Most people use tobacco for many years before quitting and it becomes a core component of their daily lives. This, combined with the addictive nature of nicotine, means it takes a lot of work and commitment to quit using tobacco. And once you quit, you probably don’t want to put your quit at risk.
A big part of staying quit means watching out for high risk situations. Drinking alcohol can be a high risk activity – especially when you’ve first quit. Drinking alcohol is one of the main reasons people slip up and get back into using tobacco after quitting.
So, why does this happen?
First, most smokers who drink alcoholic beverages say that having a cigarette or cigar in one hand goes right along with having a drink. The combination of the cigarette and the drink is called a “paired behavior.” So after quitting, having a drink, especially in a place where there may be other smokers, is a very risky behavior.
Second, most people’s judgment becomes a bit compromised after a couple drinks. Bad ideas can seem like good ideas, or at least decent ideas. Many former quitters simply shake their heads in disbelief that they went back to smoking after a few drinks.
Simply put, drinking alcohol and getting tipsy or intoxicated is ill-advised in the early stages of being quit. And if you’re concerned about weight gain after quitting, alcohol is literally packed with calories and is a primary cause of weight gain after quitting.
So, do you have to stop drinking alcohol altogether after quitting tobacco? No, you don’t. However, it is important to be careful and address the risks involved with drinking alcohol after you’ve quit tobacco.