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passive smoking, again

Due to my father passing away last month, my mum has requested that she has family stay with her 24/7. That is a perfectly acceptable request. I have spent the last 3 Fridays sleeping over at my mums from Friday 4pm till Saturday 1pm . During this time my mum smokes, as do 2 of my sisters, so my mums house is full of smoke. I am not happy about this as I also babysit my grandchildren, and have brought them down to my mums house, so I can allow my sister to leave early and chill after a hard gruelling 24 hours. My father suffered from Lewy body dementia, my mum has been diagnosed with vascular dementia). My mum constantly forgets my father has died, asks where he is, why hasn't he phoned so we need to go through the whole upsetting "performance" can't think of another word at this moment in time.

I have asked sisters and 1 brother in law not to smoke in the house as it is not fair to non smokers. It has fallen on deaf ears to some of them. My mum is very important to me I love her, but should I inhale all the smoke? I explained to my daughter that i would no longer take grandchildren to see their great granny due to the smoke ( grandchildren have stated they hate going there due to the smoke). Needless to say my daughter disagreed with me, so we fell out. My daughter said "you used to smoke" { which I did 15 yrs ago, and was not a heavy smoker ) "and nothing happened to me."

When i see 5 pack of cigarettes in the kitchen, I just think ..... WTF?

My mum didn't buy them.

9 Replies

It's a real toughie for you. Bereavement, your mum's condition, family dynamics across the generations etc all an emotional minefield I can see. There's a very good NRAS anti smoking poster and perhaps also an info leaflet on the effect smoking has on RA sufferers if this might help educate your siblings.

I can see this rule being enforceable in your own home but nigh on impossible in your mum's place. I think if I were in your shoes I'd just try to think that your mum won't be around forever and family is too important to risk total fall out with at this point in your life. I would put up with the smoking but open the windows as much as you can.

Tell your daughter that neither of you yet know the affect your previous smoking has had on her. Explain that you don't want anything more on your conscience. Meanwhile your grandchildren's dislike of the smell of smoke and association with death and old age etc will hopefully help them stay clear from smoking themselves.

But we are talking short term care and exposure so I really wouldn't put your horror of cigarette smoke off spending time with your mum when she clearly needs you. If you see fags hanging about you could always bin them and then claim ignorance?

Two of my sons have switched to e-cigs now which aren't ideal but are much better because no tar. If I preach at them too much they can always turn round and point out that I used to smoke too. Not much but still I regret this now. However many of us smoked so you are hardly unusual. Doesn't mean you have to put up with the smoke of others now though.

So sorry you are going through all this and condolences for the loss of your dad. X


Thank you,


So sorry for the loss of your father. I too am grieving the loss of my father who passed away last week, Sept 11 2015...So I understand your mother's request...and your anger...You, as well as the rest of your family. are grieving your dad's death . This by no means should make you feel guilty for not wanting to be around smoke. Your family needs to respect your health, don't let them dismiss your request as smoking is a health hazard.

I wish you the best

Take care



Smoking killed my father and my children begged him to stop smoking,but by then it was too late for him. Now both my children smoke,but they don't smoke in the house either in mine or their own houses which is good. My daughter is trying to give up thank goodness. My son and dil both smoke and they don't look like they plan to give up yet i hope they do.

I am with you in not taking my grandchildren into that smike filled house. I would worry if your mum had dementia and smokes she could accidently set the house on fire and others with her. I am sorry if that sounds scary and not very nice and it isn't very nice,but sadly it is a reality. So i think you might want to consider staying over and try to help in other ways which as i don't know the situation you will have to look into.

I am sorry for the loss of your dad and i know how hard that is for you having lost my father and eight months later my mum. Sending hugs your way.

Ps,do what is best for you and your grandchildren .xxxx


I really feel for your mother, as she has vascular dementia ( just like my husband ) her level will have dropped further due to the stress of losing her husband. I would think that as a loving daughter you wouldn't like another drop caused by the stress of restricted smoking as I am sure she must have smoked for many yrs. it is her house after all and all of you family are grieving. This said I know it is hard for you too. RA is an awful painful illness and we have to watch out for things that will do us harm, but spare a thought for your mother, once she has gone she has gone and you don't want to live with regrets. sorry for sounding harsh but that is how I feel. I am sorry for your loss and hope you can resolve the situation without hurting anyone.

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Both my parents in law had dementia (MIL vascular dementia and FIL Alzheimer's) so I sympathise as this is tough. Eventually we took the approach that the most important thing for them, and what helped them most, was to try to keep them on as even a keel as possible, and in as happy a place as possible. So we stopped trying to make them face up to the real world. For example, If MIL would constantly ask if it was tea time yet (which started at about 9.00 am) and we ended up just telling her that it would be soon, rather than trying to get her to accept the real time. Perhaps a form of lying, but we felt that being as content as possible helped her as she got so anxious about everything. And it was hard at times as she'd ask when her sister was coming round (who had died) and we just kept telling her she'd be there tomorrow. But it made her feel calmer.

I agree with others that getting your mum to stop smoking is probably too hard for her, but the rest of your family could perhaps be asked to restrain them selves to whichever room you & the kids aren't in? The main thing for your daughter is to make sure she's aware that smoking is a trigger for RA, and she probably has the genetic tendency from you, so for both her & her children it's really important that she tries to stop. If she wants to reduce her chance of developing it when she's older that that can make the difference. i used to smoke, and it's the only thing in my life I regret.


Agree with twitchy and helix. Some good suggestions there.

Only other thing I'd add would be that maybe you talk to your siblings about the dangers of your mother smoking (fire, etc) and suggest that you replace her cigarettes with e-cigarettes as a safety measure. If she has dementia, she may not even notice the difference if you ask her if she'd like to try one of "yours" and just hand one to her. If they agree to that you could also suggest that any other smokers have e-cigarettes to use just while they are in the house (which would also mean your mother wasn't tempted to light up regular ones). Make sure they understand you aren't asking them to stop smoking but just to keep the house free from the dangers of fire and free from smoke.


Excellent suggestion


Hi Jennymora, so sorry to hear of your loss,it must be very hard for you,trying to look after your mum and battling your own disease.I also cared for my mum,a very heavy smoker,I had this for years,it was like walking into fog it was so bad but I did it anyway because I loved her,and when she died,I even put a packet of fags in her coffin,just to help her on the journey.my mum didn't have dementia,but my mother in law did,and she kept asking where her husband was,after telling her the truth a thousand times, the staff at the home told us to say he was very busy,rather than distress her all over again that he had died.it seemed to work and she just accepted our explanation.i hope this is of some help.


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