Quitting smoking doesn’t mean just staying at home alone with your thoughts and meditating all the time. You can still enjoy a night out with your family and peers, but you should do so with a few precautions that prioritise staying smokefree.
Without being mindful of social and environmental triggers when going out, many people relapse into smoking despite being smokefree for months or years. It’s true – social smoking makes it difficult to refuse an offered cigarette or the smell of tobacco from people smoking near you, especially when alcohol is involved.
Fortunately, there are ways to stay smokefree while socialising. It would require you to ask your family and friends to adjust for you and be supportive, be ready to refuse any cigarette offered (just in case) and undergo a programme with a GP.
Let’s have a closer look at each one of these steps in this post.
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Talk to Your Loved Ones
One of the best ways to stay smokefree is to inform your family and loved ones about your decision. People who live with you greatly influence you. By sharing your decision and asking them to help you, you have the best chance of finally quitting the habit.
Also, tell family members who smoke at home about your decision, but keep in mind that what you might say to them can easily sound wrong. Reassure them that you’re not encouraging them to take the same path but only to help you and respect your decision.
Lastly, tell your friends your decision and reasons to stay smokefree. Friends who care and love you will respect your decision and become part of your support system. Ask them not to offer or let you hold a cigarette or pack. Also, they must never ask you to buy cigarettes for them under any circumstances.
Friends who smoke but care about you may also ask to join your journey, which is a beneficial decision for all of you.
Prepare Your ‘No Thanks’ Response
Your friends and family will make it a point to make adjustments that help you quit, but there will always be people who missed the memo, or simply forgot about your decision. To be prepared and stay smokefree, make sure you have “no thanks” responses ready.
During your meditation and journaling, imagine various scenarios where a co-worker or a friend of a friend might offer you a cigarette, then formulate a viable response to it. Usually, a firm “no thanks, I’m quitting” will stop these offerings dead in their tracks, but if you’re not comfortable sharing your quitting journey with strangers, consider crafty alternatives such as “I can’t smoke during working hours” or “I have kids living at home.”
Some social settings and events may have people who might force you to smoke. Be firm in saying no and prepare an appropriate response, especially when they coerce you into it. You can prepare with and include your support system in creating these responses.
Find Friends Who Will Help You
Good friends will always encourage decisions that change your life for the better, such as quitting smoking. However, there would be some that will refuse or belittle your decision.
When you decide to stop smoking, some friends act out because they’re losing something they have in common with you – smoking. They may not stop lighting a cigarette before you, may even tease or judge your decision, or even puff secondhand smoke at you just to irritate and discourage you.
We recommend preparing mentally and emotionally for these situations and consider detaching from them. Truth be told, people who care about you are your friends, and those who cannot support your decision to have a better life are not.
Have Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or Nicotine Vaping Products (NVPs) With You At All Times
The key for how to remain smokefree is by seeking professional counselling from a GP. You’ll work together to create a smoking cessation plan that works for your lifestyle. A GP can also prescribe various nicotine replacement (NRT) and nicotine vaping products (NVPs) to lessen the impact of withdrawals and cravings, especially for people with limited options in changing their environment.
For instance, if you work as a manager in a restaurant, hotel, or bar, you’ll encounter cigarette smoke from the lounge or outdoor areas most of the time. The smell of smoke and the sight of people smoking is sometimes enough to trigger your withdrawals and cravings.
If you have NRT and/or NVP tools during these situations, you can use these to satiate yourself and take control.
NRTs can be effective, but aside from them, another alternative is nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from pharmacies. These are still unregistered medicines, but many smokers have successfully quit using them in line with a GP’s programme.
While NRTs do work, the latest Cochrane Review has found high-certainty evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes (NVPs) are more effective than NRT in helping people quit smoking, even if they’re only an alternative option to the latter.
Limit Your Alcoholic Consumption
While it’s okay to have fun once in a while and enjoy a drink or two, be mindful of your alcohol consumption, especially in your early days of quitting.
Consuming lots of alcohol during a night out can impair your decision-making skills, making it easy to give into smoking. In lots of cases, alcohol is the biggest trigger for people to light up a cigarette.
So, when socialising and having a few drinks, keep count of what you’re drinking. To stay smokefree after quitting for months or years, you can ask your support system – friends, family, or a buddy from your smoking cessation community – to check up on your alcohol intake when you go out.
Staying smokefree and socialising with your family and friends is possible as long as everyone knows about your decision to stop and they’re helping you by making minor adjustments that can help you on your journey to quit.
Remember, always have tools that keep your cravings at bay, check your alcohol intake, and stay away from people who belittle your dedication to your quit journey.
You’re probably reading this because you’re wondering if it’s possible to stop smoking while enjoying a night out with friends. We hope what you’ve found here is helpful. If you need additional information, you’re in the right place.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.