Cathy started smoking cigarettes years ago for her smoker husband named Paul. He always had a smoking fetish as a child and was helplessly addicted to it. One day, he decided to fulfill this fetish by getting his wife to start the habit of smoking.
It didn’t take him much to do it. All he did was smoke right in front of her with pure satisfaction on his face. She grew curious every time and eventually bought a pack of cigarettes. She eventually got addicted to it–she smoked with her husband, in front of the kids, at work, and even as she drove.
Although she continues to smoke to this day, she has repeatedly expressed her desire to quit. Unfortunately, her husband isn’t on the same boat. He says, “I love to this day seeing Cathy with a cigarette in her hand, and smoke wafting from her mouth as she speaks to me. I love the smell of cigarette smoke in her hair as I cuddle her. But what I love the most is her utter dependence on cigarettes, her lust for the smoke, and her surrender every day to the forbidden fruit.”
Sadly, smoking isn’t as easy to quit as it is to start. It also doesn’t help that a wife’s very own enabler is her spouse. But as with any situation, the best step to overcoming a problem is to understand it fully.
Like Cathy, did you start smoking years ago for your husband and would like to quit? Then read on to know about the effects of smoking on your body, how your brain responds to it, and the steps you could take to finally kick the habit.
Table of Contents
- Why do wives smoke for their husbands?
- Smoking and women’s health
- How smoking affects the female brain
- How you can finally stop smoking
- So, how should you tell your husband that you want to quit smoking?
- Should you leave your husband if he still forces you to smoke?
- How hard could it be?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why do wives smoke for their husbands?
Cigarette smoking is an addictive habit prevalent in males. In fact, we often associate smoking with grown-up men. However, there appears to be a growing public health concern over the years: more and more women are becoming cigarette smokers, too.
Women do it for different reasons, one being their husbands.
They want to satisfy their husbands’ fetish.
Just like Paul, there are more husbands who suffer from smoking fetish. And some wives willingly smoke to satisfy their husband’s fetish. A woman shares, “My husband has a smoking fetish… I am a smoker and am completely okay and enjoy smoking for my husband.”
However, she is concerned that her efforts are not enough after finding out her husband fantasizes about other women who also smoke.
They are afraid their husband will cheat on them.
Another woman shares that her husband confessed he’s been suffering from fantasies about women who smoke. He wished he didn’t suffer from it and doesn’t want his wife to smoke either. She was shocked because they are both non-smokers.
But she decided to do so anyway. She says, “I feel that refusing to fulfill his fantasy will push him towards pornography (or other women!) and deprive him of a fully satisfying sexual life…”
They want to fit in.
A woman shares that her husband was already a smoker before they even got married. At the time, she didn’t enjoy his smoker’s breath, especially whenever they kissed. She still wanted to be with him, and their common friends smoked anyway, so she decided to pick up the habit.
Although they have both quit smoking 15 years into the marriage, she recalls feeling glad about her decision to smoke back then. She says, “We went out on a date and before he picked me up I had a couple of cigarettes, when I kissed him he didn’t even notice and it was better for me too I didn’t have his bad taste.”
There are more reasons why wives start smoking for their husbands. Unfortunately, they do not realize how much harm it can bring to their health until they’ve become addicted to it.
Smoking and women’s health
Women who smoke are not only exposed to the same health risks experienced by men who smoke. They also suffer additional effects such as the following:
According to research at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Reproductive Health in Edinburgh, UK, a chemical in cigarettes known as cotinine can cause ectopic or tubal pregnancy in a woman. This is when a fertilized egg attaches and grows elsewhere in the body like the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
Cotinine reduces the body’s production of genes in the fallopian tubes such as the BAD gene. This makes the fallopian tubes an environment similar to the uterus. The fertilized egg then mistakes the tubes for the uterus and implants itself there.
Unfortunately, the egg cannot survive an ectopic pregnancy. It could also result in maternal death when left untreated.
Ability to conceive
Smoking can cause blockages in the fallopian tubes. This keeps a sperm cell from meeting an egg cell. As a result, smokers take longer to get pregnant than non-smokers. They are also more at risk of becoming infertile.
Pregnant women who smoke greatly affect the baby inside the womb. Their babies become exposed to high levels of nicotine and are more at risk for issues such as the following:
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- physical deformities like cleft lip and cleft palate
- poor health such as diabetes and coronary heart disease
- changes in brain structure like reduced brain size
- changes in brain function
While 18% of women who smoke willingly kick the habit while they are pregnant, most of them would return to their old ways after giving birth. This is just as bad for the baby because nicotine reduces the supply of breast milk.
