Smoking By-Law in Sudbury
There have been many words written, verbalized, and shrieked about the non smoking by-law in Sudbury. Some of the things oft repeated have been
- it's gross unfairness,
- it being, and do let me quote, "heavily biased in favour of those supporting the ban in all public places",
- and the great fear some business owners have expressed that not allowing their patrons to smoke will destroy their years of dedicated corporate effort and leave their children homeless and bereft.
One cannot help but wonder just where these nay-sayers get their information. From brightly hatted pipe-smoking gnomes living under the rhubarb?
I will address these three statements in reverse order...
The fact is, less than 25% of Ontarians smoke. Please bear with me, I feel I must repeat that number as it seems to be such a difficult concept for so many to embrace. Less than 25% of our population smoke. If a business is trundling along nicely now by targeting less than 25% of the population, what grand sweeping successes might it have in store should it choose to cater to the other 75%?
I do not intend to promote my humble self as a wise and wizened business guru, but simple mathematics are not completely beyond my grasp. The correct equation is 75 > 25 is it not? 75 is larger than 25? I have been bluntly attacked while sharing that equation and told heatedly that those numbers simply do not apply to our area! We it seems are so very different that such a statement simply does not, cannot, will not apply! So do let me share with you the numbers as they apply to our area. Here in Greater Sudbury, less than 30% of the population smokes. One can certainly see how such a huge difference would change absolutely everything!
One can therefore assume that the meetings about this topic being "heavily biased in favour of those supporting the ban in all public places" may have happened because of the facts so kindly given you in the previous paragraphs. 70% > 30%? Yes, perhaps that is so, I will not belabour the point.
Now, the issue of the by law's gross unfairness. After all, one should have the right to smoke should one chose to do so. My opinion here may startle you genteel peruser because you see I agree! Yes! I do! Wholeheartedly, completely and without reservation. Should you choose to smoke you should have the right to do so.
(Of course I am one of those thoroughly tactless individuals who believe that all illegal drugs should now be made legal as well. What, after all, has traditionally determined whether or not a drug is made illegal? It's addictive qualities? It's harmful qualities? Does not tobacco fall readily and firmly within those boundaries? If it is legal, why not marijuana, cocaine, or heroin? Many scientists and doctors state unequivocally that tobacco is more harmful and clearly more addictive than the above mentioned substances. They are illegal, tobacco is not. It all sounds quite mad to me.)
So, one's right to smoke will not be fought in this arena.
What will be fought here is your presumed right to harm me while doing so!
- There are over 60,000 children admitted to hospitals every year in Ontario because of second hand smoke. Children! And children regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are at least 50% more likely to suffer damage to their lungs.
- Children with parents that smoke have 200% (200!) more cancerous tumors!
- They have 22% more have brain tumors, and 75% more asthma.
- There are over 14,000 deaths in Ontario every year related to smoking.
- Family members of smokers face 20% - 30% increase in heart disease and lung cancer.
- Second hand smoke fosters the formation of blood clots, raises the heart rate, damages the heart muscle, and lowers the "good" protective type of cholesterol.
- From 1000 to nearly 3000 (depending upon the survey you choose to believe) people in Ontario will die this year from diseases related to second hand smoke.
So to any smoker who feels his has the right to smoke where I breathe, at my expense, allow me to say I think not!
Should your neighbor choose to drink himself into a liver scorched oblivion, he would certainly have the right to do so, but I am rather certain there would be very few people defending his right to force alcohol into his co-workers, children and family members, and innocent strangers on the street dozens of times per day!
Darlings it may be politically incorrect to state these thoughts, but they are there, in blazing, full colour perturbation.
Humble Hannah, X Smoker