80% of People Living in MUDs Want to Live SMoke-free Affair with Smoke-free Housing Alice: Narrating the personal Anna I am not going away not by a long shot. The smoke-free housing saga continues Answers to Frequently Asked Questions including Grandfathering Anti-smoking champ honoured for PUSH Any defensive discussion indefensible April Lifting the Veil off of Quiet Enjoyment Arabian COUGHING Poster At the Core of Smoke-Free Housing Workplace violence and bullying ATTRIBUTE REQUIRED TO SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISH BEING SMOKE-FREE AUTHORITIES for Smoke-free Housing BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL Decides Crescent Housing Societys Application To Dismiss Lacking in Substance Concreteness and Good Faith (Another Debacle) BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL hears first case on SHS in MUDs Monday April 2 – Wednesday April 4 2012 BREAKTHROUGH DECISION Smoke-Free Housing Cancer in non-smoker sparks legal action Australia CLEANING UP TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS COMMUNITY DISCUSSION FORM Comparing “big” and “too small to matter” crises and catastrophes Demand for non-smoking apartments next to impossible Do you struggle with the problem of drifting second-hand smoke in your home? What you can do looks like 2011 DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH THE PROBLEM OF SECONDHAND SMOKE DRIFT What Struggle Looks like Drewlo Holdings Building More Smoke-free Apartments DROs Ways to Strengthen a Bid for Smoke-free Housing Ethical Dilemma of Smoke-free Housing EX-SMOKERS ARE UNSTOPPABLE flash mob dance Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing Governance by Dysfunctional Boards How the Smoke-free Housing Initiative inadvertently opened up governance for public scrutiny Grandfathering How does it apply to smokers Grandfathering Smoke freely Grandfathering Smokes License to Smoke License for Abuse GROUNDHOG DAY PUSHing the Drift to Smoke-free Housing GROUNDHOG DAY 2012: Secondhand smoke from grandfathered smokers takes a wee hit How Provincial and Municipal Bylaws Apply for MUDs in BC HR DECISION ORDERS “METRO ONE” TO CEASE ITS DISCRIMINATION AND REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING A SIMILAR CONTRAVENTION IN THE FUTURE INJUNCTIVE RELIEF A court order to Do this and Stop doing that Inspiring story behind SMOKE-FREE CARS ACT 2007 knowledge exchange Krossa from Maple Ridge Dare Extend Ideation For Smoke-free Housing Lung cancer kills non-smoker McDaniels thank supporters Measuring second-hand smoke drift in non-smokers: Prove it Medical Marijuana NEWS ~ NEWS ~ NEWS London ON New Apartment Building Opts for Smoke-free and Utilizing Grants to Encourage Smoke-free Housing NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY YOUR TIME HAS COME NSRAs rebuttal of Harpers Gut of Federal Tobacco Control Program People imagining a smoke-free world Picture Worth a Thousand Words Premier Christy Clark announces Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) Sense and scent-ability: Do you smell second-hand smoke in your home? SHS Is Not Simply An Issue Between Neighbours Slaying the Myth of Right-To-Smoke and In-My-Home SMOKE DAMAGE - Voices from the Front Lines of Tobacco Wars Smoke-free at Last Smoke-free housing Litany of motivations and obstructions Smoke-free Housing: An award winning direction Standardize your letters and claims: Make them all the same Steps to Designating Smoking Area in Common Areas and Avoiding Misrepresentation STORIES: Heart of the Matter Strata concedes failure to accommodate McDaniels TENANTS' FUME IN SMOKE-FEST ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT COSTING THOUSANDS The 'In-Perpetuity' of National Non-Smoking Week Thinking Petition? Draft a report instead. Trials Against Big Tobacco Reveal Internal Documents Stating Lethal Hazard Of Smoking And Environmental Tobacco Smoke TRIBUNAL GRANTS COMPLAINANTS' APPLICATION TO AMEND THEIR COMPLAINT Tribunal's Decision Reveals DEBACLE Urging Political Will VEN TI-LA-TION – exchanging stale noxious air with clean fresh air Weitzels and Willow Park Estates What has California's new smoke-free housing law to do with us Canadians? What makes normal sensible people become dysfunctional when they join a board and what turns CEOs or EDs into mini-dictators? Why Isn't Vancouver's OLYMPIC VILLAGE A Flagship for Smoke-free Housing? Why there is a PUSH for Sf Housing WOW You've come a long way baby Yukon Housing Corp’s smoke-free housing leaves smokers fuming YUKON NORTH OF ORDINARY™ TRUMPS NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL BC AGAIN Yukon's smoke-free housing comes into effect Jan 1 2012

