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Not in my face please. Stress caused by the presence of smokers in places with restorative qualities


Non-smokers’ spatial transactions with smokers in semi-outdoor areas with restorative qualities have been investigated. In the process, the impact of smoking in break spaces on non-smokers’ behavior in negotiating mutual spatial boundaries was studied. The areas with restorative qualities were defined as places where regular visitors spend their break time to relieve work-related stress or seek temporary relaxation. Regularly used as break areas, three covered-overhead walkways located in different building precincts in the same academic setting were sampled in order to elicit narratives relating to perceived environmental deprivation among regular visitors. In-depth, semi-structured interviews had the aim of eliciting and unfolding these narratives where they emerged as a result of different modes of environmental deprivation. Discourse analysis of the transcribed interviews led to a systematic distillation of five themes associated with the presence of smokers in the studied restorative settings. The study revealed that participating non-smokers had devised both control and coping mechanisms to deal with the smokers’ behaviors, such as sending subtle non-verbal cues and repositioning their gaze. Moderated by furniture and landscape configuration, spaciousness, and visual and physical distance, smokers and non-smokers passively negotiated these spatial transactions in each of the respective walkways.

Pages:33 to 44
Section: Society
How to Cite
Subasinghe, C. (2019) “Not in my face please. Stress caused by the presence of smokers in places with restorative qualities”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(1), pp. 33-44. doi:

Author Biography

A decade ago, Chamila aka Cham embarked on a cross-continental voyage from Asia to North America via Europe and currently stationed in Oceania as a principal Fulbright scholar, primarily seeking praxis of sustainable urbanism for local-resiliency building. His recent abode of inquiry, Perth has been growing on him as a placeable campground amenable for this quest. Chamila’s interest in fusing naturalistic inquiry and syntactical analysis to reveal potentials of tacit knowledge as a generator bias for diverse spatial practices varies from disaster resiliency of self-built settlements in urban peripheries to choreographed movements in health and wellness facilities. His current work involves an extended thesis on post-disaster rebuilding: recovery, resiliency, and sustainability as an integral part of teaching and learning-scholarship at Curtin.


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