Dear Annie: After many years of using smokeless tobacco, I’d like to quit. Are there any effective measures one can take to beat this highly addictive habit?
I use the kind of tobacco that comes in a can, and it goes wherever I go. It wakes me up in the morning demanding attention. I believe it is partially responsible for my high blood pressure. My dentist has concerns for my teeth and gums. I mentioned my tobacco use to my doctor, but he couldn’t give me a response that would be an effective way to quit.
I see commercials on TV for a drug that helps smokers, but I don’t know whether it would be helpful for those of us who dip. I, and the many others with this problem, would appreciate any advice.
— Not a Baseball Player
Dear Not: Smokeless tobacco is also called chew, snuff, spit and oral tobacco, but it still can cause cancer, just like cigarettes, along with other health problems such as tooth loss and gum disease. While some nicotine replacement therapy (patches, lozenges, sprays) can be helpful, not all work for smokeless tobacco. Some people prefer alternative medicine (hypnosis, acupuncture, herbal treatments, etc.), although studies are inconclusive as to its effectiveness.
The American Cancer Society offers a Guide to Quitting Smokeless Tobacco on its website (cancer.org) and assistance by phone at 1-800-227-2345. Here are additional resources: Nicotine Anonymous (nicotine-anonymous.org) at 1-877-879-6422; Kill the Can (killthecan.org); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov/tobacco) at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) at 1-800-4-CANCER, or smokefree.gov at 1-877-448-7848. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I recently lost my driving privileges and have been getting a ride from a co-worker twice a week. I am right on her way to the office, so it’s not at all out of her way.
This co-worker recently blindsided me with a demand to pay her gas money. I don’t feel I should pay her, because she already drives there.
Do you think I should pay? How much? I already pay another person to take me to and from work on the other three days because it is definitely out of the way for him. I can’t afford to pay a second person. I work the third shift and am the main provider for my family of five.
— Broke in Ohio
Dear Broke: Anyone who picks you up regularly deserves to be given something for gas and wear-and-tear on the car. She is doing you a favor, and it’s starting to cause some resentment, which means she could stop offering you a lift and you’d have to make other arrangements. You do not have to offer her as much as the co-worker who must travel a greater distance, but perhaps you could fill up the tank once in a while. Ask her what she thinks is fair, tell her what you can afford, and try to work out a compromise.
Dear Annie: I had tears in my eyes reading the letter from “Lonely in California.” It was a sad and depressing life taking care of young children while my husband would rather be drinking with his buddies. Over the years, I saw a couple of divorce lawyers, but I was afraid to be on my own. And my husband made it clear that I could leave, but not with the kids. So I stayed in this miserable mess.
This summer, after he got completely wasted every day, my worst nightmare happened. He was so drunk that he didn’t realize he was sexually assaulting our 7-year-old daughter. I got a restraining order, filed for divorce and am now on my own. It’s scary, but I have so much peace in my heart. I still feel like a failure as a mother for allowing my kids to live with this man, but I know I will get past this, and in the end, leaving will be worth it.
— Relieved in Massachusetts
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. 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.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.