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CuttingCigarette.jpgI love my water aerobics class–not only because I get a great workout that’s easy on the joints, but because I get to meet lots of different women from my town that I wouldn’t otherwise meet.  Some of these ladies have become outside-of-class friends; others are we-know-each-other’s-names pre-class chatting partners.

One woman, new to the class, quickly fell into the latter category.  She and I started talking when she asked me if I’d been coming to the class a long time (5 years).  She then asked if I had lost weight by doing the classes (I maintain a 15-pound weight loss, partly because of my water aerobics routine).  What else did you do, she then asked, explaining that she’s on a quest to get healthier and feel better.

Feeling a little evangelical, I told her that the first 2 things I did to make a major change in my body and health were a) start a regular exercise routine and b) cut processed foods from my diet.  As we continued talking (she wasn’t familiar with the term “processed foods”), the conversation quickly expanded to include some of the other women in the locker room.  One even said that when she’d started eating more whole grains, she found that her dental checkups went better – wheat berries as plaque preventers!  Cool.

Anyway, in the classes since, my new friend often mentions changes she’s starting to make, like cooking a real chicken instead of buying frozen battered tenders.  I’m proud of her, and I try to be encouraging.

Except there’s one thing that’s really bothering me.  She coughs frequently and smells strongly, and I mean strongly, of cigarette smoke.  So here’s my question – should I try to find a way to mention quitting smoking as something she might consider on her path to health?  I have stayed clear of it so far because I’m not a former smoker, and I feel like anything I’d have to say would come off as preachy, judgmental, and unhelpful.  Not to mention the fact that many people fear quitting smoking because it will compromise a weight loss process.   

But at the same time, the door is open, the conversation about healthy living is happening, and smoking is bad news any which way you cut it.  But on the third hand….sigh, I could use some advice here.  Comment, advise–please! 

Regardless of what I end up doing–or not doing–my pull towards saying something is probably due to the fact that I’ve worked recently on several Beliefnet features on quitting smoking.  If you’re interested (no judgment or preach-itude here!):

10 Reasons to Quit Smoking

10 Tips for How to Quit Smoking

Quotes About Breath and Breathing

21 Ways to Give Up a Bad Habit

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