Helping women with chronic illnesses

Secondhand Smoke Stinks! (VIDEO)

This past weekend, my husband and I went out to dinner for our twelfth wedding anniversary. Sounds fun, right?

It did NOT go the way we planned. Today, I decided to make a video for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Awareness Month. Before posting this video, I want to emphasize that secondhand smoke is unhealthy for all. This video happens to focus on a reaction that I have been having and continue to have after last weekend’s secondhand smoke exposure. However, secondhand smoke is NOT just a health problem for the chemically sensitive.

Yesterday, I was in bed until about 6:30 pm. I was simply too weak and sore to get out of bed. I finally got up to eat dinner. Today is better than yesterday but I continue to have multiple symptoms. My voice is definitely stronger but I am in pain (head pain, throat pain, sinus pain, aches, etc.)

I failed to mention in the video clip below that the cigarettes that were smoked throughout our meal were joined by CIGARS by the time we high-tailed it out of there. No, I am not making this up. The wedding party was apparently all smoking cigars (according to the manager I encountered in the hallway by the gift shop… during the long, long wait for by check – by which time I had bailed out of the dining room). The cigars had apparently just started up. At this point, I re-entered the dining room to let my husband know I’d be outside and which door he needed to use to bypass the cigars.

Thus, we used an alternate exit and walked the long way around to get to our own car. Classic.

Transcript of video for anyone who had trouble hearing what I said:

Hi. This is Jeanne from Chronic Healing. My address is Chronic Healing and 4 days ago my husband and I went out to dinner for our anniversary. The reason that my voice is the way that it is now is from exposure to secondhand smoke and I’m wearing yellow because it’s MCS Awareness Month (MCS standing for multiple chemical sensitivity). I know that it’s hard to hear what I’m saying. So, I will put a full transcript on my blog. Again, that’s Chronic Healing at Chronic Healing but I wanted to make a video so that people could SEE and HEAR one of the ways that chemical sensitivity can affect someone like myself who has MCS. Secondhand smoke is not good for anybody but for somebody like myself who is extremely sensitive, it can cause all sorts of symptoms. In my case, a couple of days ago I couldn’t have made a video because you wouldn’t hear any sound at all. My voice has gone from no voice to weak to sounding like a bullfrog and it’ll probably be this way for a couple of weeks because I’ve had this happen enough times now to know. My sinuses have been really messed up; my head has been feeling like it’s going to explode; my throat was really, really sore for the first couple of days and it’s calming down a little bit now but it was extremely sore for the first couple of days. I live in a state which has had smoke-free restaurants for years. When I say “smoke-free” restaurants for years, that means INDOORS. That does not include OUTDOORS. There are now some states where you can’t smoke OUTDOORS (on patios and porches and things either). It just so happens that the restaurant that we went to for our anniversary was a restaurant in an inn where we had stayed overnight on our wedding night. We thought it would be nice to go out to dinner at this particular restaurant. That was my bright idea. BIG MISTAKE. We won’t be going back there. So, because there was a wedding party going on and everybody in the wedding party was smoking out on the porch (a few feet away outside the door of the dining room we were in), the smoke was blowing indoors. It was just as if they were sitting next to us smoking. It was just a very intense exposure and to top it off we had a server who was very slow with serving our table so that the exposure was prolonged with that. So, I just wanted to make a video so that people could get some kind of a visual and an audio example of one of many ways that secondhand smoke can cause an obvious, immediate effect. Obviously there are long term effects, like cancer, associated with secondhand smoke but I wanted to show how it can effect somebody like me in a more immediate sense. So, I hope you’ll check out my blog Chronic Healing at Chronic Healing and have a good day. Thank you.

By the way, I am not wearing my glasses in the above video because they were hurting my face. (My husband handed me my glasses when we were ready to film, saying “no one will recognize you without them”. My reply was, “I don’t care. My sinuses hurt. I’ll just explain to people why I skipped my glasses”… So, that’s the scoop with the missing glasses).

