Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Who can smoke in this heat?

Tomorrow marks the last day that citizens of Ontario and Quebec can smoke in public places. If that law doesn't kill the so-called smoke-a-holics, I believe the humidity will.
Today the humidex was 42 in Ottawa. F-O-R-T-Y T-W-O people.
We have our central air cranked, and P has ensured that not a spec of sunlight enters the second floor of our home because he wants it to be the coolest it can possible be for sleeping. That topic in itself is a whole other post, so.... back to my smoke free rant.
All I can say is: IT'S ABOUT TIME.
Kudos to those politicians and health agencies who have steped up to the plate and actually shown some concern about the health of Ontario & Quebec citizens.
When I was a child, I was appalled at the fact that my mother smoked. I became even more appalled when I learned that she had smoked during pregnancy WITH ME. I always said that I deserved a t-shirt that said: I survived a MOM who smoked during pregnancy!
HARSH? Perhaps... but after talking to my Mom, she stressed the fact that when she was pregnant with me they were just starting to educate women about the risks of smoking while carrying a baby. This I did accept, but it still gets under my skin (and the same goes for drinking alcohol during pregnancy) because I cannot fathom how mothers could not know that smoking or drinking would not have an affect on the baby they were carrying.
Don't mistake me, this is not a bitter attack on my mother (after all I was a healthy, happy, and a brillant child - toot toot, okay...so just healthy and happy), but I am more upset with our society. The fact that education on this topic was not promoted until the 80s is beyond me. We had people in our society who could invent the telephone, electricity, and the computer, but not figure out the connection between smoking/drinking and pregnancy? Where were the rocket scientists when we really needed them?
Recently in the news, we read about Heather Crowe, the restaurant waitress who never smoked a day in her life, but developed lung cancer from inhaling second hand smoke while on the job. She died last week at the of 61 (read story here). It is stories like these that are heart breaking, and are the reason this no-smoking law is long over due.
Ottawa has been smoke free for a few years now, and I often forget what it is like to come home from a smokey bar, and wake up feeling as if I drank a 2-4 of beer each time I set foot in a licensed establishment. The next morning, the smell of my clothes and hair was enough to make me sick all over again.
It's a personal choice whether one wants to engage in smoking or not, and I agree that is should remain a personal choice, but I do beleive this new by-law goes a long way in making our society a healthier place to live, and of course, a more educated environment in which we can raise the next generation.
Yes, I know... hard to believe a bitter French student could come up with such a meaningful post on an hot and sweaty Tuesday in the capital city.
I guess this post just goes to show that not all smoking during pregnancy was bad.... right MOM??!!!!