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Marriage/Handling smoking in a marriage?


I'm 42 and from the UK. Over the past 3 weeks my husband's suddenly taken up smoking; he never used to smoke before now. He does it wherever we go, even in front of our children (aged 14 and 16). He's not a bad guy, but why he does it worries me. I asked him one night over dinner when the kids were doing homework/college work and he admitted it was to cope with stress in work, a colleague got some cigarettes to cope and it all spiralled from there. I know people can be stressed, but is taking up smoking normal as a response? I tried to educate him on the dangers, but probably goofed by showing him pictures of smokers' lungs online. It's put me off sex, as he's even smoking in bed, and sometimes gets up at 4-5am in the morning just to smoke outside in the garden, even in a T-shirt and shorts! I am worried, but at least unlike some couples, I know why he's done what he's done. He told me that he wants help dealing with the stress in work but doesn't know how to; he says he's got deadlines and thinks he can't get everything done - the boss wants a project that would take 6 weeks done in 3, which says it all really about the stress, doesn't it? We need help, and I would be interested to know how you can help me.

Hi Julie Ann~

It might be time to have another heart to heart talk with him.  Not only does he put himself at risk of some form of cancer, he puts you and others that he smokes around at risk of cancer too.  Even if he's not smoking in the same room of you, he brings the smell in on his clothes, on his breath, etc.  Not to mention that but who wants to kiss an ashtray, it also makes your teeth yellow and the list goes on and on.  If that's not enough to turn him off from smoking I don't know what is.  

My dad died from Emphysema/COPD after being a smoker for 25 yrs.  He was on oxygen for 24/7 for the last 11 miserable years of his life.  Let me tell you what it's like to see someone go from robust and doing everything for himself to not being able to do the basic things in life, like walking five feet b/c he's gasping for air and he can't breath.  And then spending the last two months of his life in the hospital wasting away to nothing, looking so horrible you can't bear to look at him b/c he's withering away to nothing but a skeleton with skin.  That makes you feel so awful and helpless as a loved one to someone that dies from this horrific and terminal disease, there is not cure for it.  It's a slow and terrible way to spend several years of your life.  Get him to volunteer at a hospital where there are cancer patients.  Maybe that would be motivation for him to quit while he can.  

As for his excuse for it being a stress reliever, he can de-stress others ways in life.  He could exercise, go for a walk to unwind after work and so on.  I do realize that smoking is very addictive, I've had several members of my family that were smokers.  Some successfully quit while others chose not to.  It's a personal choice for everyone.  I hope this help inspire you to not give up on helping him kick the habit.  


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