Ask Amy: Relatives Worry About Teen Vaping At Home


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Ask Amy: Relatives Worry About Teen Vaping At Home
Ask Amy: Relatives Worry About Teen Vaping At Home

Dear Amy:

My wife, kids and I had a wonderful time visiting recently with my sister, her new husband, and their daughter, “Evie,” at their home in Florida.

My kids love getting together with their cousin Evie.

I was very bothered that during our time there, Evie always had a vaping pen in her hand.

No matter what else she was doing, she was constantly vaping.

On several occasions, I observed her going onto the “smoking porch” with her folks and my wife, and vaping while the adults smoked.

I asked my sister why she allows Evie, who just turned 15, to do this.

She said that Evie picked up smoking from her and her husband, and they got her a vaping pen as an alternative to cigarettes.

My wife also smokes, but our kids know that there will be major consequences if they are caught smoking or vaping.

My sister and her husband want to take a cruise, and asked if Evie could stay with us. We agreed, but how do we deal with the issue with her vaping, since her parents allow it?

– Worried Uncle

Dear Worried:

These parents’ choice to hook their daughter on vaping nicotine, allegedly in order to protect her from tar and other chemicals present in cigarettes is not only incomprehensible, but reprehensible. It’s like giving your child a beer to prevent her from ever wanting a gin and tonic.

It is also now illegal in all 50 states for anyone under 21 to purchase tobacco products, including vaping products.

You’ve heard the cliché: “My house, my rules?” Calmly, assuredly, and pointedly raise this in advance of the visit, sharing your non-negotiable with both “Evie” and her parents.

“We are looking forward to having Evie visit us, but don’t allow any underage person in our home to smoke in any form. That includes vaping. Evie, will you agree not to vape while you’re with us?”

If Evie does agree to spend the week with you under these terms, your wife should not smoke at all in the presence of any of these young people. Perhaps this will inspire her to cut down on her own tobacco habit.

During the week she is with you, keep the kids very busy. Communicate privately with Evie about vaping (without trashing her mother), and assume that she will hide her habit while she is with you (vaping is easy to hide, which is one reason almost half of all teens are estimated to have at least tried it).

Don’t overly police her or go through her things.


Dear Amy:

Years ago, my neighbor died suddenly. His wife ran to our door for help after he collapsed, and we took all the appropriate steps. We called 911, tidied up the chaos in the house, and even found a close relative who was camping miles away. It was an honor to do so. When it was obvious the house was filled with family, we dropped off some food for the group to share.

What prompts this question is what happened afterwards.

Much later, a daughter saw me and apologized profusely for not sending a card of thanks. I was horrified to think my help also became an etiquette burden to anyone.

Most of my help since then has been via donations, scheduled help, etc.

I want to say, “Please, don’t feel an obligation to send a note or anything,” but I wonder if that’s a problem. If someone is compelled, that’s great.

But the entire purpose of helping is to relieve a burden, not add a new one.

I’ve even heard of people complaining due to not receiving a note of thanks for assistance.

If I receive help during a difficult time, am I required (on top of the difficulties) to keep a log of that and make sure notes go out?

– Etiquettely Confused

Dear Confused:

Please don’t try to prevent people from thanking you, in any form.

If you receive help during a difficult time, you are not required to send notes, but acknowledging and appreciating others’ assistance helps to keep the kindness flowing.


Dear Amy:

In your column, you are always responding to a one-sided problem.

There are always two sides, with the exception of violence upon someone.

You should look at some of those situations from a “why” or “what” has caused that problem.

– Disappointed

Dear Disappointed:

There are usually at least two sides to every problem, but I only have access to the version presented to me by the person who wrote in.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Read Ask Amy Columns on Boulder Daily Camera, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Longmont Times-Call, Greeley Tribune, Fort Morgan Times, Sterling Journal-Advocate

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