Survival guide to the smoking area
How to cope with smoking areas when you’re trying to quit.
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Anyone who has tried to quit smoking or vaping will have been there before – quitting is going great and you’ve been smoke-free for three weeks. You’ve been sticking to your quitting plan – choosing the healthy options, increasing your daily physical activity, and your strategies for how to handle cravings are working.
Your quit plan is working well, but you’re worried about social situations with alcohol and being around others who smoke, situations that you’ve been avoiding up until now.
Surviving the smoking area without the smokes
When you go out, it can be easy to slip up and just have one cigarette, but that one can quickly turn into a whole pack, and you will need to start your quitting process all over again. If you’re on a night out and you’re having a hard time in the smoking area, here are some things to try.
Focus on your night out and enjoy yourself
Think of all the things you love doing on a night out instead of smoking, and do those things instead. If dancing is your thing, try to go to clubs or pubs that you know play all your favourite tunes, so you’ll be too busy on the dancefloor to even think about smoking.
Have some snacks
If you’re getting bad cravings, you need to find other ways to keep your hands occupied. Head straight to the bar, grab yourself some peanuts or crisps and munch away.
Play with your phone
If you miss how it feels to have a smoke or a vape in your hand, play with your phone instead. Have some fun on Snapchat, post a selfie on Instagram or Tweet the funny thing your friend just said. Anything to keep your hands occupied.
Find a non-smoker and hang on to them
All you need is at least one non-smoking friend to hang out with while your other friends are smoking. Find someone you know who is good fun, so you’ll be laughing so hard that smoking won’t even be on your mind.
Communication is key
Let your friends know in advance that you’ve quit smoking and you’re not going to smoke tonight. Let them know you’ve been working hard on quitting and it’s really important to you that you don’t waste all that hard work tonight. They’ll understand, they won’t offer you smokes, and they’ll do whatever else they can to support you.
Know who to avoid
Sadly, there are people out there who aren’t going to encourage your quitting, and will think it’s funny to try to tempt you back into smoking. Politely avoid these people, and hang out with other friends.
Watch your alcohol intake
Alcohol increases your desire to smoke, as well as impairing your judgement. So for your first night out after quitting, it might be a good idea to stick to avoid or cut back on alcohol.
Whatever you do, do not buy cigarettes
When quitting smoking, everyone makes occasional mistakes. If you end up taking a drag of your friend’s smoke, it’s not the end of the world, as long as you make a plan for it not to happen again. But if you buy cigarettes on a night out, it’s the first step on a slippery slope. You’ll still have the remainder of that pack left the next day, and next time you get a craving, you’ll be so much more likely to give in.
Need some help quitting?
- Visit Quit.ie for tips on how to stop smoking
- Call the Quitline Freephone no 1800 201 203 to talk to someone who understands and can help you quit
- Check out the Quit Facebook page to read stories from others who have quit smoking and to share your own
- Check out SpunOut’s articles on quitting smoking
Disclaimer: There is more than one way to quit smoking. You may need to try a few different things to find what is right for you. For advice and support on quitting, visit SpunOut.ie/QUIT