Secondhand smoke bothers asthmatic teen
June 29, 2012 3:02PM
Updated: August 2, 2012 6:18AM
Dr. Wallace: My parents are divorced. I live with my mother for one week, and then I live with my father and his girlfriend the following week. However, there is a problem I can’t get a handle on. My dad’s girlfriend is a smoker and I have asthma. She doesn’t smoke in the house, but she smokes in an attached garage. Unfortunately, for me, the smell leaks into the house causing me to cough and wheeze.
I’ve asked her if she would smoke outside, but she acted like I had insulted her, and she continues to smoke in the garage. I’ve discussed this with my dad, and he says that he is completely fine with her using the garage as a place to smoke. Many times when she comes back into the house, she brings secondhand smoke with her.
I told my dad that secondhand smoke is a health hazard to all who have to breathe it, but he doesn’t believe it and wants proof. When I show him written proof, he always says it’s not reliable. What should I do?
Nameless, Moline, Ill.
Nameless: Changing addresses every week is a most unusual situation. Discuss things with your mother and see if it’s possible to live with her full time and spend a weekend or two a month with your father. If the court ruled this unusual living arrangement for you and your father won’t allow you to spend more time with your mother, it might be time to have her seek legal advice. You should not be forced to be physically miserable because of the poor manners of a smoker.
Dr. Wallace: I’m 16, and for about a year I have been in love with a good friend. But as you have probably guessed, there is a problem. The problem is that he is much older than I am. Also, I am not quite sure if I really love him or if it’s just a teenage infatuation.
Sometimes I truly believe that nothing good could come from our relationship, and I’m seriously considering breaking up with him and moving on. But I really would like to still be his friend. Help!
Nameless, Santa Fe
Nameless: It seems to me that your mind is made up to end the romantic relationship with this man, and you want my assurance that it would be in your best interest. I agree. The fact that you wrote that “Nothing good could result from our relationship” means that you have already given this a good deal of thought.
It’s not always possible to remain good friends after a break-up in a romantic relationship. Do not tell him that you want to remain his friend. And in your situation, remaining friends is not my recommendation.
When you tell him goodbye, it’s forever.
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