9 ways to say, "Don't smoke around me."

Focused on Health - July 2012

secondhand smoking smoke cancerby Laura Nathan-Garner

Trying to take better control of your health? Steer clear of secondhand smoke.

Here’s the surprising reason: the amount of many cancer-causing chemicals is higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, nearly 3,400 nonsmokers die of lung cancer in the United States each year.

Even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and trigger a heart attack. And if you’re a cancer patient, secondhand smoke can make your cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, less effective.

So, how can you tell someone not to light up around you? Here’s how our Facebook followers  and other friends from around the Web take charge of their health. Get inspired by their strategies for asking a smoker to snuff out.

“My neighbor was smoking and the smoke would trail into my studio … I explained that I was getting headaches from the smoke, and that it was really becoming a problem. She apologized and said she would not smoke indoors anymore.”
—Janet R.

secondhand smoke smoking cancer“People don't like being told what to do so I don't tell them they cannot smoke around me. If they light up, I simply say ‘I don't like to be around cigarette smoke. I'll wait for you over here.’ Then I move myself away. They are less likely to take offense and usually will accommodate my decision by either not smoking or by moving away themselves.”
—Janet P.

“I found that just asking them to move doesn't work, as most of the time they don't care. What does work is telling them I'm allergic to it. I'm not really, but it is the best solution I've found so far!”
—Kelli E.

“I might say something like ‘(Cough, cough) Excuse me, may I make a request? I'm working on keeping myself healthy lately, and smoke is especially bothersome. Would you be willing to smoke somewhere else or put out your cigarette for the time being?’”
—Bob M.

“I just ask them if they are in a hurry to meet their maker.”
—Gale Z.

“I always quickly walk past people who smoke, with my face tucked in my shirt around my nose. Or I use a fanning gesture with my hands. No words needed … they get the hint!”
—Audra S.

“I rarely put myself in any ‘smoking situations,’ but when necessary this is how I handle it: ‘I feel very strongly about smoking and need to let you know that I cannot be with you if you will be smoking. I hope you can respect my feelings about this decision, which is emotional for me, having watched my parents die from smoking.’”
—Sharon O.

secondhand smoke smoking cancer“When I'm with a girl, I tell people, ‘Excuse me, but my wife is pregnant. May I please ask you not to smoke around her?’ Absolutely no one has ever turned me down, and every single one of them has been extremely apologetic and kind!”
Dan N.

“When I’m standing in line with a smoker, I gently say (with a smile), ‘I’m allergic to smoke. Would you be willing to not smoke for now?’ Then give them a huge thank you. It has worked well for me for years.”
—Judy W.

How do you get people not to smoke around you? Tell us on our Facebook page.

Related links
Secondhand Smoke Facts (CDC)

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