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Smoking for the Holidays?

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elsie

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Sep 28, 2006
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We are flying to visit my FI''s family for the holidays (staying about 3 days), and they are very heavy smokers (indoors and outdoors). I''m pretty sensitive to pollen, dust, and even a few hours of exposure to smoke (dehydration, cold symptoms) and I was wondering if anyone has tips for dealing with this -- should I try to bring a small humidifier or air purifier for sleeping?

Staying elsewhere is not an option, as it would hurt their feelings (and probably FI''s feelings). Any suggestions?
 

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mrssalvo

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Jan 3, 2005
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no one in my family smokes so I can''t help you there,but am curious why anyone would be hurt if you chose to stay elsewhere. My hubby is allergic to cats so when we visit my out of town family we always stay at a hotel. I don''t see how being bothered or "allergic" to cigarette smoke would be any different. Have you talked to you FI about this? I am very sensitive to smoke to the point if we''re out for an evening and I come home and can smell the smoke in my hair I have to wash it b/f I can go to bed. If you FI knows you, he knows how you react to it and I think it be understanding of how 3 days around it 24/7 might affect you. At least if you could go to a hotel to sleep you''d have break from it for a few hours. If you really have to stay there is there an allergy drug or something that might ease your symptoms?
 

elsie

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Hi mrrsalvo,

Yeah, I''m struggling about this because we only see his parents 1-2 times a year, and his mom gets very emotional about us being there and having the perfect holiday, etc. I''m not sure if they would understand about my "sensitivity" -- they live in a very small town where smoking is probably more of the norm than not smoking!

This is something FI knows about, but I''ll probably have to bring it up again tonight. I think it''s hard for him to understand this, since he grew up around it. Plus, I think he feels guilty since we live so far away, and that makes him want to make sure everything is perfect for his parents when we see them.
 

sumbride

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I''ve always been highly allergic to smoke, but it is one of those allergies that people take personally... like you''re telling them they smell or something... which they do, but they don''t get it. Personally, if they''re heavy indoor smokers, there is no way I could stay in that house, and visiting would be tough. A small air purifier is definitely a good idea. Do you take any allergy medication? Chlor Trimeton and Zyrtec are both good for smoke, at least for me. Claritin doesn''t help me. I really think you ought to treat this as a medical condition and suggest staying elsewhere. It won''t be a perfect holiday for anybody if you''re either sick or drugged so much as to not get sick.

I actually had to move to a different part of the office because my new cube neighbor was a heavy smoker. I never told him why, but I think he thinks I don''t like him because I can''t sit next to him in meetings. I haven''t the heart to tell him I can''t be around him because he smells like an ashtray.
 

Mara

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i have a really hard time around cigarette smoke, it seems like it permeates my nose passage and it''s all i can smell and it dries out my nose and it''s just horrible. i really hate it. i absolutely detest even sitting next to or near anyone who smokes. i also have a really sensitive nose where i can smell someone smoking practically a mile away. thank goodness we live in california, haha.

anyway, i was going to suggest one of those personal air cleaner things..i think sharper image sells them. they are popular for planes, you wear it around your neck and it cleans the air around you. also a small humidifier or air cleaner could work too, maybe like one of those ''bathroom'' size ionic cleaners? you could plug it in by your bed at night? but during the day being around them could be tough if they are smoking.

sorry to hear you are stuck in this position, i can see both sides of it...i would just try to get some things that might make your stay a little easier.
 

dtnyc

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What a tough position to be in! I would definitely let your FI know that it''s medical issue and one that you are taking seriously. What are you going to do after you get married and want to start a family? If they aren''t sensitive to your condition now how it is going to be when you are around them expecting and or have children?
 

elsie

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Thanks, sumbride and Mara -- glad to hear that I''m not just being hypersensitive! And sum, you are right about people taking it personally -- sometimes I feel like I''m insulting them if I admit that I don''t like cigarette smoke, but I guess it''s really stupid of me to act that way. It''s harder when it''s your future in-laws!

Looks like the nearest hotel is about 20 minutes away, so it won''t be practical to have them shuttle us back and forth.

FI also just e-mailed me that they are remodeling the area where we''ll be sleeping (new carpet, painting walls), so maybe that''ll help (although I guess the furniture will still be smoky).

Mara, thanks for the tip about the personal air cleaners. I was just looking at some on the Sharper Image website. It''ll be pretty funny walking around everywhere with a little whirring machine around my neck, but I am NOT getting sick, dammit!
 

elsie

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Date: 12/12/2006 11:42:23 AM
Author: dtnyc
What a tough position to be in! I would definitely let your FI know that it''s medical issue and one that you are taking seriously. What are you going to do after you get married and want to start a family? If they aren''t sensitive to your condition now how it is going to be when you are around them expecting and or have children?
Yeah, I have mentioned to him in the past that if we have kids, they are not staying with his parents. I think he figured it was something we would deal with when it comes, plus his parents are far enough away that we don''t have to deal with this issue often.

