Dear Bunmi,

My girlfriend of two years smokes like the proverbial chimney. She was a smoker when I met her, a habit she picked up abroad when she was a student. I hate her smoking, as I’ve never touched the stuff. Not only does the smell put me off, she’s so addicted that it interferes with our relationship.

Immediately sex is over, she lights up instead of cuddling up to me. Even when we’re relaxing in front of the telly, she’s always getting up to go outside and smoke. As a result, we seldom snuggle up to each other on the sofa.

Apart from this irritation, I also worry about her health. She’s the type of girl I would like to get married to, but I don’t want to spend my life surrounded by smoke, or marry someone who’s likely to get sick from too much smoking. I’ve asked her to stop, but she won’t. She. instead, reminds me that she was a smoker when we met.

Anything else I can do?
Goriola, by e-mail.

Dear Goriola,
When you asked her to stop, how did you put it? There’s an enormous difference between being really concerned and being irritated. Telling her how much you hate smoking is just going to make her stressed which, in turn, will make her want to smoke even more. If, however, you sat down with her and said you want to spend the rest of your life with her, but desperately worried about her health, you might get through to her.

A lot of smokers are aware it’s bad for them and repulsive to those around them. They would really love to stop smoking, but are caught up in a powerful addiction and feel powerless to even try.

Let her be aware of the practical things she can do to make giving up the habit less scary than she thinks. Some reputable chemists have very effective drugs to suppress the urge to smoke, amongst which are nicotine replacement aids like patches.

You need to work with your partner to beat this habit. Giving her encouragement for cutting down or quitting, rather than grieve when or if she fails…you may gef somewhere.

Very few smokers are more committed to the cigarettes than someone they love dearly. So, if you’re patient and work together towards a quitting plan she’s comfortable with, she may give up smoking altogether.



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