Smoker and non-smoker

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2013
Smoker and non-smoker
6
Sat, 07-12-2014 - 10:52pm

Hello,

My boyfriend and I have been together for a couple of years and we have been living together for almost one year. I don't smoke and he does. I don't like the fact that he smokes, I always thought I could NEVER be with a smoker, and then I fell in love with one. :)

What really bothers me about his smoking is this...

Before we leave the house to go out he has a cigarette and I have to wait for him to finish because he doesn't smoke in the car when I am with him (I don't like the smell). When we leave a store or restaurant for example he has to have a smoke before he gets back in the car and I wait for him. After months of this I got tired of waiting for him so often and I gave in and told him he can smoke in the car. After months of that I changed my mind again and told him we can go back to how things were and I'll wait for him becasue I don't like the smell. Now recently he's been trying to quit and has been cutting down on the cigarettes which has been REALLY nice on my end. He's still smoking, but not as much. He's been smoking mostly when I'm not around, which I am grateful for. Just today, we were heading out and he lights up just as I opened my car door. LoL, I sort of snapped at him. I was like "Please don't go back to your old habits!" And I felt myself getting very angry. In my head I was like, "NO! I don't want to go back to how things were!" It may not sound like a big deal, but sometimes it's the little things that can make a big difference! And this is something that really bothers me. I hate when we are out and about and he has to stop and have a cigarette and I am left waiting for him to finish. I can't stand him smoking in the car when I am with him. These are things that didn't bother me so much at first, but now it is just ANNOYING (and sickening) becasue it happens so OFTEN.  

Anyway, my question is...do you think it would be unfair of me to ask him to not smoke at certain times? Smoking is part of who he is. I have accepted that. I just can't stand when his smoking affects ME. I actually think it's rude. He's a habit smoker. He doesn't get withdrawl symptoms if he doesn't have a cigarette right away. So I don't see why he just can't wait a little bit until he lights up again.        

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 12:05am

Whether he's a "habit" smoker, or addicted to nicotine........if and when he wants to quit, then he'll quit.  He knows it's not good for him, he knows you don't like iike it......he knows everything, but his "habit" tells him to smoke, and he does.  A habit is the same as an addiction.  You can end either one IF you want to.  He doesn't want to.  I was a habit smoker too.....I never made people wait for me, I never had to go outside to smoke if I was in a non smoking place.  You say you don't like the smell.....does he smoke in the house?  How about that smell?  Even when I was a smoker, when I'd be away for several hours, and come in the door, the smell hit me, I did NOT like it.....and I was the one smoking!  I knew it was bad for my lungs.....I could see that my breathing was getting bad if I exerted myself, and STILL I didn't quit.  I tried, sometimes for 6 or 8 weeks, but something stressful would happen, and I would start again.  One evening, I suddenly couldn't get my breath,and I was just sitting talking to a friend on the phone.  I hung up and called 911, was taken to an ER, then transferred to the Cleveland Clinic, where the worlds best vascular & cardiac surgeons are, and it took them 2 days just to decide what to do with me.  I had a dissected aorta, meaning the lining of the aorta was torn, and blood was going between the layers instead of thru the aorta to my heart, lungs, etc.  I was on a heart/lung machine for several hours while they repaired it.  Several days later when I woke up, my doctor came in to see me......and I said "that's what I get for smoking"......and he shocked me by saying smoking had nothing to do with it......it was either genetic or congenital.  But the heart lung machine damaged my lungs, and so now I'm on oxygen, just at night, but I do everything at half speed.  If I move too fast I can't breathe.  I have a neighbor that's on oxygen, and she still smokes!  I know a man that has COPD, CHF and he's on oxygen 24/7, and he STILL smokes.  It's a habit that's almost impossible to break.  I was lucky......I spent 8 or 9 days in the hospital, and when I came home, the smell was awful when I opened the door.  I'd decided in the hospital that I wouldn't smoke again.  I hate being on oxygen, it's very uncomfortable, it dries your mouth, sucks the tears out of your eyes so you can't open them in the AM!  That was 5 years ago at the end of this month, and I haven't ever smoked since my ride in the ambulance.  Maybe it didn't cause my problem, but I sure don't want to make my lungs any worse.  There are times when I think about it........"gee, it would be nice to light up while I'm watching TV".........but that's as far as it goes.  Maybe you need to give him an incentive......quit smoking, or I leave.....and then if he truly loves you, he'll quit.  If you don't want to go that far, then just refuse to kiss him......because he stinks, and you know he does, and he knows too.  It's no different than a drug addict.  They know it's bad, but they don't quit.  If and when they REALLY want to, they will, and so will he, or he won't.  It's your call.  Put up with it, threaten, or leave.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2013
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 8:11am

His doctor explained to him that there is a difference between habit smoking and true addiction. He doesn't need cigarettes to function. He needs something to do with his hands I guess. But I agree with you. You are either addicted or not so I don't know what his doctor was talking about.

