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Smoker’s rights under attack

by Archives March 31, 2009

Ever since smoking’s detrimental health effects became common knowledge, legislature has been restricting when and where people can smoke.
Abolishing smoking in public places such as restaurants and bars and creating separate, ventilated places for smokers made sense. There is no reason that non-smokers should have to eat or drink in a room alongside people actively smoking.
But the abolition of smoking rooms, is less logical. Anyone entering a smoking room is well aware of the risks they run.
Smokers have now been forced onto the streets. Legally, they must be at least three meters away from doors and windows.
Sidewalks crowded with people smoking are more unpleasant for non-smokers to pass through than smoke rooms.
While complaints about the risks of second-hand smoke are justified, they are slightly out of context. Inhaling the small amount of second-hand smoke at a bus stop or through a window is hardly enough of a risk to your health to merit legislation, especially in urban areas where airborne pollution from cars far outweighs anything created by people smoking. But do we outlaw driving in densely populated areas?
The primary frustration of many non-smokers, however, is the cost to taxpayers. Health care is a public service allowed to all citizens and viewed as a general human right among Canadians. Because the financial aspect of the health repercussions are shared by all Canadians, tax payers feel validated in ostracizing smokers in efforts of shaming them into quitting.
This is along the same lines as Canadians refusing to pay for the health care of those who consume alcohol, people with dangerous jobs, or women bearing children at a late age.
Think of the resentment among those living in rural regions of Canada to paying equal taxes towards health care as those living in urban areas, where the costs to accessing health care are much lower.
Smokers are beginning to be treated like second-rate citizens as smoking laws continue to become more extreme. Smokers are people, too, and their rights need to be respected.

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