I sit next to a co-worker that chain smokes.

When he comes back he constantly smell like cigarette, I am required to work with him so moving to another part of the office is out of the question. I'm not sure telling my manager would solve anything either.

He is a more senior position than me and offending him might hinder my progress in the company.

What options do I have?

  • 2
    Say something or find another job. – Bohemian Jan 17 '17 at 3:37

Your coworker chain smoke so one can assume he is addicted and by just asking him directly to stop you will have no result.

You can be more subtile in the approch and offer him some mint sweet in order for him to have a better breath. After you propose him several times he should takes the hint. After he took the hint maybe you can talk about it with him in a open/informal discussion, maybe you can suggest him to use e-cigarettes ( that would solve the smelling issue whitout the need of adressing his addinction to nicotine).

AFTER having talked about it with your coworker and if there is no result, You should talk about it with your manager, it is his responsability to deal with this kind of issue. First ask your other coworkers in your office if they feel the same way ( the guy smelling smoke has a negative impact on the office), after ask for a formal meeting with your boss. If your boss don't do anything you can ask HR.

You should also look up the law of your country. If your coworker smell so much cigarette maybe it can be considered as passive smoking and it is regulated by law ( in some countries).

  • 5
    Smokers smell, not their breath. The smell is in their hair, skin and clothes. I can smell a smoker from 5 metres away. A mint will not help. – dave Jan 17 '17 at 4:36
  • Ok, so if he smells from 5 meter, first talk to the guy 1v1, not in front of others so he doesn't feel humuliated; if after 1 week there is no change, you talk with your other cowokers and ask a formal meeting with your manager and HR. – Dupond Jan 17 '17 at 6:36
  • 2
    @Maixem What do you think HR will do? Most likely "Get used to it, otherwise the door is over here, the other guy is more senior and we need him more." You don't generally have a right to not smell bad things. – Magisch Jan 17 '17 at 13:19
  • HR is not your friend – Mawg says reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 8:22

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