Dear Amy:

We have become best friends with our neighbors, and we spend quite a bit of time together. Unfortunately, they're smokers. We're not.

Recently, I was diagnosed with a chronic sinus infection and asthma-like symptoms that get worse when I'm around cigarette smoke. My doctor told me to steer clear of any smoke or my symptoms will get worse. He also said that I will probably develop full-blown asthma if I don't heed his advice.

When we visit our neighbors, they don't smoke in the room where we're hanging out. However, they will often go upstairs to light up. Even when they aren't smoking at all, there is still a ton of "haze" in the air.

Of course, we try to have them over as much as possible, but they are homebodies who like to have everyone visit in their home.

I've told them several times what the doctor told me, but they don't seem to want to accept it. It seems they are starting to distance themselves from us.

How do we get them to understand, without ruining our friendship, that they are contributing to my health issues?

- Wheezing Friend

Dear Wheezing:

You have already explained your health problems to your friends, and they either don't completely believe you or are letting their addiction make their choice for them.

If you want to try to revive this friendship, you could tell them, once again, that your health situation is chronic - and that it's not personal.

You and your husband should continue to include these friends in activities in smoke-free venues and hope they adjust to this change more gracefully than they have thus far.

 
 

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