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smoke-free housing: Litany of motivations and obstructions

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XIX

World No Tobacco Day - May 31, 2011
~ record and report the use of tobacco ~

Did you hear, that the Yukon, which is “North of Ordinary” decided to convert all of its housing to non-smoking buildings with a grace period to Jan 1, 2012, at which point smokers will no longer be allowed to smoke inside their residences. Shona Mostyn, Director of Housing Operations said, “We're not exactly on the cutting edge here.” What? What if they're ahead of ordinary? I think “North of Ordinary” must be “Outstanding.”

Locally, a large strata management corporation is being sued by one of their clients' owners, and the rest of their clients are waiting for the results of this legal action prior to making recommendations to their strata councils. Nationally, smoke-free housing hit small town Canada, revealing that the support available in cities remains abysmal in towns.

Everyone knows something about the hazards of smoking, second-hand smoke, and smoke-free housing. We are no longer at the crossroads of a contentious and controversial habit, once considered a lifestyle choice, and now known to be a plague made more purposefully addictive by corporate tobacco. The path has been chosen: smoke-free housing; the matter of fact is not if, it's when, how, and how soon.

Since 2004, there have been hundreds of reports and PowerPoint presentations reviewing smoke-free housing projects, accessible from the internet. Some offer sparse information, hiding failed attempts. Others provide outstanding comprehensive reviews of the challenges and barriers, and key strategies of success. Together, they illustrate the generic qualities of tobacco control and smoke-free housing.

When owners (boards, strata and co-op councils) successfully shift to smoke-free housing in a timely manner, they do so as a result of:

  1. collaborating with those who laid the pathway, the knowledge holders, and relevant associations;
  2. partnering with people who have already made the shift, and are making the shift, both locally and across the country, thereby ensuring continuous support to property managers;
  3. conducting SWOT analysis (Strengths [interests], Weaknesses [concerns], Opportunities [possibilities], Threats [fears]); this can be done in focus groups, luncheons, afternoon seminars.
  4. describing the consequences of not moving forward;
    These four steps relate to hindsight, insight, and foresight.
  5. sharing personal stories and utilizing local statistics before emphasizing the bigger picture; connect the local with the national;
  6. gathering information on objections voiced locally;
  7. customizing information to directly address each objection;
  8. informing renters and owners of the upcoming shift; while meeting minutes, letter or newsletter might be the first source which comes to mind, owners found that making sure smoke-free housing was part of local community events, community centre events, health and wellness fairs introduced the idea in a neutral and objective manner. Strata management companies organized luncheons and half-day seminars, often in conjunction with home and housing fairs.
  9. providing time frames for grace periods and starts dates, explaining how they honor relevant law;
  10. assessing the structure, ventilation, and age of the building, and how structure hinders or might need upgrading to assist with the problem of second-hand smoke;
  11. creating an open, transparent, enforcement process, outlining what everyone is expected to do including reporting, and the consequences of non-compliance;
  12. emphasizing the established health and legal foundations.

The prime motivator to be smoke-free begins and ends with health: healthy housing, health people, health care and economic resources.

That tobacco and smoking kills, is a matter of fact, of medical science history - clear and simple; though the living and dying from smoking is anything but clean and simple. There's no mystery. I'm repeating myself.

Second-hand smoke is waste, the toxic waste of tobacco combustion. Non-smokers suffer many of the diseases of active smoking when they breathe second-hand smoke.

Yah, but, what about industrial pollution, and vehicle exhaust? Haven't you seen the yellow smog over cities? What's drifting second-hand smoke compared to traffic, rush-hour traffic? GOMF! (get out of my face, @#$%^&)

Answer: Cigarette smoke fits into the same category as exhaust – and gasoline, diesel, formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, lead, cadium, and asbestos. Medical science classifies second-hand smoke as a Class A carcinogen, because it is known to cause cancer in humans. Google the risk and toxicity of drifting second-hand smoke, and you find it is 6-12 times more toxic than the smoke that smokers inhale. Medical researchers in Toronto measured second-hand smoke on sidewalks, outside of business doorways where smokers congregate, and in traffic - at the same time. Guess what? Second-hand smoke won! GOMF ignoramus!

