Severe Asthma and Second Hand Smoke

I have severe asthma and allergies. I recently spent five days in ICU because I was exposed to second hand smoke when I was walking out of a sports arena. Why do smokers think they can light up as soon as they walk outside? We had parked on the third floor of the parking garage so we could take the sky walk and avoid going outside. When the event was over the security refused to let us use the sky walk. This completely surprised us so we just walked out the door. I have a Respro Aero Mask that I carry with me at all times. However I didn't have time to get it out of my purse before the security herded us and the crowd out the door. How do you deal with smokers outside public buildings? I carry a portable nebulizer, Albuterol inhaler and EpiPens with me at all times.


Comments 8

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my goodness. I hate that this happened to you … I, too, am very sensitive to cigarette smoke, and it's an almost instant severe asthma attack for me. 

    Is there a way that you could, ahead of time, get written permission to use a different way of exiting? Could you follow up with the facility and register a complaint that they are smoking near exits? Some places have ordinances that forbid smokers from lighting up near an entrance.

    As for me, I avoid, avoid, avoid … I will walk a long way out of my way to get "upwind" from a smoker. And I will wait in a car for a person to finish a cigarette or move off from where they are smoking. 

  • Pljohns

    MMKB-that's a super tough one-around here, they have made them move "butt cans" and smoking areas to at least 10 feet away from public entrances/exits but that doesn't stop those that insist on lighting up as soon as they walk out.  If someone seems them, they make them move but that doesn't help the rest of us that have to deal with it if they aren't caught.  I'm with K8SMOM2002-I would check with the arena and see what they can do-

  • Jen

    @MMKB  Welcome to AAFA.   I hear you on people lighting up as soon as they  get outside.  It stinks, literally and figuratively.

  • MMKB

    Thanks everyone for your replies. If I go to the arena again, I will call ahead and will get a letter from my doctor explaining why I need to use the sky walk. 

    K8SMOM2002 – Like you I also walk way out of my way to avoid smokers or wait until they leave an area.

    Thanks again!

  • K8sMom2002

    Good! on making sure you never get in that situation again.

    We've had situations where, because of her food allergies, DD needed to take food into a facility — a museum or theme park — where outside food was forbidden. A doctor's note helped us with that. 

    I always contacted the venue ahead, got an email approving whatever rule we needed an exception for, and carried that email with us. I made sure that the staff member for the venue included a contact number so that any stubborn security guard could call right away and verify — or I could if the security guard was particularly stubborn.

  • Rayda Roman

    Happy New Year Everyone!

    I just joined this community.  I’m dealing w second hand smoke from next door and downstairs neighbors who have varying work schedule so Imunder siege 24/7. I live in a pre -war building in the Northeast so I cannot aerate the apt. In the wintertime.  In my research I have not found a credible website that recommends smoke removal by an air purifier.  If anyone has such info and /or can provide references to other sites and/or how he/she managed similar experience, PLEASE let me know.  Thank- you.


  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, and welcome, Rayda!

    A pre-war building is tough, that's for sure!

    Have you been able to make any headway with the building superintendent or owners? Could you ask for weather-stripping or a utility energy audit to help you find the cracks and crevices in your apartment? That could possibly help prevent some of the smoke from getting in. 

    I'm assuming you don't have a separate HVAC system for your apartment? If you did, I would recommend an asthma & allergy friendly™ certified filter for that. I use one, and I'm very satisfied with it. Granted, we don't smoke, but the one I choose says it will filter out smoke. 

    As for as air purifiers, have you checked out the asthma and allergy certification program? Here's a quote about the program: 

    The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program, administered by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in partnership with the international research organization, Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), is an independent program created to scientifically test and identify consumer products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. You can find certified products and services such as carpet cleaning, flooring, vacuums and more at 

  • Jen

    Hi @Rayda Roman!  Welcome to AAFA's support forums.  I will 2nd the suggestion to check out the asthma&allergy friendly certified products.