Opinion Column

Partner's tobacco habit worth fighting against


I recently had a conversation with one of my co-workers, Kayla, about an ex-girlfriend of mine who was a smoker. Her smoking really bothered me, and I eventually talked her into quitting.

Kayla, as a smoker, said I had no right to ask her to stop. I didn't want to be the guy that tries to change my partner after we started dating, but how was I supposed to ignore it? I think if you are dating someone you really like, you have a right to ask him or her not to smoke.

I dated a girl who was already smoking when we met, and I definitely had a problem with it. Some might use the argument: if you don't want to date a smoker, don't date someone who smokes. The truth is, sometimes you just can't help falling in love with a person.

The harms of smoking are well documented. Should I have pretended that I didn't care about the damage she was inflicting on her body? It wasn't about trying to change the girl I was in love with. Smoking is a habit, not a character trait. If your loved one is engaging in any harmful behavior, wouldn't you try and talk them out of it?

Her debate was always that I knew she smoked when I started dating her, so I should accept her as she was. If I were asking her to change something about her personality, or just change some healthy behavior just because it bugged me, then her argument would make sense. This, obviously, wasn't the case.

I have a right to be a bit selfish when my partner's habit affects me. For example, if I live with a smoker, it stinks up our home. When I kiss her, I have to deal with the smoke on her breath (don't kid yourself, gum doesn't hide it). Furthermore, the dangers of second-hand smoke are also well documented and being around a smoking partner puts my own health at risk.

In the end, she quit smoking and I think she is a better person for it. Although I know she still sneaks a smoke here and there on a night out, I know she also feels better about quitting. In the end, she knows I cared enough to advocate for her health and happiness.

Chris Hall is a local entrepreneur and the producer of StraightUpLove.com

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