Smoking is a crucial topic when it comes to relationships, particularly if only one half is a smoker – sometimes, it can even cause breakups.
Can you ask your date to stop smoking? And, if so, how do you ask them to stop?
In today’s post, we will discuss if it’s okay to tell a smoker you’re dating to stop smoking and when and how to do so.
Understanding the Discomfort
Non-smoking people typically tend to avoid dating a smoker. They’re concerned with the health issues secondhand smoke can cause their kids (now and in the future) and themselves, aside from worrying about how smoking affects their date’s health.
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Some people move on quickly after a first date with a smoker because they’re simply too bothered by it.
Some non-smoking people also view a smoker’s inability to quit smoking as a lack of effort to take control of their life and focus on a goal for themselves and their potential future partner.
It’s safe to say that smokers may have a limited reach when finding suitable partners. But some non-smokers are willing to take the plunge after finding something much more important in their date who smokes.
So, can you tell your date to stop smoking to continue a much more fruitful and healthy relationship together?
Can You Tell Your Date Off About Smoking?
You can advise any smoker to quit, but it must be at the right time, and importantly, in the right way. You’ll come off as rude to your smoking date if you quickly ask them to quit smoking entirely on the first date.
It’s important to remember you’re meeting this person for the first time, and you don’t know each other that deeply or have a bond that lets them open up and consider your concerns and suggestions, particularly about something so personal to them.
During the First Date
If smoking is a deal-breaker for you, let your potential date know that you find it unpleasant and unhealthy and will be moving on from them. Try to politely frame this as a ‘you’ issue, not a ‘them’ issue.
If you’d rather not throw in the towel just yet, politely letting them know about your concerns may encourage them to at least not smoke during the first date and possibly make later discussions about stopping smoking much easier to open up.
When Things Get on the Next Level
The right time to tell any date to seriously consider quitting smoking is during the time when you’ve both laid the foundations for your future together as a couple.
As you start to plan out the important details of your relationship’s next level, you can both safely (and fairly) discuss the topic of smoking.
During this discussion, the non-smoking partner must keep in mind that quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. Nicotine withdrawal isn’t a cakewalk, and even the most motivated smokers trying to quit can still get tempted and relapse, time and time again.
In short, a non-smoker should realise their partner may require two or more attempts to quit smoking before they can stop for good. A motivated smoker trying to quit who has a supportive partner and environment has the best chance of stopping completely.
Any relationship on a deep level should always have fair and open discussions about smoking without any ultimatums and nagging to help a smoking partner finally quit for good.
Smokefree First-Date Activities
A night out at a bar with cocktails and shots encourages a first-time date who smokes to light up a cigarette. If you can suggest the activity you’d like to try with them during your first meeting, here are some suggestions.
- Outdoor adventures: Hiking, camping, and trail biking are some outdoor activities that may interest first-time daters and help them get to know each other better without cigarettes.
- Cultural experiences: Going into museums, art galleries, or even doing art or craftsmanship activities for a first-time date may help smokers keep off the cigarettes and enjoy a new and exciting experience while making memories with a potential partner.
- Culinary explorations: Delicious food over conversation is a great way not to involve any cigarette smoking on your first date while getting to know each other better.
- Fitness activities: Light walking in local park trails, scenic bridges, and other iconic pathways won’t be too tiring and can help you learn more about each other.
How to Help a Motivated Smoker Quit
If both of you have taken the relationship to the next level and have had discussions about smoking, it’s time to offer your motivated smoker the best kind of help to quit.
Set a Quit Date
A quit date is the time your partner decides to stop smoking, not you.
For example, they can set it two weeks from now, which is an ideal timeline that lets both of you prepare everything needed to accomplish a day without lighting a cigarette. Here are a few tips to help you set it well.
Identify Your Goals
The first step is setting a quit date – next is for them to set their priorities. Aside from your goals as a couple, identify the other goals and priorities that quitting smoking will help them achieve on a personal level.
Seek out a GP
GPs have helped many ex-smokers quit smoking successfully and continue to help them even after years of being smokefree.
They can design a customised smoking cessation plan based on the number of cigarettes a smoker used to smoke and prescribe the best tools to help you with any potential nicotine withdrawals and cravings.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Products
NRT products appear as lozenges, gums, inhalers, and patches. They help relieve nicotine withdrawal by introducing a small dose of nicotine into the system. Used with a cessation plan, your partner can use NRT products and significantly increase their chance of stopping smoking for good.
But they don’t work for everyone, which is where nicotine vaping products (NVPs) can play a crucial role.
Nicotine Vaping Products (NVPs)
NVPs sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help your partner stop smoking.
The latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
Pharmacy NVPs differ significantly from illegal NVPs sold under the counter in corner shops and tobacconists, as these lack manufacturing standards, have questionable ingredients, and have been proven dangerous to a motivated smoker’s health. Stay away from these.
Join a Community
Having a supportive community that helps them quit (instead of being around people who deride their motivation to quit) gives them the best chance of quitting for good.
Have a Great Deal of Patience
Quitting smoking requires lots of willpower and a significant change of habits, which can be extremely taxing to your motivated partner.
Recognise that slip-ups and relapses can still come easily to them – even after a year or more – and be prepared to help them in their struggles.
Smoking shouldn’t stop anyone from seeing a person’s full potential to love and care for someone else, but smoking habits should not be fully discussed on a first date.
If smoking is a big issue for a non-smoker, it’s best to tell their potential date about their concern and move on – not demand them to stop smoking entirely. It’s only when things become serious that the two should have an open and fair talk about quitting smoking for good.
We know you’re reading this because you have a date or partner who doesn’t want to stop smoking, or you’re motivated to stop smoking to meet your partner’s goals as a couple. We can help.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.