For many smokers, having a cigarette is a social thing. In the past you’ve smoked in bars and restaurants, and in the modern world of the smoking ban in public places smokers will nip outside of the pub together for a smoke and a chat. The trend of ‘smirting’ where fellow smokers get to flirt outside of a bar or nightclub has taken off and the huddle of smokers outside a building in all weathers can even look like fun!
In the workplace, smokers gather in car parks, in smoking huts or just outside of company premises for a nicotine blast, a moan about the bosses and to catch up on the latest gossip. In a former workplace of mine the smoke-room was the place to find out what was going on in the workplace and who was dating who etc.
It’s difficult then to move away from this social circle and some people trying to quit will cut themselves off from smoking friends or even avoid places such as bars and restaurants where temptation might come their way and somebody will say “fancy nipping outside for a cigarette?”This isn’t a long-term strategy and will only make you resent the efforts you are making to quit.
The truth is, to quit properly you need to be able to not smoke in the situations where usually you would. This means saying no when somebody offers you a cigarette or suggests a quick smoke outside. The key to doing this is rehearsing some lines for different situations and to use with different people. At first you might want to keep your efforts to give up to yourself, but further down the line you should begin to tell people that you no longer smoke. Here are a few examples:
“Not just at the moment, I’m really busy and I’m trying to cut down.”
“It’s too cold for me out there right now, you have one and I’ll keep a table for us.”
“No thanks, I’m trying to give up and just having one or two at home.”
“Not for me, I’m ten days without a cigarette now and want to keep going till I hit a month smoke-free” “I’ve given up for Lent.”
“Haven’t you heard? I don’t smoke any more. You should try giving up as well, you’ll save a fortune and feel all the better for it!”
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.