Here comes the to­bacco Gestapo

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION - ROBERT THOMAS

and it’s time to re­turn to a com­mon sense agenda like mov­ing the garbage col­lec­tion to front yard pickup.

Re­ally are we se­ri­ously go­ing to ded­i­cate polic­ing re­sources to this? I can just see the logic of tak­ing of­fi­cers away from fight­ing real crime to chase down some poor guy smok­ing a cig­a­rette. But then again this is Moose Jaw.

For those who can’t re­mem­ber years ago Moose Jaw was Ground Zero for anti-smok­ing lob­by­ists and spe­cial in­ter­ests as the com­mu­nity was split by a ref­er­en­dum stamp­ing out the abil­ity to smoke in cer­tain pub­lic places.

Well after years of peace they’re back or as the smok­ers tell me here comes the to­tal­i­tar­i­ans run­ning over their “rights” with a Tiger tank once again. We have the spe­cial in­ter­ests tar­get­ing the Friendly City once again in re­ally what many will tell you is a faux is­sue.

This time around it’s not all about sec­ond hand smoke, but rather the health dis­trict’s war cry that smok­ing kills. It’s a war cry tar­get­ing smok­ers them­selves. It’s cross­ing the line from pro­tect­ing in­no­cent non-smok­ers to dic­tate moral­ity to smok­ers. And re­ally is it the place of coun­cil to be in the moral­ity busi­ness?

Cer­tainly to­bacco smok­ing kills be­cause of the tox­ins given off by the burn­ing of to­bacco. Things like smok­ing a mar­i­juana joint also gives off some of the same tox­ins but quite no­tice­ably is not part of the up­com­ing de­bate. I have to ask my­self why?

With Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau set to le­gal­ize recre­ational mar­i­juana shouldn’t the Friendly City not get ahead of the is­sue and re­strict where a per­son can smoke a joint? Should peo­ple have to have their leisurely stroll out in Cres­cent Park dis­rupted by a waft of sec­ond hand mar­i­juana smoke? I think not.

Sure there will be those out there that say well mar­i­juana is a Pro­vin­cial is­sue and not for the City to take a stand on, but that is what was said about cig­a­rette smok­ing. But Moose Jaw still pro­gres­sively passed it’s still on the books anti-smok­ing by­law to pro­tect the rights of non-smok­ers any­how. Pro­vin­cial anti-smok­ing leg­is­la­tion only came later.

If it’s all about health let’s tackle the Wacky To­backy as well. There’s ev­i­dence out there to sup­port do­ing it. Such as stated by Dame He­lena Shov­el­ton of the Bri­tish Lung Foun­da­tion “Peo­ple are un­der the il­lu­sion it is safe to smoke cannabis. Our re­port shows it is very dan­ger­ous to lung health, at least as dan­ger­ous as to­bacco.”

Why sim­ply tar­get to­bacco smok­ers and peo­ple who vape? Is Coun­cil ef­fec­tively turn­ing th­ese two groups into even greater so­cial pari­ahs? Sad thing is cig­a­rette smok­ers are easy tar­gets.

I’m sure there’s a few peo­ple out there that would love to see some­one hung just for light­ing up a smoke in a de­serted park. They’d likely get away with it if the ini­tia­tive was not about sav­ing lives. Sum­mary cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for smok­ing in a pub­lic place is some­thing Coun­cil can look at in the fu­ture.

And what about those fire pits peo­ple have in their back­yards don’t they also en­tail burn­ing giv­ing off tox­ins and for many in the city ag­gra­vated lungs? Do they not also have the po­ten­tial of caus­ing peo­ple who are sen­si­tive from smoke – like peo­ple with asthma, chronic breath­ing prob­lems or other dis­or­ders/dis­eases – hav­ing breath­ing prob­lems? Of course they do. So why not in­clude them in the same is­sue? Is this not about burn­ing things after all like a cig­a­rette?

Could it re­ally be true there are an­ti­to­bacco smok­ing to­tal­i­tar­i­ans out there? And to­bacco smok­ers and vapers are just easy tar­gets for Coun­cil?

And if the new anti-smok­ing cam­paign is all about mak­ing it in­con­ve­nient for peo­ple to smoke why not take an even bolder ini­tia­tive and sim­ply ban to­bacco sales al­to­gether in the City? Is that go­ing a tad too far? Yes, highly likely.

Re­cently I was at a doc­tor’s ap­point­ment and as I left the clinic wasn’t that a doc­tor and clinic staff out back hav­ing a cig­a­rette? Maybe we need to not just tar­get bars, restau­rants, parks and other pub­lic spa­ces but any med­i­cal, hos­pi­tal, den­tal, chi­ro­prac­tic, phys­io­ther­apy, am­bu­la­tory or re­lated health care fa­cil­i­ties and all at­tached lands as well? Maybe they as health care pro­fes­sion­als need to set the ex­am­ple first and fore­most.

So as I head out on my daily walk around the City and take ad­van­tage of the great out­doors all I truly ask is for cig­a­rette smok­ers and the anti-to­bacco to­tal­i­tar­i­ans to please don’t blow smoke in my face. I am bet­ting the ones that lis­ten, are cour­te­ous and oblige are those en­joy­ing an­other five minute nail in their cof­fin.

And for that I say thank you.

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