by Anna Maltby
Mary Ellen Mark Ok y'all, we know you know smoking is bad, but some of you are still doing it -- in fact, more than 20 million women in the United States smoke (like these girls, tsk tsk!), and they're quitting at slower rates than men. C'mon, ladies! So check out these stats we hope will scare you straight: Nearly 90 percent of respondents in a new survey from Match.com and Chantix (the prescription-only drug designed to help smokers quit) said they'd rather not date a smoker.
We know the results might be a little skewed because the survey was partly funded by Chantix, but the numbers are still reason for concern -- for example, even if that number were closer to 50 percent, that's still half the dating pool who'd take one look at a smoker and say, "Ehh. No thanks."
Other stats from the survey: 57 percent of respondents said they would "never" date someone who smokes; and when asked about dealbreaker moves on a first date (AKA actions that are unacceptable on a first date), more people voted for taking a smoke break than constant phone-checking or being late.
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"We are all educated about the ill effects of smoking on our health, but this data drives home the fact that smoking can affect your dating and relationships," Match.com relationship expert Bela Gandhi told SELF. "The survey shows, if you quit smoking, you can cast an even wider net in the dating world."
OK, let's say you meet some hottie and fall head over heels despite the fact that he smokes. Here's how to deal:
"For those dating someone who smokes, it is important to be supportive about their quitting, reinforce them positively, and encourage them to talk to their healthcare provider," Mitchell Nides, Ph.D., the director of Picture Quitting, a quit smoking program created by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, told SELF. "The survey found 56 percent of non-smokers would ask their partners to quit smoking, and more than half of smokers would consider quitting for their partner."
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Dr. Nides also suggests visiting WeHeartQuitters.com for help with this very situation.
And if you're a smoker? Try one (or all) Dr. Nides' three biggest tips for quitting for good:
* Visit your healthcare provider to talk about smoking cessation treatment options. The use of some treatment options may help improve your chances of success versus quitting cold turkey. [Ed. note: But cold turkey can work! It did for me, and I'll be five years cigarette free in March! - RJ]
* Make a quit plan that includes practical strategies for dealing with urges to smoke.* Get support from loved ones.
Here's hoping those loved ones include an awesome Sig O.