When we hear of the pandemic of tobacco-related disease, the economic health burden to governments, as well as, pain and suffering from illnesses, our minds most often bring up:
  1. allergies,
  2. asthma,
  3. pneumonia,
  4. emphysema,
  5. bronchitis,
  6. COPD,
  7. lung cancer, and
  8. heart and stroke disease.

In fact, the cancers and diseases of tobacco affect every organ in the body that react in an attempt to clean away the toxins from it.

The horrid diseases attributable to tobacco and from smoke also consist of:
  1. irritant to eye diseases (glaucoma);
  2. sinus infections;
  3. ear infections;
  4. nasal sinus cavity cancer;
  5. mouth cancer;
  6. throat and laryngeal cancer;
  7. esophageal cancer;
  8. atherosclerosis;
  9. stomach cancer;
  10. cervical cancer;
  11. pancreatic cancer;
  12. bladder cancer; and
  13. Buerger's Disease.

Cancers develop as a result of environmental exposure. Genes in and of themselves, do not trigger these diseases without the environmental exposure. Gene response has been tested at the lowest levels of second-hand smoke exposure. There is No Safe Level of Second-hand Smoke!

Even corporate tobacco has moved on from “manufacturing doubt” around a second-hand smoke threshold. Cigarette maker, Philip Morris International Inc., purchased the rights to technology that lets smokers inhale nicotine without smoking.

Well, then, what obstructions remain to smoke-free housing, as recorded in the smoke-free housing project reports?

  1. The single greatest concern voiced by owners, managers, and tenants: Enforcement. Often the last objection to come up in a conversation, it remains the real concern for the following reasons.
  1. The conviction that a smoke-free housing policy remains unenforceable. Owners and management unwillingness to support and pursue adopting policy at the local level. "Why are we going through the motions if the law is not going to be enforced?"
  2. Unless there are already effective methods to enforce a smoke-free policy, property managers/owners do not want to implement the policy. It is imperative to come up with good enforcement plans to support the adoption of policies.”
  3. Managers and tenants were uniformly uninformed and misinformed about the legal definition of nuisance and it's link to quiet enjoyment.
  4. Tenants questioned how enforcement of such a policy would occur: “Are we supposed to call management at 6AM?”
  5. Management wondered what to do about tenants who refused to comply. “Thankfully, we have just one tenant who says, ‘I’m going to smoke where I’m going to smoke and if people don’t like it they can move.’ He purposefully smokes on his balcony.”
  6. Owners/management spoke of dreading confrontation with those who refuse to stop smoking, along with an unwillingness to pursue the legal aspect. Often there already exists manager-tenant discord, and the smoke-free housing issue escalates existing situations.
  7. Owners/managers that smoked themselves and who would not support a smoke-free housing policy. “...against restricting the use of tobacco for any reason,” “…do not support the designation of smoke-free units,” and “…allow smoking and adamantly oppose designating smoke-free units.” From this blind, hostile resistance, a new issue emerged, that of smoke-free impinging on smoking marijuana. In a complex with a majority of non-smokers, they did not support the smoking bans because they did not want to limit marijuana smoking in their homes. Translated, this means a cigarette smoking-ban would have been supported, if you could just get around....
  8. An owner might be interested, but many owners remain off-site. They rely on what managers' experience and share with them. A manager might down-play any possibility of making a policy work, or sabotage it because they are smokers, or do not want to be in the enforcement position.
  9. Owners/managers questioned the educational material and the source of it, essentially turning “smoke-free housing advocates” and “anti-smoking activists” into name-calling by casting a pejorative tinge to these phrases.
However, enforcement as the real concern means that the big heavy concerns of:
  • right to smoke and discrimination,
  • right to smoke in my own home, and
  • grandfathering, 

    are being displaced - albeit at a slug's pace.
  1. Right to smoke & fear of discrimination – remains a common belief, and source of confusion and uncertainty. 
    There is no right to smoke under Human Rights Code, not even if you are addicted to nicotine. Purchasing cigarettes and smoking is legal, but regulated by and because of health matters. Smoke-free legislation does not say that smokers cannot smoke; it only limits where smoking is permissible to prevent harm to others. 'Right to smoke' remains a left-over soundbite from corporate tobacco advertising - targeting women and children.

