite — with Nicotinell’s smoker profile quiz perfect for discovering if you are indeed a social smoker.
Fortunately, help is at hand. The following guide will set out how you can remain to be a socialite without having to smoke:
Are there links between alcohol and smoking?
Before we delve into how you can socialise while enjoying a smoke-free lifestyle, first we will explain the close link that is seen between drinking alcohol and smoking.
This is because government data has established that up to 90 per cent of people who find themselves addicted to alcohol 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.
There’s also scientific links, in that alcohol and nicotine both act on common mechanisms found 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 pressure. 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 deciding to stop smoking, the nicotine supply found in your bloodstream will drop. 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.
Researchers believe that alcohol fosters the feeling of pleasure as well. If true, 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 during your quit-smoking journey
Early on in your quit-smoking journey, you’re likely to be faced with a situation where you will be invited to socialise in a scenario where you would have previously had a cigarette. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:
Choose a social get-together where there’s no smoking
Invite friends to your house instead of heading to a place where people are likely to be smoking. You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served too, which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.
Bring a quit buddy along to your social events
No matter if it’s a friend or family member, a quit buddy will be a great person to have join you at whatever social event you’re heading along to. 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.
Hang out with non-smokers
You’ll receive plenty of help from non-smokers and friends who are keen to support your decision to quit smoking. 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
Smoking cravings may be trigged as you head out for 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.
Don’t delay socialising
Just because you’re having doubts, that shouldn’t give you the excuse to cancel social plans. 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.