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.
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."
Knight v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited judgement on Feb. 8, 2005: http://www.canlii.org/bc/cas/bcsc/2005/2005bcsc172.html
BC Court of Appeal ruling on May 11, 2006: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Jdb-txt/CA/06/02/2006BCCA0235.htm
I was back home after three days at the Mayo Clinic, and I sat with my wife, having decided on an evening of television. To this end we looked in the morning paper and saw the listing for the story of Bette Davis, coming on at 9 p.m. This was appealing, inasmuch as when I was about 15, I fancied my future as Mr. Bette Davis -- though that was a contingent romance, if Betty Hutton would not have me. And it was especially embittering given that Bette married just about everybody else. So I wound up with the mother of the author of Thank You for Smoking.
In any case, we were seated, and after a flurry of investigations to discover on what TV channel Turner Classic Movies appears in New York (answer: 82) we were staring at her. That lovely head, lips all but closed, smoke filtering out of her mouth, and when the smoke was finally gone, she began to speak in her special way, contemptuous of everybody and everything. What followed (for as long as we stayed with her) were shots dating back to 1930. She was always with a cigarette in her hand, calling to mind the recent movie about Edward R. Murrow, which is one long shot of smoke-filled rooms in which characters occasionally say things -- grim things, mostly -- in between puffs on cigarettes.
The Mayo Clinic is in what I think of as Middle America, though the term has to be used with care. It's easiest to visualize: Get yourself to Minneapolis and then head south for 90 miles, whereafter ... Rochester. There are 100,000 people there; a third of them work for IBM and a third for Mayo. Most people have a story about that remarkable place, myself included. Mine I got from the late David Niven. He was suffering from an odd affliction that seized his voice from time to time. Living in France and Switzerland, he had consulted with a broad band of specialists, but none had come up with a diagnosis. My wife said to him, Why don't you go to Mayo's? He did, and in two days they told him he was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, popularly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. That's what it was, and he died of it 18 months later.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is the second major cause of preventable death in the world. Nearly five million lives per year are claimed by the tobacco industry, whose products results in premature death for half the people who use them. Among tobacco companies, Philip Morris is notorious. Now called Altria, it is the world's largest and most profitable cigarette corporation and maker of Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Parliament, Basic and many other brands of cigarettes. Philip Morris is also a leader in pushing smoking with young people around the world.
Philip Morris has consistently misled consumers about the dangers of its products. Documents uncovered in a lawsuit filed against the tobacco industry by the state of Minnesota showed that Philip Morris and other leading tobacco corporations knew very well of the dangers of tobacco products and the addictiveness of nicotine, yet they continued to deny these realities in public until the internal company documents were brought to light. To this day, Philip Morris deceives consumers about the harm of its products by offering light, mild and low-tar cigarettes that give consumers the illusion that these brands are "healthier" than traditional cigarettes.
Philip Morris has actively targeted the world's youth by researching smoking patterns and attitudes and targeting youth as potential customers. Marlboro cigarettes are the top brand for youth in the United States. Although the company says it doesn't want kids to smoke, it spends millions of dollars every day marketing and promoting cigarettes to youth. Overseas, it has even hired underage Marlboro girls to distribute free cigarettes to other children and sponsored concerts where cigarettes were handed out to minors.
As anti-tobacco campaigns and government regulations are slowing tobacco use in Western countries, Philip Morris has aggressively moved into developing country markets, where smoking and smoking-related deaths are on the rise. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, tobacco's killing fields are shifting to the developing world and Eastern Europe, where most of the world's smokers now live. Preliminary numbers released by the World Health Organization predict global deaths due to smoking-related illnesses will nearly double by 2020, with more than three-quarters of those deaths in the developing world.
Meanwhile, Philip Morris' profits continue to grow. In the third quarter of 2005 alone, Altria's net revenue was $25 billion, up from 2004 in large part due to the high performance of Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International.
Full story from Global Exchange site: "Most Wanted" Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005
Not too long ago, when municipalities across Alberta were adopting no-smoking bylaws, there was an organization called the Canadian Property Rights Association that predictably turned up at council meetings across Alberta to lobby against such bylaws.
The Canadian Property Rights Association has, thankfully, disappeared from the face of the earth, and I wouldn't be surprised if I heard that the demise had something to do with a connection that was revealed between this organization and former Canadian Alliance leader (and possible Minister of Foreign Affairs) Stockwell Day.
A storm came up during the Leaders' Debate when Prime Minister Paul Martin said that he wanted to amend the Canadian constitution to remove the "notwithstanding clause". During the press scrum after the debate, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper let a cat of equal size out of the bag. He said that he would like to amend the constitution to protect "property rights".
Malaysia Kini, Nov. 14, 2005: "Grim Reaper" appears at Tobacco Expo
Malaysia Kini, Nov. 15, 2005: "Mr. Death" clouds KL tobacco convention
Malay Mail, Nov. 16, 2005: Tobacco fair in KL under fire
The News, Nov. 17, 2005: A grim message
There will be another one of these trade shows in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 14-16, 2008.
A BAT spokeswoman insisted that the taste of their products would not change. It's safe to assume that the toxicity won't change, either.
Story from the Globe and Mail: Imperial Tobacco plants to shut down (sorry, fee required). No mention of BAT's until-recently-secret manufacturing facility in North Korea.
Rothmans and JTI-Macdonald still manufacture cigarettes in Canada.
Response from Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada: Imperial Tobacco's closure of tobacco plants is an opportunity to say "good buy".
The columnist most up front in this was Michael Campbell, who has a column in the business section of the Fraser Institute mouthpiece Vancouver Sun, and a program on CKNW called "Money Talks".
In Campbell's case, money doesn't just talk, it libels. Campbell invented a fantasy about an "anti-smoking Gestapo", and the Sun printed it.
Here's a response to Campbell's name-calling: Michael Campbell, Tobacco Industry Sycophant.