    If you issue a legal complaint under quiet enjoyment (nuisance) or human rights, the burden of proof required remains illness, disease, health matters. As complainant, you establish the health matter through medical documents, and you establish the severity, as well as, prognosis through medical documents. The claim is premised on health science, medical evidence. 
    Still, reports from smoke-free housing projects list the unwillingness of many managers “even to discuss enacting new policies…for fear of being accused of supporting what they believed were discriminatory practices towards people who smoke, people who have addictions.”

    Many managers considered “prohibiting smoking unfairly denies housing to someone who is a smoker, and that they should not be so heavily penalized for their addiction.” Many managers expressed they were “affronted by what they see as an attempt to dictate to people what they are and aren’t allowed to do ‘in the privacy of their own home.’” Many managers revealed their fear of being sued for discrimination by smokers.

    Reality check: non-smokers are doing the suing, against owners, not managers.
    Managers, also, doubted the integrity of legal information, basing their doubts on the source of the information - that advocates and activists of smoke-free housing provided the information.
    Since information might be checked by contacting lawyers, relevant associations, and government, this thinking amounts to no more than being dismissive, and might constitute evidence of incompetence and negligence.
    Families, and the home, have never been exempt from government intervention where health and safety are at issue. Cleanliness and hygiene. Incest. Child abuse. Physical discipline. Age limits. Education requirements. Wife battering. Domestic violence. If raised as an issue, family law courts rule on the side of the best interests of the child and smoke-free environments in custody matters, and did so as far back as the mid 80's. 
    Governments have the public mandate to intercede. Regulating the environment, where one can smoke, proves to be the best way to help smokers quit.
    There exists no comparable outrage and fury at the government for not doing something sooner, more effective, and financially more efficient - except from corporate tobacco.
    Intervention is not interference.
  1. Grandfathering protection – from contract law, outlines how when an old stipulation sometimes continues to apply to some existing situations, at the same time that a new rules applies to all future situations. However, grandfathering exists alongside other rules, and health and disruption of quiet enjoyment to the point of illness trumps grandfathering.

    For an comprehensive discussion, refer to March 2011 articles, “Grandfathering Smokers: License to Smoke, License for Abuse,” and “Continuing the Discussion on 'Grandfathering.'

    Except for mentioning grandfathering, information in the smoke-free housing literature provided inadequate and an inappropriate understanding of grandfathering. If legally challenged, grandfathering provides no protection to tenants or landlords.

  2. Disconnection between health and housing ministries – Extending the benefit of the doubt, health and housing ministries may be working together, and are just letting the public get used to and adopt the smoke-free housing ideation. 
    However, the persistent perception remains that housing ministries act in contradiction to health ministries and the movement to smoke-free housing, and that the smoke-free housing policy examples a laissez-faire policy with laissez-faire implementation. 

    The consequence: while people know that smoking creates diseases, people also trust that if it were really so bad, the government would ban the product and not let it be sold in every drugstore, grocery store, convenience store, and gas station. Contaminated spinach kills three people and they yank it off every shelf in the country. But tobacco can kill 1200 people a day and that's okay?” (Smoke Damage, M.Schwalbe 2011)

    The consequence: a defensive, and expensive discombobulated public, and tobacco wars no longer contained at the level of medical science and corporate tobacco, but fought between smoking and non-smoking tenants at ground zero. Owners sue stratas and property management companies, and tenants utilize residential tenancy or human rights processes. Now that is disruption to quiet enjoyment and unwarranted interference. 

     A term from economics, laissez-faire refers to the hands off approach, free from state intervention and restrictions in business: a free market, market demand. Laissez-faire links to the thinking 'A man's home is his castle' and 'stay out of the bedrooms of the nation' school of thought, to the point it prevents a health-based response to a public health problem.

    Stinking thinking” and “crazy-making” describes this thinking, and it requires constructive intervention from psychological therapies, which – at the level of government - translates into “legislation.”
The abundance of well-written educational material goes only so far to allay fears, increase knowledge, and bring about conversion. Legislation is warranted, and has already been proved. We know the science. We know the law. We know the toll of human suffering on children in single-family homes, and the toll for everyone in multi-unit residences.

What does making a fervent wish mean? A prayer.

What does it look like politically? A letter urging government to act.