Anyway, he is a "clean" smoker. He has good hygiene, never smokes in the house, etc. I just smell it on him right after he has one. Or if I am next to him while he's smoking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 8:31am

I know firsthand that a smoker's habits means time away from loved ones. I met my first husband at 19. I was too stupid to know how a smoker adversely affects a non-smoker's life. His mother smoked too. Smokers choose to spend time away from loved ones by having  to go outside once or twice during a movie. They hang out in a parking lot outside a store and tell you they'll meet you inside in a few minutes. They have to step outside the home for the smoke break. They may rant and rave when a lighter has gone missing. My ex fortunately quit when he felt the time was right, after several failures, where he would blame me for either not asking him how he was doing with the attempt or asking him too much. Our marriage ended for other reasons. His mother died at the young age of sixty seven. After frantically getting her last puff before getting on a plane, she had to get off the plane and collapsed and had a heart attack, never regaining consciousness. She probably cut at least 13 years off of her life because of smoking. She did not get to see her grandchildren graduate from high school. She did not get to see the birth of her great grandson, which my parents are enjoying at ages 79 and 81 possibly because they don't smoke.

Ask your bf to chew nicotine gum when he is around you. Maybe he'll see that the gum is a good way to quit altogether. That's the only thing that worked for my ex. Some people swear by Chantix, but my cousin said it gave him scary dreams. If he brings up quitting, tell him that yes, you love him and want him around as long as possible, and as healthy as possible. Tell him you don't want to envision a future with him dying young, getting emphysema or cancer, and having to care for an invalid who chose that route in life. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 11:03am

I have always been a non-smoker and I just could not even go on one date with a smoker because I can't tolerate being around it at all so I don't know how you have been able to stand living with a smoker.  I think that you should start by praising your BF for his efforts to try to quit and tell him that you understand how hard it is to quit.  (My SIL tried to quit many times before she finally did it--she was living w/ her mother who smoked, and it must be extra hard to quit if there is another smoker in the house.)  If your problem right now is that you are tired of waiting, you should talk to your BF and just emphasize that--if you are out somewhere, instead of having you wait in the car while he smokes (and then of course he will smell up the car), could he wait until you get home and then have a smoke before he gets in the house.  If it's really a habit and he's trying to quit, then maybe the doc could come up with some ways for him to break the habit so it will be easier for him to quit.  For ex, instead of chewing the Nicotine gum maybe he could just chew regular gum or have a mint and try to use behavior modification to do that instead of smoking.  by the way, I know a bunch of people who have quit smoking by using hypnotism--maybe he could try that if he really wants to quit.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 11:52am

The difference between "habit" and "addiction" is that "habit" is just that.  Like biting your nails, or sucking your thumb!  It's sometimes done unconsciously.  You don't even realize you're doing it.  It satisfies a need, sometimes an unconscious need.  "Addiction" is when your body craves something, heroin, crack, meth, etc.  Without it, they go crazy.  That takes a lot more effort to fix.  The habit, while it's not easy, can be changed.  I've heard that you break a habit by replacing it with a different habit....and it's a known fact that people who quit smoking will replace cigarettes with something else, usually candy.  That's why people who quit gain weight.  Whether or not you replace that habit, it takes a very conscious effort to stop.  There are triggers.......after a meal is a big one.  He has to consciously tell himself NO.......at his usual trigger.  Before going into a store, before going outside at home (I've seen smokers go out in a blizzard just to have that cigarette), he has to purposely stop himself.  Remind him of the money he'll be saving......money that can go toward a future vacation, or an engagement ring for you.  I was at the supermarket a few weeks ago and had to go to the service desk for something, and it was right next to the locked cigarette cases.  I couldn't believe the prices.  Name brands were 60-70 dollars per carton!  I smoked, at my worst, 1.5 cartons a week....At the cheapest price, that was $4700 a year!  THAT is a lot of money to destroy your health!  Remind him of that.  If for no other reason, that's a ridiculous amount of money to waste!  Might as well take a $50 bill every week and light it on fire!  I'm sure he wouldn't do that, but in actuality, that is exactly what he's doing.  Burning up hard earned money!  By the way, chantix and nicotine pills or patches are for people addicted to the nicotine.  He's not, according to his doctor.  Good Luck! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2006
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 6:21pm

Look my 1st bf.exhusband was what I consider a chain smoker.I never really knew this until I started getting to know him..hanging around him.Yeah it is VERY annoying.Going out to places and he would want to go outside to smoke..leaving me alone at the table while he does this...or just going anywhere..needing to smoke and THEN don't even start with the amount of money this all costs!! At times he would ask me for money for his stupid ADDICTION..because this is what it is...an ADDICTION. I told him that the smell makes me sick and I can't be around it so when we lived together..he would always smoke outside..unless his bi-polar crap started up and he would smoke inside to hurt me..

Look..you need to tell him that you are tired of this crap BUT the fact that you have allowed it to beging with..what you need to do is just put down strict rules to protect your health and that's it.He will have to want to quit on his own and that's that. Don't bug him about quitting now since when you met him you knew he was a smoker.

As for myself..I will NEVER be in a relationship with anyone again who is a smoker because I don't want to deal with the annoyance.