your partner quit smoking
If your partner is trying to quit smoking, there are many ways
you can help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates
that around 70
percent of smokers say they want to quit. However, a much smaller
percentage of smokers are successful.
Despite the difficulties in quitting, 40 percent of those who are
successful attribute their successes to having support. Therefore, you play a
greater role in your partner’s ability to quit than you might realize. Consider
the ways you can help your partner quit.
your concerns without lecturing
Many smokers already know the risks that this habit entails. Still,
the increased risks of lung cancer and heart disease are often not enough. The CDC
says that nicotine may be just as addictive as cocaine and heroin.
Some smokers don’t realize the emotional and physical damage
their habit has on loved ones. Secondhand smoke is hazardous. Cigarettes can
also be expensive.
You can put the effects of your partner’s habit into perspective
by doing the following:
- Provide a cost analysis. Then, show them what your
family could have with the money that’s spent on cigarettes over time, such as a
vacation, new furniture, or a better car.
- You can discuss how this habit isolates them and
even you from social situations that don’t allow smoking.
- You can express your concern that you want to
live a long life with them in it.
find an aid
Using an aid to help quit smoking is among the most common
methods of quitting. They’re often costly, but these aids often end up being
less expensive than cigarettes, especially if a heavy smoker is using them.
Nicotine replacement products are the first choice. They come in many forms,
- nasal sprays
You can help by making sure your partner has enough of the
products and by stocking up when you suspect they’re running low.
Despite the promise of nicotine replacements, they don’t always
work. This can be discouraging for smokers. Relapses can happen. If you suspect
nicotine replacement products aren’t strong enough for your partner’s
addiction, help them investigate other options. They can talk to their doctor
about prescription alternatives, such as bupropion and varenicline tartrate.
These work by altering brain chemicals rather than offering nicotine
Perhaps one of the reasons why many smokers refrain from
quitting is that they’re afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- difficulty concentrating
- a reduced heart rate
- difficulty sleeping
- weight gain
- increased appetite
It’s estimated that between
80 and 90 percent of smokers are physically addicted to nicotine. Withdrawal
symptoms can surpass cravings for cigarettes. This means that your partner
might still be going through withdrawal despite no longer physically craving
nicotine. Knowing this ahead of time can prepare you to expect withdrawal
symptoms. It’s important to be patient during the period of withdrawal.
up with distractions
Distractions can go a long way in battling cravings and
withdrawal symptoms. If your partner needs a distraction from smoking, offer to
do one of the following with them:
- play a game
- take a walk
- watch a movie
- cook a new meal
- go to a class that involves handwork, such as
- work in the yard
Find something your partner enjoys that can distract them
from the cravings. However, try to avoid going to places where there may be
other smokers, such as concerts and bars.
You can also offer tips for your partner to try out when
you’re not around, such as:
- chewing gum
- drinking herbal tea
- playing a smartphone game
- using a toothpick
- eating hard but healthy foods, such as apples
- drinking a glass of water
- meditating for 5 to 10 minutes
- practicing yoga
the right level of encouragement
It’s important not to let any excitement you may be feeling set
up unrealistic expectations. If your partner thinks you’re beginning to nag,
they may stop listening to you completely. It’s important to approach the
discussion in a measured way and then know when you’ve said all you should for
that day. Give your partner things to think about, and then let them come to
you to talk about it when the time is right.
However, encouragement is important. Helping your partner is
crucial to their success. After a while, they might lose momentum because there’s
nothing to look forward to. Help them create rewards, such as:
- a date night
- going away for the weekend
- a shopping trip
- gift cards
- an encouraging card
when to seek outside help
While you can offer your partner a great deal of help, it’s also
important to know when to seek outside resources. If your partner is having a
particularly difficult time and is having severe withdrawal symptoms, consider
helping them find behavioral therapy. Group therapy can also be helpful. It has
the added benefit of offering social support from fellow smokers who want to
quit while reducing any strain on your relationship.
There are apps and phone numbers to call for help as well.
Both Android and Apple offer free apps to track success. These might be
especially helpful if your partner is a visual learner. Don’t hesitate to call 800-QUIT-NOW,
or 800-784-8669, for free resources if you’re feeling the situation is out of
control and you want to give up.
supportive through the hard times
Perhaps the most important way you can help your partner
quit smoking is to be supportive, especially on hard days. Nicotine is a drug,
and a nicotine addiction can be emotionally and physically painful, especially
as your partner encounters withdrawals and cravings.
Most smokers who try to quit aren’t successful on the first
try. Quitting can require multiple attempts. Your understanding and continued
support will make it more likely that your partner will keep trying and