Minister of Health Michael de Jong

Minister of Public Safety Shirley Bond

Rich Coleman Minister Responsible for Housing

BC's Healthy Living Alliance, Mary Collins;

Smoke-free Housing BC,

Canadian PUSH for Smoke-free Housing, Rose Marie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Smoke-free Housing: The Ethical Dilemma

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XVIII

World No Tobacco Day - May 31, 2011

The first global treaty initiated under the auspices of the WHO, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has been in force since 2005 with over 170 signatory parties to date reaffirming “the right of all people to the highest standard of health and new legal dimensions for cooperation in tobacco control.”


Through an ethics lens:

           Ethics, as a word, a formal word deserving of its capital 'E', refers to the discerning (evaluating, judging, weighing) and decision-making abilities of human beings, about what is moral (immoral), good (bad), and right (wrong), valued and principled, in the best interests of, for the common good, as determined collectively by individuals, stewards and governors of society, for groups, and for society (paternalism and beneficence). A legal definition of ethics references the nature of obligations (duties) that individuals owe themselves and one another, when human behavior acts against each other.

           Ethics, as a discipline, requests that individuals ask focused questions around specific concepts, when making decisions and with policy or legislative decisions.
           Ethics operates in society under the familiar medical code “do no harm”, and “autonomy.” In governance and the legal profession, ethics operates through “in the best interests [of the child],” “shared responsibility” and “justice.”

           Autonomy, as a word, might be less well known, but what it refers to – decision-making, and the freedom to make decisions (choices), is familiar.

           The incorporation of autonomy speaks to the principle -
  • of the right (freedom) to make decisions (choices) voluntarily,
  • informed decisions though knowledge and understanding,
  • without undue influence or interference (coercion, fear) from a controlling agent (be that a human being or a drug),
  • with forethought of consequences, and
  • have clear intentions.

           Does smoking impinge on autonomy? Absolutely. When nine, or eleven to thirteen years old pre-teens and 'just' teens take up smoking five, ten to fifteen cigarettes a day, and develop an addiction, these children do so as a result of smoking being normalized in their sphere of life, informed through peer pressure to be accepted and belong to a group, targeted marketing to be thin, cool, grown-up, hip, macho, and uninformed about corporate tobacco lethal strategies to addict youth before they leave high school. The notion of autonomy is marketed, but there is no autonomy in taking up smoking. Rather, children have been shamed and humiliated into smoking, and as adults are ashamed and humiliated to the point of not being able to rise and generate the interest to stop the tobacco genocide.

           Would an adult, smoking in the presence of a child, act out of autonomy? Go through the container that is autonomy, above. Answer yes, and the choice is of having clear intentions to do harm to a child, a child who does not have autonomy to choose to be away from second-hand smoke. Answer no, and addiction is admitted, with help needed to overcome the addiction, and with parenting.

           Hence, legal precedents considering the lifetime effects of second-hand smoke in child custody situations, where second-hand smoke works as a deciding factor determining the “best interests” of a child's health, safety, and welfare.

  • Does my autonomy (decision, choice, action) impinge on others autonomy?
  • Does my smoking harm others? Who? How many others?
  • Does my addiction justify harming others?
  • How might I mitigate the harm?
  • Beyond quitting, what acts of manners and civility would mitigate the harm?
  • Am I acting out of autonomy when I do nothing about second-hand smoke?
  • How do I justify my decisions?
  • Am I being truthful and honest in my decisions, and with others?

           These are the questions of ethics.

           While we might like to think that autonomy is a stand-alone principle protecting and providing us with individualism, it is tempered and counter-balanced by “do no harm” and “bests interests of health, safety, and welfare,” and legal precedents (justice).

           Often, ethics talk only comes into play over controversial topics, after controversy and scandal, when social problems confound leaders, bankrupting resources with the scope, demographics, and economics of the problem; that's why we reference such situations as ethical dilemmas, Gordian Knots, and double binds (caught between a rock and hard place; damned if you do, damned if you don't).

           Smoke-free housing represents an ethical dilemma on many levels, one that requires legislation, even at the minimal level which is having second-hand smoke specifically named in tenancy legislation as grounds for breach of health, safety, welfare and quiet enjoyment. One sentence, one bullet point, this would constitute enacting the knowledge of medical science.

           Government regulation has always intervened in private spaces to protect health and well-being, and when children are at risk of harm. The medical profession has established the bedrock of knowledge that tobacco and smoking, clear and simple, kills - though not clean and simple!

           Medical science debunked every colloquialism against second-hand smoke and smoke-free housing. Yet smoke-free policies protect adults in workplaces and public spaces over children in their homes. An ethics focus demands that government address this social and health disadvantage, this injustice, and to do good by children. The harm of restricting adults' smoking outweighs the harm that second-hand smoke causes a child.

