Archive for the ‘Smoking’ Category

Smoking Stinks…. Yeah, really, it does!

July 29, 2008

I may slowly be turning into one of those holier-than-thou ex-smokers as I get myself in shape. The background story is that up until my bike accident I was a pack & a half a day smoker. I smoked in high school, though university and really never thought it was a big deal. I knew that my boyfriend would have preferred that I didn’t smoke (he didn’t), but I just didn’t think it was “that” bad.

In a long term it’s gonna kill me kinda way I’d joke about choosing which type of cancer I was going to die of, and I certainly understood the long term impacts of smoking on my health. But as a teenager / early twentysomething smoking was if not cool, than something I was addicted to and had no motivation to quit.

The smoking bans in bars helped. I was a bartender, and not being able to smoke behind the bar was a definite way to cut down. What really finally got me to quit though was the smell… yes, smoking stinks… really, unbelievably awful stink!

After being in the smoke-free hospital for close to a month after my accident I came out and did some chores around the house. My partner hadn’t been smoking so the home had been smoke free for a month, the ash trays gone… and then I did some laundry. It was like picking up a giant ash tray. I actually almost vomited. This didn’t stop me cold turkey (addictions are powerful), but after that I started noticing how much I smelled each and every time I smoked. The way my hands smelled, and I had to wash them four, five even six times to get rid of the smell. I could feel it rising from me and coming off like a film in the shower. Everytime I was in a smoking house (I no longer smoked indoors) I would get headaches and feel sick.

I did manage to quit (used a lot of bottled water as a substitute for cigarettes) within about 6 months of this realization.

That was five years ago this past July 12th.

This is the holier-than-thou part… In the past five years everyone I know, all of my friends, all of my family who smoked (there were not that many) have quit, save one… my partners sister.

She’s a great person, she is smart, and funny, pretty and creative. We have a lot of fun together. However, as much as we know she would like to see us more, and do more things with us, we often limit ourselves to seeing her about once every 3-4 months. Yup, that’s 4 times a year tops. Why? Because she smokes.

As a now non-smoker I can’t believe the amount of work I go to, to accommodate a smoker. No, I don’t let her smoke inside.

When she comes over, she stinks, she smokes on the 40 min drive over here in her car, and when she comes in it’s like greeting a walking ash tray. Then she sits town on our couch… which will then need either a steam clean, or 4-5 Febreeze treatments to smell normal again. She’ll pet our dogs (cause they’re dogs and want to be petted) and then we’ll have to give them a bath or a long run to get the smoke out of their fur. And while we usually to take her out in the city, we’d prefer to take transit but she’ll insist on taking her car… and smoking it it… with us in it…. which means two things: a choice of which wardrobe I’ll be washing that night when I get home and making sure I take a shower before I go to bed (I’m a morning shower person) so that I don’t end up with a bed smelling of smoke.

I know if someone had said these things to me when I was smoking I would have thought them some sort of rude freak. Smoking didn’t smell that much while I was smoking. She was over on Sunday, and even after all of that cleaning on Sunday night, on Monday when I went to the gym I could smell the smoke coming out of my pores!

I have no idea how to tell her this, or if it would even be productive. I know first hand how hard it is to quit smoking, and how much of a culture of blame we do have on smoking now… but still, why should I have to accommodate this much for her bad habits?

I’m not going to come to a solution in this blog, but if you are reading and you are a smoker and you’re wondering what your non-smoking friends may be thinking, it could be something similar.