How to stop social smoking

Is it okay to be a social smoker?

The short answer is no. Every cigarette you smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals and tar increasing your risk of a range of diseases including stroke, heart disease and cancer. Read on to find out how to stop social smoking and reduce your risk.

Being a social smoker might seem harmless, but it can also lead to smoking more regularly. You may find that the odd cigarette here and there, turns into buying your own pack.

A few on a night out turns into just one or two the following morning. Pretty soon you are smoking regularly, costing you your health and your bank balance.

How to avoid smoking when you’re socialising

Lots of people smoke when they’re in a social situation. It’s convenient. Others are doing it. But how can you avoid picking up a cigarette?

You probably already know that you are more likely to smoke when you’re with your friends. We’ve pulled together some ideas and tips that can help you quit even the occasional cigarette and still have a good time.

Acknowledge how much you smoke

The first step to quitting social smoking is to be honest with yourself about how much you smoke on a night out. If you are going out several times a month, the odd cigarette will quickly add up, especially if you are drinking alcohol. That’s because alcohol can lower your natural inhibitions and cause you to lose track of how may cigarettes you’ve really had. Find out more about how to stop smoking when drinking.

Avoid sitting with smokers

Cigarette smoke is toxic. If you’re sitting with friends who smoke, you are not only tempted, you are also exposing yourself to dangerous second hand smoke. It’s easy to get drawn into social smoking, so try and avoid sitting with groups of smokers when you are out. Read our quit smoking motivation guide to help you stay strong.

Tell your friends

Make it clear to your friends that you are no longer smoking. Ask your non-smoker friends to keep you away from social smoking situations and make sure your smoking friends don’t offer you cigarettes.

Distract yourself

Keep yourself busy and entertained with other things when you’re socialising. If you are hosting a get together with friends, why not make it a games night? Keep busy in the kitchen or topping up drinks and nibbles to keep your mind off joining the smokers outside for a cigarette.

Stick to indoor, public places

It’s much easier to avoid smoking when you’re socialising with friends inside – like a bar or restaurant – where smoking isn’t allowed. If you are at home, ban smoking in the house, remove ashtrays and ask your smoking friends to smoke outside.

Find new ways to socialise

Activities like ten pin bowling, crazy golf or even axe throwing are a fun way to get together with friends and make sure that your hands are busy. Focusing on something that is not alcohol or smoking also means that you and your smoking friends will be distracted and are far less likely to take a cigarette break.

Have a plan

Before you go out, have an idea of what to do if you get a craving. Have you asked your friends to step in and distract you? Do you have quit aids in your bag or pocket and do you know how to use them? If you find the temptation to have a cigarette too strong will that be when you decide to go home?

Would you like help to stop social smoking?

Perhaps you have stopped smoking but find it hard to stop smoking when drunk or maybe you’re a social smoker but have started buying cigarettes between nights out too. Call our friendly telephone advisors and get a plan and support to quit. Find out more about the free Stop Smoking London helpline.