Dear Amy: Recently an out-of-state couple moved into our neighborhood, due to being transferred by their workplaces.
These people are charming, but the problem is that they smoke.
Their clothes, their house and their cars smell like cigarettes.
The smell makes me nauseous.
The state we live in is basically a non-smoking state. You cannot even smoke on most beaches.
We invited this couple to our annual outdoor holiday party.
I dug out the “Please, no smoking” signs I had stored away and placed them in the outside planters.
When they arrived, they immediately lit up.
We greeted them and I politely pointed out the signs. They apologized and put out their cigarettes in the planters, (when they weren’t looking, I removed the butts). Within 10 minutes they left and smoked on the sidewalk next to our backyard.
The noxious smell carried into our party and clung to them when they returned.
Some guests commented about cigarettes, because it is a rare smell these days. They are planning a dinner at their home to thank us for the invitation.
We suggested a restaurant, but the wife wants to cook a special meal for us and a few of the other neighbors.
As much as I like them, their smoking habit makes me literally sick and I do not want to pursue this friendship because of this habit.
My husband agrees, because the smell gives him a headache.
How do we decline?
Right now, we’re stalling.
Do we explain that cigarette smoke makes us ill?
— Reluctant Neighbor
Dear Reluctant: If these people had cats and you were allergic to dander, you would let them know.
Many states ban smoking in any public place — even on sidewalks.
If contact with the noxious residual smell of cigarette smoking makes you