Relatives Who Smoke

Afreet

Cathlete
Every year, we go to my DH's mom's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love my in-laws and in most respects, it's an enjoyable time. BUT.

My MIL smokes in the house, and nearly all the relatives smoke as well. When everyone gets together, the atmosphere indoors becomes unbearable. Although all of them claim that they don't smoke indoors when my young nieces and nephews are around, they quickly forget about that commitment and smoke around the stovetop fan/ventilator, which doesn't really help. I spend as much time outdoors as possible - but in Pennsylvania, December weather doesn't really encourage a lot of outside time.

For the last few visits, I've driven up separately from my DH so I can leave a little early, as the cigarette smoke REALLY bothers me. Also, I have two older dogs with heart conditions who definitely don't benefit from the exposure, and I try to minimize this as much as possible (unfortunately, boarding or petsitters are not an option, as it's just too expensive for more than a day or so). I'd love it if we could get a hotel room, but that would also make visits prohibitively expensive (and it's also a challenge to find a pet-friendly hotel). Arg!

Like I said, I love them and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I certainly don't want to tell them what they can or can't do in their own homes, but I actually dread visits because of the toxic fumes. Has anyone here dealt with a similar issue? Any suggestions for a remedy to this unpleasant circumstance?
 

Afreet

Cathlete
Ick. I AM in the minority - a minority of one, unless you count the kids. I feel so gross by the end of each visit.
 

Fit_mommy

Cathlete
Start a new tradition next year where YOU host those holidays. If they come to you then they have to abide by your rules which means smoking is outside only! :)
 

morgs

Cathlete
Every year, we go to my DH's mom's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love my in-laws and in most respects, it's an enjoyable time. BUT.

My MIL smokes in the house, and nearly all the relatives smoke as well. When everyone gets together, the atmosphere indoors becomes unbearable. Although all of them claim that they don't smoke indoors when my young nieces and nephews are around, they quickly forget about that commitment and smoke around the stovetop fan/ventilator, which doesn't really help. I spend as much time outdoors as possible - but in Pennsylvania, December weather doesn't really encourage a lot of outside time.

For the last few visits, I've driven up separately from my DH so I can leave a little early, as the cigarette smoke REALLY bothers me. Also, I have two older dogs with heart conditions who definitely don't benefit from the exposure, and I try to minimize this as much as possible (unfortunately, boarding or petsitters are not an option, as it's just too expensive for more than a day or so). I'd love it if we could get a hotel room, but that would also make visits prohibitively expensive (and it's also a challenge to find a pet-friendly hotel). Arg!

Like I said, I love them and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I certainly don't want to tell them what they can or can't do in their own homes, but I actually dread visits because of the toxic fumes. Has anyone here dealt with a similar issue? Any suggestions for a remedy to this unpleasant circumstance?

Wow,, when I read this, I HAD to respond. Believe it or not ,,,,I deal with exactly the same thing. My husbands mother, along with everyone in the family smoke as well. And , like you said, every time we head to thier very small house,,the smoke gets so unbearable that I can hardly stand being the house for more than an hour. The worst part is,,,I have really bad athsma and it's almost impossible for me to breathe let alone sleep. It's so bad that when we bring clothes for the weekend, I'll have my outfits packed in a garnment bag and sometimes dont always wear what I bring, BUT end up washing all my clothes anyway when I get home because they reek like smoke. I have also spoke with my husband about this and like you have driven up seperately myself due to the horrid breathing conditions. To be honest with you,, I realize that it's THIER house and they can do what they want in it, however, any 'honorable' host would usually think twice before making thier guests that THEY invited over uncomfortable. I have said outloud to people before, that it the chain smoking does not stop, I won't be able to visit because it's literally hard for me to breathe and becomes a health issue. Too many people have died due to second hand smoke and if they can't control thier nasty urge over just a couple days, in my opinion they don't deserve to have family come and see them. Believe it or not, I am not going to my in-laws this Christmas due to that exact reason !!
Not worth the health risk !!

Morgan
 

FiddleFit

Cathlete
I'm flabbergasted that you would rather be considered "polite" instead of a good mother. In no circumstance would I subject my children or myself to that, I don't care how "nice" the people are. They aren't all that nice if they're willing to poison children. A standard rule at any social gathering should be for people to smoke outside, regardless of who's house it is. I say this from a position of self-respect and social responsibility. The negative effects of 2nd hand smoke exposure are well documented; it's not like you're asking them to exorcise the ghost from the attic, or something bizarre. This is a legitimate problem, and you have every right to ask them to smoke outside while you and your family are visiting. Children are extremely impressionable; by letting them be around such irresponsible smoking behaviour, you're increasing the odds substantially that they will begin smoking (I started at 10 years old, because my parents and all their friends did it - yuck!). I say: ask them to make it a rule for all smoking to be done outside, or you and the kids will not come. My goodness, you wouldn't make the kids go to a birthday party where there was alcohol in the punch, and the entertainment was to jump off the roof into a pool, would you? You must protect your children! That's your job, above all else. Frankly, I think it's child endangerment to smoke within 50 feet of children, and we should make it punishable by law - regardless of where it is! Your home, your car, a restaurant, outside at the park - it should all be banned if there are children within 50 feet.

