Airspace press release

Anti-tobacco group says, "Enough is enough!"

Vancouver, BC - Airspace Action on Smoking & Health, Canada's leading all-volunteer anti-tobacco organization, is calling on governments of the world to unite in a global effort to completely eradicate the multi-billion dollar, multi-national tobacco industry from the face of the planet.

"It's time to take off the kid gloves - and we're proud to be the first major anti-tobacco organization to call for this eradication - a call which will likely be met with some skepticism and opposition, even within the mainstream anti-tobacco movement," said the group's president, Errol Povah.

"This is a predatory, rogue industry which is directly responsible for the premature (by 10 to 15 years) and often slow and agonizingly painful death of about 5 million people each and every year, and the World Health Organization (WHO) expects that number to double over the next couple of decades, as the Nicotine Cartel, as I prefer to call it, continues to exploit (read, rape and pillage) world youth, most notably in Third World countries. Tobacco is, by far, the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death."

"The industry's success, to date, has been built and maintained almost exclusively on its ability to hook and addict generation after generation of illegal, under-aged kids. If you truly care about kids, you must support our call."

Last summer, Povah attended the 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health in Washington DC. Dressed as the Grim Reaper, he - along with about 200 anti-tobacco youth from around the world -- participated in a march on the White House, calling on US President George W. Bush to ratify a WHO initiative, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Along with his 5-foot-long SICKARET, Povah carried a placard that read, "TOBACCO KILLS MORE PEOPLE WORLDWIDE EVERY 6 HOURS THAN WERE KILLED IN ALL OF THE 9/11 ATTACKS!" on one side, and "SORT OF MAKES YOU WONDER WHO THE REAL TERRORISTS ARE, DOESN'T IT?" P.S. Keep up the great work, Philip Morris! Your ol' pal, 'Grim'" on the other.

Povah says this is the ultimate David and Goliath battle.

"Clearly, this eradication is not going to happen overnight. It will likely take decades, but the fact of the matter is that it is doable... and we must begin striving for that objective immediately. Again, all nations of the world - particularly those 144 which have ratified the FCTC (of the 168 signatories) - must take all necessary measures (including good, effective, no loopholes, enforceable and aggressively enforced legislation) to eliminate the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 19, as well as making the possession of tobacco by anyone under 19 illegal."

Povah concluded, "If we can effectively eliminate the illegal, under-aged cigarette/tobacco market, globally, the cartel will be out of business in very short order. And ultimately, over subsequent years/decades, that will result in many positive outcomes, including (but definitely not limited to) the elimination of:

  • smoking in virtually every place where other people (especially children) are present, including all indoor public places, workplaces, multi-unit dwellings (apartments, condos, etc.), homes, cars, beaches, parks, sidewalks, etc.;
  • the leading cause of fatal house fires;
  • one of the biggest drains on our "in-crisis" public health-care system; and
  • the leading form of litter.

The 'pros' of eradicating the nicotine cartel from the face of the planet far outweigh any perceived 'cons'.

As in the biblical version, it may take a while but David will, despite horrendous odds, prevail over Goliath. Just watch us!

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