Smoking is an extremely bad habit, but most of us already know that. Just because we know that it doesn’t mean that we stop. Just like drinking, some justify themselves as social smokers. Is there such a thing? Resources, like this quiz to discover your smoker profile from Nicotinell, should help you establish if you are indeed a social smoker and if you need help quitting smoking.
This guide will explain how you can continue with your social calendar without adding smoking into the mix.
The Links Between Smoking and Alcohol
There’s a close link between smoking and drinking. One that you should heed if you are really looking to quit lighting up.
Government data has found that up to 90% of those people who are addicted to alcohol will also smoke. It also works the other way, as 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 where it rapidly gets transported to your brain. Once there, the nicotine stimulates the brain by creating receptors which in turn release those feel-good chemicals. 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. This is the main reasons why quitting smoking is so hard.
Did you know that the nicotine in your bloodstream drops within 72 hours of your decision to quit smoking? The thing is that those receptors won’t disappear that quickly which means your brain’s chemistry will react in turn causing cravings and strong emotional reactions. Don’t be disillusioned though, nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of giving it up.
When it comes to alcohol, researchers believe this substance fosters a feeling of pleasure. If this is accurate it then reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. It’s been suggested that nicotine and alcohol tend to moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.
Tips to Keep Your Social Life and Still Quit Smoking
You’ve kicked the habit but your friends are still smoking. How do you manage going out with your friends and still staying smoke-free? Here are some tips –
Think you can’t go out and have a drink with friends if you’re on a no-smoking journey? Think again! Don’t allow cigarettes to have such a stronghold. It does take a lot of willpower but remember that 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.
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
If for you the correlation between smoking and drinking is that big then it would bode well to change your thinking. It’s easier said than done, but thinking of yourself as, and referring to yourself as a “former smoker” can help you psychologically. A mantra, such as, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” These reminders can truly help you keep on the right path.
Create a Smoke-Free Social Environment
Why don’t you skip going to the pub and invite your group of friends to your house instead? Keeping things smoke free will not only help you but it may also encourage your friends to take on your journey.
Spend Time With Non-Smokers
Surrounding yourself with those who don’t smoke can help you on your journey. Choosing to spend time with other non-smokers, even those who are actually quitting smoking, 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 quitting attempts.
Use the Buddy System
Sometimes it’s best to do things as a team. If you have friends who are looking to quit then why not buddy up with them? It may help you stay on track and your social life can stay on track but now it will be smoke-free.