If you class yourself as a socialite in spite of the fact that you’re in the process of quitting smoking, Nicotinell has put together a quiz to discover your smoker profile, which should help you address the questions forming around what your resolution to quit will mean for your social calendar.

This guide explores how you can continue to be the socialite you are without the need to smoke:

There are existing links between smoking and alcohol

Before offering some advice about how you can continue to socialise smoke-free, it’s perhaps of great importance to point out and explore the close link between drinking alcohol and smoking.

At the extreme end of the spectrum, government data revealed that up to 90 per cent of people who are addicted to alcohol will also be smokers. Additionally, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink, having a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol in comparison to non-smokers.

Generally, both nicotine and alcohol affect common mechanisms of the human brain.

In the case of nicotine, the chemical compound enters the bloodstream as soon as a cigarette is smoked, rapidly transported to the brain. The nicotine then stimulates the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure, once there. These receptors multiply as smoking is prolonged, causing your brain to build up resilience to nicotine so as to release these feel-good chemicals.

However, within 72 hours of your decision to quit smoking the nicotine supply in your bloodstream will drop, but those receptors won’t disappear that quickly. So the chemistry of your brain will react to induce powerful cravings to go along with strong emotional reactions. Persistence is the key to success in quitting, as nicotine receptors will disappear with time and your brain’s chemistry should be back to normal within a period of only three months after your quit.

As far as it goes with alcohol, researchers believe the substance fosters feelings of pleasure. If this is true then it reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. It is suggested that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine acts as a stimulus while alcohol is a sedative.

Tips for socialising when on a quit-smoking terrace

So, after having taken the first step and you’ve stopped smoking you now face the dilemma of socialising in a scenario where you would have previously enjoyed 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 of any doubts you’re having. All which you did as a smoker can still be done as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can induce a sense of intimidation. Besides, socialising with friends is naturally an important part of your life. The sooner you learn how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.

Give yourself a pep talk

Where you enjoy a drink could very well trigger your smoking cravings, so before leaving the house or in the car, prepare mentally by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The point is to emphasise to 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 heading to a place where people are likely to smoke, rather invite your group of friends to your house. You can have them celebrate your smoke-free success with you. You’ll be in control of what is served and this can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.

Spend time enjoying the company of non-smokers

Friends and non-smokers who will be supporting your decision to kick your smoking habit will definitely be of assistance. Who you choose to hang out with can come to the aid of your ex-smoking status. Naturally, slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not even be aware of how to support their quitting attempt.

Invite a quit buddy to join you

A friend or family member can be of great assistance as your quit-buddy, so make sure to invite them along to whatever social event you may be attending. A quit-buddy is someone who offers support to your resolution to quit. Should old smoking friends who ask you to join them be encountered, 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.

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