Link cited in the video:

American Lung Association link

Stats cited in the video (from above link):

“The U.S. Surgeon General concluded back in 2006 that nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from secondhand smoke exposure. The findings of this new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report are significant, because they confirm that secondhand smoke exposure is a significant cause of acute coronary events, including heart attacks, and that there is no safe level of exposure”.

I was supposed to have a medical appointment tomorrow. I had to reschedule it since I am in no shape to drive almost an hour each way to it. Dizziness and fatigue are not good ingredients for me when planning a drive to a medical appointment (all of my doctors are 45-60 minutes away… each way). I have learned there are times my body just can’t handle this. Considering that I couldn’t force myself out of bed until 6:30 pm yesterday, I concluded today that I’d better call and cancel tomorrow’s appointment.

Bear in mind, the secondhand smoke exposure was last Saturday and I had to cancel an appointment for tomorrow (Thursday). I have not yet determined what to do about another appointment I have scheduled for Friday. So, nearly a week after the exposure, I’m postponing or contemplating postponing my own medical appointments thanks to a secondhand smoke exposure on May 22nd.

Again, I wish to emphasize that secondhand smoke is not healthy for anyone.

Back to the topic of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). As with so many other illnesses, MCS comes in a wide variety of severities and symptoms can vary from person to person. To learn more about MCS, please check out my own personal favorite resource for MCS information:

The Canary Report

It is chock full of information on the topic of MCS. I highly recommend checking it out!

Finally, if you missed my recent post below, please check it out:

Riverdance Ruined?

It has gotten a fair amount of traffic and I thought it was worth mentioning again for those who may have missed it.

Thank you.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright Β© Jeanne β€” All rights reserved.

New to blog commenting? Just click “comments” below post. (If you set up a Gravatar, your picture will show when you comment).

Reading: Secondhand Smoke Stinks! (VIDEO)


1 AmandaNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 9:16 am }

Jeanne, I am so sorry yet again that such a thing has happened to ruin what should have been such a special occasion for you. Here in the UK we have a smoking ban that also allows smoking in “open spaces”… so there are limits and often this means restaurants have no smoking areas at all, but sometimes they do have an outdoor area that is deemed to have enough “space” for smoking to occur.

When I was a child, my mum wouldn’t let anyone smoke near me because of my asthma. Now I don’t have any real problem with smoke in that it doesn’t affect me the same way, but I still hate it. Tim likes to smoke occasionally and I hate that he does it because I worry about him, but I can’t make him stop. At least he is sensitive enough to those around him to know that he shouldn’t make them suffer for his choices and takes himself off to smoke. Of course, I won’t let him kiss me for ages afterwards ‘cos I detest the smell of it *bleugh*… I’m hoping that will be a key to his giving up eventually too!

Anyway, I’m digressing. I do hope you start feeling much better soon, I am thinking of you. I’ve also finally got around to moving bits and pieces around on my blog and managed to put your blog button on my sidebar, so let’s hope it drives a bit more traffic your way xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..lists, lists and more lists =-.

2 KerryNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 11:08 am }

Jeanne, Wow, what a powerful video and a great idea to make it to SHOW, and tell with your struggling voice, the affect of secondhand smoke on you and all that have similar reactions. My reaction is much the same, as it is to perfumed products, dryer sheets etc…(add neurological symptoms). I think of kiddos with acute asthma in the situation you were in, being taken to the hospital straight from the restaurant.

How good it is to see you in the video. I feel like I know you even better. You are one determined warrior Jeanne, who I respect so much. Hope that you recover as soon as possible. Happy twelfth anniversary, may your 13th be “second-hand smoke” free… Take good gentle care my friend. Love, Kerry
.-= Kerry´s last blog ..ME/CFS-Beauty in Desolation =-.

3 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 2:33 pm }


First, let me thank you for putting the link to this post on your Facebook wall! I really appreciate you sharing it with your Facebook friends.

