A country and western song by Mike Trapp and College Humor.
As of November 1st the minimum legal age for purchasing cigarettes in the state of New Jersey has been raised to 21. Hawaii and California already have "Tobacco 21" laws in effect, while Oregon and Maine have recently passed laws that will come in to force next year. The Tobacco 21 movement has been sweeping across the USA (see tobacco21.org)- several other states have proposals under way in their legislatures, while many progressive cities including New York, Boston, Chicago and (until it became state-wide) San Francisco have passed it municipally. While mostly Democratic- led, Republicans are beginning to also see it as wise public policy, with even Governor Chris Christie, after vetoing it twice, recently changing his mind stating he was swayed by studies that showed people won’t develop a smoking addiction if they don’t use it in their teens or early 20s.
Very nice- but will it work? Yes, this has been proven in a controlled study of municipalities in Massachusetts, and the strategy has been called "An idea whose time has come" by the New England Journal of Medicine. Paradoxically maybe the most trustworthy piece of evidence comes from an internal Philip Morris report warning "raising the legal minimum age for cigarette purchase to 21 could gut our key young adult market". The USA's Institute of Medicine produced a major scientific report backing a nation-wide Tobacco 21 law, which it calculated would reduce smoking initiation by 25%, reduce overall tobacco consumption by 12%, and save 4.2 million years of life in kids alive today.
A ticket for $575 issued by the RCMP in Langford, west of Victoria.
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).
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...
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in Canada and worldwide, killing 1 in 2 smokers, and more than alcohol, drugs, car accidents, murder, suicide, and AIDS combined. The tobacco industry has repeatedly lied about what they knew and when, intentionally manufactured controversy, enhanced cigarette addictiveness, and targeted women, children and minorities.
The tobacco industry must continue to find ways to market to children if they hope to survive, as ~ 90% of smokers start by age 18. Movies are one of the main legal avenues remaining for such. A review suggested that 37% of youth smoking initiation is due to smoking in movies. The Surgeon General has concluded that ratings changes could reduce teen smokers by 18%, preventing 1 million deaths among US children.
Carrie Fisher was a lifelong smoker who died at 60 from a sudden heart attack. Tragic, but unfortunately common. She had also fought mental health and addiction battles. The prevalence of smoking is disproportionately elevated in both of these groups, and despite being traditionally viewed as their “lesser problem” during life, it most often ends up being the cause of their deaths.
Carrie Fisher’s death, while very sad, can be turned into meaningful action. Restrict smoking in movies, set age limit for purchase at 21, increase cigarette taxes, institute plain packaging, divest governmental pension fund tobacco holdings, ban smoking in multi-unit dwellings and outdoor gathering areas, and dramatically increase anti-tobacco governmental expenditures. Most importantly take control of smoking’s image- not cool, but instead a never-ending beauty- and health-destroying, and poverty-inducing battle against nicotine withdrawal. Maybe Princess Leia can help us defeat true organized evil after all.
Stuart H. Kreisman, MD
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
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.
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?!?