How To Live With A Smoker Without Suffocating Each Other


Living with a smoker can be a constant struggle. Whenever you try to clear the air, both figuratively and literally, they invoke their right to smoke and your discussion turns into a big fight. On the other hand, passive smoking can increase the risk of getting lung cancer by 25% and it stands to reason that no one should be subjected to tobacco smoke. Is there a way to live with a smoker and avoid being at each other’s sore throats? The magic word is – compromise.

It’s your right to demand that your home should be smoke-free and, in that case, the smoker you’re sharing your house with is expected to do something about it. There are several things that you can suggest:

– Smoking outside or on the balcony is an efficient method of keeping the smoke out of your lungs and your house;

– Allow smoking in just one particular room, for example, the living room, so that you don’t have to be exposed to that unpleasant smell of smoke in your bedroom;

– If you don’t have a balcony and it’s too cold outside, maybe you can meet halfway and settle for smoking by an open window.

However, being too judgmental and critical can only make things worse. Remember that many people are actually trying to kick the habit and they can’t. Smoking is an addiction and it’s hard to get rid of it.

A recent research study has confirmed that smokers actually seriously think about quitting and almost 40% of participants have had an average of two attempts to quit over a period of 12 months. That’s why it’s important to be frank and explain the reasons why you don’t want to be exposed to smoke and, at the same time, show at least a certain degree of understanding. Bear in mind that there must be a couple of your habits that the smoker who lives with you doesn’t like and yet has to put up with.

How about not cleaning hair from the sink or shower, forgetting to replace an empty toilet roll, leaving dirty socks on the floor, or squeezing toothpaste from the middle? Does any of this ring any bells? Undoubtedly, your partner, friends or roommates will also be making a compromise by agreeing to go out in the cold or rain, so make sure to appreciate that. Establishing the rules is also important because the worst thing you can do is be inconsistent.

Another idea that you should also consider is lowering the bar when you have guests, or when it’s a special occasion.

Getting Rid of the Smell

Second-hand smoke is very unpleasant even when it’s been a few hours since somebody smoked in the room. It practically impregnates carpets, curtains, and upholstery and gives off a musty odor that is hard to get rid of. Not to mention the stale air that fills your already assaulted lungs even when the culprit has been away for a couple of days. But, there’s no use of crying over the puffed smoke, so you’d better do something constructive about that. Although scented candles and air fresheners seem like a great idea, they are packed with harmful chemicals.

The team from BBC’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor together with professor Alastair Lewis from the University of York have found out that scented products are responsible for creating formaldehyde, a well-known carcinogen. Now, you might feel trapped between a (smoky) rock and a hard place, but some white vinegar can come to your rescue. Nobody denies that scented candles are much more pleasant than this pungent substance, but it doesn’t pose any health risks. Simply pour it in several dishes and leave it in the open air to evaporate. You can also add it to your detergent in order to remove that musty scent from your clothes.  In order to eliminate bad effects that second-hand smoking has on your respiratory system, it’s recommended to use a fixed pressure device such as the comfortable ResMed AirSense 10 Elite. You can also get it for your SO as a peace offering.

Living with a smoker isn’t a walk in the park, that’s for sure, but you can work it out if you talk it through and realize that tolerance is a two-way street.  

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