Dear Abby: Grandma burns through cash bribing kids not to smoke

Posted: February 15, 2013

DEAR ABBY: It bothers me greatly to know that so many children continue to start smoking at an early age. My husband and I did that, and now we're paying an awful price. We have had emphysema for years. Four of our children also took up the habit. I finally started paying them to quit ($100 every two weeks they didn't smoke - up to five payments).

I decided to head off the temptation our grandchildren would face. We told them if they didn't start smoking by the age of 18, we'd pay them $2,000. So far, seven of the 10 have collected a nice check on their 18th birthday, and we expect the remaining three to collect in turn.

I hope you will think it worthwhile to pass this idea along.

- Do as I Say, Gainesville, Fla.

DEAR DO AS I SAY: I'm passing it along, but frankly, I'm not crazy about bribery. One would think that, having witnessed firsthand the serious health issues you and your husband are experiencing, your grandchildren would have understood what awaited them if they took up the habit.

Still, it is extremely important that young people be educated about - and prevented from - using tobacco. Smokers who start as teenagers increase their chances of becoming addicted.

DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful husband and adorable grandchildren, but I have developed deep feelings for a man I met at the gym I go to with a friend.

I find myself thinking of this man during the day and night. I don't want to have an affair, nor do I want him to know what I feel. When the thoughts of him come, they overwhelm me, so I try to pray. I have no plans to cheat on my husband. What else can I do?

- Confidential in Greenville, N.C.

DEAR CONFIDENTIAL: Because you have a wonderful husband and a life you do not want to be disrupted, I recommend that when you finish exercising at the gym, you take a cold shower. And if that doesn't work, go to an all-female gym.

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