So You Wish You Could be a Social Smoker?

Ex Smoker Envious of Social SmokersIt is not uncommon to hear smokers and even the occasional ex smoker; talk about their wishful thoughts of being able to remain a social smoker and not be so vulnerable to addiction.

Often, they will also make reference to someone they know who only smokes on “special occasions,” such as hanging out at the pub for a few drinks with friends.

For the sake of clarity, I am not referring to people who have the occasional “bum puff,” on a cigarette. I am referring to smokers who have a regular pattern of lighting up under certain circumstances, such as social events.

A person who smokes is a smoker and a social smoker smokes.

Social smokers tend to claim they are not addicted and have complete control over their habit. Often attracting the envy of heavy smokers who suffer a more advanced level of addiction.

The fact is, a person who smokes is a smoker and a social smoker smokes. The only thing that differs is how often and how many. So from here on in, I am going to refer to social smokers as light smokers.

The light smoker is less chemically dependent than the heavy smoker, as the process known as up regulation is simply not as advanced in light smokers. Both light and heavy smokers suffer habitual craves that have been caused by nicotine hijacking the brain’s reward center.

Both light and heavy smokers have a regular pattern of needing to light up and smoke under very specific circumstances.

Something else worth noting is that no one ever starts out as a heavy smoker. The addiction always starts as a smoke “now and then,” before gradually increasing as up regulation kicks in. The overwhelming majority of light smokers almost always end up becoming heavy smokers.

There also exists light smokers who claim they can go without smoking for months. While this might be true for some light smokers, it is important to note that the moment they do stop smoking they actually become a non smoker.

They heal from their addiction with relative ease because quitting smoking for a light smoker is simply not as difficult as it is for a heavy smoker. The thing to look for is whether or not the light smoker has a regular pattern of quitting, only to relapse after several months.

The only people who are ever truly in control of their cigarette consumption, are those who don’t smoke.

If you are envious of the social smoker, don’t be. At the end of the day, all that matters is how smoking affects you. If you want to be envious of someone, be envious of non smokers. After all, the only people who are ever truly in control of their cigarette consumption, are those who don’t smoke.



  1. Good article.

    I’m now on 3 days smoke free and I’ve been doing alot of reading so that I know what to expect during quitting period. I guess I need alot of courage and mental strength for 1st 2 weeks.

    Wish me luck

    • Christelle says:

      So have I Jim, I am also on three days and every time I have doubt in my mind I read and read. Good luck to you, you are not alone.

  2. Way to go Jim! The first handful of days is by far the toughest. You are doing great. If you have the strength to get this far, you have the strength to get through the rest of today, inch by inch, step by step, day by day. I do swear, the freedom is worth every single struggle…10 times over!

    Good luck! 🙂

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    During this phase when I was becoming a heavy smoker, I noticed that the idea of only smoking while I’m out drinking (which was my event) had a bit of a caveat. By attaching my habit of smoking with my desire to drink (which was naturally low), I was able to regulate and mitigate my smoking habit. But, as my addiction grew stronger, it actually helped me start making excuses to go out drinking so I could get a smoke! In effect, by binding my smoke habit to my drinking, I was starting to pick up a drinking habit! Danger!

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