When you are determined to quit smoking and have smoked your last cigarette, the next couple weeks will be tough without relapsing. You will be struck with some bad withdrawal symptoms – feeling physically sick, being moody or irritable and headaches. It won’t be pleasant, but you need to tell yourself that you can do it.
You can’t stop the physical symptoms. Yes, you can use the patch or chew the gum. That will help you with some of your cravings. However, if you don’t make a change to your social behavior; none of those nicotine replacement therapies can help you. That’s because your social behavior is part of your routine and a lot of slip-ups and relapses begin with a cigarette offered by another smoker in those situations.
During those first few weeks, you should try and avoid social situations where people are smoking and you may want to avoid people who smoke. That being said, it will probably be difficult at times and you may potentially lose some friends (even good ones). However, you need to remember when you quit smoking; you will need to do these different things to remain smoke-free.
You may want to avoid going to your frequent hangouts, like the smoking section of a restaurant, a smoky bar, a bowling alley or on the golf course. You need to avoid these places especially for a couple weeks, so you won’t relapse. After a while, if you think you’ll be okay; you can go back to those places and not be affected by having other people smoking around you.
However, there are situations where you can’t avoid the smoking area. You may want to take some time before you go there. You will probably want to rehearse what you think will happen. You may want to visualize the scene or the event. While you’re visualizing this, you need to think of some things that non-smokers would do in that situation. Try and put yourself in their shoes for once, because that’s what you want to become.
You may want to talk with your friends and family members before you quit about your intensions. Also politely ask them not to smoke when you’re around, not to leave their cigarettes out and not to offer you a cigarette even in the case you ask. If you get caught in a place with smokers and find yourself craving a cigarette, excuse yourself until the urge passes. Go outside or to another room.
However, if you live with smokers,you can politely ask them to make smoking off-limits inside the home. Sometimes that’s not possible, you need to create at least one smoke-free area for yourself. You can buy scented candles or air freshners, so you won’t have to smell the smoke.
And a final note. A lot of relapses occur in a social situation and most relapses will begin with a cigarette offered by another smoker. Try and not put you in a social setting where that can happen.