The JOURNEY for a TOBACCO-FREE WORLD
On May 31, 2010 - the World Health Organization's 23rd annual World No Tobacco Day - 30-year anti-tobacco activist Errol E. Povah and his Support Crew will embark on the world's first JOURNEY for a TOBACCO-FREE WORLD, a 6,300 kilometre "run, walk or crawl, from Victoria to Montreal." Time, energy and resources permitting, the Journey will then head south to New York City; those two destination cities being chosen specifically because they are home to the head offices of Canadian and American tobacco companies, where large anti-tobacco protests will be held to coincide with the JTFW's arrival. At the rate of 42 km per day, 6 days a week, the Journey is expected to take about 6 months.
The purpose of the JTFW: To raise awareness about largely-forgotten, replaced-by-obesity-etc. tobacco, the tobacco industry and the anti-tobacco movement, as well as to raise funds to 'ramp up' the War on Tobacco. Note: A total of 30% of the funds raised will be divided equally among BC Children's Hospital Foundation, Variety the Children's Charity and Toronto's SickKids Hospital Foundation.
"Globally, society is losing the war on tobacco, big time. Forty-six years after the first U.S. Surgeon-General's Report on the hazards of smoking, one would expect the death toll to be dropping, fast...and nearing zero. But tobacco continues to be the leading - and most easily and cheaply preventable -- cause of disease, disability and premature death in Western society," Povah said.
"Thanks primarily to Big Tobacco's aggressive and virtually unfettered marketing and advertising campaigns - most notably, in developing nations...and as always, despite the industry's vehement denials, targeting teens and even pre-teens -- the WHO is predicting that, unless drastic action is taken, the death toll from tobacco will actually double over the next 10 years," he added.
It is hoped that Povah's 'drastic action' will sufficiently inspire/motivate everyone - but especially politicians at all levels of government and all other policy-makers, police and bylaw enforcement officers, et al - to "take off the kid gloves when dealing with the tobacco industry and its wide range of addictive and deadly products, do the right thing and tackle this issue with the very long overdue aggressive and effective action it deserves.
A 'meet and greet' will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 31 at Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway in beautiful Beacon Hill Park, downtown Victoria (south end of Douglas St., at Dallas Rd.), about 1.3 km south of the Parliament Buildings. The traditional 'leg-dipping' (in the Pacific) will take place at 9:45...and the run will commence at 10:00 a.m.
From Mile Zero, the JTFW will head north on Douglas St., turn left at Belleville St. and proceed to the steps of the B.C. Legislature where, at about 10:15, Povah will say a few words about the B.C. Liberals' record on tobacco control. From there, the JTFW will backtrack on Belleville to Douglas, turn left, go to Fort St., turn right and proceed to the head office of B.C. Ferries (Errol's employer for more than 30 years), where he will address the smoking issue as it applies to B.C. Ferries (at about 10:30). The JTFW will then backtrack on Fort to Douglas, turn right and proceed north to Hillside Ave., then go NW on Gorge Rd. E, to Jutland Rd., turn left and go to 2940 Jutland, where Povah will publicly comment on some of B.C. Investment Management Corporation's less-than-moral/ethical investments (at about 11:00 a.m.). The JTFW will then go NE/E on Jutland Rd./Finlayson St. to Douglas St./Hwy #1...and head for Mill Bay!
For the most up-to-date information regarding our destination each day, please visit www.tobaccofreeworld.ca/schedule . For example, near the bottom of that page, you'll see that our destination on June 2 is Nanaimo (where Errol spent the first 40 years of his life), arriving there mid/late afternoon. After spending an hour or two in Nanaimo, the JTFW will catch a ferry to Horseshoe Bay (West Van).
June 3 will see the JTFW follow the same route as much ferry traffic: Hwy #1, right at Taylor Way, left on Marine Drive, right onto the Lions Gate Bridge, through Stanley Park onto West Georgia, left at Burrard, and right at Canada Place, to the World Trade Centre building, where the Vancouver Board of Trade office is. There, Povah - a former member of the Board of Trade - will publicly call on the VBOT to remove Imperial Tobacco (Canada's biggest tobacco company) from the board. Then, the JTFW will turn right/SW on Howe St., left/SE on Nelson, across the Cambie Bridge, then left/east on Broadway/Hwy #7 through Vancouver and most of Burnaby (with quick visits to two very well-hidden and anonymous [no signs] tobacco company offices within the GVRD).
Povah encourages everyone to run and walk with him and his Support Crew. In fact, nothing would make him happier than to have busloads of tobacco industry 'targets' - high school and even elementary school-aged kids - join the Journey, whether it's just for a few minutes or for a few kilometres!?!
EVERYBODY HAS A TOBACCO STORY; NONE OF THEM HAVE A HAPPY ENDING.
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