29 answers

RUDE Smokers!

I don't have a problem with smokers. Heck, both of my parents and my fiance smoke. (he isn't allowed to smoke around me or baby, or in the car... and he has to wash his hands when he's done. I am working on getting him to quit. :P) Many of my closest friends do as well (again, not around my baby.) What I have a problem with is when they are rude about it! Example: The other day I was waiting in line at redbox, with my 5 month old daughter, and the woman standing behind me was smoking and blowing it towards us! (Not like she was intentionally aiming at us, but not even turning her head to blow away. I could VERY strongly smell the smoke...) I turned around and said "I'm sorry ma'am, but I'd appreciate if you could aim the other direction... I don't really want my baby exposed to secondhand smoke..." and she completely flipped out! She started going off on how it is her right to do what she wants with her own body and if I don't like it I can go somewhere else, and how smokers are discriminated agianst... yadda yadda yadda... A couple of other people who were in the line next to us (there were 2 redboxes next to each other) backed me up (yay for the kindness of strangers!) so the woman made a big show of taking "one last drag" of her cigarette and then putting it out, then very huffily picking out her movie. (I let her go ahead of me because I didn't know what movie I wanted, and I tend to take a while picking one out...) Then my fiance joined us in line. He had gone to the other end of the parking lot, AWAY from any other people to smoke HIS cigarette. Of course, she had seen him smoking, and when she realized he was with me she threw another fit, saying "OH! so HE can smoke but I can't... " and being very confrontational about the whole thing. I pointed out that he had been on the other side of the parking lot, where there were NO people for his smoke to bother. She kept going on and on, so we just loaded up without a movie and went to a different location.

How do you handle people who are blatantly rude about their smoking habits? Would you have handled this situation the same way, or what would you have done differently? I THINK I handled it pretty well, even though the woman got pretty pissy... but I am just curious about what others think... Also, if anyone knows off the top of their head what the smoking laws are in TX... I know that in Idaho, you can't smoke within 20 feet of the entrance to any public building...

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I wouldnt even let a smoker hold my baby i was so weird about smoke (Im an ex smoker). Yeah, I angered a lot of family members- they can get over it.

You had a right to ask her to point away. The only thing is that now a days people flip out over the smallest things- and people now adays carry guns, knives, etc. so you have to be careful.

3 moms found this helpful

Unfortunately, the tobacco laws that are on the books in Texas only apply to indoor areas i.e. hospitals, theatres etc. It is normally up to the business to set the rules on where a person can/cannot smoke. There are some counties/cities that have enacted more strict smoking bans but again its not statewide.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it great! I'm anti-smoking myself and probably a pill about it. You know when you're heading into Target, etc. and the smokers huddle right outside and you have to walk through their smoke screen? I'm the one that waves my hand across my face and mutters "Uggh!" or "PU!" I'm terrible.

More Answers

I didn't read any of the other response but I would have done is moved myself and my baby. It is my responsibility to take care of my child...not someone elses...if I don't think the environment is safe for my child (second hand smoke) and it is in an open/public area, then it's on me to correct it...not to force others to change for me.

I do agree with you that the woman was way out of line and not being respectful or curtious to others around her....but unfortunately you can not always expect others to act respectful or curtious...because many people are just NOT!

8 moms found this helpful

I am going to be in the minority here...

Before I got pregnant I was a big time smoker. During pregnancy and breastfeeding I was a non-smoker. Now, I toe the line between casual smoker and occasional smoker. When I smoke, I always go outside and stay away from my own kids. If I am in town or around people, I will move to a less populated area before I light up and I avoid children like they have the plague. I smoke cigarettes that do not include any chemical additives (I know they are still VERY bad for you and result in nicotine and carbon monoxide. They don't include lead, formaldehyde, cyanide, etc.) If for some reason I didn't notice a baby was near me and the mom asked me to move I would without question. So, by no means do I think that womans reaction was kind, respectful or mature.

That said.

I understand the link between "third hand" smoke and SIDS, as well as the more substantial link between first/second hand smoking and cancer/lung disease/SIDS/heart disease. When I was a non smoker and my babes were little tiny ones, I asked that people washed their hands before holding her. My partner had a "smoking jacket" that he would wear only for smoking and take off before holding her. It's important, I think, to make sure that we do what is possible to make an environment as "clean" as possible.

But did I sweat the person on the street who is smoking? No. I figure, if spending a couple minutes (outside and occasionally) around a smoker is going to hurt my baby - we are in trouble. Besides. I still take my kids to town on a regular basis. We wait at traffic lights for five minutes next to four lanes of traffic. You know what's coming out of your/my car? Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Polycyclic hydrocarbons, etc. Hmmm, sounds a whole lot like what is in second hand smoke, doesn't it?

