Thursday, May 10, 2012

Children's Letters to the Loser #13

Dear Complete and Total Loser,
My dad smokes in our small house even when it's winter and all the windows are closed and he won't let us open them because of the heating bill. I don't think it's good for me or my little sister. What can I do to make him stop?

Dear Alice,
You father should not smoke in the house. Nor should he smoke anyplace else, but nicotine is an addictive substance that's not easy to stop, something I know from personal experience. Too much good science has shown that second-hand smoke is harmful. You won't find many people -- even smokers -- who defend smoking in confined spaces around others. Not only is the smoke bad for you and your sister, your father's smoking in the house presents a greatly increased risk of fire. After all that, however, your father is legally permitted to smoke the house. I'm afraid that your only recourse here is to present him with information about the perils of smoking and urge him to quit. Meanwhile, advocate getting a high-quality indoor air filter. All this will be an exercise in diplomacy for you. Persuading people is a thing best done gently. Do it with love, not condemnation.
I wish you luck,
The Complete and Total Loser

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