Published: Saturday, 04 November 2006 07:49
Michael Smyth of The Province had this to say, with regard to the Campbell government's decision in 2001 to permit smoking rooms in pubs: "Let's get real: This was a cave-in to the Liberal Party's political supporters in the hospitality industry. Politics was more important to them than the health of British Columbians, hundreds of whom die every year from diseases related to second-hand smoke. Thousands more get sick. You'll probably hear some griping from the industry in the coming days about Campbell's decision to get rid of these smoking rooms. Tough... The bottom line: This announcement is better late than never. But it's shameful that Campbell didn't do the right thing when he had the chance five years ago to save thousands of people from being exposed to these deadly poisons."
Here's the entire column: Premier better late than never with all-out ban
Here's a response from Airspace:
Huge smoke-free kudos to Michael Smyth for "Premier better late than
never with all-out ban" (Nov 5).
Given this government's overtly tobacco-friendly stance over the last
5 1/2 years, we are extremely cautiously optimistic about Gordon
Campbell's announcement. As the Clean Air Coalition's Jack Boomer
responded, "It's all about enforcement, making sure these policies
are enacted and enforced."
Campbell appears to be on the right track by banning smoking on all
school property (good riddance, smoke pits!) but if he's serious
about reducing youth smoking, his next step should be drafting
legislation which would outlaw the possession of tobacco by anyone under 19.
Errol E. Povah
President, Airspace Action on Smoking & Health
Here's a response from another Airspace member to the Penticton Herald:
Gordon Campbell had the opportunity to do the right thing five years ago
and chose instead to capitulate to hospitality sector demands that it
not be required to provide safe working conditions for employees or
adhere to necessary measures to protect public health. This in turn led
many bar owners to ignore readily available information on the
ineffectiveness of ventilation technology in protecting people from the
health risks of secondhand smoke and make a huge investment that they
now feel was made in vain.
The human right of British Columbians to protect their health and have
safe access to venues purporting to be open to the public was sacrificed
to misconceptions that the hospitality industry would collapse unless it
were permitted to cater primarily to the whims of the 15% of British
Columbians who still smoke.
The taxes smokers pay do not even come close to compensating us for the
problems they create for us all, so please do not cry me that river. The
cost of self-inflicted illness is only a portion of the issue: there is
the extensive harm caused by secondhand smoke to other people's health;
infringement of the human right to protect one's health; limitations on
access to employment, housing, and a normal life; the ubiquitous
smoking-related litter; ruining everyone's general quality of life; and
preventable fires caused by negligent smoking and all of the suffering
and loss that those cause.
The argument about general pollution is illogical, like saying that we
should be allowed to kick people because so many are hit by cars every
day, and being kicked is not as bad as being run over. Would Tim Coy
argue that we should stop investigating assaults until we have put an
end to all dangerous driving?
Still, Mr. Coy may be satisfied to know that even if Premier Gordon
Campbell's stated intention to upgrade British Columbia's current
pretense at having smoking regulations is actually implemented or
enforced in two years' time, we will still have the weakest regulations
in Canada of any province or territory that has any tobacco-related
legislation at all.
More details in the November 7 Vancouver Sun: Restaurants allowed smoking patios, by Pamela Fayerman