I was so pleased when I received a Google Alert email last night within an hour of uploading my video to YouTube… of this video! Since many people receive Google Alerts, this can only help with increasing awareness.

It seems like the string of “ruined special occasions” all has a common denominator, doesn’t it? With all of my chronic conditions, multiple chemical sensitivity seems to be the one most likely to result in actually wishing I hadn’t even gone to a place or engaged in an activity. While there are plenty of other illnesses that cause me severe pain and put significant limitations on what I can do/how long I can do it (or that make it more challenging to do things), it really seems to be MCS that can take what should be a lovely outing and just plain ruin it.

While there are states with no smoking at all (in or out) for restaurants, mine isn’t one of them. There are some parts of my state cropping up with smoke-free outdoor restaurant space. My parents live an hour away from me and my mother said this is just starting out her way. So, I’m hoping that incidents like this one will be a thing of the past – soon… as this type of legislation tends to spread across geographical regions. At least that’s what happened when indoor restaurant smoking was banned. (Before it was banned, they had partitioned off sections of restaurants with a glass wall in between. That didn’t work well at all)!

While I’m glad that smoke no longer triggers your asthma the way it did when you were younger, I certainly understand hating it. While you may not have the same type of asthma reaction you used to have, inhaling smoke means inhaling all sorts of toxins that are not healthy for anyone. With you having chronic illnesses, you are particularly vulnerable. As the stat at the end of the video pointed out, the U.S. Surgeon General attributes 50,000 DEATHS per year to secondhand smoke.

I can only imagine that Tim’s smoking is a touchy subject for the two of you. I’m sure you’re right that trying to twist his arm to get him to stop is not likely to be effective.

My father smokes cigarettes (always outside and away from people) and it makes his clothes totally reek. I literally can’t get near him because of the profound smell of smoke on his clothes. I’ve had reactions from simply giving him a hug. It’s terrible. Those toxins get in the air and land right on the clothes. πŸ™

Slowly but surely, I am starting to feel a little better. When I have had similar reactions in the past, it typically takes 2-3 weeks for me to get my voice back and feel “normal”. (I put “normal” in quotes since, as you know, I never feel “normal”). πŸ˜‰

Thank you for thinking of me. I’m thinking of you too with all of your activities (managing chronic illness, wedding planning, moving, starting a new business)!!

Thank you so much for posting a Chronic Healing blog button on your site!! I really appreciate it!! πŸ™‚

Also, thank you for the very kind words in the endometriosis section of your site. Now, please excuse me while I wipe my eyes. Sniff sniff.

Thank you, sweet Amanda… for your unwavering support and for being so thoughtful and kind. We need more Amandas in the world.



Thank you so much for putting the link to this post on your Facebook wall too! πŸ™‚

Thank you for your kind words. Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is usually invisible. Since this was a case where I could SHOW people some of the effects of secondhand smoke, I thought it would be a way to get the message across more effectively than if I had just written it. I know there are many people like you and me who have these kinds of reactions and I wanted to try to capture it while it was happening. I thought it might be more effective than talking about what had happened after the fact. I too have terrible reactions to dryer sheets and other fragranced products. Which symptoms I have depend upon what I’m exposed to (and for how long). You’re right that there are asthma patients out there (of all ages) who land in the hospital after such exposures. πŸ™

Kerry, if that’s the only video of mine that you’ve seen… you might want to watch one of the previous videos where you can “get to know me better” by hearing my real voice. πŸ˜‰ If you click on the YouTube icon on the right sidebar, it’ll take you to my YouTube channel. We can’t have that video be the only one you’ve seen. πŸ˜‰

The respect is very mutual, Kerry!! Your courage and perseverance in the face of profound medical challenges is admirable. Your positive attitude and humor and your candor when discussing your personal situation inspire many. I know that you are just returning online after being too ill to use the computer. Please take it slow and give your body a chance to adjust so you don’t slide backwards. You were missed when you were gone by many!