I live in a northern city that has snow 8 months of the year. We still make smokers go outside. They put on a coat and survive just fine. The cold isn't going to kill them; the cigarette is.
 
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Afreet

Cathlete
I'm flabbergasted that you would rather be considered "polite" instead of a good mother. In no circumstance would I subject my children or myself to that, I don't care how "nice" the people are. They aren't all that nice if they're willing to poison children. A standard rule at any social gathering should be for people to smoke outside, regardless of who's house it is. I say this from a position of self-respect and social responsibility. The negative effects of 2nd hand smoke exposure are well documented; it's not like you're asking them to exorcise the ghost from the attic, or something bizarre. This is a legitimate problem, and you have every right to ask them to smoke outside while you and your family are visiting. Children are extremely impressionable; by letting them be around such irresponsible smoking behaviour, you're increasing the odds substantially that they will begin smoking (I started at 10 years old, because my parents and all their friends did it - yuck!). I say: ask them to make it a rule for all smoking to be done outside, or you and the kids will not come. My goodness, you wouldn't make the kids go to a birthday party where there was alcohol in the punch, and the entertainment was to jump off the roof into a pool, would you? You must protect your children! That's your job, above all else. Frankly, I think it's child endangerment to smoke within 50 feet of children, and we should make it punishable by law - regardless of where it is! Your home, your car, a restaurant, outside at the park - it should all be banned if there are children within 50 feet.

I live in a northern city that has snow 8 months of the year. We still make smokers go outside. They put on a coat and survive just fine. The cold isn't going to kill them; the cigarette is.
I agree with this - but maybe I should clarify: I don't have any human children. The kids who attend are nieces and nephews. If I had kids, we'd stay home for sure.

As it is, I still take this to heart because I feel like such a terrible caretaker for my pets, exposing them to the smoke. There is a finished basement at the house where nobody goes, and it stays relatively smoke-free, so I keep the dogs down there with plenty of ventilation, but I don't really view it as a particularly good solution.

I would like to stay home, but my husband's WHOLE family lives within 2 miles of his mom's house, and they're a close-knit bunch. I'm afraid of creating a huge amount of family drama, most of which would land on DH's head - for him, not showing up for the holidays would be a HUGE deal.

But given that nobody seems to think I'm totally crazy for being bothered by it, I'll ask for a smoke-free Christmas for Christmas and see how it goes...
 

Afreet

Cathlete
Wow,, when I read this, I HAD to respond. Believe it or not ,,,,I deal with exactly the same thing. My husbands mother, along with everyone in the family smoke as well. And , like you said, every time we head to thier very small house,,the smoke gets so unbearable that I can hardly stand being the house for more than an hour. The worst part is,,,I have really bad athsma and it's almost impossible for me to breathe let alone sleep. It's so bad that when we bring clothes for the weekend, I'll have my outfits packed in a garnment bag and sometimes dont always wear what I bring, BUT end up washing all my clothes anyway when I get home because they reek like smoke. I have also spoke with my husband about this and like you have driven up seperately myself due to the horrid breathing conditions. To be honest with you,, I realize that it's THIER house and they can do what they want in it, however, any 'honorable' host would usually think twice before making thier guests that THEY invited over uncomfortable. I have said outloud to people before, that it the chain smoking does not stop, I won't be able to visit because it's literally hard for me to breathe and becomes a health issue. Too many people have died due to second hand smoke and if they can't control thier nasty urge over just a couple days, in my opinion they don't deserve to have family come and see them. Believe it or not, I am not going to my in-laws this Christmas due to that exact reason !!
Not worth the health risk !!

Morgan
Well, at least we're not alone!

I brought it up before Thanksgiving and everyone "tried" to accommodate my request that they smoke outside...for about five minutes. Then it was the smokefest as usual. It was pretty clear that they felt like I was judging them, and what can I say - I AM, in a way. I think it's totally irresponsible to subject guests to poisonous, unbreathable air.

I also hate the way it permeates all my clothes. As soon as we get home after a visit, I have to wash EVERYTHING - the dogs get baths, I wash all my clothes and my duffel bag, everything. Wish I could wash out my lungs, too!
 

MidgetDogg

Cathlete
I guess I'm in the minority here, but I would never make a request to someone who has opened their home to me AND my dogs that they modify their behavior to accommodate me. If it's cost prohibitive for you to stay in a hotel, and it bothers you so much, then I wouldn't go. Second hand smoke exposure for the amount of time you will be there is not going to harm you, just annoy you.

