A letter to Health Canada:

I've been following the news very closely lately... and was absolutely delighted when I read an April 9 Vancouver Sun article entitled, "LEGISLATION PROTECTS CONSUMERS", in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a warning to companies "that care more about their profits than their customers." He said such companies will face "severe" punishment... and so they should!

One week later, I heard about the big concern over bishpenol A in plastics... and, within a matter of days, such plastics were being recalled and hauled off of store shelves... by the truckload!

My question has to do with tobacco and, more specifically, the predatory and rogue -- if not criminal -- tobacco industry.

Tobacco -- WHEN USED EXACTLY AS INTENDED BY THE MANUFACTURER -- kills 45,000 Canadians, each and every year. Despite "Reduced Ignition Propensity" (which makes such an appropriate acronym in the context of tobacco/smoking) laws, cigarette-ignited fires continue to be the leading cause of fire fatalities in this country! And tobacco-related litter (cigarette butts, spent matches and lighters, cigarette packages, inserts, cellophane wrappers, empty chewing tobacco cans, etc.) continues to be the leading form of litter, by far!

I recently sent the following letter to the editor of the Globe & Mail newspaper:

While I fully support the federal government's "better safe than sorry" stand on bisphenol A in plastics (April 19, front page), I have to wonder, especially in light of Stephen Harper's recent announcement about new legislation to protect consumers from companies "who care more about the almighty dollar than the safety of their customers": When will all tobacco products be taken off the shelves?

I look forward to your earliest possible response.

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