Yes, I’m sure we’ll pick the venue for our 13th anniversary dinner more carefully! Maybe by then there won’t be smoking outdoors at restaurants either. I was encouraged the other day when my mom (an hour away) told me they are already trending in that direction where she lives. That can only be a good sign!

You take care of yourself and resist the urge to “catch up”. Try to pace yourself so that you don’t wind up feeling like you did when you had to go offline for awhile. I was worried about you while you were gone and I’m glad you’re back. I just want you feeling as healthy as possible. πŸ™‚

Thank you, sweet Kerry! We need to clone you too. πŸ˜‰




4 Jenni Saake "InfertilityMom"No Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 5:34 pm }

Too tired to comment much, but {hug} ’cause I’ve “been there”. Last time I simply walked through a building that allowed smoking (didn’t even “hang out” there, just walked through) I “smelled smoke” in the back of my throat for a full week and couldn’t get away from the nasty effects no matter how many times I washed my hair or anything. πŸ™
.-= Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”´s last blog ..Road We Didn’t Expect to Travel =-.

5 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 6:48 pm }


Thank you for taking the time and energy to comment when you’re so tired. Thank you for the hug. I’m sending gentle hugs right back to you. I’m sorry that you’re so tired.

I hear what you’re saying. I’ve been in buildings like that… where so much smoke has been trapped in the building over a period of years that it’s just intolerable to even step foot in the place! The experience you described sounds awful. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. πŸ™

Yeah, once the toxins get inhaled… it can really take awhile for them to stop causing symptoms.

I know from experience that it’s almost always between two and three weeks from when I’m exposed to smoke to when I’m back to “normal for me”. I have a full-blown sinus infection now.

Years ago, I had been referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor because I kept having the kind of thing I have going on now again and again. I had the ever-so-pleasant nose telescope (I won’t elaborate for fear of grossing anyone out) and a CT scan of my sinuses. Eventually, my primary care physician and I figured out that these episodes that always seem to culminate in a sinus infection for me were triggered by some sort of exposure that my sinuses simply cannot handle.

My most recent pesticide exposure (my parents’ neighbors had had their lawn sprayed right before I went to my parents’ house to visit for my father’s birthday) resulted in such instant sinus pain that it was easy for me to connect the dots. It was a “can’t miss it” type of reaction. Some exposures are easier to figure out than others.

I hope you feel better very soon! πŸ˜‰


6 Susie CollinsNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 8:11 pm }

Jeanne, you are such a cutie even when you are sick! This is a great vid, good job! Great way to show people a physical symptom of chemical sensitivity– you are so brave to do this. Thanks for the shout out in the post. I’m so sorry your special dinner was ruined and I hope you feel better very soon. Aloha, Susie xoxo
.-= Susie Collins´s last blog ..It’s MCS Awareness Month! Are you still spreading the word? =-.

7 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.27.10 at 8:53 pm }


Thank you, Susie! I didn’t feel particularly brave, actually. I just had to pump myself up a bit to have enough energy to make the video. (I have been totally exhausted and spending lots of time in bed the last few days). Even though it’s less than 5 minutes long, making the video took a lot out of me since yesterday was the first day I started to feel human since last Saturday. If you look closely at the end of the video, you’ll catch a quick eye roll. At that point, I was trying to remember if I had covered everything I wanted to (since I totally winged it on one take with no script). It’s always my pleasure to give you a shout out! I’m sorry dinner was ruined too but I think what bothered me more is that it’s all part of a pattern of such ruined evenings… and that it happens to so many people. I was so tired that I couldn’t really evaluate whether I was done with making the video or not. So, I just wrapped it up (right after the eye roll). πŸ˜‰ I was just so relieved to get it done in one take. I didn’t even care about the eye roll.


