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My daughter started smoking pretty early, stealing cigarettes from me. Throughout her teens I allowed her to smoke and even provided cigarettes to her. I thought that fighting her habit would be both kind of hypocritical of me (since I was also a smoker) as well as pointless (since she'd probably find a way to steal my cigarettes anyway).

Now she's in her 20s. I managed to finally quit smoking a few years ago. She, however, is smoking more than ever. Even other people mention how much she smokes. She insists she loves it and will never quit. On top of that she also drinks more than I'd hope she would (though her drinking is nowhere near as severe as her smoking).

At this point I suppose there is nothing more I can do. But I blame myself for the current situation. My past actions when she was a teen result in what I can see now. I gave my own daughter a life marred by addiction and, eventually, disease, on top of multiple other difficulties since smoking is less and less tolerated nowadays (though, at least for now, she somehow avoids most of this since she works from home - but for how long?)

I almost lost it when I accidentally saw the photo of her she gave to her boyfriend. It depicts her sitting in a bar behind a thick cloud of smoke, with a cigarette in one hand and a big mug of beer in another hand. Needless to say her boyfriend is into this kind of lifestyle as well.

Is it really the case that as of now there is nothing left for me to do but to accept the consequences of my past actions and live in guilt? Or is there any way I can somehow, anyhow, help my daughter?

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  • "I thought that fighting her habit would be both kind of hypocritical of me (since I was also a smoker)" - I have heard this logic a few times before and I fundamentally disagree with it. The choice of whether to smoke or not is a health decision, not a moral one. Trying to keep your daughter healthy is never hypocritical even if you yourself partake in an unhealthy activity. (If anything, it's the opposite, helping her to learn from you) - sorry that this is kind of too-late info for you! But hopefully someone else with the same sense of hypocrisy might see it.
    – komodosp
    Mar 4 at 12:04

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I think you already realized that your responsability for her has ended, as she is in her 20s. So the only thing that you can give her is a piece of advice, together with the explanation what made you quit smoking.
You can emphasize that you want the best for her, and offer her to support her when she once would reach the point of wanting to quit.

In my perspective, this is all that you can do. The decision to quit smoking can only be made by the person itself, otherwise any attempts to quit will fail anyway.

Have a look at this webpage, which provides some answers on this topic.

If you are not able to convince your daughter to quit smoking, maybe there is another form to support smokers to quit. There are organizations helping people to quit which you can donate to if you want, for example the American Lung Association. By doing so, your insights and wisdom you gained from your own smoking journey still will serve something good.

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    Great advice, seriously. May I add one more thing? My mother was a heavy smoker. At one point, I realized that persisting in giving her reasons to quit was affecting our time together. I decided to stop asking/advising and just accept her as she was. It helped us both, and I wish I had done that much sooner. She passed away a few years later. Feb 21 at 18:24
  • You're both probably right... But @anongoodnurse i'm not sure how can her smoking not make it difficult to spend time together. I no longer allow smoking at my house and don't want to expose myself to second hand smoke, also because I fear I could otherwise relapse. Meanwhile my daughter can't survive half an hour without a cigarette, quite often even shorter. She literally smokes three packs a day. Feb 23 at 18:48
  • I read that starting this early and smoking this much can give someone copd or cancer even in their 20s or 30s medhelp.org/posts/Respiratory-Disorders/… I'm really worried Feb 23 at 18:49
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    @iwasntagreatparentwasi - You're right to ask her not to smoke around you (inside). Can she step outside to smoke? Can you do things together outdoors? In terms of worrying about her smoking, what good will it do for either one of you? She makes her own choices, and you handle your own feelings about them. That's what I learned to do. The answer above is excellent. Feb 23 at 19:30

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