Smokers and Smell: a Rant [en]

[fr] Coup de gueule contre la fumée... son odeur surtout. Chers amis fumeurs: je vous aime quand même.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages but holding back because of fear I’ll offend my smoking friends. I have many smoking friends. Close friends. I’ve had smoking lovers and boyfriends. So, keep in mind while reading this that I don’t throw away the person for the smoke.

Now for the rant. Brace yourselves.

Smokers smell. I’m sorry, but there is no other way to put it. I know that people are smokers before I see them light up, if I get close enough for “la bise” (our standard local greeting here). And not only heavy smokers.

Smokers, clearly, do not realize how much they smell. I know smoking takes away some of your sense of smell. And we get used to smells we live in. But I don’t live in smoke, and I have a good nose.

A heavy smoker friend of mine once taunted me saying smoke didn’t stink. I said it did for me. I asked him to imagine a smell he really hated, and now imagine hanging out with people who smelled like that. Or easier: how would you like hanging out with somebody who kept spraying toilet deodorant around them? Or who never washed?

I won’t even get into the whole kissing/physical intimacy thing.

Smokers also don’t realize how far a non-smoker can smell a light cigarette. If we’re in a restaurant and you light a cigarette at the other end, I’ll smell it. Even outside. (Insert something about people smoking under bus stops here. Specially when it rains.) It’s not because we’re outside that your cigarette doesn’t bother me even 10 meters away.

Sure, you have a right to smoke. And I have a right not to breathe foul-smelling air.

Related pet peeves? Smokers who smoke in non-smoking places. Or on the verge of non-smoking places. Smokers who come and sit on my bench to light their cigarette — upwind. People who sit next to me on the bus smelling like old ashtray. The wall of smoke you have to walk through to exit or enter a building nowadays.

Yes, I’m an intolerant bitch at times.

To be fair, not all smokers are as bad. I know smokers who pay attention to staying as nice-smelling as possible. Who make sure their smoke is not coming in my direction. Who will walk away a bit from a group of people to light their fag. And who try to quit. Given how many smoking friends I have who are trying/have tried/try to quit, it’s clearly horribly hard to do. Don’t give up. Smell is important.

Thanks for putting up with my rant. Dear smoking friends: I still love you, even if I sometimes wish you smelled nicer…

#back2blog challenge (2/10):


9 thoughts on “Smokers and Smell: a Rant [en]

  1. i agree. even outdoors, i know when a smoker is nearby because i start coughing. btw i used to be one – a heavy smoker until 27 years ago.. i always think, if a total addict such as i was can stop, practically anyone can!

  2. Totally agree with you, aaaaaall the way (although I would add up the contagious, persistent smell on your own non-smoker’s clothes and the related nausea).

    Stopping smelling – sorry: reeking – proved to be a very powerful motivationnal factor when I stopped smoking, after >15 years of daily use. Almost 3 years later, I never ever missed it! 🙂

  3. J’ai arrete de fumer l annee passee en septembre. Je disais aujourd hui à mon mari qui fume tjs, qu il puait atrocement et qu il ne realisait pas à quel point l odeur de la cigarrette me derangeais! Peut etre que ce mythe disant que les ex fumeurs sont les plus intolerants est vrai , mais c est aussi vrai que c est extremement desagreable comme tu le dis , d embrasser des gens qui fument . Un petit chewing gum apres chaque cigarrette? Oui c est mieux 🙂

  4. Totally agree with you on all points! The worse situation situation for me being on the early morning bus to work with a smoker sitting next to me. The “cold tobacco” smell is just unbearable. Thank God we’re getting into the winter season, and I can now pull my wool scarf over my nose… 😉

  5. I’m totally with you here… Event if I’m trying to show less anger to the ill-behaved smokers.
    On the platform waiting for the train, when one person smokes every 10 meters… Where can I go ? Can’t you at least group yourself together ?
    Person in front of me lighting up while walking… I have to run to pass them.
    Smelly person sits next to me on the bus: I can’t escape without being impolite…
    I think you’re right and they just don’t realise.

  6. Non fumeuse dénuée d’odorat, je ne peux pas vraiment partager (mais j’évite beaucoup d’expériences désagréables). En revanche, totalement HS, je te remercie pour ce challenge back2blog, ça m’a remis le pied à l’étrier, ou les doigts sur le clavier, et ça fait bien plaisir !

  7. I have this very same problem. My collegue who sits next to me is a smoker. Although he doesn’t smoke in office, he takes breaks during work hours, go out of office and smokes a cigarette and then comes back to the desk and starts stinking and i start sinking. I seriously hate this smell, and i have some knowledge about smoke particles being released from smoker’s breaths. So i just want to know if this really hurts to lungs or other body part of mine.


  8. I really don’t think it can harm you physically (I mean it’s not even really second-hand smoke anymore) — but it sure is unpleasant!

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