8 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 05.29.10 at 8:44 am }

I spent a few days on vacation with relatives a few years ago who smoke and it was awful, awful, awful. Even tho I had a towel plugging under the door to keep smoke out, it seeped in and made me sick. My eyes were even not working right, all blurry and with spots in front of them. Even when they were out on the deck smoking, the smoke would eventually come in. I had headaches. I was miserable. They are older people so I felt an obligation to visit them and I’d figured with her 3 heart attacks she had quit smoking, so never asked before I went there. Still smoking!

Never again!

Second hand Smoke is AWFUL!!! It should be banned anywhere within 50 feet of other humans.

We get some relief in Austin because it’s not even allowed on outside decks in restaurants. And not at ALL in bars!!!

Sorry you had to go through this, Jeanne, and hope you are better and that it will never happen again to you. I hope when you catch so much as a whiff of smoke in the future you will high-tail it out of that area to protect yourself!

And I hope your neighbors are done with spraying their lawn for good. Let the weeds grow — and cut them short.

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Graduation Angel =-.

9 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.29.10 at 9:26 am }


That sounds awful! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Apparently the three heart attacks weren’t enough of a deterrent after all, huh? Wow!

Yes, secondhand smoke truly is awful. If I could pick a number of feet, it would be far more than 50. My dad smokes and when I still lived at home, he’d go out into the furthest part of the back yard to smoke and I would smell it hundreds of feet away in the house with all the doors and windows closed.

My family used to think it was my “imagination” that I could smell it that far away until I started commenting, “Dad must be smoking now” at times when he had quietly slipped out the door and that I clearly had had no way of knowing he’d gone out for a smoke (other than smelling it). In time, my family realized that, YES, I really could smell it hundreds of feet away when he was outside and the house was “sealed up”! Sigh.

The smell, as awful as it it, isn’t the main problem. It’s the toxins in the smoke that are really the main concern.

Secondhand smoke kills. That stat from the U.S. Surgeon General (see video) about up to 50,000 American deaths per year from secondhand smoke is pretty striking.

They now call the stench of smoke on clothing thirdhand smoke. My father’s clothes are definitely a thirdhand smoke trigger for me.

That’s GREAT that Austin allows no smoking in restaurants in or outside! Yes, Michigan just passed a similar law where smoking is not allowed in any workplace (including all restaurants and bars). The only exception is that casinos can still have smoking. From what the American Lung Association site says, 25 states are smoke-free now and the other 25 aren’t fully smoke-free. (The American Lung Association link was in my video).

Yes, I definitely need to vamoose next time such a situation arises. We had just placed our (very expensive) food order when the smoke-fest really got into gear. It was a bad situation. We won’t be going back there! The owner of the place was one of the people on the porch smoking! Sigh.

The people who sprayed their lawn were actually my parents’ neighbors. We went to my parents’ house to celebrate my dad’s birthday and there were pesticide flags galore two houses down. My parents’ street has houses pretty close together. As it turned out, five out of 6 houses right near my parents had just sprayed!! Only one had flags up but once we got inside and I indicated I was having difficulty breathing, my mom named off the other neighbors who had just take their flags down.

Had I known that 5 out of 6 of their neighbors had just sprayed their lawns, I would have made arrangements to get together with them elsewhere.

I was disappointed that my mom didn’t think to mention the spraying when we had spoken on the phone in the days leading up to our visit. With my MCS, I would have hoped she’d have given me a heads up. πŸ™

That pesticide exposure was another case where severe symptoms hit me immediately and we got out of there as quickly as we could. The pesticides made my sinus and head pain kick in immediately. I was gasping for air. It was very severe and I was very upset that an exposure that could have been avoided wasn’t. πŸ™


10 JennNo Gravatar { 05.29.10 at 2:16 pm }

Jeanne, I am so sorry that you are suffering like this. I had no idea that second hand smoke caused severe reactions like this for people with MCS. Thank you for making the video to raise awareness about it. This couldn’t have been portrayed with just words.

I hope you feel better soon. Maybe you could have a redo anniversary date when you feel well. πŸ™‚

Take care,
.-= Jenn´s last blog ..SURGERY (RE)COUNTDOWN – DAY 14 =-.

