Dear Annie: My pregnant granddaughter smokes. She has switched to electronic cigarettes, telling her husband that these are completely safe and will not affect the baby in any way. She also claims there is no danger of secondhand smoke.
I say if you are sucking into your lungs any vapor with nicotine, it will affect the unborn child. And when you exhale, there has to be some nicotine when it comes out. My husband and I don't smoke at all. So please tell me: Should my granddaughter smoke her electronic cigarettes inside the house or out? — Kansas
Dear Kansas: Electronic cigarettes are cigarette-shaped, battery-operated vaporizers that deliver nicotine through flavored liquids. They have not yet undergone any rigorous study, so the effects regarding secondhand smoke are still unknown. They are not regulated, and there are no industry standards, which means you can't be sure what you are inhaling, but it generally includes nicotine and propylene glycol. Please urge your daughter to treat electronic cigarettes as she would any other type when it comes to smoking while pregnant. She is still risking the health of her child.
Dear Annie: My ex-husband's third wife and I have become great friends. During our many conversations, we discovered that we were both born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor, although she's five years younger. We unintentionally bought the same gift for my oldest grandson and wrapped it in the same polka-dot paper. We accidentally did it again the following year for her grandson's first birthday. Before we met, we had both decorated our kitchens in an identical apple motif.
Have you or your readers ever heard of something like this? The odds must be astronomical. We are anxiously waiting for your reply. — Sister Wives in Kentucky
Dear Sister Wives: The two of you sound like an advertisement for a "twins separated at birth" story. Some of this could be explained by the fact that your ex- husband's taste in women runs toward those who like apple-motif kitchens and polka-dot wrapping paper. Perhaps he has simply married a younger version of you. (Do you know who is younger?) But what really amazes us is how well the two of you get along. Thanks for sharing.
Dear Annie: I'd like to add my two cents to "MADD and Sad Mother." I, too, was a roaring alcoholic until I had treatment, went back to college and became a drug and alcohol therapist.
1. You cannot sober up a drunk with coffee. You just have a nervous drunk.
2. The drunk's best friend can be his worst enemy. People try to help by being supportive or assisting them in getting back on their feet after a binge. All that does is buy the alcoholic the next drink.
3. Never pay an addict's fine. If he can't pay it himself, let him go to jail.
4. It's hard to get car keys away from a drunk. Instead, call the police when they get in their car.
5. A drunk does indeed see what he's doing to his family, but that only increases the guilt and self-hate, which is relieved through drinking.
6. An intervention can provide the "low" needed, but it should be through a professional who will guide the drunk through the process of getting into treatment.
7. If the drunk is in treatment, never, ever get them when they call and gripe about how awful the place is.
8. If the drunk relapses after treatment, tell them you will not allow them back into your life unless they get back into treatment or go to AA.
Please know that sometimes a drunk will die no matter what is done to help them. It's a devastating disease. But you can kill your loved ones with too much kindness. — One Who Knows
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.