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Roommates: Dealing with a Smoker


Smoke (Photo credit: AMagill)

Living with a roommate can be a great experience, providing individuals with a mutually enjoyable relationship, in addition to the perks of sharing housing expenses. Of course, living with another individual means getting comfortable with personality quirks and odd habits. Perhaps the most difficult such habit of all is cigarette smoking. For a nonsmoker, living with the constant effects of cigarettes can be an extremely trying situation. Not only is the odor and potential damage of concern, but exposure to secondhand smoke can also be serious consequence. Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of this issue.

Speaking to the Roommate
The first response to a smoking issue should simply be to raise the problem with the roommate. If the two individuals do not share a previous history, the smoking may have proved to be an unexpected surprise. Although it may be intimidating, broaching the subject in a manner that is not confrontational is often the most successful.

Upon noticing the smoking taking place, simply ask if they would mind smoking outdoors instead. Some apartment complexes have provisions in the lease that forbid smoking, while others may assess a fee for damage incurred because of the smoke. This is of particular concern for those living in a furnished rental. Should the discussion with the roommate not spur them to change their habits, it may be necessary to take other steps to ensure one’s personal health and to minimize the risk of damage to the apartment.

Cleaning the Apartment
One of the biggest problems with cigarette smoke is that it is extremely difficult to keep smoke from entering every area of a residence. This is one of the reasons landlords often forbid smoking, as the smoke and odor can seep into other apartments in the vicinity. For nonsmokers living with someone who has taken up this habit, it is advisable to run an air purifier in the bedroom. This can help keep some of the smell out, in addition to cleansing some of the toxins from the cigarette smoke from the air.

Suggesting Alternatives
Many roommates are happy to make an effort to reduce their smoking, but it can be difficult to lose a habit that has formed over a long period of time. For those who wish to quit smoking, supportive roommates may consider attending support groups together to help give the other individual an extra motivational boost. There are also several products on the market that can help those looking to quit. It may be worth exploring such solutions if the smoking continues to be an issue.

Living with a smoker can prove extremely difficult. Fortunately, roommates do not have to accept a trying situation, but can instead work to improve the living relationship. If all other methods fail, there are also smoking alternatives that could be considered. Electronic cigarettes are one such example, providing the smoker with a nicotine hit through a realistic cigarette that does not emit odors or noxious smoke.


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