11 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.29.10 at 2:34 pm }


Well, it’s full-blown sinus infection time now. Woo hoo! The thing about secondhand smoke is it’s unhealthy for EVERYBODYnot just MCS patients. While others may not feel such noticeable immediate effects, smoke contains terrible toxins that are generally unhealthy.

The stat at the end of the video from the U.S. Surgeon General stating that secondhand smoke results in up to 50,000 deaths/year is a stat that applies across the board. (That stat is not referring to MCS patients).

My hope in making this video was to provide a more tangible way for people to understand (by seeing/hearing) the effects of secondhand smoke. I knew that writing about what had happened after the fact wouldn’t have the same effect.

One friend emailed me to say that she had shown the video to a loved one who works in the health care field and who knows about MCS… and he was (in her words) “shocked” when he saw this video… as he was unaware that secondhand smoke could have an impact like this. (Though my reaction was mild compared to the secondhand smoke-induced heart attacks I was reading about on the American Lung Association site)!

I think it’s really important for people to understand how unhealthy it is for ANYONE to inhale secondhand smoke. Long-term effects like cancer are risks that are very real.

That is a nice idea you have about re-doing our anniversary date. You are not the first to mention that thoughtful idea. Unfortunately, we blew the budget big-time at the restaurant where this smoke exposure occurred. That restaurant is expensive! πŸ™ So, there will not be any re-do. At least not at the kind of place we typically would like to go to for an anniversary dinner. That was part of what really burned me up (no pun intended) about this place… that we spent so much money to breathe that smoky air.

Take care,


P.S. Hey Jenn… you probably haven’t seen my previous videos. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel. πŸ˜‰

12 RellacafaNo Gravatar { 05.30.10 at 10:59 pm }

Aw, Jeanne, that sucks!! I hate public smoking, whether it is indoors or outdoors. There is no smoking allowed indoors over here anymore, however, like you mentioned, people just gather outside and no one can get in or out without going through a cloud of smoke! If people want to smoke, that is their business, but I do think there is a social responsibility for the smoker to move away from the general public before lighting up.
.-= Rellacafa´s last blog ..May: The Month Of Too Much =-.

13 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.31.10 at 2:05 am }


So Australia has no smoking indoors anywhere, then? Here, some states have stricter laws than others for restaurants and such. The state of Michigan recently became the 38th state to enact no smoking laws and there it is now illegal to smoke at restaurants inside OR outside. So, restaurants with an outdoor patio are ‘no smoking’ too. Bars in Michigan are now no smoking because it is a workplace for those who work there. The only exceptions in Michigan, I believe, were casinos, cigar shops, and such (see link below for details):

From The Detroit News: “Businesses, patrons happy to say goodbye to smoking”

Yes, the cloud of smoke at the doorways is terrible. πŸ™ I agree. If people want to smoke, it is their business but when people smoke in public places and cause others to be ill with secondhand smoke, it’s just not right.

A university hospital I go to regularly instituted a smoke-free campus policy awhile back. There is supposed to be no smoking anywhere on campus (this includes the entire hospital grounds and its parking lots and parking garage).

Most unfortunately, this well-intentioned policy is not enforced whatsoever. When they placed no smoking signs on every entry door of this large hospital and in the surrounding area, FAR MORE people began to light up!

I was used to holding my breath and walking as quickly as possible to get through that “doorway smoke cloud” before that… but now people smoke everywhere and anywhere between where I park and the door.

This is a walk far too long for breath-holding! The next entry door down from where I go in to see my doctor is the cancer center door. People smoke right outside the cancer center door of this supposedly 100% smoke-free campus!! Isn’t that outrageous? I have complained that it makes no sense to enact a policy that is not enforced and has actually worsened the problem… to no avail.

