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My husband refuses to give up smoking, vexing me with smell

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 60s. I’d like to consult with you about my husband, who’s in his 70s and is a tobacco lover.

My husband is very fond of cigarettes, even the electronic kind. He smokes a pack every two days. No, it’s probably more than that.

Several years ago I began to loathe the smell of tobacco. I asked my husband to smoke in his own room instead of the living room, but I’ve come to suspect that he smokes e-cigarettes in the living room when I’m not around. Even when he smokes in his room, he’s always forgetting to shut the door. His clothes are also saturated with a strong odor that you can smell just by standing next to him.

And yet, he doesn’t smoke outside because he frets about what other people think. Also, despite his doctor clearly explaining to him the causative link between tobacco and diseases, he doesn’t seem to want to quit.

As long as he refuses to quit, there’s little I can do besides tolerate the situation. I don’t think that asking for advice will be much help, but I wonder what will happen to him as the world moves more toward eliminating smoking. Is there something that I can do?

A, Niigata Prefecture

Dear Ms. A:

I doubt that this reply will be of much help to you, but I’ll write it anyway.

I smoked cigarettes for more than 50 years, but I quit once I entered my 70s.

I decided to quit on my own. During an examination, I told my family doctor that I was a heavy smoker, and he responded that I was liable to get emphysema at any time. Hearing that, I suddenly got the urge to quit smoking and got rid of all my smoking-related goods, but I didn’t tell anyone about it.

I was thoroughly amused when people around me eventually noticed and began asking, “Did you really quit smoking?” only half-convinced that I could do it. So I just kept it up and bid my farewell to tobacco. Even now I get nostalgic when it gets to the time of day when I used to have a puff.

A contrarian like myself wasn’t about to quit just because other people were urging me to. However, when I came to the decision on my own and then saw that everyone doubted my resolve, that’s when I truly quit.

I don’t know if your husband is anything like me. However, what I believe is that as long as he doesn’t decide for himself, no matter what comes his way he will never stop smoking.

I think this is the only proper mind-set to take concerning whether your husband will give up cigarettes.

Taku Mayumura, writer

(from July 19, 2019, issue)Speech

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