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.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Posted by Lisa Turner on Wednesday, May 24, 2006