Social smokers have cigarettes ‘only once in a while’ – usually when they’re with friends or when they’ve been drinking. Many don’t even consider themselves smokers and, as such,
believe they’re not at risk for the health problems related to smoking. Unfortunately, your risks of lung cancer, heart attack and stroke increase with every cigarette smoked. And research shows that half of the people who begin social smoking end up smoking every day within a year.
If you are a social smoker and want to quit altogether, here are seven helpful tips:
- Avoid alcohol. Limit going to bars and parties for the first few weeks you are trying to quit. Many social smokers just don’t feel comfortable having a drink without also having a cigarette.
- Try something different. Find a smoke-free social activity such as a dance or exercise class, join a sport, pick up a hobby or go to the movies. Think of at least 10 things to divert your attention when you get a craving for a cigarette.
- Work together. Ask your friends and family for help and encouragement. Set goals together. Maybe several of your friends want to quit? Make it a supportive contest. If you need extra aid and advice to take with you wherever you go, download a quit-smoking app. Check out the Quit Smoking Facebook page to read stories from others who have quit smoking and to share your own.
- Eliminate E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes look high tech, so it’s easy to believe the hype that they’re a safe alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, they’re not: E-cigarettes are just another way of putting nicotine – a highly addictive drug – into your body.
- Consider the cash. Think about how much money you’d save if you quit smoking. The average price for a pack of cigarettes is about $5.51 – that’s almost $300 a year for someone who smokes a pack a week.
- Talk to your doctor. Ask about medications and other stop-smoking aids that might be right for you.