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Dying Worker Implores Labour Ministers to Act
To the Editor
Dying hospitality worker Heather Crowe has just written to labour ministers across Canada imploring them to take action and prevent all workplace exposure to secondhand smoke. Ms. Crowe wants "to be the last person to die from second-hand smoke at work". Her letter of November 25 was publicly released today by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "It's shameful that someone, in her dying days, has to spend energy fighting for the lives of others," said Airspace President Heather Mackenzie.
"For over a decade we have known that secondhand smoke poisons and kills. It's appalling that labour ministers have dragged their feet on this issue and thereby cost people their lives. Can't labour ministers understand the science or read the cigarette pack warnings about secondhand smoke?" charged Airspace President Heather Mackenzie. "We are encouraging hospitality workers everywhere to stand up for their right to not be poisoned. In view of the history on this issue, it's open season on labour ministers", asserted Mackenzie.
Earlier this year, in response to tobacco industry pressure, BC Labour Minister Graham Bruce overruled the WCB of BC's secondhand smoke regulation, which protected workers, and imposed his weak one. So why then has Ms. Crowe written to BC Labour Minister Bruce? "Because Minister Bruce's regulation authorizes and condones the poisoning of BC hospitality workers in designated smoking rooms. No other workers are asked to consent to be poisoned by secondhand smoke just to earn a living. His regulation appeases the tobacco industry at the expense of worker and public health. It's sickening," said Mackenzie.
"We have a choice. We can either continue to pay workers compensation claims, which impose a financial cost on everyone, or we can actually solve the problem. Banning workplace exposure to secondhand smoke costs nothing and saves lives," said Airspace Director, Robert Broughton.
The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552 Fax: 604-267-3342