Are there "social smokers?"

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

13 May 2003, 06:03 #11

Hi joel
I was that social smoker and then a secret smoker,i started with borrowing cigarettes and then the next day i would buy a pack but smoke in secret.The next stage was buying my own when going out at weekends,after all it was,nt polite to keep borrowing.My friends wife is a so called social smoker but guess what i seen her take one on a monday after all it had been a stressful day.I don,t believe that smoking comes with a part time membership because in time the membership becomes full time.I think that social smoker faces constant withdrawal and i have even witnessed someone socialise more to feed their addiction.
Rickdabler 2 months 3 days 19hrs happily nicotine free.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 May 2003, 20:50 #12

You may not like the new clean indoor-air laws outlawing selective indoor burning that are quickly creeping across the globe, but as the below article points out, many who "thought" they were social smokers are finding out that come feeding time ... it's time to feed! More hard cold freezing reality might tend to expose a few more of the lies accompanying each destructive puff of nicotine! Looks like nicotine dependent "stars" are going to be getting to know their fans a better! John

Celebs smoked out of bars
By Donna Freydkin, special for USA TODAY
May 12, 2003

NEW YORK - This spring and summer, celeb-hungry gawkers can skip the velvet-roped clubs and cruise the streets for some nighttime stargazing.
That's because Manhattan's new smoking ban, which went into ironclad effect on April 30 (after a 30-day grace period) and prohibits cigarettes in bars and restaurants with very few exceptions, is forcing many nicotine-craving A-listers out of their private VIP rooms and on to very public city corners for their smoke breaks. It's why John Malkovich, who lives in smoker-friendly France, was forced to leave the premiere of his directorial debut TheDancer Upstairs on April 29 and inhale outside the Bryant Park Hotel on an unseasonably cold spring evening.

A day earlier at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's gala for the Costume Institute, supermodel Gisele Bundchen stepped out for numerous tobacco breaks, at times joined by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, one of those adamantly opposed to the ban.

"I can't stand it," Carter says. "It ignores the vanity of New York. Michael Bloomberg has forgotten what it's like to be 25 in New York and that most people want to go out and drink and smoke at the end of the day."

But many are still doing that - just outdoors. On March 31, the very day the smoking ban first went into effect, Colin Farrell puffed on a cigarette outside the New York premiere of his thriller Phone Booth. Even pop star Britney Spears isn't above the law - she was asked to put out her cigarette at Underbar and Show nightspots recently.

Smokin' Sci Fi Channel host and 90210 alum Shannen Doherty lights up outside NoHo's trendy eatery Serafina, where she's a regular, the restaurant's publicist says.

"Now that the good weather's here, it's not so bad. People can go outside and have a cigarette," says Blondie frontwoman and downtown Manhattan resident Deborah Harry. "It does make the inside places much more comfortable, and maybe it'll help a lot of people to quit smoking."

Still, not all non-smokers are down with the new rules. "I think it's ridiculous," Gina Gershon says. "It's not right. You should have a smoking section inside, but right now, people are all outside of empty clubs and bars."

Smoking has been prohibited at city restaurants with more than 35 seats since 1995, but stand-alone bars were exempt from the ban, until Bloomberg's new law took effect. Now, owners are subjected to fines of $200 to $400 for a first offense and $500 to $1,000 for a second offense. The licenses of repeat offenders can be revoked, and that's why bars mean business when they tell you to put out that cigarette.

But while some celebs lament the new law, others couldn't be happier.

"I've given up smoking, so it's quite good for me, quite handy," says Down With Love star Ewan McGregor, who was in town for a visit.
© Copyright 2003 USA TODAY


Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:38

14 May 2003, 13:29 #13


I have a sister who I always classed as a "social smoker" - smoking about 5 per day, unless some big social event was on where she would smoke like a chimney like the rest of us. She has now tried to quit several times unsuccessfully.

My question is this. When I stopped I have noticed wonderful things happening, taste, smell, money - you know all the good stuff. However because of her low consumption, she didn't seem to get these positive gains - obviously because she wasn't suffering all that much while she was smoking. Any articles or advice I can share with her and try to convince her to have another go?


