I hate smoke. I never liked passive smoking – so much so that I started smoking at some point to avoid it.

However, when I got pregnant I quit smoking along with other bad habits and due to my pregnancy developed quite a nose. Sometimes I would be in the street with no smoker to be seen and smell the smoke and experience fist symptoms of the nicotine-flash (as I was told it is called) and nausea. Then walking half a mile and around a corner I would find the smoker.

As my pregnancy progressed, I increasingly avoided leaving the house at all (which probably contributed to my obesity). Luckily it is not quite as bad anymore. However, I am still quite sensitive to smoking –both the smoke itself as well as the nicotine affect me individually. This I know because passive e-smoking has a terrible effect on my overall wellbeing and while the smoke of fire does not cause me feelings of illness, I do get a severe flight-reaction and my whole system is in alarm.

Now every morning to get to work I have to walk through the outdoors entrance area. This area is specifically declared “nonsmoking” because all employees as well as patients and guests have to walk through there in order to get to work, treatments or to visit their relatives in the hospital. Some of them have cancer and go to chemo. Some are children who come for their chemo. Some are pregnant (a lot of high-risk pregnancies) and come for check-ups.

There are two gigantic no-smoking signs on the floors (red) as well as several blue signs guiding smokers to benches and sheltered smoking areas. Still every single day most of the smokers not only smoke within this protective area but also choose to stand on top of the huge signs! And I start my work day feeling terrible, unfocused, and completely foggy in my brain. Which is not ideal for scientific research.

For months I have been trying to gather the courage to tell those people to leave the non-smokers’ area. After one very successful first try with a very polite woman who clearly had not realized she had smoked in the wrong place I felt a new sense of courage.

Right the next day I approached a man who was smoking his cigar right in front of the roofed door I had to go through. Had he just moved one meter to the front, 10cm to the left and one meter to the back he would have been within the smoking area, under a roof the smoke safely separated by a glass wall from all thosewalking in or out of the house.I felt like this was not asking too much of anyone. Even someone who recently had one of his legs amputated and was sitting in a wheelchair with his freshly bandaged leg stump on display should not poison other people while killing himself.

Me: excuse me, would you please move to the smoking area? This area is not for smoking. There is a roofed area right there (pointing).

Him: Yeah? Can you smell this? Can you?

Me: Yes I can, absolutely. Also the smoke gets blown inside if you smoke here.

Him: Yeah? Does It? How many floors up? He?

Me: That is really not important. This is to protect other people. Pregnant Women come through here and passive smoking can cause miscarriage and premature birth!

Him: Yeah? Does It? Really?

Me: Yes it does. Please go to the smoking area now!

Then I walked away without looking back.I had just told a wheelchair user to go.

The next day he was smoking his apparently daily cigar in the exact same spot. I did not say anything. I was ashamed and I had lost confidence. The day after that he had moved to the right spot. I wonder why. There are still many others smoking there though. When it is just 1 person I feel ok telling them to move. But it is very uncomfortable to do so when there are several individuals and it would actually take quite some time to go to all of them and explain and possibly be yelled at by ten different people.

I really do not want to do this every single morning.So instead I just do my work dizzy.

Have a wonderful week!