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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yukon's smoke-free housing comes into effect January 1, 2012

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXVII

          With the bell clanging, pot banging, howling and whistling (every other manner of noise maker) saluting the New Year in, some of that cheer in the Yukon will be celebrating smoke-free housing.

           Back at the end of May 2011, I wrote about the Litany of Motivations and Obstructions to Smoke-free Housing,

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.”

           Yesiree! The time has come. The day is near, with Yukoners envied for what they hold dear. The New Year ends the seven month grace period extended to smokers, to get used to smoking outside.

           The weather factor, as I write, reads minus twelve Celsius to minus thirty Celsius. Yukoners know best about getting along with weather.

          How the story goes...

Seniors and young families living next door to smokers made up the majority of complainers and whiners about secondhand smoke.

More and more landlords recognize the wisdom in having a complex where they, themselves, or their families, want to live.

           On May 13, 2011, Yukon Housing Corporation notified all of its tenants that as of May 20, 2011

  • Yukon Housing Corporation has a new no smoking policy for its affordable and staff housing units. YHC wants to ensure all residents, employees and visitors enjoy a smoke free environment and have a healthy and safe place to work and live.”
  • We promote healthy lifestyles for all tenants and staff and have taken steps to phase out smoking in all of our residences.”
  • All new buildings are smoke free. Also, as units become vacant and new tenants move in, these units also become smoke free. All new leases contain a non-smoking clause. This applies to new tenants, and existing tenants relocating to a different unit with a new lease.”


  • As of January 1, 2012:  ALL our buildings and units are smoke free.  A grace period is being given to all current tenants within their current units until January 1, 2012."
  • Smoking (this includes cigarettes, cigars, and other similar products that produce smoke) is only allowed on private balconies or patios, and outside at least 5m from a shared entrance in the multi-unit buildings.”

           Some would call this too ambitious a move. Others consider it not only thinking outside the box, but living outside the box.

          Making British Columbia free from secondhand smoke in multi-unit dwellings, would simply grant us the Five Star standard, and make us the focus of global envy.

          And wouldn't that make for a "Happy New Year!"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cancer in non-smoker sparks legal action (Australia)

Sydney Australia lawyer, Peter Lavac, shares his story, so that others know the seriousness of exposure to secondhand smoke.  If it happens to the healthiest of people, it can happen to the most vulnerable, who most likely don't have the skills, knowledge, or attitude to defend themselves.

Lavac efforts to get the chain-smoking couple below him to stop smoking in their suite proved unsuccessful.  Like most non-smokers attempting to get the issue attended to, Lavac approached everyone up the ladder of authority, but to not avail.  He moved.  Feeling unwell, he had a CT scan which showed a shadow at the top of his right lung, which proved to be cancerous.

''I had been training for almost a year for a long-distance open ocean surf-ski race in Hawaii,'' he said. ''My whole life was turned upside down. One week I was trying to figure out how much water I would need to get me from Molokai to Oahu. The following week I was on the operating table.''

Mr Lavac reiterates that many situations exist, such as in multi-unit buildings, retirement villages and nursing homes with similar dangers of secondhand smoke intrusion through windows, vents, cavities and other spaces.

Professor Peters, chairman of Action on Smoking and Health, reminds people, ''If you can smell smoke, it is hurting you,'' he said.

Another story on the need for smoke-free housing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Demand for smoke-free housing on the rise in Metro Vancouver (Georgia Straight)

Finding non-smoking apartments next to impossible


Today, Carlito Pablo, from the Georgia Straight wrote another article on the impossible situation of non-smoking tenants experiencing secondhand smoke in their apartments.
He compares British Columbia's Lower Mainland with California’s Sonoma County, and how Sonoma County is setting the standard for the next phase toward smoke-free housing.

On May 10, 2012, all new multi-unit residences in Sonoma County will be smoke-free.

As of January 12, 2013, the ban will extend to all existing multiple-dwelling units like apartments and condos.

In his article, Pablo speculates that Sonoma's smoke-free housing policy "may be too ambitious for Canadian jurisdictions...."

