Smoking Triggers: Alcohol

Alcohol as a Trigger for Smoking

Celebrations and social situations that involve alcohol are well known to trigger nicotine cravings, making these potentially risky times for people trying to quit.


Tips and Tricks for Alcohol Smoking Triggers

While alcohol-related situations can be difficult to manage, we’ve put together some tricks to help you minimise the risks to your quit smoking attempt. 

  • Stop or decrease your alcohol intake. If possible, this is the best approach – even for a little while. At an event, you could switch to non-alcoholic drinks, or try alternating alcoholic with non-alcoholic ones.
    Imagine if you were trying to stay away from something else, like chocolate – you’d probably avoid having it in the house in the beginning, rather than keeping it in full view where you’re likely to be tempted by it. It’s the same principle with alcohol – so avoidance is best to start with.
  • Get your smoker friends to help. If you know one or more of your smoking friends will be at an upcoming social event, ask them to agree not to give you a cigarette – even if a craving results in you asking for one! The trick is to arrange this before the event.
  • Get your non-smoker friends to help. Prior to an event, If one of your non-smoking friends is attending too, ask them to keep an eye out for you to ensure you don’t give in to any cravings – you could even ask them to take a cigarette away from you if you succumb to temptation.
  • Create a smoke-free zone at home. If you live with a smoker, make sure cigarettes aren’t easily accessible to you in the home (you might need to make an agreement with them).
  • Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT products can help reduce your cravings. But remember that drinking while using an oral NRT product will reduce the absorption rate and therefore the effectiveness – a good excuse to skip drinks!

It’s important to be aware that these methods aren’t foolproof or realistic for everyone. However, they might give you some ideas for what might work for you when you’re trying to avoid smoking triggers.

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