My first appointment after they enacted this alleged smoking ban, I was in the process of being evaluated by a pulmonary specialist from the critical care unit to see if I had pulmonary hypertension (which is a serious condition… sometimes even fatal). While PH has since been ruled out (and obstructive sleep apnea ruled in instead), I didn’t know that yet & I did not appreciate needing to walk approximately 1500 feet or more from my car to the hospital entry door since hundreds of smokers were out puffing away in force.

It must have been a protest of the new policy or something. All I know is that I had never seen anywhere near that many people smoking there and these “no smoking” signs were plastered everywhere. I was livid.

On my way out of the doctor’s appointment, there were people blocking the sidewalk between me and my car. To bypass them, I would have had to go way out of my way and be exposed to far more smoke.

So, I kept walking straight as quickly as possible. Two men were right in my way. My “excuse me” was ignored. They were standing right next to a brightly colored no smoking policy sign. Clearly these men were not only ignoring the ban but obnoxiously blocking the way for people trying to simply escape their smoke clouds.

By now, I was EXTRA LIVID! Since they were obscuring my path and so obnoxious, I lost my temper. I stared (a look of cold fury) at the man facing me right in the eye and said, “do you know how to read?”… while indicating the sign.

Mind you, this guy was over 6 feet tall and built like a football player. I was so mad I didn’t not even care. I just stared him down. He looked dumbfounded and the next thing I knew I was walking briskly past him and his buddy. I was fuming. I probably had smoke coming out of my ears (and not the kind of smoke I had just inhaled either)!

I think he was shocked that I spoke to him that way. (I’m just 5′ 7”, by the way. I’m also not known for my physical strength, given my numerous chronic illnesses). Yes, this man probably could have broken me in two pieces like a pencil with minimal effort!!! THAT is how mad I was. I didn’t plan it. One minute I was walking and the next minute I was asking the smoker blocking my path, “can you read?” I rarely lose my temper like that but I just kind of snapped.

For heaven’s sakes, all I was trying to do was leave my doctor’s appointment to go to my car. That was my breaking point that day!


14 EndochickNo Gravatar { 05.31.10 at 9:18 pm }

Jeanne, I know I’m coming into this conversation late. Sorry. I hope by now you are feeling much better than when I last talked with you. You were very, very hard to understand at times. Smoking is awful, and second hand smoke is worse. If you choose to put all that ash and chemicals into your lungs, that’s your own stupid perogative. But second hand smoke – people don’t ask for that. It’s forcing your nasty and deadly habit onto other people – people who try to keep their lungs clean.
.-= Endochick´s last blog ..Endometriosis Patients Needed =-.

15 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.02.10 at 12:20 am }


“Better late than never” and “there is no such thing as commenting too late” make you feel any better? Don’t ever apologize for being “late” commenting. I know how busy you are!!

Yes, I am much harder to understand on the phone when this kind of reaction occurs. Often, people think they have the wrong number and even hang up when I answer the phone. It’s day 10 and my voice is still messed up. It’s getting gradually better overall but it comes and goes. Just think, when you were having trouble hearing me, I was screaming top force! That was literally all the volume I could muster.

I agree that if one chooses to smoke it is his/her prerogative but that inflicting others with that smoke is another story completely. I found the Surgeon General’s death statistics chilling (but not surprising).


16 Matthew SmithNo Gravatar { 06.03.10 at 5:59 am }

I live in the UK and I was so glad when they brought the smoking ban in. I’m not sensitive to it but it stinks, it’s unhealthy and I don’t want it near me or in my food, much like anything else you wouldn’t put in food while cooking it, as I mentioned in an earlier comment.

The great thing about the smoking ban is that you no longer have to deal with someone asking you if you mind if they smoke, which if you’re going to be working with them for several hours can make things really quite awkward. Then there’s the situation where people smoke in a restaurant or cafe and it blows over into your food, and there’s a whole group of them and only one of you and the law isn’t on your side. Nowadays it is, and everyone knows that if you want to smoke, you smoke outside.

