As society slowly opens up and summer gathers momentum, undoubtedly more challenges arise for recently quit smokers in the form of social gatherings, pub gardens and family BBQs. The environment - flowing alcohol, balmy weather and friends that smoke – is a trigger for the urge to smoke. To avoid social settings altogether is perhaps extreme (and can even make them intimidating in the future), though preparing by finding ways to cope with these urges, is certainly wise and can help you stick to your smoking cessation goals.
Start by knowing your triggers:
Becoming aware of the things that trigger the urge to smoke can be helpful when your are planning go out. Which of these triggers seems most familiar to you:
- Emotional (smoking when bored, stressed or lonely)
- Withdrawal-related (smoking to get rid of unpleasant symptoms of nicotine withdrawal)
- Habit-related (smoking when engaged in another activity i.e. with coffee or walking the dog)
- Socially-related(smoking at a bar or seeing someone else smoke)
Preparing for tricky situations:
Heading out knowing you’ll be with smokers or in an environment that you’ll likely smoke, it’s a good idea to have a plan in mind. Perhaps taking a moment to walk around the block until the urge subsides or having some peppery chewing gum on hand to take the edge off. If you feel safe in doing so, why not tell the people you are with where you are at so they can keep an eye out too, and support where necessary – starting with not offering you cigarettes!
Keep an eye on alcohol intake:
Alcohol can often act as a trigger that brings with it an urge to smoke, this is particularly true if you’re a social smoker – the association between alcohol and cigarettes can be a strong one. It’s well known that excessive alcohol can lower inhibitions and self-control – making it more likely to give into the urge to smoke. Sticking to just a drink or two can help with this. You could also try switching to non-alcoholic drinks, avoiding drinking when at home alone or try going out to new places avoiding where you are used to drinking and smoking.
So whilst the challenges may present themselves over the coming months, it doesn’t mean you need to give up your social life, especially when you are prepared for the challenges! Good luck 😊
source article: verywellmind.com/going-out-after-quitting-smoking