Couples who try to quit smoking together are six times more likely to succeed for good, according to English researchers. They say that a non-smoking partner can also play an important role when smoking cessation symptoms are most noticeable.
Regardless of the treatment used, patches or patches, oral forms or cognitive therapies, quitting smoking can be a lonely undertaking. For this reason, researchers at Imperial College London recommend that another type of assistance be used, namely that smoking cessation should be targeted at couples as much as possible. The smoker’s spouse, whether or not he/she is a smoker himself/herself, can be a valuable asset, as their study presented at the EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), explains. This would be a way of increasing the chances of success by a factor of six.
“People feel left out when they avoid smoking breaks at work or social opportunities. In addition to this, there are nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Partners can distract each other by walking or going to the movies and offering alternative activities such as eating healthy foods or meditation,” explains Professor Magda Lampridou, who led the study. The researchers called this attitude “active support” and tested it on 222 smokers at high risk of cardiovascular disease or who had suffered a heart attack. Their partners were also included in the study: 99 smokers, 40 former smokers and 83 non-smokers.
Support that increases the chances of stopping by a factor of six
All couples were asked about their current smoking status, smoking history, and previous quit attempts. During a 16-week program, patch and gum treatment was offered and in some cases participants could choose to use a prescription drug called varenicline. At the end of the study period, 64% of patients and 75% of spouses were clean, compared to no patients and 55% of spouses at the very beginning. Most importantly, the chances of quitting smoking were 5.83 times higher among couples who tried to quit smoking together compared to patients who tried to quit alone.