How to Deal With Smokers when You Are a Non Smoker

Those of us from largely non-smoking states like California, Utah, or Connecticut may have a difficult time when visiting other states or other countries where smoking is more prevalent. Should you hack until they put it out or grin and bear it? Some tips...


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    Let people know how you feel. Believe it or not, your friends and acquaintances have no wish to make you miserable. Most people are very willing to leave the room or rub out their cigarette if it's really making you uncomfortable.
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    Sit upwind. If you don't feel comfortable asking people not to smoke, at least ask them to keep the smoke from wafting your direction. Be polite or funny about this, especially if you don't know them that well.
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    Compromise. Promise you won't complain about the smoke at bars, just as long as no one smokes during mealtimes.
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    Get plenty of vitamin C and stay well hydrated. Second hand smoke can lower your immune system. Vitamin C can help counteract its effects, and water can soothe your dry throat.
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    Keep mints on hand at all times. The only thing worse than smoke is smoker's breath. Many smokers are very aware of this and are stocked up with eclipse mints, but not everyone is this self-aware. Buy the small, potent, sugar-free kind and pass those puppies around.
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    Some cigarillos have rather pleasant scents like vanilla or cinnamon and can be bought at convenient stores. If you desperately need a night off from the stench, buy a couple of these for your friends and guilt them into using them. They may even see this as a treat.
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    Be clear about your philosophy. If you're going to ask those around you to go out of their way for your comfort, be very clear about the reasons their smoking bugs you and don't do anything inconsistent with that logic. It'll just give them more excuses to smoke. (If this is the case for you, do not buy them cigarillos or any other tobacco product!)


  • If you plan on helping them quit, remember that you are fighting their addiction, not them.
  • Do not expect a smoker to kick the habit completely on the spot. It won't happen.
  • Remember that smoking is an addiction, and many smokers are not altogether proud or happy that they are chained to those little sticks. Be sensitive, and remember that you've probably done things you weren't proud of in the past.


  • Experts state that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This is the 21st century, and cigarette smoke is not the only type of pollution in the air we breathe, but as little as 20 minutes of second hand smoke can do serious vascular damage.
  • Do not pick on insecurities or use scare tactics as they do not work – remember smokers are addicts not idiots, they know fine well it can kill them, harm others, make them smell bad and wastes their money – if you respect them then respect that they are logical enough to realise this, but are unfortunately trapped within an addiction that overrides that logic.
  • If you complain too often to smokers, they may ask you to make a choice between their desire or need to smoke and the worth of your friendship and you nagging of them to quit. Nobody likes a constant complainer, as it turns disrespectful after a while. This is especially true if the smoker has exited the building and is in a designated smoking area and you choose to follow them to the designated smoking area.
  • Limit the "those things can kill you" barbs as people tend to tune out lectures. If you're genuinely concerned about THEIR health, not your comfort, pick the right moment, and let them know that you're seriously worried about how much they're smoking. Attempt to understand their point-of-view and addiction, try picking up a copy of an Allen Carr book to better understand the psychology behind the addiction to help them better and then give them your copy so you can both work on their addiction.
  • Flavored cigarillos still contain all the harmful things, but they stop you from being annoyed in the short-run.
  • Do not imply your friends or other people are idiots for smoking. They were ignorant to become hooked, but if want to quit they are certainly not idiots for being trapped in the addiction, they are victims.

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Categories: Social Nuisances | Smoking and Health Effects