Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Smokers must die - if they are still alive that is

Today, via google news, I read that prominent anti-cigarette activist Heather Crowe has died of lung cancer, although she never smoked cigarettes. In 2002, this same waitress, who worked for 40 years, voluntarily, "in smoky conditions", was the first person to win "full compensation" for lung cancer "caused by occupational exposure to cigarette smoke":
"If I'd lost my hand at work they'd have paid me,'' she once said of the claim. "So if they're going to take chunks out of my lungs, why wouldn't I be entitled (to benefits)?''
And are "they" going to pay "me" if I get hit by some drunk headed home from the rub and tug as I'm headed off to work? And when global warming disease is a "recognized" disorder by the "they", can I claim "full" benefits for breathing "bad" air because I cannot work?

If you stick your finger in an electrical outlet at work, and suffer brain damage as a result (although clearly your action was evidence of sluggish neuron firing in the first place ) why should your employer, and yet further the government, be held responsible for your negligent behaviour. Failure to cover all electrial sockets with protective iron bars, complete with password and key protection, is no crime and no reason for compensation.

Not meaning to sound insensitive here, as mortality is not exactly fun, but there are more than a few relevant considerations that are, as to be expected, conspiculously absent in current articles reporting on her death. To begin with, for centuries (well over 40 years), reports of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking have been WIDELY and AGRESSIVELY publicized. Yet Ms. Crowe continued to work as a waitress. Caste system advocates aside, ignorance is no excuse, as the responsiblilty for understanding and learning necessarily begins and ends with the individual. Even granted that tobacco companies are marketing a product which is "bad" for you, the responsiblity does not lie with the restaurant for allowing people to induldge in desired vices in their space and providing wages to people in exchange for labour voluntarily untaken.

And maybe your lung cancer was not a result of second hand smoke.


Mike said...

To begin with, for centuries (well over 40 years), reports of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking have been WIDELY and AGRESSIVELY publicized.

40 years as an estimate is being too generous to the health revisionists. My freaking cats, with their walnut-sized brains that had evolved to what they are now long before we humans had cerebral cortices, know that it is unhealthy to inhale smoke.

Had you sidled up to a cowpoke at a saloon in 1880 and asked to bum a "coffin nail" he would have understood you perfectly well. This was not from some regional dialect either. Unless your memories stretch back to well before the Gallipoli campaign, you have shared this slang, and the obvious facts of reality that it illuminates, with every other English speaker for your entire lifetime.

We needed scientific proof of smoking's ill effects about as much as we needed scientific proof of the "beer goggles" effect. Hacking and coughing do not suggest a constructive pastime.

I make a living absorbing radiation from computer monitors and working inches away from noisy, hot servers emitting who knows what. At the very least, the lenses of my eyes weren't made to be focussed on one spot one foot away for ten hours a day five days a week. Where's the sympathy for my predicament? Can't I be some compassion industry's tearjerkin' poster boy?

Temujin said...

He mother was a Mikmaq and her father a carpenter in Nova Scotia. I wonder if either of them died of cancer.

I'm convinced genetics has a lot to do with it.

Pietr said...

If Daleks got Lung Cancer they would vote Liberal.

Little Tobacco said...

the reason everyone knows Ms. Crowe is that she is the only example of a waitress who contracted lung cancer who did not smoke. The anti-tobacco lobby has no other victim to trot out in front of the cameras.

Mack the Plain Little Turtle said...

Ah, this is nothing new. People have been dying for years. If one thing doesn't getcha, another will.

Myself, I plan to launch a series of commercials, just before I die, saying that I worked in an environment poisoned by stupidity, and that killed me.