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Ellie's Story

Ellie enjoys singing and playing the guitar. She loves people and is an active member of the LGBT communities. In her mid-thirties, Ellie was diagnosed with asthma. Ellie never smoked but worked as a bartender in a bar that allowed smoking. Her doctor said her asthma attacks were triggered by secondhand smoke—breathing other people's cigarette smoke. In 1990, she remembers having her first asthma attack. "I had trouble breathing. It was terrifying!" After several hospital visits and on the advice of her doctor, she felt she had no choice but to quit her job and find a job where she wouldn't be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Even though she feels better now, Ellie was sad to leave a job she loved. "Everyone deserves to work in a smoke-free workplace," she says.

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Ellie: "It was Terrifying to Get an Asthma Attack"

Ellie was in her mid-30's when she had her first asthma attack — triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke. She loved her job as a bartender, but began to dread going to work. In this video from CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign she says, "I could feel my lungs getting tighter. I knew I couldn't be around the smoke or I was going to die, or something bad was going to happen to me." Eventually Ellie quit her job for the sake of her health, but feels everyone deserves to have a safe and healthy work environment.


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