6 moms found this helpful

I don't know what the laws are where you live and I have never even heard of redbox, but I'm assuming this person was smoking outside.
Some people are very sensitive to cigarette smoke, but sometimes people carry things too far. I'm not saying you did and I think for the most part, the smokers I know are quite polite about not being too close to other people. But, some non-smokers can be quite rude. They tend to think that they should be able to walk down the street and not smell someone smoking in their own front yard. That's carrying things too far. One place I worked, a client complained that she would take her business elsewhere if anyone wore perfume or scented hair conditioner or we used Lysol to clean surfaces. She claimed it made her ill. You can't expect everyone to conform to your tender sensibilites all the time is all I'm saying. She was the only person to ever complain.
Shake this off and next time, just give up your place in line without saying anything. She might have been a very nice person who just wasn't thinking at the time and then to find out your fiance smokes, she likely thought you were being a hypocrite.
You'll probably never see her again so just let it go.

You think that's bad? I had someone ask if I minded if they smoked pot before getting on the bus the other day. I walked away so I wouldn't smell it or smell of it. We drug test as a condition of my employment at a hospital and I was afraid I'd ingest some. Silly, I know.
In California, people can smoke it for medicinal purposes so I chose to mind my own business about it. No point in having a confrontation.

Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful

that's not about smoking. you had a lunatic on your hands. despite what some would say most smokers are just normal people. in fact many would love to quit, and don't even like it that much. none i know would want their habit to affect anyone, especially someone's baby. don't let it bother you another second. she was crazy. the exception, not the rule.

edited: ladies there is no need to jump on the "smoker haters" bandwagon. i am a former smoker, and i quit, on my own, with no drugs or patches or anything, for my child. it has been a year and a half. hope to god my son will never equate that smell with his mother. so i, if anyone, should know that it is possible to quit if you want it badly enough. but i would never be as hateful and judgemental as so many of these answers are. why is it always the people who have never experienced something (or have only experienced one small facet of the thing) that feel their opinions are the most important and "right". if you've never been addicted, for example...you have NO way to form an accurate decision based on fact. NONE. you're basing your opinion simply on hearsay and conjecture. way to go moms. teaching our children to be hateful and rude where we will not speak up is not good parenting. it's not cute. it's just hateful and rude.

3 moms found this helpful

I wouldnt even let a smoker hold my baby i was so weird about smoke (Im an ex smoker). Yeah, I angered a lot of family members- they can get over it.

You had a right to ask her to point away. The only thing is that now a days people flip out over the smallest things- and people now adays carry guns, knives, etc. so you have to be careful.

3 moms found this helpful

I hope my story gives you some ammunition against the "I have a right to smoke" smokers. When I first joined a corporation as middle management, smokers so polluted the air in some of our meetings, they had to call a break so they could clear the air so we could see the slide presentation and they could go on with the meeting.

I am the only non smoker in my former family. Former family? My little brother died of smoking (cancer). My father died of smoking (cancer). My mom died of smoking (my father's second hand smoke). My grand parents died of smoking (cancer).

Growing up, I always had sinus problems. It wasn't until I moved away to go to college that I learned that I was allergic to cigarette smoke. It only takes 3 or 4 minutes exposure to smoke to block my sinuses for hours or days.

My father and brother would smoke at the table after they finished eating. If the smoke blew our way and we waived our hand to blow it away, my dad would get really mad. I finally told him, "You like to smoke?" Yes. "Smoking gives you pleasure and makes you feel good, right?" Yes. "The smoke is the residue of your pleasure and when you smoke, I have to breathe it and it gets all over my hair and clothes and food. Well, I like 7-Up. It gives me pleasure and makes me feel good. Urine is the residue of my pleasure when I drink 7-Up. Since your smoke lands all over my hair and clothes and food when you smoke, how about my standing on this chair and I'll piss all over your hair and clothes and food so you can enjoy the residue of my pleasure like I enjoy the residue of your pleasure?"

My brother put out his cigarette and LOL. My dad did not put his out, but from then on he at least blew his cigarette smoke over his head and moved his ashtray so the smoke didn't blow towards one of us. If we were outside, he would move from up wind to down wind. He only stopped smoking when he was 2 or 3 weeks from dieing when he was too weak to lift a cigarette or light it. He never asked me to light a cigarette for him, although he did ask my little brother.

