They allow smoking.
I am a non-smoker. I am violently allergic to cigarette smoke. It gives me headaches, irritated eyes, burning throat, and stuffed-up sinuses. Medically, I can’t be around smokers.
Of the several customers who were staying at the centre while I was there, about half were smokers. Some areas of the facility are marked with “no smoking” signs, many are not. To a large extent, the “smoking” customers ignored the signs and smoked wherever, whenever. Management and staff did little or nothing to enforce the rules. One or two of the staff also smoke, but to their credit, they were a lot more discreet and disciplined than the “smoking” customers.
Socially, it was often disastrous for me. The main offenders were actually nice, intelligent people who I interacted with extremely well; nice, social chit-chats on the verandas – until they pulled out their cigarettes. Then I would have to leave. I couldn’t be with them once they lit up.
I have complained strongly to management about this on several occasions, with little result. Management make the point that the facility must recognise the rights of disabled customers to live as they normally would. If they are normally smokers, then so be it. Indeed, staff are obliged to, if necessary, help them light up. A number of the staff who are non-smokers are privately pissed-off by this, but feel their hands are tied.
What to do?
I agree that the disabled clients must be assisted, as much as possible, to lead their normal lifestyles. But should this extend to habits that put the non-smokers, customers as well as staff, at risk? After all, we are not talking about a private house but a health facility open to the general public. Everyone knows the medical risks of active and passive smoking. It is not a risk I am prepared to run.
It has been suggested to me that I should report the facility to Queensland Health, for ignoring the rules about smoking in health facilities. I suspect Smokehouse* may be breaking the rules. However, because of my past, previously happy associations with the facility, I don’t particularly want to go to the state regulators.
Does that leave me with only one practical option, namely, don’t go there anymore?
Not much of an option. But probably inevitable. Damn those smokers. But more than that, a pox upon weak administrators who won’t face up to a thorny issue.
* Not a real name