Pablo spoke to Vision Vancouver’s, Tim Stevenson, who expressed openness to the idea that future multi-unit premises should be completely smoke-free.

“Even the people who smoke say if they try to live together, it’s so much smoke, they’re practically choking to death on each other’s smoke,” Stevenson said in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight.

However, Stevenson related his concern about how Sonoma's standards would impact a certain sector of the city’s population. Having served on the board of the First United Church, he has seen how cigarettes are important to many Downtown Eastside residents dealing with addictions and mental illness.

“To ask them not to smoke or tell them they can’t smoke, they would be faced with the choice of not having living space or being out on the street—or trying to lie,” Stevenson said. “And the problem that that gets into is other residents in the building who don’t smoke report them, and then you get conflict.”

Full article...

Increasingly, Smoking Indoors Is Forbidden at Public Housing

Secondhand smoke remains a public policy issue.  Officials at various housing authorities, including the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, say they hear far more complaints from nonsmokers about their neighbors who smoke than from smokers claiming the right to light up.

Housing Authorities across the United States are delivering smoke-free housing.   In 2004, the Auburn Housing Authority became the first authority in Maine and one of the first in the country to ban smoking in public housing, and it has served as a model.

On Jan. 1, Maine will become the first state in the country in which all of its public housing authorities are smoke free, affecting about 12,000 tenants.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Source: Demotix - News by You (uk), 2011-12-19

An initiative of the European Commission "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" campaign promotes those who have stopped smoking, and help others to give up the habit..."is a celebration of the ex-smoker, as a proud and unstoppable role model for those who have yet to quit."

Keeping the smoke-free momentum alive through the holidays...definitely worth a Gold CLIO award!

See also...

Now only if the Vaudevillians could replicate this....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

80% of People Living in MUDs Want to Live SMoke-free

      Polling by Ipsos Reid in November, 2011 on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society showed that 67 per cent of Ontarians believe that all apartments, condos and co-ops in the province should be 100 per cent smoke free.  Among young adults aged 18-34, this number rises to 83 per cent.

Toward smoke-free multi-unit dwellings (BC Medical Journal Oct 2011)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why there's a PUSH for smoke-free housing, to be smoke-free

