If you see yourself as a socialite, you may be concerned about how your social calendar will be affected if you decide to quit smoking. However, in this guide by Nicotinell, who are experts at giving advice to people about how to stop smoking and have a collection of products to help you reach your goals, you will discover how your socialite status need not be affected when you kick the habit…

What are the links between smoking and alcohol?

It’s wise to begin this guide by first acknowledging that there are close links 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.

Common mechanisms within the human brain are affected by both nicotine and alcohol. 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 deciding to stop smoking, the nicotine supply that’s in your bloodstream will decrease. However, those receptors won’t disappear that quickly, 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.

According to researchers, alcohol fosters the 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.

Advice on how to socialise when quitting smoking

You’ve made that first important step and decided to quit smoking. However, you 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 delay

Never put off going out for a drink due to your 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.

Deliver a pep talk to yourself

It’s likely that your smoking cravings will be triggered when you go somewhere that you’ve long enjoyed going to 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.

Opt for no-smoking locations

Consider inviting friends to your house instead of going to a place where there’s a good chance people will be smoking. At your abode, you will be able to 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.

Make time for non-smoking friends

Friends who are supportive of your choice to quit smoking and non-smokers who are within your social circles are bound to 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.

Bring your quit buddy along to social gatherings

Quit buddies like a family member or friend can provide so much assistance when you’re stopping smoking. Therefore, 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.