This addictive chemical substance can also get passed on through the milk itself, which could affect their babies in the following ways:
- sudden infant death syndrome
- allergy-related diseases like asthma
- changes in behavior such as crying more often
- changes in sleep patterns
- nicotine dependence
- nicotine poisoning
Natural menopause takes place when the ovarian follicle pool (which becomes pre-ovulatory follicles and is released when a woman ovulates) falls below the threshold level. Unfortunately, smoking and its byproducts may deplete the quantity and reduce the quality of ovarian follicles.
This could lead to the premature aging of a woman’s eggs and an early transition to menopause. It could also increase her risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, breast cancer, and all-cause mortality.
Increased risk of cervical cancer
Women who smoke are more likely to suffer from cervical cancer than women who do not smoke. Research found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed measurable amounts of NNK in the cervical mucus of smokers. This may be harmful or even damaging to the cervix cells’ DNA, which strengthens the correlation between smoking and cervical cancer.
NNK is one of the strongest carcinogens found in cigarettes also known to cause lung cancer and breast cancer. Women who smoke and suffer from HPV are also more at risk of cervical cancer, as it weakens the immune system’s ability to fight HPV infections.
While the habit of smoking cigarettes causes women numerous health complications and even death, such consequences are actually preventable if only they choose to stop. So, why are women having a hard time quitting?
How smoking affects the female brain
According to a study by researchers from Yale University, cigarette smoking affects the female brain differently from the male brain. With the aid of a brain imaging scan, Dr. Kelly Cosgrove and her colleagues discovered that dopamine response from smoking was released in the ventral striatum of the male brain, which is linked to drug reinforcement. On the other hand, the same chemical response was released in the dorsal striatum of the female brain, which is linked to habit formation.
This reinforces previous studies conducted on the same topic and further suggests that men smoke mainly for nicotine reinforcement. Contrarily, women smoke mainly for different reasons such as emotions and habits, although it does not mean they are less dependent on nicotine.
If both sexes attempt to quit smoking, this implies men may relapse the moment they experience again the pharmacological effects of nicotine, while women may relapse due to both sensory and environmental cues such as the smell of cigarette smoke, the act of holding a cigarette, and the mere feeling of inhaling and exhaling that mimics smoking.
The study further explains that a woman may find it more difficult to quit smoking due to a female sex hormone called progesterone. This hormone is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and for preparing the uterus for pregnancy. When the progesterone levels are at their peak, the brain blocks nicotine receptors.
Since many smoking cessation methods depend on nicotine such as nicotine patches and e-cigarettes, these may not be as effective to women as they are to men. So, if you are a wife who started smoking for your husband whether recently or years ago, and would like to end this addiction, non-nicotine treatments are the way to go.
However, quitting isn’t always as simple as deciding on a treatment. You must have a plan in place to help you succeed.
How you can finally stop smoking
Get your husband involved
It’s common for people who spend a lot of time together to develop similar behaviors and characteristics. This is especially true for relationships that live under one roof such as married couples. Hence, if your husband smokes, he can influence you to start smoking or relapse after your attempt to quit.
If you really want to succeed, get your husband involved. Not only is it beneficial for both of you, but it will also spare your kids (if you have any) from the effects of second-hand smoking.
If your husband doesn’t want to join the bandwagon, that’s okay. He probably needs more time before he gets on the same page as you. Forcing him to do so will only stress you out and put a strain on your relationship. Instead, make an agreement with him.
You can both set rules that will help you with your journey to recovery like the following:
- He should respect your decision to quit.
- He should not keep cigarettes at home.
- He should not smoke at home.
- He should brush his teeth and shower immediately upon coming home (if he smoked outside).
- He should support and motivate you in your journey.
- If it helps, he should avoid the topic of smoking.
Know your why’s
Your Reason for Smoking
Why did you start smoking for your husband years ago? And if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, why do you continue to smoke? Knowing your reason for this habit will help you better understand where you went wrong and how you can correct your past mistakes.
Pamela Lea, a woman who successfully kicked the habit after 30 years of smoking, advises smokers to look at their mistakes as learning experiences. This should help you create a plan to minimize or completely avoid the same mistakes you’ve committed.
Your reason for quitting
Once you start to quit, you will experience withdrawal symptoms that will challenge you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is possible to relapse when the symptoms become unbearable, but you can overcome them by reminding yourself of your reasons for quitting.
A perfect example of this is the story of Carry Aguillard, who is a former high school teacher and coach. He said, “Each year, the abrasion of cigarette smoke combined with the need to project my voice to my players (aka yelling to them on the field or court) was causing me to get hoarse and even completely lose my voice.”
It eventually reached a point wherein forcing himself to speak felt like he was tearing a scab off his throat. He decided to get checked and found that he had nodes on his vocal cords and a large polyp in his voice box. Although he had a successful surgery, reminding himself of his diagnoses helped him turn his back forever on cigarettes.
