Lead author Magda Lampridou, of Imperial College London,said: “Quitting smoking can be a lonely endeavour.
“People feel left out when they skip the smoke break at work or avoid social occasions. On top of that, there are nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
“Partners can distract each other from the cravings by going for a walk or to the cinema and encouraging replacement activities like eating healthy food. Active support works best, rather than nagging.”
Of the 222 partners recruited to help their other halves quit smoking, 99 were smokers, 40 ex-smokers, and 83 had never smoked.
Their smoking status was verified with a carbon monoxide breath test and couples were offered nicotine replacement therapy, including patches and gum.
Those who both smoked were almost six times more likely to have quit after 16 weeks than single smokers.
Ms Lampridou added:”Previous research has shown that ex-smokers can also positively influence their spouse’s attempts to quit, but in this study the effect was not statistically significant. As for non- smoking partners, there is a strong risk that they will adopt their spouse’s habit.”
The findings were presented at a European Society of Cardiology event yesterday.
People who stop smoking can halve their risk of cardio- vascular disease.
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