Just a thought/day-dream . . . what if you went over to the soda fountain and got a coffee cup and put some lemonade in it, just a half an inch in the bottom, and pretended you had just come back from the bathroom. If you showed it to the smoker, If they were still smoking, and say, "residue of my pleasure, wanna share?" ;-)

Have a good day. Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree that you should ask her to blow the smoke the other way. Then, even tho I'd feel like arguing with her, I'd consciously not say anything at all to her. Responding to her rude response only unnecessarily lengthens the confrontation. When your husband came to join you and she started in again, I'd still ignore her. Arguing with her just isn't worth it, in my mind.

That's not to say, I wouldn't have liked to give her a piece of my mind. Sometimes, I just blurt out a response and that's OK too. Just remember she's the rude one. Perhaps imagine her as a clown and smile to take the tension away for yourself.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it fine. Honestly, I can't stand smokers at all. I get very sick from the smell of cigarette smoke. If someone wants to give themselves cancer and a host of other diseases, that's fine, but I don't want it. I approach it in the same way, you did. I tell them nicely, that I don't want second hand smoke. I've never had anyone treat me, like the woman treated you. Most people just go somewhere else, or put it out.

I would definitely encourage your fiance to quit smoking. Smoke soaks into clothing, hair, and skin. You can get second hand smoke from him, even if he smokes outside. He may not be actually smoking around the baby, but he is still exposing the baby to he smoke.

3 moms found this helpful

When my daughter was young like about 4-5, we were at a restaurant that had tables outside in the courtyard area so not actually part of the restaurant. We ordered our food then went to sit at one of the tables outside. Someone (can't remember if it was a man or woman) was smoking at the table near ours. My daughter said, loudly, "Mommy that (person) is smoking. it's disgusting and BAD. YUCK!" He wasn't eating, just smoking. I told her in a whisper we were going to move to another table so we wouldn't be bothered by the smoke. This person over heard my daughter and said sorry and that they would move instead when he saw us getting up to leave the table. I thought that was very courteous. I remember telling that story several times to her grandpa because he smoked!

I guess what I'm saying is that keeping my child away fom someone who is smoking is my job. Instead of taking the chance with a baby in your arms, it may have been better to just move away yourself.

SO in answer to your question, yes, I would have done differently.

2 moms found this helpful

I live in California, and here you are not allowed to smoke in any public area. It is not allowed in bars, restaurants, stores... it's so nice! Since they've enacted these laws, there are far fewer smokers here, however there are still some. I think you handled it as nicely as you could - that woman was rude to the point of obnoxious, smoking around a baby! For those who said that what that woman was blowing at you wasn't all that bad for your baby, I respectfully disagree. My younger daughter went to a daycare where her primary caregiver was a heavy smoker. Obviously the woman did not smoke indoors - she went out to the other side of the parking lot on her break and would smoke. However, our daughter came down with RSV to the point that her life was in danger. Our pediatrician told us that smoke actually clings to a smoker's clothing, hair and skin, so even if a person doesn't smoke near a baby, the baby is still exposed to all the nasty chemicals that are in cigarettes! So it is really NOT safe for babies to be around people who smoke, even if those people don't smoke in front of the baby. You are right to be vigilant about this - why take a chance with her tiny lungs?

2 moms found this helpful

I am an ex-smoker who no longer smokes due to a severe allergy to cigarette smoke. What a turn-around for me. It probably serves me right in the "karma" scene. That said, I cannot be around anyone smoking. I start to wheeze and get physically ill in my stomach. I simply say to those smoking "I am allergic to cigarette smoke. I am so sorry to have to ask you to back away from me, but I will really become ill if you don't". Most people understand. Those that don't are jerks, but I have to back away from them. LET THEM WIN!!! It is not worth the exposure for just a few minutes of triumph over the creeps. Walk away and don't look back. Hopefully your fiance will realize the danger he puts you and your loved ones in as he continues to smoke.

2 moms found this helpful

Good for you. That woman was totally rude. Here in Michigan, smoking has been banned in public places. I have nothing against smokers since I grew up around them, but I'm like you, I don't like smoke blown near me. I would have just walked away if I would have been in your shoes. I would have assumed that this person was trouble because she had no manners to begin with. I'm a little paranoid; I would have been afraid that this person would have possibly pulled a knife or a gun (hey, I live near Detroit, you know, that kind of stuff happens everyday here).


1 mom found this helpful

I have not been in that situation , but if I were I would also ask the person not to blow the smoke in mine and my kids direction , and I think the majority of people would say sorry and then turn away , it was bad luck that you picked someone who was either a raving lunatic or was in a really bad mood anyway and your comment just tipped her over the edge.

