Still work to be done to stub out smoking

It seems strange that we still have to talk about smoking. In the last two decades there have been huge changes in what

It seems strange that we still have to talk about smoking.

In the last two decades there have been huge changes in what is considered acceptable when it comes to this expensive and dangerous habit.

Even though it wasn’t so long ago, most of us can hardly imagine a time when people regularly smoked in restaurants. Many didn’t even have smoking and non-smoking sections separated by any kind of divider. If there was a non-smoking and a smoking section you could only tell because some of the tables had ashtrays on them and some of them didn’t. Imagine sitting beside an ashtray now, as you eat out. It’s almost unthinkable.

Folks in the baby boomer generation will remember when people were actually allowed to smoke on airplanes — where all the air is recirculated to the passengers, smoking and not.

Imagine a trans-Atlantic or -Pacific flight where people could light up. Now, it seems archaic that flight crews still remind passengers that there is no smoking on flights, even in the restrooms.

It’s fairly rare now to even come across people puffing as they walk down the sidewalk.

All of these changes are very much positive developments.

Smoking causes cancer and other breathing problems not just in those who indulge in cigarettes and cigars, but in those around them as well.

Which  is why we fully support Our Cowichan Communities Health Network in their bid to address the distressing Cowichan Valley and Lake Cowichan-specific numbers of smokers.

Our Cowichan has gotten a bit of a sluggish response to their efforts thus far. We don’t think it’s that people believe smoking is something good, it’s that it’s a problem that some may think we’ve already conquered. It’s yesterday’s cause célèbre.

But while we’ve come a long way, Cowichan is still lagging.

Our Cowichan’s Cindy Lise dropped some statistics on Lake Cowichan council that are worth noting: “Lung cancer within the Cowichan region, chronic lung disease, is much higher [than the Island average]. Maternal smoking in Lake Cowichan is double.”

The percentage of women who reported smoking during their current pregnancy was 20 per cent — almost twice the island percentage (11 per cent) and more than double the provincial number (eight per cent).

Those are troubling numbers, more than worth our time and effort.

Kids mimic what their parents do. If mom smokes…

Clearly there’s still work to be done.

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