           Instead of adults suffering from second-hand smoke and respiratory diseases championing smoke-free housing through human rights and breach of quiet enjoyment claims, perhaps it should be an asthmatic child who becomes the “poster child” for smoke-free housing.

  • How did we come to the thinking of having to establish non-smokers rights?
  • How did we come to the thinking that smoke-free housing is considered an impingement on autonomy: unwarranted paternalism?
  • If corporate tobacco being sued by governments and individuals can successfully argue for “shared responsibility” because governments/individuals knew of the harm from tobacco, what is government's responsibility for declaring smoke-free housing because they know of the suffering by its citizens?
  • Why isn't the health knowledge about tobacco related diseases and suffering sufficient to declare smoke-free housing?

           With smoking and health problems from smoking, the strategy for containing the health problems has been to control tobacco. Tobacco diseases now control the economic resources for our health system, and second-hand smoke infiltrates the majority of our housing stock, since multi-unit residence is established as the norm in urban society. The diseases from tobacco are cascading, crashing the economic resources.

  • Why isn't the combination of health knowledge about tobacco-related diseases and suffering, the black hole sucking the economic resources, and the forum of housing (multi-unit residence) sufficient to justify smoke-free housing intervention?

  • Why is there a disconnect between health ministries advocating smoke-free housing and ministries of housing?

           These are the questions of ethics, and why legislation is necessary.

There is No Safe Level of Second-hand Smoke!

Send requests for smoke-free housing to:

Minister of Health Michael de Jong

Minister of Public Safety Shirley Bond

Rich Coleman Minister Responsible for Housing

BC's Healthy Living Alliance, Mary Collins;

Smoke-free Housing BC,

Canadian PUSH for Smoke-free Housing, Rose Marie

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Governance by Dysfunctional Boards: How the Smoke-free Housing Initiative inadvertently opened up governance for public scrutiny

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XVII

           The cases I have been tracking for three years, be it in non-profits, BC Housing, Co-ops, or Condominiums speak to the dysfunction of boards, management, and strata councils. A strong confounding factor in the smoke-free housing initiative exists if one looks at governance in non-profits, the volunteer boards and councils. This area of research confirms the litany of explanations tenants cite about their landlords, and why smoke-free housing hasn't proceeded further, faster.

          When one hears about the dysfunctions of boards, especially those providing housing and the financial resources of $620M allotted to housing, one also hears a statement of incredulity, "How is it possible? It defies logic and credibility?”

          Actually, it doesn't.

          Education remains the only tool to best practices and improvement of management. There is a dearth of it. Punitive measures of withholding or reducing funding to housing providers ultimately affects the indigent tenants, who are indigent because of health.

          A very few key challenges perpetual in non-profit boards (from a list of more than a hundred):
  1. Poor understanding of board governance and stewardship; poor orientation
  2. Getting the board to buy into improving board governance; understood to be a crisis of confidence
  3. Lack of transparency and openness to clientele, in an emerging populace expecting and rightly demanding it
  4. Difficult to find board volunteers in a small community, and to have board renewal with new members; small incestuous pool from which to choose directors
  5. Founder relationships; old boys/girls club
  6. Informal selection based on relationships
  7. Difficult to separate personal relationships from professional ones
  8. Lack of self-evaluation and external evaluation
  9. Lack of contact with advising sources, outside help
  10. Relying on management for information for decision-making, relying on management for decision-making
  11. Management runs the show:  management leads, board follows
  12. Management has not been supervised, fear of micromanagement; threat of micromanagement
  13. Management has become dictatorial and controlling; management rules by fear and threat of eviction
  14. Management controls or hinders a Tenant Advisory Committee; tenants fear to participate
  15. The Registrar of Companies has no ability to investigate or otherwise intervene. No one audits governance, management, and social responsibility, not even health and housing authorities.

          A viscous circle, one the smoke-free housing initiative inadvertently opened up for public scrutiny. Associations connected to housing, such BC Non-Profit Housing Association, Condo and Co-op associations have not been able to intervene.   

          What will the Ministry of Finance and Housing and Health do with this?

          What would you like them to do?  

