Take it Outside Buddy: Tips for Enforcing No Smoking Rules in the Home

Anytime a non-smoker steps foot into a smoker’s home, they immediately know. The nose curls ever so slightly as the smell of stale smoke announces that a smoker resides in this home. Not only is secondhand smoke a killer, it leaves your house, furnishings, clothing, and body smelling like an ashtray. You don’t even have to be a smoker to have a smoke-filled home. If your guests smoke indoors, the smell lingers long after they depart. Tired of breathing smoke and dealing with the lingering aftereffects? It’s time to make a “no smoking” rule for your home.

It’s your home and you make the rules. If a smoker happens to share your home, it’s time for a frank talk. Let your partner know that secondhand smoke is a killer. For example, did you know that the National Toxicology Program’s 11th Report on Carcinogens (2005) reports that secondhand smoke contains over 250 known toxic chemicals? Of these toxins, more than 50 can cause cancer. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, over 70,000 adult non-smokers die each year due to secondhand smoke exposure.

If these facts don’t convince your partner to take it outside, don’t give up – especially if you have children. The Centers for Disease Control says that nearly 60% of American children ages 3-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as well as respiratory infections and other conditions. Head over to the CDC’s website (CDC.gov) and print out their Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet to back up your argument.

Now that you have your partner’s support, it’s time to enforce the no smoking inside rule. Remove all indoor ashtrays. Throw them away so that you won’t be tempted to set them out when you have guests visiting.

Next, set up a smoking area outside so that your partner and any guests who smoke have a comfortable area where they can do their smoking without feeling too unwelcome. For example, you might dedicate a section of the garden as the smoking section. Set out a garden bench or a bistro table and chairs along with an appropriate receptacle for their ashes and cigarette butts. Make the area inviting so your guests will feel at home despite being sent outside.

Because smokers will smoke no matter what the weather, plan for rain and snow. Is there a covered area where they can smoke? You may need to set up an alternate area in the carport or garage.

Let your smoking guests know that your home is now a smoke-free home but that you’ve set up a nice area especially for them. You can mention this casually in conversation the next time you invite them over or gently direct them to the smoker’s area when they pull out their cigarette case. If your partner is a smoker, enlist his help. Remember, you’re already in agreement. Let him take the lead by suggesting going outside for a smoke.

Once everyone is onboard and you have a smoke-free home, pull down the drapes and send them to the cleaners, wash all clothes, linens and towels, and have the carpets professionally cleaned. While you’re at it, wipe down the walls and banish that stale smoke smell once and for all.

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