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Dating a Smoker: 7 Things You Should Know

Updated on July 3, 2017
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After seeing many friends (or himself) seduced by love, only to crash and burn afterwards, Jorge writes advice based on his observations.

Dating a Smoker is Like Dating Anyone Else...With a Few Differences

Everyone knows by now that tobacco is bad for you. Besides that, it stinks! Most people are non-smokers, and when you don't smoke, the scent of cigarettes can be pretty nauseating. This is especially true when you're not used to it.

So what happens when you're a non-smoker yourself and you start dating someone who puffs on death sticks all day long? You'll find out soon enough if you're really dating a smoker, but here are some of the things you can expect:

Cigarettes can be bad for your health and smell terrible, but at least they look cool hanging from the corner of your mouth.
Cigarettes can be bad for your health and smell terrible, but at least they look cool hanging from the corner of your mouth.

1) Everything Will Smell Like Cigarettes

Everything. Even unexpected things, like the bread that you left out on the kitchen counter or the sweater that you stowed away deep in the closet.

Cigarette smoke gets absorbed into everything.

Smokers get used to the smell of their burning leaves pretty quickly, so they may not even realize how much they stink. They might spray perfume all over themselves to try to hide it, but a trail of tobacco smell follows them everywhere they go, even long after their last smoking session.

Being exposed to this smell is just part of dating a smoker, and there are very few ways to get around it.

2) The Smell is Contagious

By the way, the smell won't only get on their things. Whenever they hug you right after they've smoked, it will get on you. Whenever you spend the night at their house, you will leave the next day smelling like an ash tray. Whenever you stand near them as they puff away, your hair is absorbing the smell, which it will slowly release for the next few minutes or hours (or until you wash it).

Eventually, you'll probably get used to the smell yourself if you're dating a smoker. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, it won't bother you anymore. On the other hand, it will occasionally bother other people and you won't realize it.

3) Get Ready to Take Constant Breaks Everywhere You Go

Most daily smokers need to periodically stop whatever they're doing to smoke. Dates will be interrupted, road trips will be interrupted, and even work will be cut short for the smoker's fix.

While they may have taken these breaks at one point because they simply enjoyed them, eventually smoking stops being entirely voluntary because they are addicted. If you're dating a smoker, be aware that he or she may get grumpy if you delay their smoke break. They may go through withdrawals as well if you keep them from smoking for too long.

Smelly Love

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4) You'll Get in Touch With Nature a Lot

If you normally don't spend a lot of time outdoors, get ready to frolic in the parking lot if you're dating a smoker.

Nowadays, it's considered impolite (or often illegal) to smoke indoors when in public, so more often than not your partner will have to go outside to put some nails in their coffin. If you want to accompany them, take this as a chance to get in touch with Mother Nature. Admire the trees and the grass and the squirrels as you duck away from the clouds of poison gas.

Most people smoke outside when they're in public.
Most people smoke outside when they're in public.

5) Your Partner Will Get Winded More Easily

If you've never been around someone who smokes every day, you may not realize what it does to the body. A chronic smoker will eventually damage their lungs, often leading to reduced lung function and excessive amounts of mucus.

Not only that, but smoking can cause poor circulation and other health problems that often get worse over time. This includes renal disease, a higher susceptibility to infection, and gum disease. Even erectile dysfunction is more common in smokers than in non-smokers.

If your partner is young, the health effects that you see might be limited to getting a little winded climbing a flight of stairs or healing a bit slower than most people from sicknesses--but as they get older, the problems can become more serious.

6) You Are More Likely to Pick Up Smoking If Your Partner Smokes.

If you live with a partner who smokes, you're more likely to start. Worse still, if you used to smoke and successfully quit, having a partner who smokes will make you much more likely to relapse. We tend to pick up the habits of those around us, after all.

You may have no interest in smoking right now, but every smoker was once a non-smoker, and it only takes that first curious cigarette to slowly begin the path towards habitual daily smoking. If you are genetically predisposed to addictions especially, do yourself a favor and avoid smokers if you can--at least while they're smoking.

7) You Have to Stand Pretty Far Away to Avoid All Second-Hand Smoke

Even at six feet away, standing outdoors, you're still getting a bit of exposure. If you stand a fairly average foot-and-a-half away from your partner while they smoke two cigarettes, you could be getting roughly the same exposure that you would in a smokey bar.

Unless you avoid your partner altogether while they smoke, you are getting exposed to some degree or another. You could say that you're sharing the cigarettes together.

Stand upwind, quick!
Stand upwind, quick!

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Does This Mean That You Shouldn't Date a Smoker?

Date who you want! Even if someone is a smoker, there could be all kinds of great personality traits that more than make up for it.

However, keep the above things in mind. There are huge drawbacks to dating a smoker if you're a non-smoker. The health consequences are probably the biggest issues, too: It's hard to see the person you love continuing a daily habit that will almost certainly take a toll on their health someday.

While it's not advisable to try to change your partner--you starting dating them because you loved who they were, after all--there's nothing wrong with lightly encouraging them to quit. At the very least, let them know that you will support them in any way you can if they decide that it's time to stop.

And for Pete's sake, don't start smoking yourself. If you fall into the habit as well, that will make it much harder for either of you to eventually quit, since you'll keep reinforcing each other. Nicotine is a crazy little chemical that won't set you free without a fight, so watch out!

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