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXVI

I wish that the fervor for smoke-free housing was a grass roots movement, but it is not. The backlash from the majority of smokers' blustering on the right-to-smoke, and in-my-own-home creates fear, confusion, and doubt. Only Corporate Tobacco, and the lawyers that fight them, appreciate this degree of ignorance and backlash.
The push for smoke-free housing emerges out of governments and a wee few smokers (yes smokers) suing Corporate Tobacco.
The corporate documents disclosed during trial reveal the basis for how juries and judges found tobacco companies negligent in manufacturing, marketing, and selling cigarettes.
On December 2, 2011, Oregon's Supreme Court put an end to the case - Jesse D. Williams (school custodian, died 1997) vs Philip Morris USA - awarding an additional $99 million over the awards from 2009 that Philip Morris appealed.
On September 1, 2011, Justice of Massachusetts Superior Court, Elizabeth M. Fahey, published her decision from the two-week, 14 member jury trial of Willie Evans (Executor of the Estate of Marie R. Evans) against Lorillard Tobacco Company.
Justice Fahey's decision provides a detailed summary of the white-collar criminal activity of Lorillard Tobacco, all tobacco companies, and the basis for the historical $152M award.
Born in 1947, Marie Evans was nine years old, playing with her siblings and friends in and around her apartment complex in Roxbury, Massachusetts, when employees and service agents of Lorillard began passing out free 4-pack cigarettes. At first, she exchanged them with older teens for candy she couldn't afford, and by thirteen had begun to smoke and become addicted to Lorillard's 'Newport' brand.
Parents in the complex warned their children against smoking, and against the free gifts from the “enticers.” However, the “sophisticated glamour” of smoking depicted in ads won out. The ads of a couple smoking made her want to “look like her” and “marry him.” Thus, began Marie Evans' career of trying to perpetually quit.
So what goes into a $152M award? What did Justice Fahey base her decision on? Internal Lorillard memos became evidence because they contained statements such as Newport was “marketed successfully according to plan,” “sampling as one of its cigarette marketing strategies,” and “the base of our business is the high school student.”
Excerpts from Fahey's decision and what Lorillard Tobacco Company internal documents revealed:
  • 1930's – known that the use of menthol sedates and suppresses the gag reflex, especially in new smokers; eases smoke inhalation in longer increments increasing body's exposure to nicotine; enhances enjoyment of smoking, and facilitates addicted to nicotine more easily
  • 1939 – Lorillard had abstracts of at least 82 articles from the scientific and medical literature revealing cancer causing agents of tobacco
  • 1940-1950 “Since the 1950's [Lorillard] has researched and recognized, decades before the scientific community did, that nicotine is an addictive drug, that cigarette manufacturers are in the drug business, and that cigarettes are drug delivery devices. The physiological impact of nicotine explains in large part why people use tobacco products and find it so difficult to stop using them. Moreover, [Lorillard] has sought to exploit the addictive quality of smoking and nicotine for decades in order to develop new products and increase sales.”
  • 1940 – Lorillard had the technical capacity to remove nicotine from the tobacco it used in cigarettes, and used this technology to remove the nicotine from tobacco, and then infuse tobacco with the right level of nicotine to maintain a consistent and exact dosage to cause nicotine addiction: “enhanced nicotine project.”
  • 1946 – Lorillard acknowledges the scientific and medical authorities have just enough evidence to justify that tobacco causes cancer
  • 1947 – Marie R. Evans is born
  • 1954 – Lorillard's (& Corporate Tobacco) “Frank Statement”, the public relations advertisement to counter media reporting the health hazards of smoking. The Frank Statement presented to the public, Lorillard's (& Corporate Tobacco) pledge to establish the Tobacco Industry Research Committee to research “all phases of tobacco use and health,” and as the commitment for “accepting an interest in people's health as a basic responsibility, paramount to every other consideration in our business. We believe the products we make are not injurious to health. We always have and always will cooperate closely with those whose task is to safeguard the public health...and to accept a responsibility for financing independent scientific research into health problems, including lung cancer, in an effort to get needed facts and there is no proof that cigarette smoking is one of the causes of cancer.”
  • 1956 – Lorillard distributes free cigarettes in packs of 4 (until 1983, when outlawed)
  • 1956 – Lorillard's develops the menthol 'Newport' brand, with $900,000 advertising budget
  • 1957 – Lorillard's 'Newport' brand introduced into the market “fun” cigarettes to appeal to youth and a youthful “immature group of smokers.”
  • 1958 - “it was no longer reasonable for Lorillard to debate that cigarettes caused lung cancer.”
