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by Abigail Van Buren

Children's Health Is Too High Price To Pay For Baby-Sitting

DEAR ABBY: I have two children who are not yet old enough for school. My mother-in-law watches them for free a few times a week. She has been "trying" to quit smoking for the last couple of years.

Nine out of 10 times when I take my children to her, she asks me to bring her a pack of cigarettes. I feel obligated to do it because she watches my children for free.

I know I'm not doing her any favors, and I have asked others how I should handle this. They say I should make excuses like, "I don't have any money with me," or, "I forgot to get them." I figure there's only a few more years before she won't have to watch my kids, so after that, I'll never feel obligated to bring her smokes again. Any advice? -- SMOKED OUT IN WISCONSIN

DEAR SMOKED OUT: Yes. When you are done reading this, go online and see what the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have to say about the effects of secondhand smoke on children. Then, rather than lie to your mother-in-law, the next time she asks you to bring her a pack when you drop off the kids, summon the courage to tell her no because it isn't healthy for your children.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety