At what point do I need to stop my husband from smoking?

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At age 82my husband was diagnosed with a form of dementia, and was given permission to smoke 1-2 cigarettes a day. He rarely adheres to this and accuses son and I of stealing them. Though he only smokes outside or in the garage, I am finding burn holes from falling ashes on patio furniture and now one inside on the sofa cover. This really scares me, as I occasionally lie down to rest and doze off. I have been startled by the smell of smoke coming from the living room. He insists he only lights up inside and then walks outside. Everything has been such a struggle as he descends into this new world of confusion. Should I mention this to his doctor?

Answers 1 to 10 of 18
I am so sorry you are in this sad situation! I think he cannot be allowed to smoke unsupervised. To be blunt he could burn the house down and kill you both, I'm afraid. In a home situation, of course it is impossible to watch him every second and the poor man is confused. Could the cigarettes be kept locked up somewhere, or locked up more securely or out of the home? I would call his doctor this week to see what he or she recommends. Seems like the smoking 1-2 cigarettes a day thing isn't working. This is a serious safety issue. Best wishes to you both.
The obvious solution is for you to keep the smokes and dole them out on a schedule like medicine.
Top Answer
I am trying to deal with my mom's smoking too, so I feel your pain. Kind of making this up as I go, but so far I have taken the knobs off the stove and hidden them, hidden the toaster, and only have one cigarette lighter available - I used picture wire and layers of duct tape to secure the lighter in place, in the one area she is allowed to smoke, so that she can't take it off into her bedroom (which is the biggest danger at this point). I still have a hard time making her STAY PUT once the cigarette is lit, which has led to many fights. I just keep telling her I will not let her risk my safety or the safety of everyone else in the building, like a broken record. I have no doubt it will reach the point where I have to retain possession of the cigarettes and lighter.

Nicotine addiction is a tough one. Not having it when your body is used to it gives you harsh physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. I have read that it's as hard as heroin to kick, and I believe it, having quit myself (a few times now). You might be able to help him deal with the physical symptoms by letting him chew nicotine gum or suck on nicotine mints in between cigarettes. (Just don't give him the patch, because it's dangerous to smoke while on the patch, and you can't guarantee he won't smoke when you're not looking.)

My dad also smoked and had dementia, but he forgot he smoked, which happens with some. Basically I put the cigarettes and ashtray on the sideboard one night during dinner and he never asked for them afterwards. I never offered them and he never asked for cigarettes again.
cwillie had a good idea. You keep the cigarettes and dole them out as needed. And I know this will be just one more thing you have to deal with but maybe stay with him as he smokes.

Smoking is extremely hard to stop and I assume it is a long time habit with your husband. 
Dr Andrew Weil wrote a book on addiction many years ago called 
'Chocolate to Morphine". If I remember correctly cigs were the hardest to quit. 

Yes, I would discuss with his doctor and see if a cease smoking aid would be appropriate.
Perhaps there are extremely sensitive smoke detectors you can look into.

Monitor his buying habits and do some simple math on how soon the cigs are gone to give you a more accurate idea of how many he is smoking per day. 

The smokers I used to know were fairly predictable about when they would light up.
First thing in the morning, after a meal etc.

You might find it necessary to be sure and be with your husband at these times, if not all the time.
You've been given some great ideas already. I can understand that it's a battle you would rather not take on but it's probably one of the more important ones. You might even experience some withdrawals symptoms yourself. 
I'm hoping you dont also smoke. Good luck and let us know how you handle it. 
You might keep a log to track your progress. It might make it seem more manageable. 
JohnDBarry34, you have a lot on your plate with the smoking. Some people will tell us that cigarettes relax them... well, the relaxing comes from the deep inhaling and exhaling... they would get the same affect using a short soda straw.

Others feel like they need to keep their hands busy. Now a days some people use those whirling things that kids are spinning around and around.

Does hubby have a least favorite brand of cigarettes? If he is unable to hop in the car and drive to where he buys his cigarettes, and you are responsible for the buying, get him the least favorite brand. Make up some excuse that his favorite brand had been recalled because of pesticide poisoning on the tobacco leaves, whatever you think he might believe.  He might quit if the cigarettes don't taste as good.
I would discuss this with his doctor. I'd inquire why he is limited in his cigarette smoking. At age 82 and with dementia, what are they trying to accomplish? Expanding his life span? Is he able to make his own decisions as to whether he wants to follow this doctor's advice? If so, then, I would try to work with husband. I'd ask the doctor if he can smoke as much as he wants, ONLY he must ONLY do it under supervision. That way, there's no need for him to hide it. He just has no access to a lighter or matches, except when being supervised for safety reasons.

From what I have observed in Memory Care units, the resident has a right to smoke if they want and they have to be escorted outside and supervised when they request it. I suppose the rules may vary by state.
Yes, I agree with Sunnygirl1 - ask if there is a reason he has to limit his smoking. My mom is 79 and has end stage renal disease along with dementia. While it would be beneficial for her to quit smoking, it isn't going to help her get better. Her doctors have said it would be more stressful for her to try and quit at this stage, which would actually be bad for her.

Most of the fights happened when mom thought I was trying to control her smoking, or control how much she smokes. Now that she understands she can smoke as much as she wants, she actually smokes less. The battle now is just keeping her in the one spot, because she simply forgets.
Just to add....electronic cigarettes ("vaping") might also be an option. I never tried this when I quit smoking because Nicorette gum worked, but I have friends who vaped their way out of the smoking habit. It seems to me it would mimic the action of fiddling with something in one's hand and providing that satisfying inhaling action and subsequent nicotine rush.
Good suggestion Dorianne, and it would cut out the worry about burning the house down.

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