I was once on a delivery job in which I was working as a driver’s mate (I normally drive, but with this job it was the luck of the draw and they sent me out in a 16-tonne truck, which I’m not licensed to drive). It was in 2002, I think, and we were delivering furniture for IKEA in Essex county which is east of London. The driver said he needed a break, and pulled over into a lay-by on the A12. I said that there was a service station at the next junction, but he said, “nah, nah” and proceeded to roll himself a joint, which he smoked at intervals throughout the journey. His driving was definitely impaired, something I particularly noticed later on when we were going round the country lanes. I was shocked that he would do that, particularly while in charge of a truck. After that I refused mate work with that company.

17 RellacafaNo Gravatar { 06.04.10 at 1:42 am }

Hi Jeanne! Sorry, got your response a bit late, it’s been almost a computerless week for me, too many appts!! I think that it’s no smoking inside in all states, but I’m not 100% sure. The fact that they are a workplace was also the main reason given here and I think that’s fair enough! Disgusting behaviour by the people you described, fancy protesting a no smoking area, what absolute a-holes!! >:(
.-= Rellacafa´s last blog ..Cooking Dinner: An Extreme Sport Adventure =-.

18 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.04.10 at 6:43 pm }


I have been in the all-consuming zone of too many appointments. I know what it’s like. I hope it calms down for you soon! It sounds like Australia is making better strides than the U.S. on the no smoking front. Yes, I found it disgusting that smokers held a protest against the “no smoking” policy by smoking all around the very hospital that banned smoking on the entire university campus (which includes the hospital). It made me really angry that I had no choice but to walk through hundreds of smokers to get in and out of my doctor’s appointment at the hospital! The only other option I had was to high-tail it back to my car upon spotting the smokers and call my doctor using my cell phone to cancel on 10 minutes notice (which would have resulted in a charge for not canceling with enough notice… not to mention I had driven almost an hour to get to that appointment)! I was just livid!!


19 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.07.10 at 2:37 am }


Yes, it is unfortunate that those who choose not to smoke OR inhale secondhand smoke are (in some parts of the world) subjected to it anyway. Smoking outside isn’t a sufficient solution in cases like the one that prompted my video (where smoking was allowed on the porch outside and all of the smoke blew back indoors… so they may as well have been sitting at the same table with us).

Also, I have been to outdoor concerts in amphitheaters that have “no smoking” signs plastered everywhere… but people still smoke within the shell of the amphitheater despite the rules against it.

The last time this happened, we were at a lovely summer evening concert with a beautiful breeze flowing gently through the shell, where our seats were. Towards the end of the concert someone not too far away from us lit up. (Apparently waiting another 15 minutes or so until the concert was going to be over was more than this person could bear).

So, a lovely evening was ruined by 15 minutes of difficulty breathing, headache setting in (to last LONG after the concert), stress over the fact that we were inhaling these noxious chemicals, etc. I felt sick LONG after the concert from the 15 minute smoking fix the person just had to have (against the rules) at the end of the concert.

As far as the truck driver you mentioned, that is just appalling on too many levels to know where to start. I can certainly see why you took action to prevent finding yourself in such a situation again. Wow.


20 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.08.10 at 9:30 am }

Please note:

While I did include the full link to the American Lung Association/U.S. Surgeon General in the video’s description (on YouTube), the link was accidentally truncated in the written portion at the end of the video itself.

The full URL for the American Lung Association link citing the U.S. Surgeon General’s statistics regarding secondhand smoke-related deaths is here:

Also, Susie Collins has now posted this video on The Canary Report ( and it is also viewable on my YouTube channel.

In addition to the comments I have received here on this post, I have received numerous bits of “off-the-blog” feedback on it.

Apparently, having a visual/audio example that is somewhat “tangible” for people has been helpful at getting people to understand that secondhand smoke’s impact is very real (or helpful for patients to show their healthy loved ones an example of how secondhand smoke can impact someone in a way that is readily apparent — as opposed to long-term effects that may be harder to connect to the exposure).


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