Family tree where the adults are in the branches smoking cigarettes, and a younger person is at the bottom smoking a vape.

Generations of Smoking in My Family

Last updated: February 2022

There are several generations of smoking in my family, and recently, it brought up a lot of emotions. See, I found a box of VHS tapes in storage. When I told my brother, he was so excited and ran right over to get them. Within 2 weeks, a group of my family was sitting in his living room watching a film that was almost 40 years old. My mom was so young and beautiful. Daddy hugged and kissed her on Christmas.

Floating haze

I had looked forward to viewing the videos, but I had some anxiety about it too. Back in the day, we would fill a room with people and cigarette smoke. Sure enough, there was the haze floating from the breakfast nook where we played cards. We were so young - and we didn’t even realize how wonderful we were. We also had ashtrays in every room!

After watching them, we talked about how much fun mama and daddy were. My daughter brought up how one family member was absent in the video. She had a new baby and didn’t come over because of all the cigarette smoke in the house. That day, my daughter talked openly about how smoking affected her as a little girl, and also how it affected other non-smokers. The film featured her climbing all over my mom. She still misses her. She hates cigarettes so much that she never smoked.


My youngest granddaughter always hated my smoking too and was part of my incentive for quitting. Now, as a young adult, she is vaping. I could tell just by watching her eyes during the conversation that she felt smoker’s guilt. In front of everyone, I spoke about how we have many generations of smoking in my family, and we all have to find our own way to quit.

Knowing what we all know now, it’s amazing that we still become addicted. Even though smoking had brought so much grief, 3 of my siblings smoked. My sis died of a heart attack and she was a two-pack-a-day smoker. My brother and I finally quit. My littlest sis never started.

My mom’s brother had COPD also. He was diagnosed when I was a teenager. The family spoke of it as “running in the family” because we didn’t understand the terms about genetics. But we were never tested. Afterward, he and my aunt quit smoking and lived for many years.

No easy answers

I now look at our family and see that very few of the younger ones are smoking. Perhaps we have reached the point where the next generation of smoking in my family is over. The process of a person quitting smoking, or never starting takes more than willpower. It takes more than just knowing it can cause COPD or other illnesses.

In the end, it is truly up to every person to find their way out of an addiction to smoking, especially if there are generations of smoking in the family.

Do you have generations of smokers in your family? Did it make it easier or harder for you to try to quit?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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