Thursday, April 21, 2005


Published in the Brownsville Herald April 20/05

Smoking ban effort isn’t a health issue


Some people consider that cigarette smokers impose their lifestyle on non-smokers. From a non-smoker’s point of view, if so, it is done honestly, although sometimes in a misguided manner, yet still honestly.

Non-smokers, on the other hand, have plunged a symbolic knife into the backs of smokers. We have resorted to a dishonest method, contemptibly running to government to protect us with more and more force-related laws. By doing this we empower government to unjustifiably attack any part of our lifestyle, our business, our industries, that it deems unsuitable, in order to protect its unthinking and incapable citizens.

These procedures are endorsed under the deceptive umbrella of “health and safety.” With greater frequency, they imprison our activities, our choices, our enjoyment of life.A government that lies repeatedly, without restraint or regret, is a government with a disregard for right and wrong.

This government seems driven by power lust. Are we on the threshold of a new American way, “If you won’t do it yourself, we will force you to do it”? This kind of government reaches back into the 1930s, 1940s Germany.

It is far more imperative for me to direct my attention to our government’s dangerous manipulations than to my dislike for cigarette smoke.

Fascism is a cancer that vastly outstrips the possible death potential of smoking and leaves a philosophical, psychological and spiritual devastation for future generations.

Fascism murders the young and healthy as well as the elderly and sickly.

We do not elect officials so they can control and manipulate our behavior. They are in office to serve us, not vice versa.

The second-hand smoke issue is not about health and never was about health. It is all about denormalizing smoking.

Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay,
Ontatio, Canada
Via the Internet

Friday, April 15, 2005

Winnipeg Free Press

Friday, April 15th, 2005

Smoke-free world still pipe dream

Friday, April 15th, 2005


LIKE many reformed smokers, I became a zealot.
There isn't a cigarette package warning or advertisement too graphic for my taste. I cheered when Winnipeg's tough anti-smoking bylaw came into effect. I am delighted the province will now force store owners to cover up their displays of smokes so kids aren't bombarded with advertising.

I long for the day when no one lights up. I can claim to have the best interests of smokers at heart but, really, I just don't like the second-hand fumes or the costs of providing health care for longtime puffers.
Yesterday, I called Healthy Living Minister Theresa Oswald and Murray Gibson, executive director of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance (MANTRA), to engage in a round of high-fives and to decide which of us was going to gather the torches and force the minority of people who still indulge into a smoking-cessation program.
Turns out I'm the only real zealot -- and that's not a knock on either of them.

Gibson says making smoking illegal would just create a black-market situation. Addicts, he thinks, would do whatever they could to buy cigarettes. He says that, for some people, a nicotine addiction is so powerful it might drive them to desperate measures.
But he urges caution.
"We would clearly like to see a day when no one smoked," he said. "We have to work to de-normalize smoking. The cigarette companies normalized it."
A flat-out campaign to outlaw smoking would be nearly impossible, he said, and unfair to many smokers.
"We have to look at tobacco from a psychological point of view. You have to break the habit both physically and psychologically."

Gibson favours a variety of methods, from the patch to therapy, to help people regain their pink lungs.
I didn't get much further with Oswald, who admits she dreams of living in a smoke-free world. She's more pragmatist than zealot, though.
"I don't know if it's going to be a thing I'm going to see in my lifetime," she says. "If we just went ahead and did it, we might see a backlash that undoes a lot of the good we have done."

Oswald, whose father died of a smoking-related illness, says she intends to do everything in her power to prevent kids from starting the habit. She's just afraid that a heavy-hammer approach wouldn't help.
"Outright prohibition might have the effect of making smoking seem sexy, desirable," she says.
Gibson and Oswald make good points. They've demonstrated a commitment to making Manitoba smoke-free. Their measured approach will likely work eventually but not, as Oswald fears, in her lifetime.
It certainly won't work in the lifetime of anyone who still believes it's normal to set tobacco on fire and pull the smoke into their lungs. If you're so much of an addict that you'd turn to the black market to supply your needs, nagging probably won't help.

I offer this advice as a somewhat reformed zealot: Quit while you can, folks. The alternative is just plain ugly.

Thank you for not smoking, especially near me.

© 2005 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.

