Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Cigarette Smoke and Odor Make It Tough to Be Around Mom's BF

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My mother began dating a man who is, in my opinion, a heavy smoker. My mother does not seem to notice it too much. My dad was a social smoker up until he passed away, so it was not an unusual smell in the house, although he had to smoke outside at home. I could never get used to the smell on his clothes and his breath when he smoked. Now, it’s torture for me to be in the same room with a heavy smoker, even though he too never smokes in the house.

My mom seems to be getting more and more into this new man, and except for the smoking, he seems like a good guy and a good match for my mom.

But how do I handle hanging around with him and my mom when sometimes the smell is so strong it makes me want to gag? --- CAN’T STAND SMOKER’S SMELL

DEAR CAN’T STAND SMOKER’S SMELL: Have you discussed this issue with your mom? By not sharing your situation, and taking into account the health dangers of third-hand smoke, she might come to believe any reluctance to be around them is about her new man, rather than the result of his habit.

While there are techniques and products available to help minimize the lingering odors caused by cigarette and other smoke, they may be of little or no use in this case, since the smell comes with the smoker.

If you’re only visiting your mom and not living in the same house, perhaps you could suggest meeting up with them in either outdoor or more open settings. When you’re all in the same room in the house, if possible, one way you might minimize your discomfort would be to position yourself near a window that can be opened, weather permitting.

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