  • 1964 – Lorillard memo on Newports being a “fun cigarette...(sic) it was advertised as such, and obtained a youthful group as well as an immature group of smokers.” “Newport marketed successfully according to plan.”
  • 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States “smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer and heart disease.”
  • 1965 – Stickers on cigarette packages “Caution: cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.”
  • 1966 – US Public Health Survey Poll identified 57% of respondents agreed that “current cigarette advertising leaves the impression that smoking is a healthy thing to do.”
  • 1967 – smoking advertised as “harmless and satisfying.”
  • 1968 – Lorillard tracking advertising of 2-11 years of age , and 12-17
  • 1969-1970 – Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act
  • 1972 – continued escalation of campaigns to create doubt about the health issues without actually denying them: “the case is not proved...all the while knowing of and failing to reveal substantial credible scientific research to the contrary.”
  • 1973 – Lorillard knew that both female and male smokers were prone to the same illnesses, and that women, particularly working women, have less success in quitting and staying off cigarettes
  • 1974 – internal documents reveal “scientific studies funded not selected against specific scientific goals, but rather for various purposes such as public relations, political relations, position for litigation, etc.”
  • 1976 – Lorillard's “epidemeological studies indicates that smokers showed increased morbidity and morality attributes attributable to coronary heart disease...smoke doses of nicotine are known to induce...elevation of arterial blood pressure.” “extensive effects upon autonomic respiratory and neuromuscular systems.” “smokers physiological satisfaction is almost totally related to nicotine intake.”
  • In a March 2, 1976 presentation, the Will Graham Company advised Lorillard that 'the taste of tobacco may be one of the least significant reasons why a person smokes,' adding that, 'it certainly ranks well below the impact of nicotine for smokers.”
  • 1977 - 'enriched nicotine' continues to be Lorillard's highest priority project
  • 1978 - “sampling” as one of the cigarette marketing strategies, and “How to Reach Younger Smokers.” In addition, Lorillard sponsored youth teams and sporting events, “the base of our business is the high school student.”
  • 1980 – “In a February 13, 1980 Lorillard memorandum stamped 'SECRET,' marketing vice president Smith described the goal of the ongoing Lorillard nicotine research project: determine the minimum level of nicotine that will allow continued smoking...hypothesizing that below some very low nicotine level, diminished physiological satisfaction cannot be compensated for by psychological satisfaction. At this point, smokers will quit or return to higher tar and nicotine brands...levels of health concern vary, and are directly related to the tar and nicotine levels of regular brand.”
  • 1980 – Lorillard internal memo “we can't defend continued smoking as free choice if the person was addicted.”
  • 1985 – US Congress amended Label Act with new set of rotational warnings on the health hazards of smoking
  • 1990 – “As of the early 1990's, Lorillard's position on causation was: Lorillard does not and will not authorize the use of the Risk Factor formulation for causation for public relations purposes. We wish to maintain the traditional articulation: scientifically unproven, statistical, lack of mechanism. Risk Factor discussion is for scientists only and only in the courtroom and its controlled circumstances.”
  • 1994 – US Congressional hearings where Lorillard's CEO testified “it was not proven whether smoking cigarettes caused cancer and that nicotine is not addictive.”
  • 2002 – Marie Evans dies from small cell lung cancer, six months post-diagnosis
  • 2004 – “As late as 2004, Lorillard CEO Martin Orlowsky refused to admit the full extent of smoking's harm. He was specifically asked: “Why hasn't Lorillard specifically stated publicly that smoking causes any diseases other than smoking [sic] emphysema, COPD, or heart disease? He responded: “We have – in certain instances, we do not know if in fact the evidence, the scientific evidence is such that it warrants saying it does cause. However, Lorillard's longstanding position, as long as I've been with the company is, that certainly smoking can, is a risk factor for those diseases.”
  • see Addiction Incorporated (about Victor DeNoble, former Philip Morris scientist)
Justice Fahey concludes, based on the exhibits before her, that the evidence portrays,overwhelmingly, how Lorillard targeted youth. “It is undisputed that cigarettes are addictive and carcinogenic. Nicotine makes cigarettes addictive; the tar in tobacco causes cancer. While nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco, Lorillard has, for decades, had the ability to enhance, and has enhanced, the amount of nicotine in each cigarette so as to ensure that each cigarette contains enough nicotine to be addictive.”
This current generation of Tobacco Wars shines a spotlight on all of us – granting us the opportunity to look at the issues, and ourselves, anew.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My relationship with smokers, and affair with smoke-free housing: aspiring for space for non-smoker ven-ti-la-tion.

