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Sep 27

Advice on still being a socialite when quitting smoking

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If you’re in the process of quitting smoking but class yourself as a socialite — this quiz to discover your smoker profile from Nicotinell should help establish if you are indeed a social smoker — you may find yourself questioning what this will mean for your social calendar.

This guide will explain how you can continue to be a socialite without the need to smoke:

There are links between smoking and alcohol

Before we advise you about how you can continue to socialise while being smoke-free, it is important to point out the close link between smoking and drinking alcohol.

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.

In general, it is important to understand that both alcohol and nicotine 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.

However, the nicotine supply in your bloodstream will drop within 72 hours of your decision to quit smoking — 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.

In regards to alcohol, researchers believe this substance fosters feeling of pleasure. 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.

Tips for socialising when on a quit-smoking journey

So, you have taken the first step and stopped smoking, but now face the dilemma of socialising 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:

Don’t put it off

You shouldn’t delay going out for a drink because you’re having doubts. 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.

Have a pep talk with yourself

Where you go to enjoy a drink could very well trigger your smoking cravings. 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.

Aim to have a social get-together where no smoking is involved

Instead of going to a place where people are likely to be smoking, why not invite your group of friends to your house instead? You can 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.

Enjoy time with non-smokers

Non-smokers and friends who will be supporting your decision to stop smoking will definitely help. 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.

Invite a quit buddy to join you

A friend or family member can prove a huge helping hand as your quit buddy, so be sure to invite them along to whatever social event you’re attending. 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.