Find out your triggers
Make a list of the minor and major things that would make you reach for a cigarette. Beside each item, list down what actionable steps you must take to avoid the particular trigger. This may seem like a tedious task, but it will help you tremendously especially during the first few months.
To give you an idea, here are common smoking triggers:
- after having a meal
- talking on the phone
- watching your favorite TV show
- drinking your favorite beverage
- being around people who smoke
- watching someone smoke
- seeing a cigarette or smoke
- thinking about smoking
- getting a whiff of cigarette smoke
- attending a social gathering
- after making love with your husband
- emotional triggers like excitement and depression
Choose the best method for you
There are different tried-and-tested smoking cessation methods that you can do. However, the effects may vary for every person. But with the right mindset and attitude in life, you will eventually find the best method to help you break free from this addiction.
Download an hypnosis app to quit smoking
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT focuses on changing the behavior of a smoker. It helps reveal thought patterns that trigger and strengthen the habit. Once identified, the patient can then learn new skills that change how you think about and respond towards cigarettes and the addiction to smoking itself.
Traditionally, CBT is done in a professional setting with the aid of a professional therapist. Thanks to today’s technological advancements, however, this treatment can now be done right at the comfort of your own home.
To get you started, simply download the hypnosis app on your phone or computer. It will provide you with an easy-to-follow program tailored specifically to your needs. It also comes with a tracker so you can check your progress.
Take prescribed medications
Drug therapy has been used by many people to quit smoking. It involves the use of FDA-approved prescription drugs that help interfere with the brain’s nicotine receptors. As a result, the smoker finds smoking less enjoyable and withdrawal symptoms become more tolerable.
Two of the most common prescription medications used are Varenicline and Bupropion.
Go cold turkey
Going cold turkey or quitting immediately may sound difficult, but this quick-fix method has actually helped some smokers turn their backs on cigarette smoking like Joanna. She says, “I did it 28 years ago. It felt great! I have never smoked since that time. It keeps on getting better too. So liberating. I never had to worry about things like if I had cigarettes, if I had a lighter, if I would be able to sneak off outside to smoke.”
She also noticed that her sense of smell and breathing improved, and she no longer “…smelled like an ashtray full of stale cigarette butts.”
Going cold turkey doesn’t involve any use of medications, therapies, and other types of support. But if you think you have great determination and self-control to succeed with this like Joanna, then this method might be for you.
Talk to someone who’s been there
Do you know anyone who has been in the same position as you are? Talk to that person. More often than not, people who “have been there” would gladly share tips and pieces of advice that could really help you in your journey towards recovery.
Make sure to reward yourself for your successes, big or small. It could be every month, every week, or even after overcoming every trigger. This will keep you motivated throughout your journey towards recovery.
But make sure not to use cigarette smoking as a reward! As Andy Hoskinson puts it, “ Nope, don’t do it – you will be back up to a pack a day within a week.” Andy started smoking heavily from 1985 to 2001 and had a few failed attempts at quitting. He deluded himself into thinking he could manage to smoke occasionally and not go back smoking a pack a day.
He then finally realized that quitting smoking meant committing himself to a nicotine-free life. And ever since, he has never touched a cigarette for 18 years and counting.
So, how should you tell your husband that you want to quit smoking?
Some wives find it hard to tell their husbands they want to quit smoking. They are afraid their husbands will love them less, cheat on them, or even leave them. If you feel the same way, know that there’s no right or wrong way to tell your husband about it: just be honest with what you feel, and be firm with your decision.
Should you leave your husband if he still forces you to smoke?
If your husband refuses to support your decision to quit smoking, it can definitely affect your relationship. But you have to understand that your husband is suffering from the addiction, too. So, the best thing you could do is to seek professional help both for your husband and marriage.
How hard could it be?
The road to recovery is different for everybody. Many factors come into play such as how long you’ve been smoking, the environment you live in, the amount of support you get from your family, and your determination and commitment.
But no matter how hard it seems, keep going. Recovery can be challenging, but it’s never impossible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does smoking affect a marriage?
A study conducted by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in Australia has shown that smoking can definitely affect a marriage if only one spouse smokes, especially if it’s the wife.
How do I deal with my partner smoking?
Smoking is an addiction, so telling your partner to quit simply won’t cut it. Instead, encourage him, be patient with him, and give him all the support he needs. By the time he’s ready, he will definitely seek your help.
Should a non-smoker marry a smoker?
Smoking can have negative effects on a marriage, especially if only one spouse smokes. If you are a nonsmoker and wish to remain so, you and your partner must learn to compromise for the marriage to work.