Quitting smoking is tough at the best of times and many people report success by quitting with friends and family. The thinking is by holding each other accountable and having an instant support network in your efforts to quit, you can increase your chances of success.
In the alternative scenario, where friends and family continue to smoke, the challenge of quitting becomes compounded. What do you do when you live with smokers? Quitting in this context can be difficult, but it is possible and so rewarding when you do! Many people have achieved it and you can too. Let’s look at how to quit smoking in such a scenario.
A Personal Story
I started smoking in my late teens, 10 years later this addiction was firmly established. The decision to quit smoking was made slowly. I probably spent months thinking about it before I took the first steps. I had always worked outdoors, surrounded by smokers as a landscape gardener but after retraining to work in HR, I increasingly felt the stigma of being a smoker was impacting my work and social life.
Unfortunately, my partner, who I had met in my previous career, was still entrenched in a world of smokers. While he was supportive of my decision, the home we shared was permeated with smoke and a source of constant temptation. On my personal journey to quit smoking it was essential to build a support network outside of my home where smoking wasn’t part of the social culture. I was fortunate that I could build that from my new work life.
For anyone seeking to quit smoking while living with a smoker, I strongly recommend doing the same—seek social contact outside of the smokers’ bubble. Whether that’s with workmates or by pursuing new hobbies, this support network will be invaluable as you overcome your addiction.
Tip #1) Agree On Smokefree Spaces
While your partner or your housemates may continue to smoke, agreeing on some smokefree spaces where you are free of temptation is essential and all part of the compromise of shared housing situations. Establish certain spaces — your car, your bedroom and if possible certain shared spaces—as smokefree zones where your housemates respect your journey toward quitting smoking.
Your housemates need to understand that you’re undertaking a personal journey and it has nothing to do with their behavior. By making this clear you’re ensuring that they don’t feel pressured to quit on your behalf and you’ll be more likely to have their support.
Tip #2) Get Ready To Go
If you’re living with smokers, it’s sadly unavoidable that there will be times where you’re witnessing the very behavior you’re trying to cut out and the temptation to partake might be rising. Preempt this temptation by having an exit strategy—a bag packed and an escape plan are essential.
Whether that means going for a walk around the block, a long drive into the countryside or having alternative accommodation available for a night or two, if you’re serious about quitting smoking, you need to be ready to do what it takes.
Tip #3) Try To Distance Yourself From Other Smoker’s Environments
If there’s temptation in the home, it’s all the more important that you try to avoid places where smokers are congregating in your daily life. Whether this is social gatherings or smoke breaks at work, you’ll need to distance yourself from smoke-filled places while you’re overcoming your addiction.
Taking a temporary break from alcohol can provide a big benefit at this stage too. It’s incredibly easy to relapse into a cigarette after a drink and bar settings are often filled with temptation. You don’t have to quit forever, or to isolate yourself from your social networks, just take a short break.
Tip #4) Build A Non-Smoker’s Mindset
Rather than thinking of yourself as a smoker who’s trying to quit, reconceptualizing yourself as a non-smoker can make a huge difference to your mindset around cigarette. As well as the physical and chemical elements of addiction, behavior and mindset play an important role.
Stub It Out
Congratulations on taking your first steps toward quitting smoking. It can feel like an insurmountable challenge when living with a smoker but remember you’re not alone, we are here to help. For over 35 years, the American Lung Association has been helping people quit smoking through our Freedom From Smoking program as well as offering assistance through our online communities. Learn more on our website.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Coursework Writing Services UK and Gum Essays who has been involved in many projects throughout the country, like Researchpapersuk. Her personal battle with addiction led her to studying neuroscience and behavior at Stanford University and she now works in addiction services in New York City.
Blog last updated: November 6, 2020