It is difficult to give up the habit of smoking while drinking. Alcohol not only undermines your determination, it makes it easy for you to succumb to the urge to smoke, But for many people, there is a strong link between drinking and smoking, making it a trigger.
There are some useful tips to remember—such as avoiding triggers, reducing alcohol intake, and planning ahead—that can help you be more prepared to avoid smoking while drinking.
Ingredients of nicotine addiction
Nicotine addiction has two components: physical addiction and psychological addiction.
- Physical addiction: Although this can be challenging, you can overcome your physical addiction when you quit smoking and deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms (including cravings for cigarettes).
- Psychological dependence: Over time, smokers establish a psychological connection between smoking and daily life, from drinking coffee in the morning to smoking when they are stressed.
For many people, the psychological dependence of smoking connects them with nicotine addiction.
Those who only associate smoking with drinking may have an advantage because they can concentrate on quitting smoking in this area without having to face incentives in every aspect of life. But quitting smoking is still often a challenge.
Why alcohol can trigger a craving for cigarettes
Alcohol will reduce your inhibitions. For people trying to quit smoking, reducing inhibition increases the risk of smoking relapse. Once you drink a few glasses of alcohol, it may not be important to keep quitting smoking.
In addition, you may be with other people who smoke. Maybe your friend smokes, or you meet other people smoking outside the bar. How do you restrain the urge to join them? What would you say if they gave you a cigarette?
Quitting smoking can be successful. With planning and some practice, you can readjust your reaction to cigarettes.
If you think it will trigger a craving for cigarettes, then it is entirely possible to avoid this situation. During nicotine withdrawal, cravings can be intense. You don’t have to feel sorry for putting yourself first.
You can first ask any family members or friends who smoke to avoid smoking around you. Let them know that you are serious about quitting and you will thank them for their support.
If they do not respect your wishes, you can set some healthy boundaries and reduce the time spent with them. You can also avoid going to the bar after you quit smoking. If you are worried that you will relapse, you can eliminate the risk by staying away from the place that will trigger you.
First of all, it must be alcohol-free
Although your goal may be to be able to enjoy a drink without smoking, there are advantages to not drinking when you first quit smoking.
Since alcohol will reduce your inhibitions, you may need to practice in the bar without drinking or smoking. If you start drinking again, this practice can help you learn how to overcome the craving for cigarettes.
Many bars have a list of non-alcoholic drinks or “non-alcoholic cocktails”, so you can still feel the celebration in the evening.
If you start drinking again, avoid overeating. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends that men drink no more than four drinks per day and women no more than three drinks.
Looking for new events
You may feel that you can’t have fun like you used to smoke, and that’s okay. Try to find new smoke-free activities and non-smoking like-minded people so that you are not tempted to smoke.
You can even write down the ways you benefit from getting along with new friends in new places. For example, when you quit smoking, your health will improve. When you stand near a smoker, you will not inhale second-hand smoke.
It is important to make new connections when quitting smoking. When you don’t smoke and have fun, you know that you don’t need cigarettes to have fun.
When you feel like you are going to smoke, make an escape plan. Get up and go to the bathroom or go outside to breathe fresh air (avoid outdoor smoking areas, if available). Contact a friend who supports you or a support hotline for smoking cessation. If this doesn’t work, you may want to consider calling it a night and going home earlier than usual.
Go to a smoke-free bar
Most public gathering places are smoke-free, but of course, you may come across bars that allow people to smoke inside. If this is the case, suggest your friends to go elsewhere.
Or maybe you suggest you try other places altogether. For example, you can guarantee that no one will smoke in a movie theater or museum. You can think of ways to spend quality time with friends without smoking or drinking.
Looking for alternatives
You may find that you miss the sensation of holding a cigarette, especially when there are other smokers around you. People have different ways to switch cigarettes to healthier options.
Try to hold a pencil, paperclip, or marble-anything that you can fidget and occupy your hand. If you miss something in your mouth, you can try:
- Sugar-free gum or sugar-free lollipop
- A straw
- A toothpick
- Crunchy snacks, such as carrots or celery sticks
Practice makes perfect
Every time you successfully overcome the situation that triggers the urge to smoke, you are teaching yourself new healthy habits. Practice will consolidate them in place.
Be patient and give yourself time to replace old associations with new associations that do not include smoking.
Even smoking a few cigarettes can harm your health. If you find that you are trying to quit smoking, be sure to contact a healthcare professional who can help you find a way to quit smoking, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), counseling, support groups, or drugs such as Zyban (bupropion) or Chantix. Nickland).
Studies have found that alcohol and nicotine use are closely related. People who are dependent on one substance are usually dependent on another substance. If you are distressed about how much alcohol you drink, please consult your doctor.
There are resources available to assess your drinking level and take action to reduce alcohol consumption.
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Keep in mind that many people need to try to quit smoking multiple times before they can quit smoking permanently. If you smoke while out drinking, please don’t let it prevent you from continuing your smoke-free journey. Keeping these tips in mind, you will be more prepared to let cravings pass next time without smoking.