Campbell announces tighter restrictions on smoking in public places

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:

Dear Editor:

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.

Sera Kirk

More details in the November 7 Vancouver Sun: Restaurants allowed smoking patios, by Pamela Fayerman

ENOUGH campaign - Make B.C. 100% smoke-free

The Clean Air Coalition of BC (CAC), which is made up of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon and the BC Lung Association, in partnership with other stakeholders such as the Canadian Cancer Society, is calling on the BC Provincial Government to implement province-wide 100% smoke-free legislation in all indoor public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars, with NO allowances for Designated Smoking Rooms (DSRs).

Why ENOUGH?

The Government can no longer justify allowing our hospitality workers to expose themselves to smoke in the workplace, when the evidence is so definitive and indisputable that any level of second-hand smoke is harmful. There is ENOUGH scientific research, ENOUGH economic research and ENOUGH public support to justify this legislation. The time to Act is Now. You can help us send a strong message to the government to protect workers and the public equally from second-hand smoke.

What can you do?

Go to our website at: www.cleanaircoalitionbc.com and click on the "Take Action" button

There are three options for Taking Action: (We would encourage you to send an Email to your MLA - Option 1 - as it goes directly to the Premier as well)

1) Email message to politicians - people can send an email message directly to their provincial MLA, and Premier Campbell will be automatically copied. We have provided an email message that can be used, with space to provide a personal message.

2) Letter writing tool kit - provides information on the ENOUGH campaign and why BC needs province-wide smoke-free public places legislation and information for writing letters to provincial politicians.

3) ENOUGH Postcards are being distributed by leading non-governmental organizations and other interested organizations - if you want to order 10 or more postcards, please contact Gene Chin at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (See copy of the Enough postcard on the CAC website - under letter writing)

More information about why the ENOUGH Campaign is necessary

Despite the alarming evidence contained in the recent US Surgeon General's report that found there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, and the California Air Resources Board's recent designation of second-hand tobacco smoke as a toxic air contaminant in the same category as the most toxic automotive and industrial air pollutants, British Columbia lags behind most other provinces/territories in Canada that have implemented 100% smoke-free legislation in all public places, with NO Designated Smoking Rooms.

In BC today, smoking is banned in most workplaces under the Workers' Compensation Board ETS Regulations. However, when the Liberal government came into power in 2001, under the direction of Premier Gordon Campbell, they went on to override the WCB and weaken the Regulation to allow workers in the hospitality sector ONLY to work in DSRs (a decision based on unfounded economic concerns raised by the hospitality industry). Hospitality workers are the only workers in BC forced to choose whether to expose themselves to the hazardous carcinogens in second-hand smoke, for up to 20% of their work shift. BC now has a two-tier system where workers in the hospitality industry are provided less protection than all other workers in the province.

We are asking for your help in sending a strong message to the BC Provincial government by voicing your support for implementation of province-wide 100% smoke-free legislation in all indoor public places, including restaurants and bars, with no allowances for DSRs. We have had ENOUGH excuses - It's time to Act Now. Please feel free to share this email with others - together we can make a difference!

Sharon Hammond
Provincial Manager
Clean Air Coalition of BC

Airspace helps with Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Image
Sera Kirk and Errol Povah with just part of our haul
We spent an afternoon at MacKay Park in North Vancouver on September 24. This picture shows only a portion of the six bags of trash (plus a couple of tires) that we picked up in this small park. There were over two thousand cigarette butts, as well as some snuff tins.

ImageThis event was organized by the Vancouver Aquarium. If you read the fine print on the bag, you'll see that Philip Morris has their fingers in it. We hope they thank us for helping clean up the mess that they helped to create.

Winnipeg landlord to ban apartment smoking

From CBC News:

Manitoba's largest landlord will ban smoking for new tenants in its apartments, primarily to reduce maintenance costs.

As of Oct. 1, Globe General Agencies in Winnipeg will no longer allow new tenants to smoke in their suites, on their patios or on their balconies.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2006/09/18/smokefree-apts.html

Read more: Winnipeg landlord to ban apartment smoking

Philip Morris' drug pushers and Billie Jean King

This is a hard-hitting letter to the editor sent to Newsday by Gene Borio of tobacco.org. It draws attention to the mainstream media bias in the coverage of the renaming of the National Tennis Center.

