The Province of British Columbia has introduced yet more anti-smoking legislation. Since the end of March it has been illegal for any establishment to display cigarettes if children under the age of 19 are allowed on the premises. Cigarettes are now kept out of sight in locked cabinets. The cabinets are only opened when someone purchases a package then the clerk has to open it, of course, to get them out. I don't know if there is a fine imposed if a child happens to see a package of smokes in that 30 second maneuver.
Yes, I know. It seems like a ridiculous law. Does our legislature really believe that by keeping kids from seeing cigarettes on store shelves they are going to stop them from taking up smoking? Kids don't see marajuana for sale on store shelves either but they still know about it and find where it can be bought.
I went to my neighborhood gas bar to buy a pack of smokes this morning. The clerk opened up the cabinet, momentarily showing all the various brands for sale, and got the Players Light I had requested. There were no children there. Children do not normally frequent gas bars but God knows you can't take a chance that seeing a package of Export A's might set some child off onto a course of life long smoking. Of course, they aren't Player's Light any longer. The last round of anti-smoking legislation determined that calling any cigarette 'Light' was deceptive and made people think they were safer than non-light brands. Now I know there are a lot of people who think we smokers are stupid but I have never yet known a smoker to walk up to a counter and ask for one of those 'less dangerous' light brands. We know smoking is dangerous! We choose a brand for its taste. And, here is a hint for all those do-gooders in Victoria and Ottawa. Nobody asks for them by the new name you have forced on the manufactures. No one asks for Player's Rich. Everyone still asks for Player's Light and lo and behold, the clerks still know what we want.
Please understand. I am not defending smoking. I am not suggesting that we should not be doing all we can to prevent children from taking up the habit. It is just that making retail outlets hide the smokes behind locked cabinets is just plain stupid. Hello. The kids still know they are there and they still know they are cigarettes. Maybe the next round of legislation will require smokers must smoke in a locked cabinet.
Like corner stores everywhere this one has a magazine rack with the usual assortment of crossword books for the women and car, hunting and fishing, and skin magazines for the men with the regular assortment: Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse, Club and many others. Prominently displayed this morning was a magazine titled Busty Bondage Babes. It pictured a scantily clad young thing with a ball gag in her mouth trussed up like a chicken. Beside that was one titled Bitches In Heat.
I think I am beginning to understand. We must prevent children from even seeing a package of cigarettes but it is okay to expose them to twisted sex that may scar them for life.
Bars and nightclubs are exempt from the new legislation, of course, since no one under 19 may enter them. Cigarettes are on open display but, of course, you can't smoke them there. You must go outside to smoke and, again, under the new legislation it is now illegal to smoke within 10 feet of any doorway to a public establishment lest someone accidently inhale second hand smoke. Never mind that WHO, The World Health Organization, not long ago issued a paper stating that in spite of all the hype there is zero evidence that second hand smoke has any ill health effects.
I live in a town with two pulp mills spewing out emissions that blanket this city in a haze. I worked in the pulp and paper industry for 28 years. I know what is in those emissions. I know that the paper industry has to pay the province for every tonne of every different chemical they emit. The province gets rich while pulp and paper communities have the highest rates of cancer in the province.
I guess the new legislation to prevent the chance of someone inhaling a wisp of second hand smoke is to divert their attention from the dioxins, hydrogen sulfide, methanol, acetone, methyl mercaptan and others they are inhaling from the pulp and paper industry just as I am sure that it is more important to keep a child from seeing cigarettes being sold then it is to keep them from seeing some blond tied up with tits to the breeze being poked with a cattle prod.
Give me a break.
(Originally posted to Multiply May 7, 2008)