Dear Mr. Abbott:

In November of 2007, NDP MLA Leonard Krog tabled a private members' bill calling for a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children. Your response at that time was, "British Columbians aren't ready for such a ban."

Three short months later, via the recent Throne Speech, we learned that the B.C. Liberals now support such a ban, although we're still patiently waiting to hear critical details...i.e., the maximum age of a 'child' (16? 18? 19?), the implementation date, penalties for violations, etc. By the way, in terms of enforcement, this ban could easily be enforced in conjunction with existing police duties/policies (routine traffic stops, etc.)... especially seatbelt checks.

I am not an MLA so, obviously, I can't submit a private members' bill.

I am, however, an activist; specifically, one who has been working (for 3 decades now) to reduce/eliminate the use of the most addictive drug known...one of the biggest drains on our in-crisis health-care system...the leading form of litter, by far...the leading cause of fatal house fires...a leading cause of forest fires...all of which can be very easily -- and at virtually no cost -- reduced and/or eliminated. All that's required is some genuine concern for the health and well-being of British Columbians... and a little bit of political will.

I would like to suggest that the Government of British Columbia immediately take all of the necessary steps toward prohibiting smoking in any and all multi-unit dwellings (MUDS), whether they be apartments, condos, duplexes, basement suites, townhomes, subsidized housing, etc.

Your own website clearly states that second-hand tobacco smoke is toxic and carcinogenic...and further, that there is no safe level of exposure to it. The issue here has virtually nothing to do with WHAT anybody does (in this case, smoke); it's solely and exclusively about WHERE they do it and, even more importantly, WHERE THE SMOKE GOES! And when separate individuals/families live in the close proximity that is inherent in all of the above-mentioned MUDs, when one person smokes, others -- IN OTHER SUITES -- will, no doubt, be exposed to the second-hand smoke, especially on hot spring/summer/fall days when opening windows and doors is essential for cooling purposes.

At the very least, such exposure must be considered a "nuisance", in the exact same way that cranking a stereo to 150 decibels at 4:00 a.m. is not tolerated... and if it persists, results in eviction.

Frankly, given a choice between loud music and second-hand smoke, I'll take the loud music any day, thank you very much!

That said, I'm guessing that your response to my suggestion is, "British Columbians aren't ready for such a ban."

And, you know what, Mr. Abbott? I accept your response! That's great! I love it! No problem at all!

As long as -- three months from now -- you and/or Mr. Campbell announce that, once again, you've come to your senses... and will enact good, strong, no loopholes, enforceable -- and aggressively enforced, if/when necessary -- legislation prohibiting smoking in all MUDs.

Thank you very much.

Errol E. Povah
President, Airspace Action on Smoking and Health

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