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Quitting Smoking is Easier with Support of a Partner

February 7, 2018 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Quitting smoking is easier with partner support

With Valentine’s Day approaching, most people think of chocolates and flowers as the time-honoured gift for that special someone. But this Valentine’s Day, consider a different kind of gift – the commitment to a smoke-free relationship.

Studies show that quitting smoking is better together. When one partner in a couple quits smoking, the other partner is more likely to quit successfully as well. On the other hand, it’s tougher to stay smoke-free with a partner around who continues to smoke. Quitting smoking is tough. Why not make it a bit easier by tackling it with someone you love?

If you and your partner want to stop smoking, keep these tips in mind.

Prepare and pay attention.

Spend a few days prepping for your quit. While you’re getting ready, think about your smoking patterns, both individually and as a couple. Do you smoke together, or separately? Do you talk about smoking? Argue about it? In the past, when one of you is cutting back, does the other cut down as well, or keep smoking regularly? How does this affect the other’s ability to stay smoke-free? Thinking about these questions ahead of time can help you plan for how you’ll need to alter your behaviour, both as a couple and individually.

Quit on the same day.

Picking a quit day together makes sense for a few different reasons. For one, neither of you has to be faced with the temptation of seeing (and smelling!) cigarette smoke while you’re trying to overcome cravings. You also won’t have to feel guilty for tempting your partner, if you’re still smoking while they try to abstain. Quitting together does more than help avoid resentment and conflict – it can instead be an opportunity for the two of you to encourage each other.

Stay positive.

Criticism and expressing doubt in your partner’s or your own ability to quit won’t help. Try to limit criticizing your partner when they do smoke, and don’t hold it against them (or yourself) if there’s a slip-up or set-back. Studies show that, when people hear more positive feedback they’re more likely to quit for good, than if they only hear about when they mess up. Encouraging and supportive comments can help your partner’s quit attempt, as well as your own. Let them know when they’re are making positive steps—like not smoking during a stressful event—and celebrate small milestones along the way.

Commit to staying on track.

One thing to know before you quit is that slips are common. Talk to your partner about how you’ll handle it if one of you has just one smoke: will you both commit ahead of time to stay strong, and recommit to quitting when a slip happens? Slips can be an opportunity for the two of you to learn more about what triggers you to smoke. Instead of throwing in the towel, recognize just how difficult quitting can be, find another way to deal with the trigger in the future and get each other back on track.

Get support. 

There are free supports available to help you stay smoke-free:

  • QuitNow is the free, quit-smoking service funded by the Government of British Columbia, managed by the BC Lung Association. It provides coaching, daily motivation by email and text, and community support. Go to QuitNow.ca for more information.
  • The BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible BC residents stop smoking by covering the cost of smoking cessation medications. For more information, read more here.
Author's bio: today’s blog was written in collaboration with QuitNow team member Carlynn Ferguson-King, with support from Suzanne Gaby and Sharon Hammond, both certified tobacco cessation educators and QuitNow managers. QuitNow is the free, quit-smoking service funded by the Government of British Columbia, managed by the BC Lung Association.

Related blogs
Services to Help You Quit Smoking
Parenting and Smoking

Recommended resources
HealthLink BC: Smoking Fewer Cigarettes

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