I have been quit for 1 Month, 5 Days and 48 minutes (35 days). I have saved $441.42 by not smoking 1,226 cigarettes. I have saved 4 Days, 6 hours and 10 minutes of my life.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:01

10 Jan 2004, 06:24 #14

Around the beach here, those referred to as social smokers are the ones who smoke very little if any all day. Then, in the evening from cocktail hour on, they chain smoke for hours. I understand about alcohol expediting expulsion of nicotine via kidneys. The evening nicotine frenzy appears much like a nicotine "pig out". These people do carry their on cigs. The "bummers" do not. I know people who have bummed cigarettes at parties for many years. I've noticed that they are really on again, off again smokers. We just usually see them at parties. There are a lot of angry people around in perpetual withdrawal expressing their rage. The human environment is no longer supportive of the addiction. Smoking among other things is most inconvenient. I guess it doesn't matter what class or category we filed ourselves as addicts as long as we can convince ourselves to never take another puff.
I have been quit for 5 Days, 19 hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds (5 days). I have saved $26.23 by not smoking 174 cigarettes. I have saved 14 hours and 30 minutes of my life.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 01:47

17 Jan 2004, 13:29 #15

Hello Everyone!

I was one of these smokers who could puff under five a day, but my addiction is obvious and apparent to me! If I did not have each ciggarette as planned I would get more than agitated. My nicotine schedule was very rigid . And this incldued right after yoga. Before a bath. When on the phone. If upset or happy. If I was unable to ingest nico-drug at EXACTLY at these times, I was a monster.

And when I went out or was creating I'd suddenly smoke more and more.

Then, of course the next day I'd taper down again to make up for my excess.

Really ridiculous and took a lot of energy out of my every waking minute, for it seemed I was always worrying about when I would have my next cigg and where.

I had been wondering in these early days of my quit if perhaps I'm not really a smoker (my mind attempting to rationalize my addiction, obviously). I've been trying to convince myself in various ways that I could probably have just one someday. However, I've tried to quit again and again and it was ALWAYS this 'social' smoke that got me back into my nicotine habit. And believe me, even though my intake was not up to a pack the intensity of my addiction was just as severe. I started smoking at the age of 12. And now I'm almost 40. So for 28 years I've focused all this energy on smoking (even when I wasn't having a cigg).

I'm really looking forward to being able to think on other things.

I pray for the strength and knowledge and support to do so.


Clarity who is ten daze into freedom and happy that (at least) 70 ciggs were not smoked.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

09 Feb 2004, 06:35 #16

Hello, I know this is an older thread but I would like to address it. I was the exact kind of smoker Joel is speaking of here. I could easily smoke only three or five cigarettes in a day. For years this is how I smoked. Mostly because I was a closet smoker. Also more than 6 or 7 cigarettes would make my throat sore and give me a headache. How foolish could I have been to keep smoking in the first place??

BUT.............................. I did and I always felt quitting was even harder for me because I was always in a constant state of withdrawal even when I was smoking so even withdrawal felt normal. How sick is that? So I am glad to see my quit feelings validated. I also blew a 4 year quit from thinking I could do a social puff. No it just can not happen. Now with the education from this site I know that and this is why this quit for me is so different. I know this time it is for real and how to keep it for real. Not that I even have craves anymore.

Gosh I did have a smoking dream after three years of being quit and that was a shock. It was so real and I was so upset with myself. The cigarette did not taste good and my husband caught me smoking it and when I woke up I was crying so hard I could not go back to sleep . Even though I knew it was a dream. I fretted over this dream for a few days.

So not taking any more time on this. Just adding my 2 cents worth on a social smoker and their addictions. Thanks Joel :^) Again!!

Chris 3 Years 3 Months 8 Days Woo Hoo :^)))))))))))))))))))

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Oct 2006, 09:08 #17

I spoke with a classmate who said "I only smoke, when I drive." When I asked how often she drove, she answered "Every day."

I have a friend who lectured me about smoking ten years ago when we went to school together. Since then, he became an MD and a smoker. Some only smoke when they drink, some only on weekends, they all seem to have ways to describe their "non-habit."