          I think smoke-free housing needs to be mandated, legislated, and not left to people who are really challenged by something that is an unequivocal health matter.  Clearly, smoke-free housing and the problem of second-hand smoke cannot be left up to management and boards, whether they have legal authority or not.  They cannot be left to, expected to champion smoke-free housing. There are too many examples of dysfunction affecting vulnerable clientele.

          Dysfunction remains intricately intertwined with bullying, mobbing, and all manner of intimidation and threats.

BTW:   As far back as 2006, BC Health and Housing ministries were getting lots of letters from people wanting regulation.  Keep up the good work.

Minister of Health Michael de Jong

Minister of Public Safety Shirley Bond

Rich Coleman Minister Responsible for Housing

BC's Healthy Living Alliance, Mary Collins;

Smoke-free Housing BC,

Canadian PUSH for Smoke-free Housing, Rose Marie

Monday, May 9, 2011

Premier Christy Clark announces Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)

For Immediate Release
May 9, 2011
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Health

Premier Christy Clark announces free support to help smokers

VANCOUVER – Nicotine replacement therapies will be available to all British Columbian smokers at no cost and smoking cessation prescription drugs will be covered under PharmaCare, Premier Christy Clark announced today.

“Every year tobacco-related deaths rob us needlessly of friends, family and loved ones,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Tobacco is the largest single cause of premature death and disease in our province and while a lot of progress has been made, there is still more we can do. This program will provide smokers with a new level of direct support to quit, to live smoke-free, and to improve their own health as well as the health of their families.”

Starting Sept. 30, 2011, British Columbians will have the choice of either nicotine gum or patches to help quit tobacco with a free supply for up to 12 weeks, or obtaining coverage of prescribed smoking cessation drugs through PharmaCare. The program will cost an estimated $15 million to $25 million, based on the number of individuals who use the program.

Over the coming months, the Ministry of Health will work with groups such as the B.C. Lung Association, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon, the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, BC Pharmacy Association, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health authorities and the BC Medical Association on the best way to implement the program, including how to distribute nicotine gum and patches.

See complete news release under News.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

SMOKE DAMAGE - Voices from the Front Lines of Tobacco Wars

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XVI

First up, a “pound a puff” news flash!
           I receive interesting news from around the globe on smoke-free initiatives. By far, the ingenuity and innovation of the smoke-free initiative by International Airport in Belfast, Ireland, wins platinum.
           A new “smoking area” has been made available for smokers craving that last cigarette before entering the terminal, but for that last cigarette, smokers have to put in £1 to get through the doors. As you might well imagine, the idea raised the ire of smokers. “It's not fair.” “It's a disgrace.”
           Philip, a non-smoker, said Mark's face "lit up" when he thought he could smoke before their flight. "'We've got an hour and I'm going for a smoke” he said. But he stormed back and said: “I'm not going for a smoke, you have to pay.”
           Ay, it worked. Success. Got 'em! One more smoker, and his ire, who didn't light up and didn't bring any fresh third-hand smoke onto the flight. Those Irish, they're still at it, saving civilization from themselves by trickery and ingenuity. 
         You gotta love them Irish.
Second up, in the newly published “Smoke Damage,” author Michael Schwalbe, presents the stories of 48 people. One page displays a picture of the person, with the facing page relating their personal message. Schwalbe puts a face to each of the quotes below, and what the smoke-free struggle looks like for you the individual, your family and caregivers, health educators, activists, researchers, doctors – around the globe, across a half century.

