Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I was walking through Couchiching Park and Veteran’s Park the other day enjoying the exercise, looking out at the water- feeling good. The bright April sunshine was warming my face. Besides the ash falling on Great Britain and Europe, things were pretty right with the world- except for that politically controlling dictator at 24 Sussex drive. However, that another story for another day. I must respect the office after all.
Suddenly, I caught a drift of something.
Cigarette smoke. Yuck!

The man in front of me was smoking like a chimney. A few steps further along and more smoke from a passerby. Then someone zips by on a bike with smoke pouring from his lungs.
I just wanted to enjoy the fresh air. Guess, I’ll have to move to Vancouver for sure now. As of September 1st, 2010 smokers will not be able to light up on the beaches or in 200 parks.
Good for people. Good for the air.
Good for health costs.
Good all around except for the tobacco companies and the die-hard smokers.
Hmmmm. Die-hard.
Dying the hard way. A difficult way to leave this plain of existence by contracting lung cancer and all the assorted diseases that come along with it.

A report yesterday says that more people are smoking in Ontario now than in the 1960’s. Of course there are more people living in this province today. Smokers who get cancer live longer too- 5 to 8 years longer- but of course that’s with considerable more health care- expensive health care to keep these smokers alive.
Then, there’s cheap, contraband cigarettes- 200 or more for 10 bucks, that hooks the young folk. It’s a vicious cycle.

We have a neighbour who treats his cigarettes like an appendage of his body. You never see him without one either stuck between his lips, slipped between two nicotine-yellowed fingers or cupped in his hand with filthy smoke rising through the cracks between his fingers. Oh Good Lord, you dare not say anything about his smoking. He flips. As a matter of fact he hasn’t been passing the time of day with us since last summer when we asked him to extinguish his cigarette.
He’s never been able to simply stop and pass the time of day without lighting up his stinky, bought-on-the-reserve smokes. His non-smoking wife even makes the trip to the smoke trailer on the Rama Road from time to time to ensure a constant supply. Of course, she really isn’t a non-smoker, since she lives in the same house and breathes and reeks of the same smoke her hubby expels from his lungs all say long- except for his sleeping hours, I suppose.

I think Orillia should consider no smoking parks. Even Barrie’s waterfront park is no-smo. I first noticed that at Kempenfest last summer. No one was smoking. Then, I saw the signs. Heavy-duty fines posted on signs throughout the park. I only saw two men smoking and either they were just buttheads proving their manliness or they couldn’t read the signs because they left their specs at home. Of course perhaps they honestly hadn’t seen the signposts- yet. I gave both of them the benefit of the doubt.

So let’s butt out in Orillia’s green space but don’t expect this council to do anything bylaw-wise. They are in slow-motion mode since elections are in November and their terms may be at an end.
Maybe another time in the future.
Until then, we should all hold our collective breath when walking in our parks.

Have a happy one.