I used to be so jealous of people who are able to be social smokers. This jealousy is really just a way of legitamizing the fantasy of one=one. This feeling is nothing more than a simple craving to me now.

I like being a nonsmoker, it feels like a credential. A credential with fancier perks than "social smoker" or "occasional smoker."

Rick - Free and Healing for Two Months, Eight Days, 15 Hours and 7 Minutes.
I have saved $282.81 by not smoking 1253 cigarettes.

Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

04 Nov 2006, 08:06 #18

None of us knows which cigarette will be the one which will trigger deadly changes in our bodies.

Why do we tend to think that "social smoking" is okay and safe and nothing to worry about?

Never take another puff!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Nov 2006, 00:12 #19

New video today that fits into this string: ... tube_gdata
Last edited by Joel on 20 Jun 2013, 17:44, edited 3 times in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:35

20 Apr 2007, 19:12 #20

I have a friend like that. It drives me nuts. She has a puff off other peoples smokes now and then at gatherings, but other then that, nothing. We could all be sitting around for hours smoking away and she deosn't have any, then once in a blue moon she'll take a puff. But she's never even bought a pack!

I don't think I'm jealous, but more annoyed that I'm an addict. I never thought of myself as an addict. Not till now. My whole body's going through some crazy stuff right now as part of withdrawl.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Apr 2007, 20:55 #21


Does that drive you nuts?
Let's say there is a group of cocaine addicts who use every day.
Your friend visits them so now and then and she also takes some cocaine so now and then.
Does that make you jealous? That's what your friend is doing.
It won't take that long before she gets addicted. Have a good look at her, she is the same as us before we got addicted. It starts with bumming some cigarettes here and there and it ends with buying and smoking 20/40/60/80 per day. You are looking in the mirror Debbie. Congratulations with your quit!

Frits (4 months+)

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Apr 2007, 23:01 #22

Debbie wrote:
"I have a friend like that. It drives me nuts."
Frits wrote
"It won't take that long before she gets addicted. "
Actually, Debbie's friend may not get addicted. Maybe she is one of those true exceptions to the rule. To tell Debbie now that it won't take long for her to be addicted is going to possibly cause Debbie to lose a certain degree of respect for the credibility of things written on this board. Debbie's friend may have been doing this for decades now and to make a blanket statement that she will be addicted and smoking 20, 40, 60 or more a day before long is going to give Debbie and others who read here the idea that we either don't know what we are talking about here at Freedom or that we are exaggerating the risks of addiction by applying it to ALL people who use.

As this article clearly states, there are truly some people who are social or controlled smokers. It is a small minority of people, but they do exist. Again though, they are not people who are likely members or readers at our board. A true social smoker would likely never see our board even once for they would not likely ever look for any information about help for quitting smoking.

As the original post in this string says:
Are there social smokers--yes there are. First thing to note though, no one here at Freedom was a social smoker--at least not when they finally quit smoking. We KNOW that because they showed up here at Freedom in the first place. A social smoker would not likely ever type the word "quitting" or "help on quitting" into a search engine. If a social smoker did by chance come upon our site, they would have read for a few minutes, realized none of this applies to them, and never have gone through our application process.

Now that we have established that the people here are not social smokers, who are the social smokers? Well it is not all the people who you think are social smokers. Although before I even address this, the term is almost wrong to start with. Social smoker makes about as much sense in some circles as social leper. There are some people who seem as if they can take it or leave it. I think the term that is used in some scientific communities for these kind of smokers is "chipper," I think used to describe people who smoke under 5 per day.

But not all of the people who can smoke that way are actually in control of their addiction per se. Some of these people NEED those one to four cigarettes. They don't think they do but they do. I meet them all the time in clinics. They are spouses of heavy smokers, who basically never bought cigarettes a day in their life. They "only" smoked them because they were around and to be with the spouse. But when the heavy smoking spouse all of a sudden gets sick and has to quit, the light smoking spouse enthusiastically volunteers to quit to for support. After all, they figured they never really need these cigarettes anyway, quitting will be no big deal.

