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Alcohol and social situations are both strong triggers for smoking. It's good to be prepared for this.

Smoking and alcohol

For many smokers, smoking and drinking go hand-in-hand.

If you do drink, be careful not to drink a lot. Research confirms that if you drink enough to start feeling the effects - where you would no longer be able to drive a car (0.05), or you’re feeling tipsy - you’re in danger of having a cigarette.

As many smokers know, this is a high-risk situation, particularly in the first few weeks and months of quitting. So be prepared to be the designated driver for a while. If you have a drink, keep it to a few (make every second drink a non-alcoholic one). Once you start to become intoxicated (even mildly) you can lose sight of your reasons for quitting.

Smoking and social situations

If you have friends who smoke, consider what it might be like to spend time with them once you quit. Some people find it helpful to pick a phrase like: “I’m quitting smoking”, or “No thanks, I don’t smoke”. For the first few weeks, try and avoid friends who smoke, particularly in situations where you used to smoke together.

Tips for preparing for social situations:

  • Consider whether you have a nonsmoking friend who would be a good support person to help you stay quit.
  • Find something to reach for, to keep the hands busy, when you have a craving:
    • This could simply be gum, a lolly, a watch, a necklace, a bracelet, bottled water, a phone, moisturiser, a stress ball or a pen.

and for the tough times …

  • Be prepared to excuse yourself and go to the bathroom – wash your face, take some deep breaths. Removing yourself from the situation that caused the craving can be helpful.
  • Be ready to step outside, walk around the block, leave and go somewhere else, or call a cab - you’ll have extra money now that you’re not smoking.