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How do you tell a loved one to stop smoking?

(29 Posts)
polyester57 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:35:00

I´m picking up from a thread where someone asked about how to tell a loved person that they had put on too much weight. This is about my brother-in-law (my husband´s sister´s husband), we are all very close, meet up often, go on holiday together. He and I have been great mates, we are both early birds, while our spouses (who are brother and sister) sleep in, we always go and get the shopping done, make breakfast and so on. He has always been a smoker, gave up for a while many years ago, he was scared into it because he needed to have inplants done and the dentist said he couldn´t operate on a heavy smoker. Gradually got back into it via small cigars, one at a time. Now he´s back to smoking about 60 a day, have no idea, loads, he smokes almost contstantly. My sister-in-law nags him all the time, which obviously is not the way. To get away from her, he sits out on the back porch (even in the worst of weathers). We were recently on holiday with them and both my husband and I were shocked by the fact that he is unable to walk even the shortest of distances, climb up stairs, anything really. In addition, he eats really unhealthy food, drinks a fair amount of beer and coffee but apart from that hardly drinks at all (meaning water). My SiL says she is at her wits´ end. Apart from that he is a lovely, kind man, has three children and four grand-children whom he adores. He is a retired company manager, so money is not the issue (unfortunately). Does anyone have an idea how to stop a person from killing themselves? Whenever I try to talk to him, he comes up with horrible sayings such as, "you have to die of something" and "I´m only keeping my lungs warm".

Melanieeastanglia Mon 03-Sep-18 10:43:05

I think it is possibly easier to raise the subject of smoking than losing weight. Perhaps because it is not obviously so much to do with appearance. Also overweight people can be the subject of unkind jokes but people don't make jokes about smokers.

If he hasn't listened so far, I don't know what more you can do. I suppose you could raise the subject one more time as you're a "great mates". Eventually, he'll have to go to the Dr for something and perhaps he will listen to the Dr as the Dr will ask if he smokes.

He is an adult and I guess you can't force him to stop smoking. I hope he does stop though.

Does he smell of smoke? Would it be possible to raise this aspect? It might give him a jolt.

Grannyknot Mon 03-Sep-18 10:46:57

It's very frustrating when someone wraps themselves in such strong denial. I was thinking the other day that there was a time when you could co-opt the GP into talking to a family member (because more impact than a nagging wife), but nowadays with all the "patient confidentiality" I don't even feel I can tell the GP that I fear my husband is heading for diabetes if he doesn't stop eating sugary treats and to please have a word when he next comes in! And that is if you even get to see the same GP as other family members ...

If protecting expensive implants hasn't put him off smoking, then I don't know what will. I have never smoked thank goodness can't bear the thought of what it does to teeth and gums.

Sorry not much help.

Charleygirl Mon 03-Sep-18 11:00:52

His attitude may be that he "has to die of something" but could you not tell him that he is taking his family with him because they are reluctant passive smokers. I realise he smokes outside but I am sure he cannot do that all of the time.

Very difficult because he is killing himself slowly.

Humbertbear Mon 03-Sep-18 11:01:36

Having seen my best friend try to get her husband to give up smoking after a major heart attack, I would say there is nothing you can do. If the person doesn’t want to stop, then they won’t. He says he enjoys it and doesn’t believe us when we tell him he smells of smoke. He’s not allowed to smoke in the house so he lurks behind the garage like a naughty school boy.

humptydumpty Mon 03-Sep-18 11:54:56

He is obviously an intelligent guy and there is massive publicity these days around the harmful effects of smoking and other lifestyle factors, so he is making an educated choice, and really it seems to me that's up to him, sad though it is for everyone else to watch.

JudyJudy12 Mon 03-Sep-18 11:59:08

It is up to him to live his life the way he wants to. He knows the risks and has made his choice.

yggdrasil Mon 03-Sep-18 12:02:47

My ex would never give up smoking. He would blow smoke right at me if I had the temerity to wave it away.
One of several reasons he is an ex. And I have no idea what his health is like, the only one in the family who has any limited contact is our son.

DanniRae Mon 03-Sep-18 12:24:26

I too don't think you can get someone to stop smoking if they don't want stop.
My brother-in-law died of lung cancer in Dec 2015 - he had a loving wife and family - but just didn't want to give up his beloved cigarettes. He even had 3 cancer scares in the years before his death but to no avail.
We all miss him so much. He such a major part of our family ............but the cigarettes killed him in the end sad

Luckygirl Mon 03-Sep-18 13:16:29

Well - by the sound of it the damage is done! His lifestyle is totally unhealthy and he will no doubt die of all this. If his years are numbered, as they probably are, he might as well carry on with the things he enjoys for what is left to him.

Or you/his wife could say: "I am not going to nag you about the smoking now as you have already signed your death warrant and it would be pointless." Who knows he might give it up out of sheer perversity!

yggdrasil Mon 03-Sep-18 13:59:30

If he won't stop, insist he makes a will. Now.

muffinthemoo Mon 03-Sep-18 14:06:40

Do the GC frequent his house if he smokes 60 a day?