Who do the voices affected by tobacco-related diseases belong to?
  • My grandmother's death in 1988 also affected my thinking about tobacco. The tumor on her fight lung came as a surprise, because she was one of the few non-smoking adults in the family. She did, however, live with a son and daughter who smoked, and she had been exposed to secondhand smoke most of her life. Grandmother's doctor advised her to stay away from smoke. But the old farmhouse she shared with my aunt and uncle was small and poorly ventilated. What struck me was that neither my aunt or uncle, as far as I could tell, tried to quit smoking during this time. Nor did my mother refrain from smoking when she visited.”
  • 21 year old pregnant mother diagnosed with throat cancer: “The first time I was conscious after the surgery and they let me go to the bathroom by myself, I looked in the mirror and I flipped out, and they put me out.”
  • A lot of people who have laryngectomies wear stoma covers. I go out with mine open. I wear tank tops, sleeveless tops. It doesn't bother me anymore because I've got to face facts. I'm going to be like this for the rest of my life, and I don't want to hide it. And the more people that see me and are aware of it, the more who are going to be aware of the facts.”
  • When I'd tell people that I tracked news about tobacco, I might as well have told them I painted my toenails in pink polka dots or something. It was like, You do what? Why?”
  • When I testified before the Atlanta City Council, I went up and said, “You know, I've had throat cancer, and now I have a clogged artery. This is what tobacco smoke does to people. This is what it does to non-smokers. This is why you need to make this legislation. If you want to smoke, that's fine; hurt yourself. Don't do it to the non-smokers.”
  • When I was in the hospital for surgery to clear plaque from my arteries, the cardiologist advised me to quit smoking. This struck me as strange advice, since I had never smoked. It was years of breathing secondhand smoke.”
  • Changing the social environment is the key. There is a lot of evidence that if you can change the way society thinks about smoking, you can change behavior quite rapidly.”
  • We know what works to reduce smoking. Higher taxes, taxation, smoke-free air laws, employer and insurance company support for cessation programs, comprehensive advertising bans, and education that exposes not only tobacco's toxicity and addictiveness but also the deceit and manipulation of the [tobacco] industry.”
  • There was this nonsense – they'd say, “You're in the non-smoking section.” And I'd think, Are you stupid? Or do you think I'm stupid enough to believe that if there's somebody smoking ten feet away that I'm in the non-smoking section?”
  • Since the 1950's we've gone through cycles. Every time the [tobacco] industry is under pressure, the industry makes grand pronouncements that they are fundamentally reformed. And the pronouncements amount to, “We're going to tell the public everything we know about this product. We're going to research and investigate it, because we care about the health of the American public as much as anybody else. And we think it's wrong to prey on kids. - and we haven't, but you can be certain we won't in the future. And we'll go to great lengths no to do so; in fact, we'll even design public education campaigns to discourage kids from smoking.” They said it in the 50s; they said it in the 60s; they said it in the 70's; they said it several times in the 80's; and they said it several times in the 90's. And if you actually track it, they just wait long enough for everyone to forget they said it before, and they say it a little bit differently each time, because society has changed. But some of the quotes are virtually the same quotes they've used before.”
  • While I knew smoking wasn't good for me and that it made some people sick, I thought that if it were really so bad, the government would ban the product and not let it be sold in every drugstore, grocery store, convenience store, and gas station. Contaminated spinach kills three people and they yank it off every shelf in the country. But tobacco can kill 1200 people a day and that's okay?”

What Michael Schwalbe would like [t]his book to accomplish:

  • Illuminate “how tobacco-related disease changes people's lives for the worse, causing not just debilitation and premature death but also emotional suffering for those who are connected to tobacco users.”
  • Provide the information that will “keep some readers from smoking, or leads others to quit....”
  • Incite anger. “If readers come away understanding why anger is justified, and feeling it, I would count it as further evidence of the book's success.”

Every now and again, an author writes a sterling, concise, succinct and reverent book about the collateral damage experienced by individuals as a result of documented lethal corporate actions. I think “Smoke Damage” belongs in that category.

What I would like this book to accomplish:
  • I think the 48 people ask that “Smoke Damage” be elevated to the status of Coffee Table book, granted full view in your living room, and to be that treasured 'smoke-free' memento that makes it through to the next generation.
  • I think the 48 people in “Smoke Damage” would like to be remembered as representing a socially and morally awakened society on tobacco and smoking, least we lapse into forgetfulness, again.
  • I think “Smoke Damage” is the tribute to those who have died from tobacco and for those who will die.
  • I think “Smoke Damage” reflects you have picked up the challenge of “doing something in your own backyard, to try and reduce the number of people who will have to bear a similar weight in the future.”
  • I think “Smoke Damage” might serve as a TOMA, that top-of-mind-awareness that shouts, “I am, we are no longer fooled.”
History of tobacco and public health stuns, and yet seems to be insufficient for governments with so much medical knowledge of tobacco-related diseases to garner the Political Will to enact the phrase, “people deserve smoke-free homes.”

I think “Smoke Damage” illustrates Bertrand Russell's famous quote, “Be isolated, be ignored, be attacked, be in doubt, be frightened, but do not be silenced.”

Submit your request for smoke-free housing to:

Minister of Health Michael de Jong

Minister of Public Safety Shirley Bond

Rich Coleman Minister Responsible for Housing

BC's Healthy Living Alliance, Mary Collins;

Smoke-free Housing BC,

Canadian PUSH for Smoke-free Housing, Rose Marie