December 22, 1999 Letter To the Editor:
January 17th – 23rd is national Non-Smoking Week, and organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society need all the help we can get in our fight against tobacco. We are writing to urge the city of Ottawa to join the many other municipalities in Ontario who have passed smoke-free bylaws.
At this moment, in our community, people are lying in hospital beds, slowly suffocating to death, each laboured breath bringing them closer to dying of lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking. Their stricken families are compelled to sit by helplessly and watch their loved ones struggle for oxygen.
Meanwhile, at the same time, thousands of teenagers are lighting up cigarettes, taking the first steps in a journey that may eventually lead to that same hospital bed. We know that out of every five teens who start to smoke, four will become addicted, and two will eventually die of smoking related disease.
This is not a political issue, this is a health issue. Controlling second-hand smoke is our moral responsibility. By doing so, we set an example for our young people, and we honour those who have died.
The Canadian Cancer Society volunteers and staff are working across Canada to help teens resist the pressures of the tobacco industry and to help smokers kick the habit. We encourage the City of Ottawa to join us and implement a smoke-free bylaw.
For more information about the effects of tobacco use and how-to-quit smoking, call the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.
President, Carleton Unit.