Medicinal Tobacco Dispensary coming to your neighbourhood

I’m going to open a "Medicinal Tobacco Dispensary." You may not know it (nor does any scientific-medical researcher), but I claim that tobacco cures every disease known to mankind — cancer, heart disease, glaucoma, erectile dysfunction, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, athlete’s foot, schizophrenia, and at least thirty others (scientific-medical researchers wrongly claim that smoking tobacco actually causes many of those diseases — Ha! What do they know?).

I’m going to open my "Medicinal Tobacco Dispensary" in a residential neighbourhood (even though it’s not zoned for business), preferably near an elementary school 'cause that’s where my future customers are. I’m not even going to apply for a business licence, nor am I going to pay municipal, provincial or federal taxes. Any and all resulting fines levied will be ignored. And I’m going to sell my "medicinal tobacco" to anyone — including children. I’m going to add flavours to my "medicinal tobacco" — Bubble Gum, Cola, Hot Dog, Candy Floss, Mint, Chocolate, Watermelon, Ale, Lager, Stout, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir to make them more enticing to people of all ages.

You won’t need to bother getting a "prescription" for your "medicinal tobacco," 'cause I’ll sell to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No questions asked.

Jerry Steinberg

Toss a butt, pay a fine

A ticket for $575 issued by the RCMP in Langford, west of Victoria.

 

Big - and bittersweet - changes at BC Ferries

Article by Jon Aspiri at Global News:  BC Ferries to ban passengers from staying on closed vehicle decks during sailings starting in October (includes video)

A few comments...from a 30-year employee of B.C.Ferries who retired, as a Second Officer, almost 9 years ago.

First, I was really quite amazed:  Of the two/simultaneous announcements (yes, the 'official' start dates are different but...), it seems to me that the 'ban on people in their vehicles on enclosed car decks' got far more coverage -- and seemed to be more "controversial" -- than what appears to be a very sweeping and comprehensive smoking ban.  

For the sake of 'balance', I guess they had to interview one whining woman (I wonder how long it took them to find a smoker) who seemed to think that the existing smoking areas are small enough and, of course, "they don't bother anybody" (especially those smoking areas that are directly outside the kids play areas, much to Big Tobacco's delight, on both of the Spirit class ships... with supposedly smoke-free areas aft of those smoking areas).

Second, the smoking ban has been in the works for at least a couple of years, I believe... and went through a few stages (for example, the version that existed about a year ago did not include the terminals).

For me, personally, the smoking ban is bittersweet.

From my day one at BCFS -- almost 4 decades ago, in July of '78 -- I fought the battle for the total ban (incrementally, of course) virtually every day of my career... telling both passengers (including a Hell's Angel) and crew (including a couple of ferry Captains) -- and anybody/everybody in between -- to butt out (unless, of course, they were in a designated smoking area).

Read more: Big - and bittersweet - changes at BC Ferries

Health Canada, and Big Tobacco?

To Health Canada:

Please forgive me if I don't seem very appreciative of Health Canada's so-called tobacco control efforts.

Personally, I believe that Big Tobacco -- not just in Canada, but globally -- should be completely run out of business... and there are not just one, but two completely legal ideas to achieve just that.  Obviously, the toppling of Big Tobacco won't happen overnight, but it would be 'phased out', over a period of 20 or 30 years.  All that's required, ultimately, is a little (or perhaps a great deal of) political will. 

Again, forgive me... but after reading just the one-page "Consultation on amendments to the Tobacco Reporting Regulations", I had neither the time nor the inclination to proceed any further.  That said, I had a quick look at the TRR... and, with the utmost of respect, it seems to me that one would have to be a lawyer to 'interpret' much of that document.  And, as I'm sure you well know, when it comes to lawyers, few are better paid and more successful than those who are part of Big Tobacco's small army of lawyers.  However, I digress... 

Read more: Health Canada, and Big Tobacco?

Letter to the Globe and Mail on plain packaging

Dear Editor:

Re:  Canada should adopt plain packaging rules despite what Big Tobacco says (by Andre Picard, September 22,2016)

In my humble opinion, one's position on anything and everything tobacco-related ultimately boils down to one's knowledge -- and opinion -- of Big Tobacco.

If you believe that BT is just another "Good Corporate Citizen" out there, simply trying to get by in the dog-eat-dog business world, I would, with the utmost of respect, suggest that you know absolutely nothing about BT...and your opinion isn't worth the paper it's written on.

If, on the other hand, you're Andre Picard -- or a lifelong anti-tobacco activist, as I am -- you KNOW (or at least you have some small sense of) just how sleazy, wicked, mean and nasty BT is... and just how deep its pockets are.  The success or failure of BT's efforts, globally, depends almost exclusively on how many politicians it can 'buy'.

Think Big Oil is bad?  Big Sugar?  Big Food?  Big Pharma?  Or any other Big Bad corporate behemoth?

Big Tobacco is the great grand-daddy of all of them...and, frankly, Big Tobacco's "opinion" -- on any and all tobacco issues -- doesn't count!