Your Sept. 1 editorial "Drug Pushing" said "Lying is as natural to tobacco executives as breathing." The editorial cited Judge Gladys Kessler's Federal Court ruling which found that the industry's deceitful activities have led to "a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss." Your outrage was triggered by just one example of what the Court also found: that the fraud is still going on today.

And yet, Newsday this week has gushingly eulogized Billie Jean King, a woman who shamelessly advanced tobacco's cause for over 30 years. Your articles not only pointedly omitted the name of her Virginia Slims tour which helped brand cigarettes as a badge of women's freedom, they also failed to note that King was a Philip Morris board member when many shameful acts -- delineated in the Kessler verdict-- occurred. At the USTA ceremony King even thanked one of those "lying...tobacco executives" you refer to: Philip Morris' Joseph Cullman III. Cullman was also mentioned in the Kessler's verdict--but not thanked.

Within the next few years, as the disease toll from Ms. King's activities comes due, and as the industry's depredations continue to be exposed, her name will rightfully be removed from the Tennis Center.

If addiction, disease and death is now accepted as the cost of success, then ethics in tennis has certainly come a long way down, baby.

Gene Borio

An inappropriate honour for Billie Jean King

Image"No, smoking is not a possible hazard, and King has an ethical blind spot about cigarettes that you could drive a truck through." Former Airspace President and lifelong tennis player Bob Broughton weighs in on the recent renaming of the USTA National Tennis Center to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. No, he doesn't approve of it. Read his blog entry by clicking here.

Bloomberg Gives Millions to Anti-Smoking Efforts

New York City Mayor and media billionaire has announced that he is giving $125 million of his own money to establish a foundation that will create and support programs aimed at helping the world become tobacco free. It will work to change the image of tobacco, support efforts to educate communities about its harms, create a global clearinghouse for anti-tobacco ads and bring together a legal consortium to assist in drafting and passing legislation.

Story from the New York Times: Bloomberg Gives Millions to Anti-Smoking Efforts

Banning cigarette sales in White Rock?

Since Bhutan seems to be getting by just fine without tobacco sales, White Rock Councillor Matt Todd wants to see if we can make it work here. He's proposing that White Rock become the first city in Canada to ban tobacco sales.

Draconian? Unworkable? Nannyism? Bhutan has heard it all before. Does Todd have a chance? Hard to say; powerful business interests are swinging their howitzers towards him now.

And why bother, when no point in White Rock is more than a kilometre from Surrey where stores will happily provide nic-fixes to White Rock's addicts? Todd says the point is denormalization of smoking, which is a fancy word for helping the public realize that voluntarily setting something in your face on fire is not exactly a particularly sane thing to do by a sentient being. And getting rid of the power walls of cigarettes behind White Rock store counters brings us one step closer to a world where smoking is simply not considered normal.

In 1995, White Rock became one of the first Canadian cities to unilaterally ban smoking in restaurants rather than wait for a coordinated GVRD attack plan, a move which was also heavily vilified by business interests as draconian. Don't count White Rock out just yet.

Happy Bruce Watson Day!

No, we certainly haven't forgotten that today is Canada Day. However, today is also a special day is the state of Colorado. After years of tireless campaigning, and an unsuccessful court challenge, a no-smoking law is going into effect there.

We have chosen to honour Bruce Watson, a tireless anti-tobacco campaigner, by naming this day after him. We would also like again thank Anne Landman, another Colorado anti-tobacco activist, for loaning us her "Joe Chemo" costume a few years ago.

Heather Crowe: A true Canadian hero

A press release from the Clean Air Coalition of BC:

Vancouver, B.C. - On May 22, Heather Crowe succumbed to lung cancer as a result of working in smoky restaurants for years, even though she never smoked a day in her life. She is considered by many to be one of the most important individuals to influence governments across Canada to protect workers and the public from second-hand smoke. "Residents and workers in Quebec and Ontario will benefit from Heather's advocacy efforts as 100% smoke-free legislation is implemented by the end of May," stated Bobbe Wood, President and CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon. "They can thank Heather for her selfless efforts in helping make this happen."

Read more: Heather Crowe: A true Canadian hero

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