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXV

Thirty-something Michelle Sager chronicles her attraction to smoking, it's use as a vehicle for teenage rebellion, and how she gave over her twenties to nicotine addiction. Nikhil Joshi wants to be a doctor, but not a do-gooder doctor and so he vehemently clings to smoking as a badge of self-determination to not let other people change him.

If I silently ask the questions, again: “So, how much of this smoking thing is habit, is addiction, and is plain FINE thinking: @#$%^&-up – Insecure – Narcissistic – Egoistic?”  “How much of this smoking is a license for boorish manners?”  am I considered a self-determined individual,  or unsympathetic, lacking in emotional intelligence, and an anti-smoking Nazi?

U.S. President Barack Obama’s doctors certified that he no longer smokes. Peter Singer commiserates that, “If it took Mr. Obama, a man strong-willed enough to aspire to and achieve the U.S. presidency, five years to kick the habit, it is not surprising that hundreds of millions of smokers find themselves unable to quit.” Barely a week later, Carly Weeks, drags out the commiserating extolling the virtues of personal sharing of struggles by one so powerful as Obama.

If I respond with, “And how many of the millions of lessor smokers, many who live in dense multi-unit housing, will receive five years of free nicotine replacement therapy?”  "How many of the millions of lessor smokers will receive close doctor consultations?"  do I run the risk of being branded a heretic, Political Incorrect, and flagged as an anti-smoking Nazi?


Obviously, bad things happen to good people.

More pondering, “How much talk therapy supported the nicotine replacement therapy?” “Did Obama's doctors certify him through ongoing cotinine testing?” “What kind of help is there for non-smokers sucking up second-hand smoke?”

I'm not sure how I managed to remain a non-smoker, (yep, never smoked, except involuntarily sucking up secondhand smoke) in the face of overwhelming odds to be a smoker.

Born in 1953 into a family of smokers in a village of smokers, I am remembered for breaking, in half, lit cigarettes sitting in ash trays, chucking packages of cigarettes into the wood-burning stove, and refusing to be bribed by twenty-cents if I ran to the corner store for a package of cigarettes. By the time I was twelve, I mocked smokers by mimicking their smoking behavior. I just wasn't willing to suck it up. Not material for the in-crowd. I read a lot. Even more remarkable, at a time when children were beaten with leather belts (and worse) for talking back, I missed that too! I barely got an admonishment for being too big for my breeches (that would be persnickety). I do remember being cautioned about the consequences, that I might burn myself on the stove if I didn't stop, and “that wasn't nice.” And the late sixties, as a teenager, I missed cigarettes, sex, drugs, but enjoyed rock n'roll immensely.  I had an English pen-pal who introduced me the Beatles before they hit the Ed Sullivan Show.

I was in my mid-fifties before I could identify marijuana, and realized that some of the songs from the sixties and seventies were about drugs. I know, just totally unbelievable. By then, I had come west, and learned that marijuana was the sea-bed keeping the province afloat. When the banter about whether Clinton ever smoked marijuana became water-cooler chat, a student in one of my classes asked if I had ever smoked marijuana? Another student blurted out before I even had a chance to respond, “No, not Rose Marie!” with such certainty. I blurted out with laughter, “How can you know?” In harmony they responded, “We know.” It was a bonding moment. But I still don't know how they knew.

But, in the 80's, I passed out smoking cartoons, listened full-volume to Jerry Reid sing about taking “Another Puff,” and had brass no-smoking signs on the front and back doors of my house. My son's grandparents had to wash before they could hold their brand new grandson. Now I think, “extraordinary lack of debate on the matter, including from my husband.” They had waited seven years for a grandson from us. I juggled motherhood with working part-time for the first smoking and health lab developing statistics on the carcinogens in smoke. My son took up dancing, and for a decade, I was a dance-mom. Missed being a hockey mom. Learned to ride a horse, and earned a degree. A prof said I loved horses more than men, (How DO people know this stuff?) and gave me a note pad with “BULL” stamped on it. His courses on communication inoculated me against advertising and newspaper headlines.

The nineties, and two-thirds of the first decade of the first Millennium are a blur of work, education, exploring naturally beautiful BC, and not from having smoke in my eyes. Ecstatic with smoke-free work places, I focused on cleaning up domestic abuse and workplace violence. I had a relationship with a smoker, but he never smoked around me: washed his hands and brushed his teeth afterward. And those pesky group of smokers standing in doorways – take a deep breath and make a run through it. Better yet, find a path less travelled.

Then I got sick, and couldn't work, and the more I tried to get better, the sicker I got. The neuro-muscular-skeletal problems were something I could learn to manage and work around, but definitely not fight against. In 2007, I couldn't even find a place to live, and a senior outreach worker took me on. I went into early retirement, without ever aspiring to it. She talked me into moving far and away to what may be the grandest location ever to live, and the only way I could ever live in this grand location would be in this non-profit housing seniors and persons-with-disabilities.

But on the way, I discovered my non-smoker status to be a critical character flaw. Where once I proudly announced my number one attribute to landlords, now Rusti counselled me to stifle, and not be so vocal about it. After six months, I became a difficult case and listed as hard-to-house - a label applied to alcoholics, drug addicts, and mentally ill. I suffered none of these. There was no such thing as smoke-free housing in non-profit, subsidized housing.

