DEAR HARRIETTE: I am trying to kick my casual smoking habit. I never thought I would become a smoker -- I know how horrendous it is for the body. However, when I am outside the bar getting some fresh air and get offered a cigarette, I get excited and can't say no. I have tried refusing, but this typically falls on deaf ears. I want to kick this habit for good. What can I say to those who harmlessly offer me a cigarette? -- Deathly Habit, Cincinnati
DEAR DEATHLY HABIT: In 12-step programs, the recommendation is to avoid people, places and things. What does this mean? If you are trying to kick an addiction, you need to put yourself in situations that will support you. It also means you have to walk away from the people who make it easy for you to smoke, the places that inspire lighting up and the cigarettes themselves. Attempting to reason with your smoking friends will not work. It doesn't mean that they don't care about you. It does mean that they care more about their cigarettes. Remember that cigarette smoking is an addiction. That means it defies logic. To stop smoking for good, you have to remove yourself from the influences that make it too easy for you to slip into unhealthy behavior. You can do it!