Many successful ex-smokers say quitting is the hardest thing they ever did, while nearly 70 per cent of people who currently smoke in the UK say they want to stop. If this applies to your partner, then you can play a vital role in supporting them on their journey.
Anyone who has smoked for a long time will associate certain activities and times of the day with cigarettes. These trigger an urge to light up, but if the smoker can identify these key moments and find other ways to respond, they’re winning the battle.
To help you support your partner when they quit, here are five times when cravings will peak and how you can help them defuse those triggers.
1. In the morning
Start the day with a positive message: tell your partner how well they are doing with stopping smoking. If your morning breakfast routine would have involved your partner lighting up a cigarette, the urge to smoke might still be there – replace it with a fruit tea or make a fruit or veggie juice, or a smoothie. Try different flavours so they recognise how not smoking has enhanced how things taste. Former smokers who ate more fruit and vegetables were found to be three times more likely to be successful in quitting, according to a study by the University of Buffalo in America.
2. Driving in the car
By October 2015, smoking in cars with passengers under 18 will be banned in England. If your partner was accustomed to reaching for the cigarettes while driving, they could try swapping the cigarette for Nicotine Icemint Support gum. It can help withdrawal pangs by providing a very small dose of nicotine, allowing your partner to reduce their nicotine intake slowly over time, and also replacing the physical habit of reaching for a cigarette. Visit the Nicotinell support page to find out more.
Once your partner decides to quit, take the car for a valet so it smells clean and fresh. Put an encouraging sticky note on the dashboard every now and then to remind them how well they are doing. And what about all the things they can buy with the money they’ve saved?
3. On their lunch break
It’s likely you will be away from your partner at this point, but let them know you are there if they need you. Encourage them to take a healthy snack which is low in calories, but still feels like a treat. Call them for a chat or send them a text to let them know you are thinking of them, then, if they are stressed or vulnerable, you’re giving them a chance to share their emotions. Remind them they have their nicotine gum to help too, and ensure they always have some with them, in the car, or at their desk.
4. After dinner
If the first thing your partner does after a nice meal is light up, then a positive step is to replace a bad habit with a good one. Suggest going for a brisk walk, and while you’re out, use this time to chat about how their general health has improved and how they have managed that day during times when they might usually have reached for a cigarette. Coping with withdrawal can be a distressing time, so show your support by praising their success.
For many smokers, going for a drink with their friends goes hand-in-hand with lighting up a cigarette. They may be nervous about going out into social situations without the 'safety' of a cigarette. But avoiding it could increase their anxiety, so tackle this likely trigger head on: encourage them to use a gum whenever they get the urge to smoke. Make sure you create a supportive social circle around them – quitting smoking is a positive step made to enhance their lives, not stop them having fun! Be sure to tell your friends how well your partner is doing. Make it clear you are proud and they should be proud of themselves too; let their journey be an inspiration to others, and to themselves.
Nicotinell© Support Icemint 2mg and 4mg medicated chewing gums. Contain nicotine. Stop smoking aid. Always read the label. Requires willpower.
Job number – 343460.1 / MARCH 2015