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In Tevendale We Trust

by Archives January 22, 2008

As a result of all the anti-tobacco legislation that has been put in place over the past few years, smoking is on the decline according to Health Canada, and I’m happy to see that it’s not as “cool” as it used to be. What I don’t applaud however, is the fact that it’s now socially acceptable to criticize and treat smokers with general disdain.
“Don’t you know how bad smoking is for your health?”
You know, as a matter of fact, I have been living under a rock since childbirth, is smoking really bad for you?
Here’s a tip for all you non-smokers out there who feel that it’s your right to interrogate someone about their smoking habits: we know it costs us a lot of money, we know it makes our teeth yellow, and yes, we know we’ll die an early death if we continue to smoke.
I don’t understand why I have to defend my choice to smoke, especially now, where the rights of non-smokers are taken into consideration (and they should be) before mine. I can’t smoke in any public places, and pretty soon I probably won’t be able to smoke in an apartment. So before you give me the stink eye on the street when I cross you as I smoke, remember that my habit is no longer killing anyone but me.
In a September 2006 story that was posted on cbc.ca, then executive director of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance Murray Gibson said, “No one has a right to smoke, even in their own home. It’s not an established right.” Says who?
As a responsible consumer, if I’m aware of all the harmful side effects that come with smoking, and the government keeps it legal (which they will, too much money in it right guys?), it is my right to smoke if I want to, as long as I’m 18 or older.
All this begs the question; why aren’t cigarettes illegal to sell in Canada? According to the Canadian Health Network website, this is one of the reasons why it is still legal to produce, distribute, and sell cigarettes: “Governments know that making a product illegal doesn’t mean people will stop using it. There are better ways to reduce smoking-related harms in Canada.”
Oh really?
There are more effective ways besides making the sale of tobacco illegal that will prevent people from smoking? While I do agree that not everyone would stop smoking as a result of a cigarette ban, surely a large percentage of people who smoke occasionally or regularly would stop. Not everyone is willing to switch from Players to Natives.
I’m not writing this piece to try and justify smoking or to try and take away from the fact that smoking is the biggest killer of them all in this country, but a lot of people need to realize that quitting is one of the hardest things a smoker has to do.
Nicotine addiction is a whopper. Like Health Canada tells us: cigarettes are more addictive than heroin. Just try and remember that the next time you’re turning your nose up to someone who chooses to light up.

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