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      This is a difficult topic for me to write about because it always escalates various feelings within myself and others. It is also a regular topic of discussion within my workplace, and I believe people are getting sick of talking about it but we’ve not come to an ideal resolution for me.

      As a patient living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a life-threatening lung disease, I despise being around secondhand smoke. Inhaling even the slightest bit of smoke triggers a cough that takes hours to subside, pain in my lungs (I’d describe it as a burning feeling) and shortness of breath. I acknowledge and respect those who choose to smoke, as long as it isn’t negatively effecting others and unfortunately, in the case of our workplace it is. The designated smoking area at work is technically breaking the Ontario law of not allowing others to smoke within 9 meters of an entrance way. Our HR Manager is aware of this and is trying hard to come up with another solution, however, given the location of our office building, smoking really isn’t ideal anywhere.

      It is not appealing to have smokers stand out front for passerby’s or neighbors to notice, and it is not safe to have people smoke around the dumpster area due to the potential of it igniting in the dry weather we’ve been having. We don’t want anyone to smoke in front of the main entrance doors, and where the smoking pit is currently designated allows it to blow into the parking lot. We simply can’t think of a good solution for the small group of staff members who smoke. Our HR Manager is aware of my needs, and is very respectful of never wanting/needing to address a respiratory emergency due to my inhalation of secondhand smoke but I fear it is going to happen without a change. Since no one else in our office has major respiratory/health issues triggered by smoke (though, there are some intolerance’s to it), it feels as though I am always the one pushing the issue. I am feeling a bit of guilt and anger about this.


      Have you ever had to lead or advocate for a change in your workplace (ie. moving a smoking area) due to your PF/IPF diagnosis?


      Should I let go of those feelings of guilt and anger, and keep pushing for this change because it is for the betterment of my health?

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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