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damage control

The question

I just quit smoking. I’m on the nicotine patch and so far it is working. My problem is my husband is a smoker and he refuses to quit, refuses to smoke outside, and I’m afraid I will start smoking again if he doesn’t stop. Last time I quit, I fought with him over him quitting; I even put signs up to please take it outside since talking to him about it was not working. But he got upset and told me if I bother him anymore about it, he will smoke in every room of the house. So I stopped the signs and left him alone about it but he still continued to smoke inside one room. I was so frustrated with him that I went back to smoking. So that is my problem right now. What should I do to solve this situation?

My son started smoking pot and he’s totally changed. What should I do?

A fling caused a pregnancy and I’m not ready to be a dad. What can I do?

My friend has had too much plastic surgery and it’s hard to look at her. Should I say something?

The answer

Well, congratulations on quitting – or perhaps I should say a hybrid such as “congratudolences,” since it doesn’t sound like you fully quit.

But each attempt brings you one step closer, so congratudolences.

I’m proud to say I finally kicked the habit. It’s horrible to have to admit, but I started at the age of 13 and kept it up for nearly 40 years. For most of that time, I would only have two a day – but more when people came over.

Way more. We would all sit on the porch, chatting and smoking rather fiendishly. And my youngest son would come flying out and he’d be like Lear on the heath: “Why? Why? I’ve got a dad who’s gonna die!”

And of course, he was absolutely right. He’s the one who saved me, too. He cogitated over the problem, then gave me a little vaping machine. Vaping can come with its own harms, including nicotine addiction and lung damage, even if the consequences aren’t as severe as smoking. And a lot of young people are vaping these days before they even have smoked and some are clearly hooked. That makes me nervous.

I love it because it’s way more fun than smoking. You “chuck clouds,” as we say in the vaping community – i.e. emit huge plumes of vapour – and it smells good (I use grape-flavour fluid) and you can do it inside. At least, I can here in my domicile (it’s banned in public places and not all my friends go for it) because my wife actually likes the smell.

Or I wouldn’t do it, as a courtesy to her.

Speaking of which, where is your husband’s courtesy, decency and respect for your wishes and marriage? I understand as well as anyone that smoking can be a difficult habit to quit, but at least take it outside, for your wife’s sake.

Honestly, he sounds like a complete rudenik and, what’s worse, disrespectful toward you. And you have a right to 1) a smoke-free environment and 2) a respectful husband.

In fact, I’d go farther and say you have the right to be treated like a queen. Women do us poor slobs such a favour – wait, let me rephrase that: You have clearly done this guy a favour by marrying him.

So my advice may sound a bit extreme but I think either you or he should leave the house, at least for a time. Doesn’t have to be forever. Put him in “the penalty box” as I like to say.

Maybe as time goes by, he will start to appreciate you more. If not, well good luck to Mr. Indoor Smoker finding someone else.

He has more problems than just smoking. He is quite clearly not a gentleman – I mean, what kind of guy says “if you bother me anymore I’m going to smoke in every room of the house”? – and gentlemanliness is something every man should aspire to.

It’s a lifelong pursuit, learned in increments, and it can be one step forward, sometimes, two steps back.

I aspire to it. I’m trying to learn. My teacher, my Miyagi? My wife. But it sounds like you’ve tried everything with your husband – including leaving up signs, which is quite a visual image – and he stubbornly refuses to budge.

So “desperate times call for drastic measures,” as they say, and that’s why I urge you either to kick him to the curb or leave the house yourself. It’s the only way as I see it that he will begin to understand what he’s got, and might lose, with his selfish behaviour.

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