I have been spending considerably less time with my friend across the street lately because of certain judgemental things she has said over the last little while and the title of my post is one of them. First, let me say that I do realize that smoking is harmful to my health, smelly, disgusting, hazardous, the list goes on. I am very aware of this fact and when I decide to quit I will, and it will not be because of PA comments. My friend, a former smoker, seems to be rather focused on my habit even though I rarely smoke in her presence. She has asked if I can walk a few blocks without needing a break due to my smoking habit (I can walk for miles- she, however, will not even try to walk anywhere which makes this all the more confounding). She will bring it up at the oddest times and without provocation. My last visit with her I told her that I had joined a dating site and that I had a nice date with a very nice man. Her first question...."does he know you smoke?". I answered that I had put that on my profile and had not kept it a secret. I thought that would be the end of it but her next question was "and he is okay with that?" I know I should not dignify these questions with a response but it was all I could do to politely say "yes" before moving on to the juicy parts of a great date. Is there any way a smoker can deflect these kind of comments or is it our due for polluting the world?
I think the bolded statement that you made in your OP is the best answer when someone continues to browbeat you. Or maybe you could just bean dip or just use silence....as in waiting for her to finish and then moving on to a different subject.
As a fellow smoker, I feel I can relate to what you're saying. My siblings do not smoke, and one of my sisters is particularly virulent about berating me for my lifestyle choice. Yes, I know all the health risks, but I have my reasons for smoking. And when I'm ready to quit, I certainly will. However, no amount of browbeating or verbal abuse (and yes, at a certain point it becomes abusive) is going to help me overcome this addiction.
I can't really speak for your friend, but in my sister's case, I think her comments are a very PA way of finding a "politically correct" way to make herself feel superior towards me or to put me down. (We have a long and somewhat toxic history, so I won't go into it.) There are people in my life who encourage me to quit, but they also respect my boundaries and understand that it's not as easy as all that. I certainly hope they will continue to be supportive when I make that next attempt to quit....but in any case, I think in regard to your friend, the best thing to do is be direct with her, and if she continues to browbeat you, tell her the discussion is closed and walk away. Every time.
And keep repeating that process as long as it takes for her to "get it". And if she doesn't, you may need to give her the cut direct, because what she is doing is finding a way to just make you feel bad about yourself, not really to help you quit. You'll only quit if and when you're ready, and that motivation can only come from inside you.
I hope this helps, and I'm really sorry your friend is treating you like this.