Dr. Wallace:

My friend Laurie and I have been close friends for over seven years. Since she started dating a guy about a month ago, she has totally ignored me. I really feel abandoned. I’ve only seen her once since she started dating him and that was the evening he was out of town.

I can’t believe my best friend would dump me for a guy. It frustrates me not to have anyone with whom I can share secrets, study and have fun. I thought we were better friends than this. I guess I was wrong. Help!

— Nameless, Minneapolis, Minn.

Dear Nameless: Don’t fight the power of romance. You’ll come out second best every time. Your friend is still your friend, believe me. For the time being, she is so infatuated with her new boyfriend she wants to spend every possible moment with him.

Don’t sit around and wait for her to come back to reality. Make new friends and start doing fun things with other girls. You can also join a few clubs or activities at school so you can share common interests with both boys and girls. Who knows, maybe you will start dating a boy you meet in one of these clubs. Then you will be double-dating with your friend and her boyfriend.

Dr. Wallace: Last summer my family and I took a three-week trip through England, Ireland and France. We had a wonderful time. The scenery was beautiful and the old castles were interesting. The only down side of the trip was that it seemed everybody in these countries was smoking. Aren’t these people aware of the health hazards of tobacco? I tried to convince an Irish teenager that smoking was bad for him, but he only laughed and said I was “daft.” Why aren’t their governments discouraging smoking like ours does?

— Kim, Orlando, Fla.

Dear Kim: The United States and Canada are leaders when it comes to public health and safety, and, in time, the rest of the world plays catch-up. Many states and provinces are taking the lead, by banning smoking in all public areas including restaurants, public buildings and even bars. That’s one of the reasons you were so sensitive to the smoking habits of Europeans.

The American Cancer Society reports that, while smoking is on the downturn in Canada and the United States, it is increasing worldwide at the rate of about 2 percent a year.

Over 1 billion people smoke at an average rate of half a pack a day. Greece leads the world in per capita cigarette consumption, followed by Japan, Poland, South Korea and Ireland. It’s great to have the United States and Canada not ranked in that top five, but we must always do our very best to encourage teens to never start smoking. It’s easy to start, and oh, so difficult to stop this harmful habit!!

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.