I know, call me unreasonable and over anxious or whatever, but the link between childhood asthma and chronic ear infections, and secondhand smoke, is strong enough that I wouldn’t have my wee ones visiting Fag End, granddad or no.

If the family are also worried, that might be the most effective point of leverage.

Luckygirl Mon 03-Sep-18 14:09:26

I agree with that - if he must smoke,pack him off into the garden - oh and ask him to change his clothes after each fag......and dry clean the curtains/bedding etc. Revolting isn't it?

Bluegal Mon 03-Sep-18 14:28:28

Much as I understand your reasons I just don’t think it’s any of your business tbh. If his smoking bothers you enough to stay away then stay away and tell him why. If you value him as a friend I think the only thing you can do is ignore it. He knows the risks but his choice at end of day.

I know people like this too. I just don’t say anything because what is the point? It’s not like they could miss the message in any way is it? Live and let die 😉

sodapop Mon 03-Sep-18 14:55:30

He is an adult and has made his choices, its hard when you see this happening to someone you care about but only he can change things.
One of the things which made stop smoking years ago was someone saying "kissing a smoker is like kissing a dirty ashtray" for some reason this had a real impact on me.

Alima Mon 03-Sep-18 15:05:19

I don’t think you can tell someone to stop smoking polyester. He will have to decide for himself. As a very recent non smoker I can testify that all the usual taunts, you”ll die, smell, etc probably had the reverse effect.

Bridgeit Mon 03-Sep-18 15:23:31

I agree with other posters there is no point , yes you can continue to tell them but it won’t make any difference ,the only thing worth sayin is to say something like, should you ever decide to try to give up then we will support you all the way, if you are really tough you could also add , don’t expect any help sympathy when the inevitable happens. You can’t change them but you can minimise the affect it has on you. Sad but that’s how it is.😥

BlueBelle Mon 03-Sep-18 15:23:58

Part of my job used to be counselling smokers to help them give up The one thing you learn is no one gives anything up until they want to

Big cigars are about the equivilant of 6 or more cigarettes so no wonder he went from them to 60 a day If he knows what he’s doing to himself and as an intelligent man of course he knows he will only possibly give up with a health fright like a heart attack and even that may not be enough We had a person smoking through the hole in their throat after surgery
Unfortunately he’s done the damage and most of it will be irreversible his lungs will be shot to a black mess and no longer elastic and flexible and probably his blood will be thick and sticky the veins and arteries blocking There really is little you can do he has shortened his life through his addiction Sorry to be so negative but it’s not good news 60 a day is an enormous habit
Such a shame

Deedaa Mon 03-Sep-18 15:42:58

You are so right BlueBelle my father was in intensive care for weeks after a burst aortic aneurism and pneumonia. As soon as he could speak he was asking for cigarettes and, if he hadn't died shortly after going home, I'm sure he would have started again. He always told my mother that his doctor hadn't told him to stop, but I'm sure she had.

paddyann Mon 03-Sep-18 16:08:06

You cant tell anyone to stop smoking ,it has to be something they realise for themselves.I have a friend who is currently being treated for lung cancer ,he's STILL smoking.It makes me so bloomin angry that there are people fighting for his life and he's not willing to do one thing that would help

Cherrytree59 Mon 03-Sep-18 16:29:55

Years ago I needed to get my DH to give up Cigars (deadly as no filter).

I knew he was lusting after a particular item and could not afford it,
I decided to buy a box of nicotine patches and a magazine with pictures of the said item (carrot on a stick).
I gave both to him with promise that whatever he money he saved from not smoking would go in to his fund.

Over the following months the jar quite quickly filled up (£s at a time).

He started to halve and then quarter the patches to save money Lol.

Magazine stayed out at all times as a reminder for the difficult times.

One year on a Non smoker and item bought.

Now he can't stand to be near any smoke🚬and was extremely happy when pubs etc became non smoking.

harrigran Tue 04-Sep-18 08:34:35

Short answer, I think, is you can't.
I could not live with a chain smoker, the house and clothing would smell horrible so I would be removing myself.

gillybob Tue 04-Sep-18 08:49:50

I wish my DS would/could give up smoking but I can’t see it happening any time soon . He is by no means a chain smoker and he did give up for over a year (which proves he can do it ) but then started again . He has never smoked indoors but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still stink ( no other way of putting it is there?). He really can’t afford to buy cigarettes but he is facilitated by his MiL who sees him as her partner in crime ( Lets have a sneaky one ) and buys them for him.
It worries me to bits .

Izabella Tue 04-Sep-18 09:06:38

I don't think you can tell loved one to stop smoking. It is an addiction and as such the person needs to WANT to stop smoking. I smoked for over 10 years but haven't had a cigarette now for over 45 years. The only thing that stopped me was pleurisy and bronchitis. It was too painful to breath never mind smoke.

It may be worth looking at the facts of the toxins present in his clothes and the house and the potential effects on grandchildren perhaps? He is the one who decides to harm himself but he may not realise the effects on other members of the family.

harrigran Tue 04-Sep-18 10:36:43

I had to watch my father die of lung cancer and it was so traumatic. I do believe that people bury their heads and think that it won't happen to them. My father was not a heavy smoker, couldn't afford it, he just smoked for a lot of years.