Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 11:41 AM EDT

Partner Up if You Want to Stop Smoking

Apr 12, 2019 11:02 AM EDT

Partner Up if You Want to Stop Smoking
(Photo : Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay)

A study presented at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology, has a central message in it, which is kicking the habit works best in pair.

Magna Lampridou of Imperial College London, UK, and the study author said that to stop smoking can be a lonely endeavor. When they skip the smoke break at work or avoid social occasion, people tend to feel left out. Also, there are nicotine withdrawal symptoms. To partner means distracting each other from the cravings by going for a walk or to the cinema and encouraging replacement activities such as meditating when alone or eating healthy food. Rather than nagging, active support works best.

About half coronary patients smoke, and 90 percent of individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease are smokers. The preventive guidelines of the ESC cardiovascular advise against tobacco in any form, and there is a high risk of cardiovascular disease for people who stop smoking generally. Ms. Lampridou said that smoking cessation interventions should incorporate couples where possible to achieve a smoke-free household.

Evaluating the supporting role married or cohabiting partners might have in smoking cessation was the angle of the study. The study also enrolled 222 current smokers who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease or had suffered a heart attack. Also, in the study were 99 current smokers (45 percent), 40 ex-smokers, and 83 never-smokers.

The recruiters attended one or four preventive cardiology programs such as EUROACTION plus, EUROACTION, MyAction Westminster, and MyAction Galway. In the initial stage of the study, couples were asked about current smoking status, history of smoking, and previous quit attempts. There was validation on the smoking status with a carbon monoxide breath test. During the 16-week program, they offered nicotine to couples as replacement therapy with patches and gum. In one study, couples had the chance to choose the prescription drug varenicline instead.

After the program, 75 percent of patients and 64 percent of patients were abstinent-compared to none and 55 percent at the start, respectively. There was a high response in odds of quitting smoking in couples who tried to stop together compared to those who attempted it alone.

Lampridou stated that the previous research has revealed that ex-smokers can also positively influence the attempts of their spouses to quit, but in the study she carried out, the effect was not statistically significant. The non-smoking partners have a substantial risk to adopt the habit of their spouse. She concluded that there is a need for research to confirm the findings in the smokers who are otherwise healthy.

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