I go to visit my sister's family for a few days over the holiday and I don't bring my dogs. Not because they smoke (they don't), but because my one dog is over protective of me and nervous of people he doesn't know. My sister wouldn't ask me to not bring him, but I don't feel right about being a guest at her house and causing inconvenience to them. I have a friend stay with the dogs while I'm gone. If I didn't have a friend who could do it, I wouldn't go.

If it's important to your husband and his family that they are together during this time of year, I think it's one of those things where you take one for the team.
 

ebonynicole

Cathlete
I am very allergic to cigarette smoke, so I wouldn't be going at all. Before going to college I was never exposed to it b/c my mom nor brother smoke. Going to college I was exposed to cigarette smoke and ended up getting infections inmy throat. From that moment I pretty stayed away from any place that allowed smoking.


I agree with one of the other posters have it at your house in which you require the smoking to take place outside.

It would just have to be some drama then with the family because it's your health we are taking about.

I understand it's his family's house but second hand smoke is the one of the worst exposures out there.
 

rjroubi

Cathlete
My MIL smokes like a chimney. She smokes outdoors at her own home and mine at all times. We as an extended family "laid down the law" many years ago and she has followed it without issue ever since. Every family gathering is now a smoke free pleasure.

Honestly, we weren't polite. We didn't have to be -- her smoke in our faces wasn't polite and she knew it.
 
Thankfully, we have only one smoker in the family, my brother, and he's never been allowed to smoke indoors at any of our houses, and it's never an issue. I wouldn't even consider going somewhere that would expose me to that much smoke. I don't have asthma, but when I'm around smoke my nose, and cheeks actually go numb. No event is worth my having to deal with that.
 

cakebaker

Cathlete
Have to agree with MidgetDogg

"I guess I'm in the minority here, but I would never make a request to someone who has opened their home to me AND my dogs that they modify their behavior to accommodate me. If it's cost prohibitive for you to stay in a hotel, and it bothers you so much, then I wouldn't go."

I agree totally - save up your money for a hotel next time, or put up with the situation since you are staying in their house.
 

Fit_mommy

Cathlete
"I guess I'm in the minority here, but I would never make a request to someone who has opened their home to me AND my dogs that they modify their behavior to accommodate me. If it's cost prohibitive for you to stay in a hotel, and it bothers you so much, then I wouldn't go."
I agree with the above as well and still say, volunteer YOUR home next year. You have been doing it their way for how many years now? Time to make a change. They can all make the trip. It won't kill 'em and they can smoke like chimneys the entire ride to your house! :p
 

fitdeb

Cathlete
People still smoke? :confused:

Really!

Debbie Russo

PS Stay home. Who cares if they get mad at you. At the rate they smoke they won't be around too long any how. *

*one FIL, one MIL, one BIL, two uncles and a cousin who died way to young from smoking related diseases.
 

Fit_mommy

Cathlete
People still smoke? :confused:
Yup...my aunt, my uncle and a few friends of mine still smoke. It's not as popular but it's certainly still out there.

I smoked from 18 yrs old to 32. I'm now 38. I quit to be able to get pregant. It was hands down, the hardest thing I ever did in my life! If I didn't have pregnancy as a motivation to quit, there's a good chance I'd still be smoking to this day. I thank goodness every day that they've become so strict with the smoking laws just b/c if they hadn't made it so tough to light up outside of the privacy of your own home/car, I probably would've picked the habit back up after I gave birth! :eek:
 
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cataddict

Cathlete
I have a similar situation when I visit my sister. She smokes and when I stay with her it gets really hard to stand it. However, it is HER HOME and I am a guest. There is no way in the world that I feel I have the right to tell her not to smoke in her own home, regardless of my distaste for it and my health concerns. I'm an ex smoker myself (quit 25 years ago) and I would have been highly offended if someone had the nerve to tell me what to do in my own home. I haven't decided what to do when I make my next trip back to see my family---I used to stay at a hotel.

Afreet, I can't really offer any great advice, but I certainly sympathize. Maybe you could go outside occasionally for a break and a breath! If anyone asks, you could be pleasant and explain that you're not used to the smoke and need a break. It's not a lie, after all.
 

Afreet

Cathlete
Well, I talked it over with my DH, and he pointed out that since everyone had decided NOT to smoke around the babies and kids and then just did it anyway, odds are they'd agree not to smoke indoors again...and then just do it anyway. And I expect he's right.

Since we live in a small apartment we can't really host his family, and he thinks staying in a hotel would provoke hurt feelings...so it looks like we'll literally have to suck it up.

Still, I feel better for having vented - and thanks for the sympathy and suggestions. Maybe I could get a gas mask. Would that be rude? ;)

Edited to add: One of my co-workers just had a brilliant suggestion: an air purifier for the room where we stay with the dogs! I'm totally heading to Bed Bath & Beyond after work to check this out. If we could just keep one room with slightly better air quality, I would feel so much better!
 
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