Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SHS does not kill, and neither do seniors

Edna Ruth Martin lives in Westfield Manor Apartments in Belleville, Illinois. Ms. Martin’s plea for help was recently published on Illinois Smokers Rights website.

Ms Martin is talking about the impact of a new Illinois statewide smoking ban on the lives of seniors in the building where she lives. The law is similar to legislation passed in Ontario by the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty. Even the name is similar: The Smoke Free Illinois Act.

And, the Illinois law was designed and implemented for the same purpose as the Smoke Free Ontario Act; to demean smokers, to shame them and strip them of their dignity in an effort to force them to quit; regardless of age or the contributions they may have made to their community. For their own good, of course.

Ms. Martin and her friends at Westville Manor, smokers and non-smokers alike, don’t believe the law is for their own good. “Senior citizen's health is being compromised by the new Illinois smoking bans. Most of us have smoked 50-70 years, and have no desire to stop. But we are being forced outside in rain, wind, snow, ice and all other conditions to enjoy our cigarette”.

Ms. Martin points out that she and her 15 fellow smokers, many with disabilities not related to smoking, live in low income, subsidized housing, but they are independent living apartments, not assisted living.

“We are talking about seniors, age 65 and older. Most are very unsteady on their feet anyway, depending on canes, walkers and wheel chairs to get around at all . . . even in good weather. There will be an increased danger of falls and pneumonia, and other respiratory problems as a result of this law”.

Ms. Martin also notes that “they discriminate against smokers by making house rules that they can invade our privacy with searches of our apartments any time of the day or night without previous notice, threaten us with eviction . . .”

It’s a peculiar brand of hatred and spitefulness being directed at Ms. Martin and friends; a hatred created by the ad agency hype of the anti-smoker element of society. The hatred, and the resulting discrimination, is encouraged by gutless politicians who have bought into the lies and propaganda of these health scare professionals.

Ms. Martin knows she’s fighting an uphill battle. “We know that the problem is not just local, but a small group of us seniors are trying to fight back. It has also happened in several nursing homes and assisted living centers here locally, as well as in the independent living apartment we are in”.

And, indeed she’s right. And, Canadians should put aside any feelings of smug superiority to our American cousins. The hatred and intolerance is as prevalent in Canada as anywhere in the world.

Forget for a moment, if you can, the more egregious examples of mistreatment, like a patient wandering away from a nursing home to have a smoke and being left to die in the cold. Take a look around you, at the groups of people huddled on the sidewalks in front of bars and restaurants, exposed to the elements by government decree, to engage in a legal activity; to use a perfectly legal product.

Take a look at the local legion hall, where former members of our Armed Forces are forced to stand in the parking lot, demeaned and denied their dignity – de-normalized - because they choose to smoke.

The scientific evidence has not proven anything beyond a minimal association between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, heart disease or COPD. And, even that minimal association is in dispute. These people have never hurt anyone.

Maybe the public, who the anti-smoker brigade claims is in full support of these all-inclusive smoking bans, should remember that some of the people suffering the ill effects might be their parents or grand-parents. Some of these smokers might be the men and women who stood the watch to preserve the freedoms which they enjoy.

Is this the way you want them to be treated? Is it really?


Beach said...

Ah, too true! Thanks for publicizing this!

lynladd said...

Taken from Freedom2Choose this more or less sums up what many 'lay' persons have believed for years!

Today (18 ugust 2008) we learn that
Scientists have identified a new form of air pollutant which replicates the damage to humans caused by cigarette smoke.

Hmm. Is it possible that passive smoking may not be the cause of lung cancer in non smokers, I ask?

Research presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society finds newly-detected 'persistent free radical' molecules explain why those who do not smoke often succumb to the same diseases as tobacco smokers.
And where do we find these newly-detected free radical molecules?

Breathing in the exhaust from a passing car might result in their inhalation.

Here is a link to the article this was taken from: Link to article >>> New pollutant mirrors smoking damage

Isn't it amazing what starts to come out now that these smoking bans have been instigated! Do we think there is much chance of a reversal? Probably not in the near future, but hopefully one day!