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Finding Your Social Life After Quitting Smoking

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You’ve quit smoking and you’re glad you did. You’re happier and healthier for it! So why does the thought of facing society again without cigarettes strike fear into your heart? Why is it that all you really want to do is to crawl under a rock somewhere and hide?

Let’s face it: having a social life after cigarettes can be daunting. For many ex-smokers, that sense of “self” was wrapped up in cigarettes.  Every work break, holiday party, after work drink, pool party, camping trip, and other social gathering involved cigarettes. Many people around you might still smoke—your friends, co-workers, family, and perhaps even your spouse. When you quit smoking, not only does your lifestyle change, but so might your relationships with people. But change is not necessarily a bad thing! 

First recognize that there was always more to you than your smoking. Quitting smoking is an opportunity to re-discover yourself! Many people find that quitting unleashes a torrent of emotions. Consciously or not, you may have used cigarettes in the past to deal (or not deal) with emotions. Now you have to find new, healthier ways of coping with stress, anger, boredom, anxiety, happiness, etc. These new emotions may feel more intense and you may not feel like yourself. In time you will be feeling more like yourself. Perhaps even “new and improved”!

You can and will re-learn how to enjoy social activities without lighting up. If you are newly quit, you may find that you have to avoid social situations, at least until you are feeling more solid in your quit. Social gatherings, where alcohol and other smokers mix, can be a huge trigger. But social situations cannot be avoided forever. Eventually you will have to face the world! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Avoid alcohol. Not only is there a strong association between alcohol and cigarettes, but alcohol lowers inhibition and judgment. Order a non-alcoholic drink when going out or eating at a restaurant. If you must drink, give yourself a limit. Plan ahead by creating an "exit plan," connect with other ex-smokers when you first get to the club, etc.
  • Practice effective coping strategies. If you find yourself in a situation where you might light up, step out for a "fresh air break," bring your list of reasons for quitting and review them, chew some gum or suck on hard candies, have objects in your pocket you can fidget with--coins, dice, a stress ball, etc.
  • Practice what you will say if someone offers you a cigarette: "No thanks, I've quit!"
  • Bring a buddy (preferably non-smoking) who can help keep you on track.
  • Find a smoke-free social activity like a dance or exercise class, join a sport, pick up a hobby (how about photography?), go to the movies, etc.

Ultimately, with a little planning and a lot of practice, you can still enjoy many of your old social activities, but without smoking. Perhaps you may find you do them better! 

As for you how your relationships with others may change, some of them might. But hopefully they change for the better. Consider this: friendships should not be based soley on smoking status. You can enjoy shared interests or find new ones without smoking. Good friends, co-workers, and family should support you in your quit. And if they don't, then maybe it's time to hang out with a new crowd. Make new friends and connect with other quitters at QuitNet or in the real world.

You've quit smoking because you want to have better health, more time, more money, a better quality of life and freedom. Quitting smoking is truly something to be proud of! So come out from hiding and enjoy your newfound social life!




Actually, over the years I have found that it was getting more and more difficult as a smoker to have a social life. Even at work it seemed that fewer and fewer people smoked. In some situations, I found myself going to wierd places, ie: parking lots, etc. so I could smoke and not offend others. Now that I have quit, I feel so much more relaxed in social situations. I no longer have to "run away"
Posted @ Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:27 PM by bob martin
it’s been 7 days without no nicotine patches someday I have rough days some days okay days some days I just want to put it patch on. I won't put 1 on don't work I'm going to this far I won't give up.Someone told me to focus to be busy I've been doing that but when I do that boom here comes a craving from hell but I won't give it. From March 15th 2013 I quit putting nicotine patches first day was okay second day it was alright third day was kind of rough a few hours it got better any easier to deal with. Fourth day hey got easier. Fifth day it was awesome not really craving. Sixth day not craving that much not really notice them. 
California smoking helpline counselor called she asked me how i was doing? I told her I've been feeling wonderful.  
Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 2:52 AM by without no patch
A person stops smoking, and he/she should change how they live, what they eat and drink? 
What a brilliant way to put people of even trying to stop smoking.  
If a person stops drinking should they avoid going to pubs, restaurants and even shops? Because alcohol is sold in these places?? 
Maybe I'm missing something here, but if people beleive that everything in their lives 'must change', why should they even bother even trying to stop smoking? 
And worse of all, to consider changing their friends if need? 
Rubbish. If anyone is trying to stop smoking ignore the opening post here.  
It's one year since I stopped smoking and I didn't change a thing about my live except for changing my diet to keep my weight down. I.e cutting way down on my intake of junk foods.  
If you had a friend whom you would meet up with on a daily basis and he/she would inflict pain on you on each encounter would you enjoy that friendship. And looking forward could you see that friendship becoming stronger with each passing year knowing with each passing year the pain inflicted on you is getting worse! 
Do you think you would want to continue with that so called friend? 
I don't think so.  
Now picture the cigarette is that friend, if you can achieve that. You will realise very quickly that stopping smoking is not 'giving up or quitting' anything, but in fact you'll be relieving yourself of an enemy.  
Good luck. Willy.
Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 4:33 AM by Willy
Quit several months ago and have not looked back. Hard to believe but I did not have withdrawl, weight gain or any of the other side effects that comes with quitting. I was ready. Tossed the pack in trash and will never start again...100% certain! What's funny is that the only time I think of a cigarette is when I see emails come from this website so now it's time to delete this website. The comments have been helpful but do not need you anymore. Good Luck to everyone who needs the help with quitting...It does get easier. Thank you!!!
Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 8:24 AM by Janice
Been nearly 35 days since my last smoke. I'm finding that I'm forgetting to put on my patch (although I intend on completing the program). I feel better, smell better, back to the gym. Saved a bunch of money too. You can do this... You owe this full quit to yourself and to those you love. Be Strong, Be Bold. I'm be praying for your success.
Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 7:00 PM by Tom Young
I have a simple suggestion. Don't get ahead of yourself when you begin your goal to stop smoking. If you start to first guess what your life is going to be like without cigarettes, you will put a large stone in your path and maybe falter. There's an updated stop smoking package called THE WIZARD'S OUTRAGEOUS SCHEME FOR STOPPING SMOKING THAT GIVES YOU SOME VALUABLE TOOLS FOR BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION AS YOU BEGIN TO STOP SMOKING. THAT'S THE KEY. THEN AS THINGS COME UP--WHATEVER IT IS--YOU WILL NOT BE AFRAID YOU'LL SUCCUMB TO SMOKING AGAIN; BUT YOU'LL BE ROCK SOLID IN YOUR DETERMINATION TO NEVER SMOKE AGAIN.  
Posted @ Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:11 PM by Humbler Acts
Its is really very true that if you are smoking cig than probably you are not able to live your social life properly. As this substance is not socially acceptable.
Posted @ Friday, March 29, 2013 4:33 AM by Buy vaporizers
It is true smokers have been made to feel like social outcasts but it was this pressure that helped me decide it was time to give up
Posted @ Friday, April 05, 2013 12:52 PM by Tony
Plz help
Posted @ Friday, May 17, 2013 4:15 PM by Satish
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