Winnipeg Sun April 15/05

Hide-the-cigs law won't get the job done


Time for a rant.
The Aug. 15 hide-the-ciggies law is idiotic. For all the difference it will make, it's not worth the effort.
Not that I'm opposed to discouraging kids from smoking, but this seems a lot more like posturing than prevention.
I smoked two packs a day for several years. I didn't start because cigarettes called to me from the shelves.
I started for a variety of reasons, all relating to role models, peer influence, curiosity and even just for the hell of it. I was 17. It was another way of feeling like I wasn't a kid anymore.
It was a prop, it was fun, and once I started, I liked everything about it. I'd still be smoking and loving it if I hadn't thought my way through it.
Out of sight, out of mind? The packaging will be out of sight, but smoking won't.
Education is the key in the war against smoking. Leave the cigarettes where they are, in plain view, but put a big, I mean big, sign in front of them, with huge lettering warning, "SMOKING CAUSES CANCER, HEART DISEASE, EMPHYSEMA, A MILLION OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS, INCLUDING DEATH. ENJOY!"
Then have an e-mail address available for the kids to ask of the government, "SO WHY DO YOU STILL SELL THEM?"
If hiding life-threatening products is going to become the norm, we're going to have some pretty empty stores.
I checked out your average service station-type convenience store yesterday and everywhere I looked I saw death and destruction.
Endless junk food -- chips, sweets, candies -- and drinks (pop, fruit and otherwise) that are pretty much pure sugar. Very little if anything that supports or promotes a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.
Hello heart disease
Pump that stuff in for a few years and hello heart disease, hello cancer, hello diabetes, arthritis, obesity ... yadda yadda yadda.
Picture the shelves of your average big box grocery store if everything dangerous to your health had to be hidden away, including a good chunk of the meat department. Barren.
"But food isn't addictive!" some might say.
Oh yeah? You think quitting smoking is tough, try radically changing your diet. And just like quitting smoking, it's way harder for some people to ignore those cravings than others.
Education -- the earlier in life, the better -- is the key. Then there's the role model thing. You want to help your kids, brothers, sisters, friends ... whatever ... resist the temptation to start? Don't smoke in front of them. Quit.
Set an example. I haven't met one smoker who wants their child to start smoking. Responsible behaviour definitely makes a difference.
Government ... put fewer cigarettes on the shelves, make them more expensive. Make just getting them a pain. As for the junk food on the shelves, raise the standards of what can be produced, create higher standards for what retailers can sell.
I feel the word Nazi coming at me any minute now, but common sense tells us we have to find ways to improve our quality of life rather than just maintain the status quo and hide the stuff we don't want people to think about.
They take pain killers/anti-inflammatories off the market that may lead to heart/health problems, but hide a sure killer behind a curtain, and sell on.
Brilliant. The kids will be smiling at this one.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Banning smoking in workplaces??

.. 1. If everybody smokes in a pub and there is one worker who doesn't smoke, does that mean everybody cannot smoke?

2. If everybody smokes in a pub and there is only one worker working who smokes, does that mean everybody cannot smoke?

3. If there is one worker working and he is the owner whether he smokes or doesn't smoke does that mean everybody cannot smoke?

4. Should the pub be exempt if all the workers smoke?

5. Should pubs be exempt if only smokers can be employed in that establishment? (Condition for employment)

6. If a non-smoker wants to work in that kind of establishment, should he/she sign a waiver?

7. Should smoking legislation be flexible enough so as to satisfy the workers, owners and customers?

8. If plebiscites are used to determine smoking by-laws, shouldn't the owners, workers and customers, only be allowed to vote(since they are the only ones affected by the smoking by-law)on a plebiscite.

Plebiscites are only used if an issue affects everybody every day!
Ban smoking in 'public's places?
Libraries, Day care centres, etc. YES!
Pubs, taverns ,bars etc. NO!

Note: It is not about 'health' it is all about de-normalizing smoking!! www.forces.org www.antibrains.com www.smokersrightscanada.org

Thomas W. Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258

RE: SMOKING rights. There is a basic "rights" issue involved in this situation: The "right" to use a legal product on "private" property. If those "rights" are not respected, then all rights can be swept under the carpet.
Thomas Laprade
(Smokers fighting a losing battle.)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

To :

Subject :
The smoking issue

Dear Sir, Ap. 7/05

Some people say this smoking issue should have been put to a referendum and let the people decide.

Totally undemocratic.


Why should the non-smokers or non-customers have a say in the matter if the owners can use or permit a legal product to be used on private property?

I was always under the impression that Americans were Gung Ho! on Minority rights


Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258

To : Richfield Sun Current Mn.

Subject :
The smoking issue

Dear Sir, Ap. 7/05

Some people say this smoking issue should have been put to a referendum and let the people decide.

Totally undemocratic.


Why should the non-smokers or non-customers have a say in the matter if the owners can use or permit a legal product to be used on private property?

I was always under the impression that Americans were Gung Ho! on Minority rights


Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258

To : Richfield..Sun Current Mn.
Subject :
The smoking issue

Dear Sir, Ap. 7/05

Some people say this smoking issue should have been put to a referendum and let the people decide.

Totally undemocratic.


Why should the non-smokers or non-customers have a say in the matter if the owners can use or permit a legal product to be used on private property?

I was always under the impression that Americans were Gung Ho! on Minority rights


Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Wpg Sun

The price of pop goes up??

Dear Editor, Ap. 6/05
What bothers me , when the price of oil goes up the price of gas goes up the same day.

Isn't the gas already paid for by the gas stations?

When the price of sugar goes up does the price of a can of pop goes up the same day?

And the Competition Bureau says there is no collusion??

Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Publshed in The Winnipeg Free Press April 4/05

Freedom under attack

The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation from sea to sea has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed threat of second-hand smoke.
The bans are symptoms of a far more grievous threat; a cancer that has been spreading for decades. This cancer is the only real hazard involved -- the cancer of unlimited government power.
The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom menace. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper reaction?
Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating people about the potential danger and allowing them to make their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force people to make the "right" decision?
Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than attempting to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.
Loudly billed as measures that only affect "public places," they have actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and offices -- places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose customers are free to go elsewhere if they don't like the smoke. Some local bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is obviously negligible, such as outdoor public parks.
The decision to smoke, or to avoid second-hand smoke, is a question to be answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married or divorced, and so on.
All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must be free, because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only his own judgment can guide him through it.
Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette smokers are a numerical minority, practising a habit considered annoying and unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.
That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited intrusion of government into our lives.


Thunder Bay, ONT.

A win-win situation

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Calgary Sun Mar. 31/05

Dear Editor,

Would Les Hagen (Action on Smoking and Health) ask for a free vote on LA Dave Rodney's smoking ban bill, if 75% of the public smoked?

Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay,Ont.

(Probably not) Editor's comment

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