And so on a bright, sunny, breezy summer day, Rusti delivered me into a bright, sunny, breezy suite. Relief turned to horror. Standing in the balcony doorway, I turned to say, “This was a smoker's suite.” Barely audible I heard, “I know.” In a smoker-vacated suite, I was on top of a smoker, across from a smoker, and with a smoking pit in front of me. How could this be? In the interview, I rambled on eloquently ad nauseam for a suite as far away from smokers as possible.  Mapping out the complex, I learned there was no such thing.

I coped by going outdoors as much as I could, for as long as I could, and became known as a somewhat eccentric woman for spending so much time outdoors. I reasoned I would be moved; this was temporary. By December, I suffered nine asthma attacks, that had me falling out of bed in the middle of the night. The problem of second-hand smoke was matched by the banality of the talk about it. Everyone I met who wasn't a smoker complained of second-hand smoke.

In the meantime, I socialized through my symptoms of wheezing, coughing, and yelling from jolts of pain. I had several heart-to heart talks with smokers about what second-hand smoke did to my body, but these failed to translate into smokers being more careful about contaminating me with their third-hand smoke. It was my problem. I was hyper-sensitive. So I moved into avoidance mode, became less social-able, and tapped into my introverted side.

Then eight months into my tenancy, a smoker moved in beside me and brought the second-hand smoke issue into critical mass. She made the tenant above her sick, the tenant across the hall sick, and my conditioned worsened. I was frantic. I screamed for help to the senior outreach worker, “Get me out of here!” I wrote my first formal complaint and sent it to management, and to the smokers below and beside me. Management commiserated with me, squeezing my hand, hugging my shoulder, but said, “There's nothing more we can do.” Management advised I contact Clean Air Coalition as they were doing some fine work towards smoke-free housing. I did.

Crying in despair, tenants came knocking on my door, and asked me if I was the smoker. On finding out I was not, they wailed, “wasn't I bothered by it too!” Three weeks later, we held a draft of a petition in our hands, outlining the scope of the problem and what might be done – all straight from Sharon Hammond of Clean Air Coalition. We bonded in crisis.

Management and the board dismissed our claims as exaggerated. There had no record of second-hand smoke complaints. That's not true. A letter from management to all tenants dated December 2006 testifies to the secondhand smoke, especially from marijuana and drugs. Barely a month later, another letter dated January 2007 announces that sniffer dogs will be making their rounds. Management no longer squeezes my hand or hugs my shoulder with empathy.

But Management stated they were following current legislation: “There's nothing more we can do.” Management and the board refused to meet with us. We appealed to outside mediators. A month later, seventeen tenants signed a human rights complaint. There was nothing more we could do.

Smokers ramped up the smoking, inside and out. Smokers entertained by mocking non-smokers, and became passionately engaged in smoking fests on the right-to-smoke, in-their-own-home. Employees smoked openly while preparing vacated suites for new tenants. Worksafe intervened. Smokers targeted me, and felt comfortable with harassment in public, with witnesses, and security cameras rolling. In vituperative appeal and admonished, a smoker yells, “What am I doing, ruining such a wonderful place to live!” Before I have a chance to respond, or decide if I would respond, a friend and neighbour shouts back, “Do you know what you are doing is harassment?” Stress, then relief.

A year to the date of my first complaint letter, we sat in a Human Rights Early Settlement Meeting. We listened to Management's lawyer read out their statement on why they could not accommodate us. When the mediator sent Management and their lawyer home for not willing to negotiate with us in good faith, I watched $26,000 drift out of the room, and thought, "Failed leadership."  The mediator turned to us, expressing her condolences, but that in essence there was nothing more that could be done. 

Second-hand smoke created more illness for me, and I began to live elsewhere through house-sitting. I wait and follow our case as it meanders through the legal system.

Now, I chronicle the struggle of non-smokers. I gather their documents and their stories. I'm here to ensure that the everyday lived lives of non-smoking seniors, persons-with-disabilities, and single parents with children, are part of the Tobacco Wars history.