Have you made the decision to quit smoking but now find yourself concerned that your social life will be negatively affected due to your decision? Advice has been provided by Nicotinell, who manufactures stop smoking chewing gum to provide on-the-go relief whenever the urge to smoke hits you, on how to remain a socialite even after kicking the habit…
Examining the links between smoking and alcohol
Drinking alcohol and smoking do indeed have some close ties, with data from the government finding that up to 90 per cent of individuals who are found to be addicted to alcohol are also found to smoke. It has also been found that smokers are more likely to drink, not to mention that they have a 2.7 times increased risk of becoming dependent on alcohol when compared to non-smokers.
Within the human brain, there are common mechanisms which are triggered by both alcohol and nicotine. Regarding nicotine, this chemical compound will immediately enter your bloodstream when you smoke a cigarette — getting transported to your brain quickly as a result. Upon reaching the brain, nicotine will stimulate the organ. It will do this be creating receptors, which work to release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure. When smoking becomes prolonged, the number of these receptors will rise and in turn, the brain will begin to become reliant on nicotine for releasing feel-good chemicals.
Decide to stop smoking and within three days there’ll be a decrease in the nicotine supply that is found in your bloodstream. Those receptors in your brain won’t disappear quite as rapidly though, with the result being that your brain’s chemistry will react and cause strong emotional reactions and powerful cravings. At this point, it’s important to be persistent as these nicotine receptors will eventually go away — your brain’s chemistry should also return back to normal no longer than three months after kicking the habit.
The feeling of pleasure detailed above is also claimed by researchers to be created from alcohol. If this is the case, this reinforces nicotine’s effects on the brain. It has also been suggested that alcohol and nicotine will moderate each other’s effects on the brain, because alcohol sedates while nicotine stimulates.
Ways to socialise when quitting smoking
While it’s great that you’ve made the choice to quit smoking, one challenge that you’ll need to face up to is socialising in a scenario where you’d previously smoked. Here’s five ways to have a good time and not suffer a setback…
1. Socialise at home
You don’t necessarily need to go to a place where there’s a good chance you’ll see other people smoking — hold a social occasion at your home instead. There, you can control what is served in order to stop those triggers from being activated. Celebrate your smoke-free success with your nearest and dearest in a smoke-free abode.
2. Mentally prepare
If you do head out to a place that you’ve long enjoyed having a drink at, it’s very likely your smoking cravings will be trigged at some point. Mentally prepare yourself while heading to a social event by saying aloud “I’m a former smoker”, or “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes”. Both phrases or something similar will give yourself a reminder that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to smoke to have a good time.
3. Invite your quit buddy to social occasions
A quit buddy can be a member of your family or a friend who are there to provide so much assistance to make sure you reach your goal to stop smoking. Therefore, it only makes sense that you invite them along to social occasions. Be sure to make old smoking friends who ask you to join them for a cigarette aware of your decision to quit too, as they are likely to be respectful about your choice.
4. The importance of non-smoking friends
As well as quit buddies, non-smoking friends are sure to offer a lot of help and encouragement to ensure you don’t have a setback. Your ex-smoking status can be supported depending on who you hang out with. This is because slip-ups may occur if you’re trying to stop smoking but find yourself regularly in the company of smokers who may not know how to support your attempt to quit.
5. Don’t make excuses and skip social events
No matter your doubts, don’t delay heading to a social event once you’ve made the choice to stop smoking. After all, you can do everything as a former smoker as you did when smoking. However, a sense of intimidation can be created if you hold off social drinking too long after deciding to quit. You’ll be able to feel as though your life is back to normal the quicker that you show yourself how to socialise without smoking when doing so.