These people are OFTEN in for a real surprise. They will find themselves buying their first pack in their lives, and going through a worse time than the heavy smoking spouse. Often these people have full blown withdrawals and often, they don't make it ending up being the sole smoker left in the family. They were not "social smokers" after all, they were full blown addicts who were just at a lower tolerance level than most others. But there is no guarantee that over time their tolerance would not have increased and resulted in them turning into heavy smokers who would be viewed as full-fledged smokers by all around them.

The only way for these people to quit and stay off is the same for people who smoke 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or even one hundred cigarettes a day. It is still by understanding to take and keep control over the nicotine addiction entails always knowing to never take another puff!

Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

07 Jan 2008, 07:03 #23

Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on 07 Mar 2009, 16:33, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2008, 22:26 #24

Related video:
Video Title
MP3 Audio
"I don't need to smoke" 3.86mb 11.54mb 4.75mb 10:29 11/09/06

Joined: 04 Mar 2010, 14:55

09 Mar 2010, 17:29 #25

For anyone who has been a regular smoker, I would venture to say that it is not possible to be a "social smoker."  Anyone reading this should forget that concept right now, because addiction does not work that way.  I know I have tried to do this countless times throughout my addiction to cigarrettes--just smoke when I'm around my smoking friends, smoke occasionally, etc.  It most certainly does not work for me!!  I was usually able to pull it off for a little while, sometimes even a month or two, but it always led to me buying my own pack and smoking regularly.  I am glad I am not trying to fool myself anymore and have realized that one puff=countless more.  Addicts are addicts for life, and should never test their addiction.       

Joined: 12 Aug 2010, 03:51

16 Aug 2010, 18:30 #26

Along this thread - I have also known some cigar smoking friends of mine who will smoke a cigar occasionally while playing golf.  The thing is - they never smoked cigarettes and never became addicted.  Truly a social smoker. The risk comes in thinking that an addict, such as I, can change delivery methods of nicotine in order to achieve non-addicted smoking status.  This will never work for me - I know because I've tried!  I make a rule like - "I'll only smoke cigars, and only on special occasions".  Then it becomes - "I'll only smoke cigars when I get home from work" - then "I'll only smoke at night - 2 Maximum".  I eventually found myself needing to smoke a cigarette becuase it was less abrasive on my throat than the cigars I was smoking!!!

Imagining a world where a nicotine addict can be a social smoker is a deception that we must never succomb to.

I think I need to box up my cigars and send them to my social smoking friend - at least then I know I'm not feeding someone's addiction!

Jason Prior - Free and Healing for Seven Days, 13 Hours and 29 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 12 Hours, by avoiding the use of 151 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $41.60.

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

29 Oct 2011, 18:34 #27


Joined: 03 Nov 2011, 14:50

17 Nov 2011, 19:55 #28

I guess there will always be a handful of people in the world who can use an addictive substance whenever and however they choose. I almost wish there weren't.

We addicts tend to hold those rarities up as a shining example of the kind of smoker we could be too. Of course, if I could have controlled how and when I smoked, I sure as heck would have been doing it all along.

It's nice to learn the secret truly being in control of smoking. (Hint: It's what Joel said, NTAP)

17 days, 15 hours and 34 minutes into being a social ex-smoker

Joined: 03 Jul 2013, 14:10

30 Aug 2013, 00:31 #29

I just watched Joel (one of my heros) in two videos ( went looking for the social smokers one) - "Are there social smokers?" video and (right up next to it) "I don't need to smoke" great for me to see right now, 2 months and 6 days on my road to freedom. I smoked for 18 years, quit for 20 years and smoked again for 13 years. When I quit the first time I was basically chain smoking, 3+ packs a day, non filtered cigarettes. When I started again, thinking I could be a social smoker, I smoked a filter cigarette,  I got up to 1 - 1 1/2 pack a day, "controlling"  my smoking never reaching even 2 packs. This was a challenge for me and I considered it a success but also a failure in the "social smoker" department.

Right now I feel calm, I am "armed and dangerous" as they say, the knowledge I have found here, and the support of those who are totally free (as I once was, though unaware that I was an addict waiting to begin again) has been invaluable in my last and final quit. Over the last 13 years I have attempted to quit many times, never getting to far.

I am committed to NTAP.
A happy ex-smoker, working at it and making progress.