Monday, 25 October 2010

Canadian blog tells how smoking bans damage elderly people in their homes

The Old Rambler is one of many blogs to cover the story of 88-year-old Philipina Schergevitch today. He lives in Canada where there is no exemption for elderly residential homes (although some have been able, against many odds, to construct special facilities) in a country with regular sub-zero daytime temperatures in the winter.

A link in this story shows a care worker facing court action for alleged criminal negligence following the death of resident Myles Patterson after being left smoking outside. The worker was acquitted in a short trial (read the second and subsequent accounts here). The Crown was no doubt anxious to absolve itself from any responsibility (without legislation there would have been no need for outdoor smoking) and the defence that a care worker with 15 years' experience on the job could 'forget' that an elderly person was smoking outdoors in a wheelchair in sub-zero temperatures as night was approaching is a little hard to believe. But the defendant was found not guilty, and the home took measures to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy by imposing a ban on anyone smoking outdoors in temperatures below 5 degrees.

Secondary smoke is really that scary to the Canadians.

The eviction notice against Philipina Schergevitch reaches another level because no one can show that smoking in one apartment causes contamination in another. They are struggling enough to show that the effects of secondary smoke cause more than mild irritation in the great majority of people. It's mostly air. The consequences of being stupidly scared of secondary smoke are bad enough, but this takes paranoia to a new level by claiming that smoke can creep along beside electricity cables into the house next door.

The government, which subsidises her rent should be thinking very, very hard about this.

Please don't delay in taking action and spreading the word.


Unknown said...

Excellent article on the ongoing discussion about how we treat our elderly smokers. Once again you have lifted the lid off of the treatment of smokers who are at the mercy of the state, local or otherwise.

This site is a mine of info and must be the best 'information' blog I've ever read. But I am bias, it needs more people to say what they think.

Hats off to F2C Scotland, you are leading the way.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Belinda, you mention that it's hard to show contamination from one apartment to another. I was just recently looking at a study that purported to show that, and after examining the numbers they claimed existed I figured out how long it would take in terms of "resident years" to produce on average a single lung cancer.

Heh... the answer?

4,000,000 resident years per lung cancer incident. Now given that one of Philipina's neighbors was in her 60s and one was in her 70s, do either of them have 4 million years to look forward to with worry?

And even if they DID, one of the main news stories indicated that neither of them minded if Philipina smoked!


Michael J. McFadden,
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Anonymous said...

"but this takes paranoia to a new level by claiming that smoke can creep along beside electricity cables into the house next door."

Environmental Tobacco Smoke - estimation of its contribution to respirable suspended particles - method based on solanesol determination

"Many plants of the Solanaceae family, which includes the genus Nicotiana, of which the tobacco plant is a member, contain solanesol, particularly those that contain trace amounts of nicotine.
These include the tomato, eggplant, potato and pepper.

The potential interference due to these sources is negligable, COOKING being the only potential source of interference.
An interference of this type would bias results high, overestimating the contribution of ETS to RSP.


Belinda said...

It really gets farcical, Rose, when they can evict people for cooking in their own homes.