Dear Coleen: My wife won’t quit smoking even after three heart attacks

Dear Coleen

My problem is my wife’s smoking. Even after three heart attacks, she still won’t quit.

I’ve even written her a letter, telling her how I feel because I just can’t get through to her.

Our son is about to go to university to start a four-year course in games design and has a promising future ahead of him.

However, I worry my wife won’t be around to see all the wonderful things ahead of him.

I refuse to buy cigarettes for her any more and I do try to get her to see reason, but she just shrugs it off, even though she knows I’m right and admits what she’s doing is stupid.

She’s been a smoker for 40 years and it has definitely impacted her health, but she still lights up as soon as she wakes up in the morning, yet she makes out to the rest of our family and her workmates that she’s stopped.

I’m at my wits’ end – I want her to be around to enjoy our son’s success, hopefully grandchildren and our ­retirement – but I can’t see it while she continues with this selfish habit.

“I refuse to buy cigarettes for her any more..”

Coleen says

I understand your frustration and you are 100% right, but I know as a smoker myself that no one will be feeling worse about it than your wife. Every night I go to bed feeling bad because my kids hate that I smoke.

It’s an addiction like any other, but if she were an alcoholic or a drug addict, there would be the opportunity for rehab.

I know if I could get to rehab for several weeks to kick the habit, then I’d go tomorrow.

Yes, there are replacement products to help with nicotine cravings, but there are other habits that go with smoking that are hard to break – the ritual of it, the social aspect and so on.

I’m determined to stop after a doctor told me I’d end up with a lung condition called COPD.

It did frighten me, but I just got into my car and lit up!

So what I’m saying is, it’s an addiction and it’s hard to break and your wife has to really want to give up.

You’re right not to enable her – if she wants cigarettes, she has to go out and get them herself.

It is worth talking to her about the options for quitting because some of them do work for some people.

Hypnotherapy didn’t work for me, but it was very effective for a friend of mine.

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Vaping works for others because it still has that ritualistic element of “taking a cigarette break”.

Patches did work for me for nine months and then I started smoking again, sadly.

I wonder if she’s considered the financial aspect – I’m literally setting fire to thousands of pounds every year.

That’s a couple of amazing holidays.

I hope your wife can give up, so keep encouraging her and talking to her.


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