1 mom found this helpful

Unfortunately, the tobacco laws that are on the books in Texas only apply to indoor areas i.e. hospitals, theatres etc. It is normally up to the business to set the rules on where a person can/cannot smoke. There are some counties/cities that have enacted more strict smoking bans but again its not statewide.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow yes you handled it well, she sure didn't! Chalk it up to someone who never learned manners and/or was having a bad day. :-/

I hope this one wacko stranger doesnt stop people like you from trying to remind/educate others on "how to" smoke "politely" around others.

You did not ask her NOT to smoke, you simply asked her to not blow it on you. That is entirely fair. And hopefully she'll relate her "awful" encounter with you to others who will then point out that there is a way to politely smoke! Sheesh.

1 mom found this helpful

Next time you're in this perdicament give me a call and I'll send my 7 year old son to you. He walks up to smokers and says "your gonna die you know and your lungs are black and gross" and keeps on walking(lol). You did the right thing to ask her to blow her smoke in another direction. Obviously it's not the first time someone said this to her or complained that she smoked at all due to her VERY defensive demeanor. Most likely she probably has had failed attempts to quit and she is upset about it and then you point out her smoking which is the bain of her existance and viola she is pissed. I lived with a smoker my dad, although his smoke didn't bother me as there was something so intoxicating with him being so handsome, wore Old Spice and smoking, that combination always reminds me of him, if I get a wiff of it every now and then. He died when I was 19 and on my sisters 212st B day, due to illness from smoking. So it's personal to me and I've taught my son how it isn't healthy and that it is very addictive so I don't want him to ever try it. His soapbox speeches though are all his own, didn't tell him to do that, but he at 7 knows how important it is to quit. I hope this woman realizes the error of her ways but her anger tells me that she probably won't. Sad for her.

1 mom found this helpful

I applaud you for handling it so much classier than I would have.I have a husband who also smoke and to be fair to me,he never smoke in the house or near me.I let him keep up with his addiction because he is allergic to my 3 dogs but he had never complained about it once.With the problem you had to go through ,I think that people who are so rude and so blind to their surrounding is just asking for a beating.Don't want to sound so aggrevated but they have an addiction and it's their job to know what harm they are costing other people who share this planet with them.Not only are they so aching for the right to fight for bad breath and bad lungs and stained teeth.They love to be so defensive.I would just love to take a photo of her and post it all over the street that this woman is a human cancer.Don't let her near you but then again I am lowering my self to her level..(see what I mean about how you handle it with class.)I think that best thing to do(beside beating rude smoker with a bat) is to just walk away from them the moment you notice that their addiction have once turn a normal human being into a lab rats.They are so self center that nothing you say or do can really help improve them.

1 mom found this helpful

i fully agree with your approach. perhaps the people felt offended that you confronted their negative behavior in front of others and embarrassed her. there's really no better way other than you politely asking them to help you protect your baby from second hand smoke. stick to your guns.

1 mom found this helpful

I haven't looked at your other responses, but here are my thoughts...

I am a smoker. I try my darndest to be so considerate of other people. I don't smoke near entrances or crowded areas. While at R. Lobster the other day, they had their ashtray right at the entrance of the concrete walk-up. It was smoking like on fire and my hubby and I put it out so that others wouldn't have to walk through it even though it wasn't our smoke. Hold your ground. Babies shouldn't have to put up with it. They didn't ask to be put next to the stranger. Only you can control her environment.

1 mom found this helpful

You would think with as dry as Texas can get that they would have laws similar to California where you aren't allowed to smoke outside unless you're on your own property. (I have family in LA and every time we'd visit, my dad would have to put the cig out in the rental car because he couldn't walk up to the door with the cig in his hand.

I had a coworker that would go smoke in his closed up car and then come right back inside, no washing hands or anything. He smoked the same cigarettes my grandfather did, so I kindly told him he smelled like me dead grandfather. He took offense and I told him so did I. Smoking is so disgusting and I dont see why people tihnk they have a right to pollute the natural air we all breathe. OH MY GOSH!! Smoking just makes me so mad! If you need to do it, do it AWAY from everyone else! I feel all people have a right to clean air before smokers have a right to pollute it. All three of my kids say GROSS really loudly if they smell smoke, and I do not correct them because they are right.

Hi R. --

Here's your best resource
for clean air / secondhand smoke issues in Texas.
Tell Jacque S. sent you.


Meanwhile, just FYI, the exhalations of the woman in line were not as hazardous to you and your child as the smoke coming off the end of her cigarette. Her exhalations have already been "filtered" by her own lungs, and most of the poisonous particulate matter has remained within her body. The smoke that comes off the end of the cigarette
is not filtered in any way. Avoid always.

