DEAR ABBY: "Dwayne," my boyfriend of eight years, insists on smoking in his bedroom. In our last apartment he'd fall asleep with a lit cigarette and ended up burning holes in our couch, numerous blankets and pillows as well as the carpet. When we moved, Dwayne assured me he had stopped, but a month ago I noticed his blanket and mattress have burn holes and so does the carpet by his bed.
We live together with our 6-year-old son and, needless to say, I'm scared to death Dwayne will burn this place down. I have talked to him about it numerous times. All he does is yell and say it won't happen because cigarettes are "safer now."
I have discussed this with our landlord to no avail. I thought about calling social services, but I don't want to get him in trouble. I could really use some good advice. -- SCARED FOR MY LIFE IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR SCARED: Because Dwayne is unwilling to be more responsible, it's time to consider your son's safety and your own. Your boyfriend is not only addicted to tobacco, he is also misguided. If cigarettes were "safer now" there wouldn't be burn holes in his bedding and the area surrounding where he sleeps. If moving isn't feasible, at least make sure there are working smoke detectors in your apartment and an extra one outside Dwayne's bedroom door.
Frankly, it would be healthier for you and the boy if Dwayne didn't smoke at all in your apartment because the Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen. To verify this, and get further information, contact the American Cancer Society (800-227-2345) or the American Heart Association (800-242-8721).