My mother-in-law always says, Sitting is the new smoking. And she’s not far wrong. But this doesn’t mean that smoking is not still a problem these days.

I grew up in a house of smokers. Both my parents were smokers. At that time, everyone smoked everywhere, so my parents smoked in the house, in restaurants, and in the car. I grew up with the smell of smoke on the couch, in my hair, in my clothes.

Possibly as a result of this, neither my brother nor I have smoked.

I have tried, but thankfully it was a horrible experience and I’ve never really done it since that first time.

Then I met the Beard, who was a smoker. I hated it. He stank of smoke and I usually wanted to ask him to rinse out his mouth before I kissed him. That joke about kissing an ashtray is really not far wrong.

I don’t know why it was so important to me, but when we started hanging out, I told him I don’t date smokers. So he stopped. And I forgot all about his previous life which involved him smoking like a chimney.

For three years we were happy non-smokers – okay, maybe I was happier than he was – and then somehow he started again. But the problem with someone who is as big a smoker as he is, is you can’t just do it socially, as much as you might try. So his smoking began again.

This time, at least, there were laws so he couldn’t smoke when we went out (unless he left me lurking inside while he went to smoke outside), he didn’t smoke in his car, and when we were at home I asked him to smoke outside.

I didn’t mind so much that he was smoking, besides the fact that it affected me and I knew it wasn’t great for his health.

But then we had Jeremy.

I’ve spoken before about how I’m a very anxious mother, especially with my first-born. My second-born gave me anxiety attacks as well but that was for health reasons and not just because of my own anxieties.

But having Dave as a smoker around my newborn baby was an absolute no-no for me. I’m no doctor but I’ve always been one of those moms who check that the baby is still breathing if they’ve been sleeping too long and I didn’t need the added pressure of having my son inhale second-hand smoke from his father. I also didn’t want Dave to stop holding the baby because he had just had a cigarette.

Again, Dave stopped smoking.

And again, he started a few years later.

To this day, he is an on-again-off-again smoker, and I can’t keep up. As the boys get older, he understands that he should rather not smoke in front of them. His cigarettes are kept out of sight and out of reach and he can smoke when they are sleeping or around the corner where they can’t see him.

I really don’t want our boys to become smokers. To my mind, there is simply no benefit to smoking. At the same time, I believe that second-hand smoke is not exactly healthy so I don’t want them to grow up in a house with a smoker either.

But it’s his decision and his choice. I can’t make him quit for good – only he can do that.

But I must say I was shocked the other day when I found out how much a box of cigarette costs. I actually don’t want to add up how much he’s spent on smoking in the last few years because that probably would have paid for that really nice holiday we could all use around about now. But on average, when he’s going through a smoking phase he’s spending between R700 and R1 400 a month on cigarettes. A month!

Especially after a year like 2020, when most of us have been hit hard on the pocket, spending that much money on a bad habit seems like such a waste. But it is what it is, and all I can do is wait for him to make up his own mind to stop.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pfizer but the views expressed are my own. I am not a medical professional and if you wish to seek help to quit smoking you should do so with the help of your doctor.