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Your Quit-Smoking Fears Debunked

Dreading the weight gain, bad mood, or chance of failure? Think again.

Fear: My Social Life Will Tank

If you glance at personal ads or online dating profiles, people almost exclusively prefer nonsmokers. You’ll rarely spot “Looking for a smoker” among the listed entries. In fact, quitting may actually improve your social life because your hair, skin, clothes, and car will smell better.

When you visit a restaurant, party, or social event where smoking isn’t allowed, you may end up huddled outside as an outcast. “The overwhelming majority of states have some laws on the books about limiting public exposure to tobaccos smoke because we know what a health problem it is to be exposed to secondhand smoke,” Steinberg says.

However, there is an element of smokers banding together and establishing a common bond over smoking.

“When someone quits, that group solidarity may be at risk, but that’s a small part of the overall social interactions people have,” says Michael Eriksen, ScD, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University.

It may help to skip hanging out with smokers for a few weeks until you’ve got a handle on your quitting, anyway.

The bottom line: It’s more difficult to find places you can smoke during a social activity, and it’s getting harder to find other people who smoke, so quitting may actually be a boon to your social life in the long run.

Fear: My Creativity Will Plummet

If you work in a creative field or enjoy an artistic hobby, you may fear that quitting will stifle your creative juice. But there’s no research that suggests smoking affects creativity.

“One of the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine is difficulty concentrating, so if you’re a smoker and you try to quit smoking, you may notice during the first few weeks that you’re having more difficulty concentrating. And certainly concentration is an important characteristic for being creative and getting work done,” Steinberg says.

Impaired concentration is a short-lived symptom and not even noticed by some.

Creative types may have an association of working on a project and lighting up. They associate the cigarette with the creative process. “In reality, they’ll do just as well once they quit smoking at putting out those masterpieces,” Steinberg says.

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