Singed By Sister's Cigs

By Annie Lane

September 4, 2019 4 min read

Dear Annie: My sister started smoking cigarettes when she was 18 and still smokes today at 48. She has quit several times over the years, but then she goes back to smoking again and again. Her husband and children want her to quit, and my older brother goes ballistic on the subject — yelling and screaming at her when she goes outside to light up.

I had a quiet lunch with her recently, and we talked about it. I tried to be understanding, and she could sense that and said she appreciated that I wasn't condemning her.

She said she just loves to smoke, and if it kills her, so be it. She says that she does not want to quit.

I reminded her that she had quit in the past, so at some level she wanted to quit. She laughed and said that she quit to please everyone else.

I love her so much and don't want for her to die young, yet I don't know what to do. — Cigarette Dilemma

Dear Cigarette Dilemma: You're in a tough spot because you know what your sister should do — quit — but you don't want to be a nag or jeopardize your whole relationship with her. My suggestion is that you continue to be a source of support for your sister as you quietly look into various alternatives to quit smoking. Group support, tobacco harm reduction practices and other alternative programs that have helped even the most diehard smokers kick the habit.

I say "quietly" because you need to make it fun when you talk to your sister, and there might be a chance that she will be attracted to one of these programs and eventually snuff out her butts.

Dear Annie: In the past year my company has seen a lot of changes, from turnover to what the employees' roles are. It seems like we keep getting more stuff thrown our way without compensation, and these changes sometimes create a negative atmosphere, particularly when our new boss is around.

He uses fake compliments, telling us the team is doing great and then dumps other people's work on our plates, saying it will benefit us but can't tell us how.

I like my job, and I like my co-workers. We are short-staffed, and I know that's why we keep getting more added to our plates, but how much is too much? Due to being short-staffed, it feels like I can't leave because then it gets dumped on the people I care about.

It's not like I can go to anyone above this new boss because he is the big boss, but it seems like I just can't reason with him. Annie, please help! — Annoyed and Underpaid

Dear Annoyed and Underpaid: Sounds like you're in a workplace pickle. You could just leave and find another job, but that would probably be too impetuous of a decision, and, as you suggest, it would leave your co-workers in a mess. You care about your colleagues at work, and you have enjoyed your job in the past, all significant components of a fulfilling job. Unfortunately, getting taken advantage of is a major deterrence. Talk to the 'big boss' and express your likes and concerns.

Tell him just what you told me: that you like the job and your co-workers but don't feel that you can do as good a job as possible because you are overworked. Remember that good employees are always in demand, and you might want to spend some of that illusive free time exploring employment opportunities with a better work-life balance.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: klimkin at Pixabay

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