Asthma UK community forum

Second hand smoke in the workplace

Hi, im new to this so please be gentle. i work in an environment where my employer expects us to enter work areas where our ""clients"" are allowed to smoke, there is a vague smoking policy in place that doesnt protect us. i have in going asthma issues and have asked to be moved anywhere within my work place where i am not exposed to this, bt this has been ignored for nearly 9 months. one of my asthma triggers is second hand smoke so this is obviously dangerous i presume? does anyone else experience this in their work area and also could anyone comment on this just to give me a bit of support as this is getting me down. thanks.

6 Replies

Equality Act. That's what you need to look at. If you have an ongoing medical condition then there is a requirement for your employer to make ""reasonable adjustments"" to enable you to do your job. Are you in a Union? If so I would also get them on the case.

Good luck!


bemused, have you entered the said `second hand smoke areas` and had it affect your asthma?

I only ask because it doesn`t affect mine


I don't have any specific advice but just wanted to say I really feel for you. My asthma is only minor but smoking and even smoke smell on clothes can set off breathing difficulties. Hope you can get something sorted.



if you belong to a union then yes defo get them on the case. state that the equality act and reasonable adjustments are not being respected. also maybe you should talk to occupational health about any arrangements they might be able to make?

i do hope things improve for you soon

Rose xx



As an ex prison officer who faced this exact same problem myself I can sympathise completely. First thing, put a letter in to your line manager (or whoever you feel comfortable dealing with) stating the problems smoke from cells is causing you. Then, if they fail to take action within a fortnight, go sick. Explain the problem to your GP and stay off as long as you can. This tends to concentrate the minds of management. You cannot be sacked as asthma is covered by DDA, with the added bonus they've ignored your concerns for 9 months. I took this approach and was moved to prisoner free status immediately. Good luck.


hi, thanks for all the wonderful support and advice, i am in a union and plan to take action on this so it all helps, jonster, which prison were you in? also would it be possible to pick your brains a bit more, i.e why are you now not a prison oficer, and where did they move you etc etc, cheers


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