You notice them lingering in alleyways, on fire escapes, behind buildings. They're a dying breed. Smokers. Some civil libertarians are concerned that 30 per cent of people are being discriminated against, but nonetheless 70 countries have thus far enacted legislation to provide some control over tobacco smoking. Only eight U.S. states have yet to introduce restrictions on smoking in public places.
In Canada a policy to restrict smoking to specially designated areas: throughout the federal public service: came into effect on October 1, 1987. "It is expected this will extend to a total smoke-free workplace policy on January 1, 1989," says Arlene Galloway, Victoria author of The Smoke Free Guide: How to Eliminate Tobacco Smoke from your Environment' (Qualy Publishing/Soules $14.95).
The Smoke-Free Guide is a comprehensive, up-to-date tool for those who want to take a positive, planned approach to eliminate tobacco smoke from their home, workplace or public places in their community. It looks at smoking as a social, environmental problem not simply as an activity which is hazardous to those who smoke.
"Tobacco and tobacco smoke are: comprised of at least 3,800 chemicals: and unidentified substances," says Galloway, a public health professional. When those 3,800 substances drift through the workplace, ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) is also capable posed to environmental tobacco smoke," says Galloway, "absorb between one per cent and 20 per cent of the cancer-causing and toxic substances absorbed by people who actively smoke."
Smoking also costs employers money, particularly in terms of sick days. ICBC instituted restrictive policies on smoking for 2,400 employees in 1985 on the grounds that smoking was costing the public corporation $3,846 per smoker per year.
As a former advisor on non-smoking promotion for the B.C. Ministry of Health, Galloway examines current legislation and international action on the tobacco issue, lists organizations promoting smoke-free environment and condenses the health consequences of smoking into a reference package.
* Smokers have a 70 per cent greater chance of dying from coronary heart disease. (Coronary heart disease kills more North Americans every year than all types of cancer.)
* People who smoke are more than twice as likely to die suddenly.
* Smokers can have more difficulty fighting off infections.
* The overall rate of cancer deaths for male smokers is about double that of male non-smokers.
* The rate of cancer deaths for female smokers is about 30 per cent higher than female non-smokers.
* Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung, mouth, larynx and oesophagus cancer.
[Autumn / BCBW 1988]