Volume 91, Issue 64

Thursday, January 22, 1998



Smoke-free campaign lights up

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

Smokers across the country are being asked to butt out for National Non-Smoking Week by the Council For a Tobacco-Free Ontario.

The national campaign has been taking place since the 1970s with this year's theme being "Smoke-free works for all of us," said Alwyn Robertson, executive director of the National Non-Smoking Week.

"We wanted to work with the accomplishments that had been made recently such as the non-smoking areas that have been implemented in many work places," Robertson said. He added awareness weeks like this one are important because 45,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases each year.

The Canadian Cancer Society has been backing National Non-Smoking Week for over 10 years, said Kirsten Ring, communications manager of the society.

"We support the event with various activities at the community level," Ring said. Events are taking place in local areas such as shopping malls, schools and community centres.

Some of these events, including the mall displays, health fairs and local television programs may continue until May 31 – World No Tobacco Day, Robertson said. "We just keep researching and trying to find the best ways to change people's behaviours."

The non-smoking week may not necessarily cause people to quit smoking but it may cause people to smoke less, said Lorraine Fry, general manager of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. "It's been proven beyond a doubt that second-hand smoke causes cancer – it is also the third-ranking cause of lung cancer."

The NSRA was established 25 years ago as an organization to protect non-smokers and children from second-hand smoke, Fry said.

"We wanted to eliminate [second-hand smoke] in public places and have been fairly successful in doing so. There is no smoking allowed in hospitals, food courts, schools or any work place in Toronto. Restrictions have also been placed in bars and restaurants."

With regards to the ban of smoking in Toronto bars and restaurants, Fry said old provincial by-laws were the cause of its failure. "The public was ready for non-smoking in restaurants but not in bars and the by-law says that you can't separate bars and restaurants."

Meanwhile, Western's own Pit Stop in the UCC sold 210 packages of cigarettes on Tuesday. They sell as many as 80 different brands and sizes of cigarettes, said Paul Tomlinson, manager of retail and service operations for the University Students' Council. "Du Maurier large, extra light is the most popular."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998