If I may paraphrase Andre Picard, everything Big Tobacco thinks, says and does -- and produces -- is "utter rubbish"...tragically, extremely toxic and deadly rubbish!

The headline should've said, "Canada should adopt plain packaging rules because of what Big Tobacco says!" because, ultimately, what is good for society is bad for BT... and vice versa.

Errol E. Povah
President, Airspace

Plain Packaging

A message to Health Canada from Airspace:

I'm guessing you don't get a lot of requests, from Canadians, urging you to watch YouTube videos.  Well, welcome to your (possibly) first such request.  Warning:  this 18-minute video (about 1 year old now) contains some coarse language and (very brief and mild) sexual innuendo.

I would never seriously expect government health policy (specifically, in this instance, plain packaging legislation) to be based on a YouTube video or two but, after watching them -- and notwithstanding the humour -- I think you'll agree that the videos highlight just a few of Big Tobacco's immoral, unethical, sleazy and despicable tactics, globally.

Read more: Plain Packaging

One-year anniversary of the threatening letter from pharmacy chains

June 19, 2015 -- marks the first anniversary of what Airspace commonly refers to as "THE LETTER".
 
One year ago today, the Presidents/CEOs/GMs of six major Lower Mainland companies sent an extremely nasty, bullying and threatening letter (click here to see it) to the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, in response to the College's efforts to get tobacco out of pharmacies in B.C.  "THE TOBACCO SIX" -- Clint Mahlman (London Drugs), Frank Scorpiniti (Rexall), Michael Lund (The Medicine Shoppe), Chuck Mulvenna (Safeway), Darrell Jones (Overwaitea/Save On Foods) and Jim Dores (Thrifty) -- are, clearly, much more interested in private wealth than public health.

Interestingly, The Medicine Shoppe does NOT sell any tobacco products (smoking cessation products, yes...cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc., no).  Many efforts to contact Michael Lund/The Medicine Shoppe/McKesson Canada were unsuccessful in getting an answer to the obvious question:  Why would The Medicine Shoppe so vocally support the sale of tobacco from pharmacies when it does not sell tobacco itself?
 
One educated guess is that perhaps The Medicine Shoppe subscribes to the dreaded "slippery slope" theory; tobacco today...pop, chips and chocolate bars tomorrow.  But that's kind of bizarre too, given the fact that during a recent visit to a Medicine Shoppe, I did not see any pop, chips and chocolate bars?!?

Read more: One-year anniversary of the threatening letter from pharmacy chains

Bill C-51: Tobacco vs. Terrorism

My knowledge of the process by which dozens, perhaps hundreds of government bills make their way through the Canadian House of Commons and/or the Senate each and every year is limited to not much more than this:  I know that the bill numbers are 'recycled'.  They have to be, otherwise it would become way too cumbersome.
 
When I first heard about Bill C-51 -- the current, extremely controversial (and, dare I say, anti-democratic) anti-terrorism bill -- I thought, "Hmmm, Bill C-51.  That rings a bell."  Vaguely recalling that it had something to do with tobacco, I googled "Bill C-51 tobacco"... and, sure enough, up popped a few links -- from 1988 -- to Bill C-51, which later became the Tobacco Products Control Act.
 
What a coincidence that, 27 years later, a so-called "anti-terrorism" bill would bear the same number.

More than a quarter of a century ago, anti-tobacco activists across the country, including Airspace, celebrated the enactment of the TPCA.  Sadly, the party was short-lived, as (probably intentionally-created) loopholes -- big enough to drive tractor-trailers loaded with contraband cigarettes through -- were soon discovered.

Read more: Bill C-51: Tobacco vs. Terrorism

John Oliver on international marketing by the tobacco industry

John Oliver nailed it. Go, Jeff!

Open letter to President Obama

This is an open letter sent by Airspace President Errol Povah to U.S. President Barack Obama:

At this watershed moment in your presidency, you have an unprecedented opportunity for effective action during your remaining two years in office. We propose that you capitalize on the foundation created by you and your administration through the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate the nicotine content of cigarettes.

Now, exactly 50 years after Surgeon General Luther Terry's landmark 1964 report, smoking remains by far the leading cause of preventable death in the USA, killing a staggering 480,000 Americans per year (about 1/5th of all deaths). Even worse, almost all smokers start and become addicted as children. By adulthood about 75% of them want to quit, but most can't. Globally, the tobacco epidemic is accelerating as well, with this century’s predicted total deaths expected to surpass one billion, ten times the total of the last century.

What perfect timing for America to take the lead in this fight! Your landmark 2009 legislation gave the FDA and America the tools necessary to successfully oppose an industry that U.S. District Court Judge Kessler found deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, and intentionally designed its products to make them more addictive.

As one of the principal goals of your remaining time in office, please push the FDA to act on the powers you gave it to regulate the nicotine content of cigarettes. Imagine the legacy of President Barack Obama: the man who ended the worst epidemic in human history.

Sincerely,

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

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