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."
Second-hand smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals, over 40 of which are known to cause cancer. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and the only way to be protected from it is to completely eliminate it. "Heather is truly a hero because of her advocacy efforts, she has saved countless lives and protected thousands of others from debilitating illnesses caused by second-hand smoke," added Scott McDonald, Executive Director of the BC Lung Association.
She frequently traveled to jurisdictions across Canada to support smoke-free efforts. "Heather traveled to Prince George to share her story, supported the efforts of the Prince George Clean Air Coalition and told the media firsthand about the harm of second-hand smoke," said Jack Boomer, Director of the Clean Air Coalition of BC, an alliance between the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Lung Association. "She was a catalyst in educating people firsthand about the harm of second-hand smoke in Prince George, across BC and across Canada. Her message was simple - she wanted to be the last person to die from second-hand smoke."
With World No Tobacco Day just one week away (May 31), BC still remains one of the few provinces to allow workers to knowingly expose themselves to second-hand smoke in the workplace. The Clean Air Coalition of BC has called on the provincial government to honour Heather Crowe's legacy and implement legislation that will fully protect the hundreds of workers who find themselves working in environments where second-hand smoke is present.
Added Boomer, "Let's remember Heather for the compassionate individual she was, and let's honour her for her willingness to speak out so that others do not have to suffer from disability, disease and death caused by second-hand smoke. She truly is a hero."