Still talking to FI over e-mail, will let you all know how it works out.
 

Mara

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poor elsie...we were just in vegas last weekend and i had a cold so my sinuses were out of control unhappy between the cold and the horrible air quality. i felt like my whole head was a big dry cinder just waiting to explode. i would have gladly worn a little air cleaner around my neck even if it didn''t match my outfit, lol!! anyway good dluck.
 

poptart

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May 23, 2006
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Ick, I''m sorry about that! My DH is trying to quit smoking, but luckily he is very considerate about where he smokes and I can rarely smell it on him, and I can smell smoke from about a mile away I swear. I am allergic to cigarrette smoke as well, and I would suggest telling them you are allergic and can''t stay there. You shouldn''t feel guilty about not being able to breathe, and they don''t have to feel guilty about choosing to smoke, it is their house after all. But, you shouldn''t have to suffer over the holidays. If you absolutely cannot get a hotel, get a BIG air purifier... but I don''t know how much it will help. Smoke permeates.

*M*
 

ladykemma

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Date: 12/12/2006 11:47:38 AM
Author: elsie
Thanks, sumbride and Mara -- glad to hear that I''m not just being hypersensitive! And sum, you are right about people taking it personally -- sometimes I feel like I''m insulting them if I admit that I don''t like cigarette smoke, but I guess it''s really stupid of me to act that way. It''s harder when it''s your future in-laws!

Looks like the nearest hotel is about 20 minutes away, so it won''t be practical to have them shuttle us back and forth.

FI also just e-mailed me that they are remodeling the area where we''ll be sleeping (new carpet, painting walls), so maybe that''ll help (although I guess the furniture will still be smoky).

Mara, thanks for the tip about the personal air cleaners. I was just looking at some on the Sharper Image website. It''ll be pretty funny walking around everywhere with a little whirring machine around my neck, but I am NOT getting sick, dammit!
get a rental car. No victim.
 

elsie

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Thanks for all the advice, gals. (And LadyKemma, for pounding some realistic sense into the situation!
)

The update is that FI now understands that this is a big deal to me, and that it will keep coming up every year. The wrinkle was that it turns out his mom has been renovating the upstairs in preparation for our arrival, so it''s really bad timing for me to be bringing this up.

So we decided that we will try staying there one night, FI will buy an air purifier/humidifier for the room, and we will move to a hotel if it''s horrible for me. We''ve also warned the parents that this might happen (no response yet...). So hopefully this will turn out well!

Mara -- maybe there''s demand for air purifiers as outfit accessories... air purifier disguised as a b-bag? Hmm...
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Glad it is working out :}

A comment on some of the other comments....
As a smoker I always try to be considerate of others.
But some people get pretty rude and they get it right back.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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lol elsie...that would be pretty funny!! it'd be a good looking air purifier that's for sure.

sounds like you guys have a plan...i agree that if it gets too hard, just get a rental car and hit up a hotel nearby. bring flowers or something as a 'sorry we had to leave' kinda thing?
 

Kit

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Sep 7, 2005
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It just seems really unreasonable to me that you would put your own health at risk to spare someone''s feelings. Granted, this is your family but still...it just doesn''t seem right. I mean, even for the non-allergic, cigarette smoke is so toxic. I know this is a sticky situation but you are kind of putting yourself through crap just to make sure MIL isn''t irrationally hurt...JMHO.
 

AmberGretchen

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Jan 6, 2005
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I completely agree with Kit on this, and I would also like to point out that "allergies" to cigarette smoke can lead to more serious conditions, most notably AHR, or airway hyper-reactivity disease. This is a condition similar to asthma that can result from exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritants. If you have ANY symptoms of difficult breathing or shortness of breath, please seek treatment ASAP - you may need an inhaler to help prevent damage to your airways. Exposure to cigarette smoke also increases the risks of all sorts of other upper respiratory issues, including infections and serious impacts on the health of a developing fetus, such as higher risk of low birth weight. I think its very important that you are taking the steps of treating this as a medical issue, because that is absolutely what it is. I think you need to be firm about this from the beginning because it may become an even more serious issue in the future, either if your sensitivity increases, and/or when you are expecting/have children. Do be clear that its not personal at all but that it is a serious medical issue that could have dire implications for your health if its not addressed in a prompt and effective manner.
 

elsie

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
180
strmrdr & mara, and all the other wonderful ladies who responded -- thanks for the support. (I sound like a politician -- yikes!)