If you'd like some useful/creative ideas to help your fiance quit,
please send me a private message and I'll share some ideas with you.


I don't know the laws there, but I don't like cigarette smoke, period! I don't care if it is the person behind me in a RedBox line or my neighbor across the street - I can smell it and it makes me gag! I cannot stand being downwind of the vile stench - it nausiates me. I used to be a smoker, too! I know: us 'reformed' smokers are the WORST!

Anyway, I think you handled it WAY better than I would have. I admire you for picking up and leaving for another location. In the end, it was not worth it. You might have just waited a few minutes or drove to the other side of the building until she left so you didn't have to drive to another location.

Good for you for saying something. I am an ex-smoker and when I did smoke I used to not understand why it bothered people if I was outside (but I still stayed away from children and people who didn't smoke).
That woman is just a crab and unhappy. NORMAL people would have said "oh sorry, I didn't realize it was blowing towards you"

I think you did exactly what you could do and that woman just had a stupid reaction. She can do what she wants to HER body but it's not fair for those around her to have to suffer. I hate inconsiderate smokers.

I too am a smoker but I make sure that I do not smoke around children and other ppl. I go as far away as I can so that it doesn't bother anyone. I think that it is rude for people to smoke around a group or line. In NY there are laws that you cannot smoke within 20 feet of a public building and now they are banning smoking in certain parks. Now my being a smoker I cannot stand smoke in my face and my mother does it to me all the time. Bugs the hell out of me. I hate it. She also smokes around my daughter and that bugs me too. She will leave a cig in the ashtray with my daughter sitting at the table and the smoke is blowing towards her. I get up and move the ashtray or I will put it out. One time I had a cigarette in my mouth and bent down to tie my daughters show. This woman said look at her she is smoking in that baby's face. I looked up at her and said "It's NOT lit." She got into a huff and walked away. I would NEVER smoke in my baby's face. If it is lit I put it down somewhere or put it out before handling her. Some people can be very rude to smokers and non smokers. I think that you did the right thing and I wouldn't worry about what they say. It's your lungs and you are protecting your child. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

I too am a smoker. I also have a 10 month old. the thing about me is, i treat other children as i would treat my own... I refuse to smoke around my daughter so i wont smoke around other peoples children. They dont deserve to suffer the effects of smoking when im the one that made the mistake and got addicted. I dont get how people can be so rude. I've had several people light up a cigarette while around my daughter a few even holding her and needless to say i FLIP. I'm one protective momma and i wont deny it. its probably not the best response but my daughter has had respitory problems since she was born i cant even imagine what smoking would do to those poor little lungs =[ Why cant people have more respect for children?

Wow, What a crazy lady! Good for you for saying something. I love what Anna Lee B said her son does. Usually I just start coughing like I'm dying and waving my hand in front of my face. My SIL is SO rude about it. I just tell her, Get your cigarette away from my kids! It makes me so mad! She doesn't do it on purpose, she just doesn't think. I just feel so bad for my niece and nephew. When they come to my house, they come in smelling like an ashtray. Very sad. You think they would try to stop, we lost our Dad to lung cancer.

I think you handled it great! I'm anti-smoking myself and probably a pill about it. You know when you're heading into Target, etc. and the smokers huddle right outside and you have to walk through their smoke screen? I'm the one that waves my hand across my face and mutters "Uggh!" or "PU!" I'm terrible.

I sure do hear you about how confrontational smokers can be, Christina. I have asthma and have had to leave quite a few public places because of cigarette smoke.

As sad and difficult it is for those of of who don't smoke, it might help to remember that smoking is a very compelling addiction. Most smokers have to REALLY, REALLY want to quit and have to try several times before (and if) they finally succeed. In the mean time, they do tend to get lots of critical and insulting comments from non-smokers, and because they also tend to feel pretty negative about themselves, they become extremely defensive, and sometimes downright belligerent.

Your request, if it was made politely and without a sneer, would have been acceptable to most reasonable adults. I've made similar requests on occasion and had them received well. But you may have caught a crabby woman, or she may have been having a bad day for who knows what reason. Not all smokers are that rude. But you can make any kind of a request to some people ("Can I hold the door open for you?"), and get an inexplicably rude response.

So, if I had found myself in your situation, I would have smiled and told the woman something like "I hear that my request upsets you. I really didn't mean to offend you. I hope you'll understand that my daughter isn't a smoker, and needs safe air to breathe. Thank you for giving us that possibility."

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.