Dear Abby: Man keeps smoking after losing a lung

SHARE Dear Abby: Man keeps smoking after losing a lung


ear Abby: My husband, “Fred,” lost a lung to cancer 14 years ago because of smoking. He is one of the lucky ones to survive a deadly cancer.

Even though he has only one lung, he continues to smoke “secretly.” I have begged, offered in-house treatment, anything to get him to stop, to no avail. What is troublesome is that Fred is in denial. For the last several weeks, he has blamed his coughing and wheezing on “allergies.” He also chews nicotine gum nonstop. It’s expensive, but he uses it to get his nicotine fix when he’s around me, our family and friends.

I am angry, frustrated and sad that Fred has chosen cigarettes over having a chance to live, enjoy his grandchildren and grow old with me. Sometimes I think he doesn’t deserve to still be on this earth because he disregards his health after nearly dying from complications from his lung surgery.

Fred is loving, warm, caring and intelligent — except when it comes to his health. What can I do short of leaving him?

— Miserable in Minnesota

Dear Miserable: There is nothing more you can do. Your husband is hopelessly addicted to nicotine, and he’s incapable of getting away from it.

I doubt you are serious about leaving him, and I wouldn’t suggest it anyway. Try to enjoy the time you have with him, and understand that many smokers go to their graves begging for cigarettes while on their deathbeds. It’s not that he doesn’t love you or that he loves his cigarettes more. He’s hooked.

Dear Abby: I am a rent-paying adult tenant who lives at home with my mother. Mom gave a house key to my sister and brother to be used in the event of an emergency. On several occasions they have used their key to enter the house unannounced, startling both me and Mom.

I have asked them to please either knock or use the doorbell and wait to be let in when dropping by unannounced like anyone else would do. My brother has graciously honored my request. My sister thinks that because she was given a key she has the right to unlock the door and come into our home whenever she wants to.

I find what she’s doing intrusive and upsetting. How can I get her to respect my wishes and honor my privacy in my own home? Mom agrees with me, but is reluctant to ask my sister to return the key.

— Adult in California

Dear Adult Tenant: Your sister may feel that because the house technically belongs to your mother (in spite of the fact that you are paying rent) that she doesn’t have to respect your wishes. Unless your mother is willing to assert herself and tell your sister she feels the same way you do, and if it happens again she wants her house key returned, the problem will continue. At this point, the ball is in Mom’s court.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

      Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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