Kit & AmberGretchen, thanks for re-iterating that this is a serious issue. While I do wholly agree, it has been hard to take a firm stand on the whole thing because I feel I need to tread lightly -- putting my foot down too hard could dictate how "friendly" my interactions with the in-laws will be in the future.

But, we''ve started the process to ease them into understanding my situation, so hopefully soon it''ll just be matter-of-fact that "oh, elsie just can''t deal with smoke." Or maybe it''ll make them quit?
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
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17,744
Elsie, never, ever spare your feelings for a smoker. No, your actions may not "make" them quit, but it can definitley reinforce the idea that everyone else is not okay with it. Do you whatcha gotta do...
 

Christa

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Date: 12/13/2006 1:13:15 PM
Author: ladykemma

Date: 12/12/2006 11:47:38 AM
Author: elsie
Thanks, sumbride and Mara -- glad to hear that I''m not just being hypersensitive! And sum, you are right about people taking it personally -- sometimes I feel like I''m insulting them if I admit that I don''t like cigarette smoke, but I guess it''s really stupid of me to act that way. It''s harder when it''s your future in-laws!

Looks like the nearest hotel is about 20 minutes away, so it won''t be practical to have them shuttle us back and forth.

FI also just e-mailed me that they are remodeling the area where we''ll be sleeping (new carpet, painting walls), so maybe that''ll help (although I guess the furniture will still be smoky).

Mara, thanks for the tip about the personal air cleaners. I was just looking at some on the Sharper Image website. It''ll be pretty funny walking around everywhere with a little whirring machine around my neck, but I am NOT getting sick, dammit!
get a rental car. No victim.
I agree with LadyKemma. And I don''t want to make this into a bigger issue than it is, but you are probably just postponing dealing with an issue that you''re going to have to address eventually. Look a few years into the future--when you have a couple of babies are you still going to put up with secondhand smoke in order to spare their feelings? Just my .02 . . .
 

Christa

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Joined
Aug 15, 2006
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Date: 12/14/2006 11:08:02 PM
Author: elsie
strmrdr & mara, and all the other wonderful ladies who responded -- thanks for the support. (I sound like a politician -- yikes!)

Kit & AmberGretchen, thanks for re-iterating that this is a serious issue. While I do wholly agree, it has been hard to take a firm stand on the whole thing because I feel I need to tread lightly -- putting my foot down too hard could dictate how 'friendly' my interactions with the in-laws will be in the future.

But, we've started the process to ease them into understanding my situation, so hopefully soon it'll just be matter-of-fact that 'oh, elsie just can't deal with smoke.' Or maybe it'll make them quit?
Probably not, if concern for their own lives hasn't done it.
 

elsie

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
180
Thanks, Monarch and Christa. It''s funny that I would normally put my foot down about health issues such as this if it were related to some random person on the street, but I get so confused when family is involved. My parents never drank or smoked, so I never had to think about how to deal with addictive and unhealthy behaviors.

About the "making them quit" thing -- I was being facetious, but Christa is right about the underlying issue -- they are unable to accept what smoking can/will do to them. They have had some significant health issues in the past where quitting would significantly benefit their recovery (and their overall health, of course). But I guess it hasn''t been enough. I know FI worries about this, but has given up, since he''s learned he can''t convince them to change. It worries me too, since I don''t want to see him lose his parents at an early age, and I have a feeling that more health issues are going to come up as they get older. FI doesn''t talk about it much, but I think it''s something that is probably in the back of his mind.

Anyway, sorry to go off on that, but these comments just made me sad about what they''re doing to themselves. If I could somehow anonymously point them to Poptart''s thread!


Just for the record, though, I have made it clear to FI (starting early in the relationship) that any kids we may have will not be sleeping overnight there. I do intend to continue speaking up for myself if I feel I''m being put in an uncomfortable situation. I think there was even talk from his parents about starting to smoke outdoors-only from now on, which will be a great improvement. We''ll see how things go this weekend.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
and
HAPPY HOLIDAYS

to all of you in the meantime!
 

IrishAngel7982

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
1,412
Hi Elsie~

I just saw this thread today...but I''m glad things are working out for you. I am extremely sensitive to smoke too...and have no tolerance for it. I grew up in a house of smokers, and my dad still smokes although he has switched to cigars which is even worse. My family knows perfectly well that when I own my own place there will be no smoking AT ALL...and none of this ''light a candle and sit by the window'' crap either.

Your family (fi''s as well) should take into account your allergies and make do for a few days...at the very least not give you grief for staying in a hotel (if you need to after the first night.) Sorry for the mini-rant, it''s a very sensitive issue with me. I''m glad your fiance is ready to fight for you! Good luck!
 
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