More Ban Damage from Canada
My kids are grown, so I don’t want yours at the restaurant
June 8. 2014
A new report shows that Canadian parents are leaving the children at home more often when they dine out, but this may not be so good for the hospitality industry.
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Businesses employing only non-smokers in growing trend
March 17, 2013
A new hiring trend among North American employers is signalling smokers to butt out – or stay out.
An increasing number of businesses, including Ottawa-based Momentous Corp., stipulate “non-smokers only” on their job postings.
“Everyone knows smoking kills you and we prefer to work with very intelligent people who aren’t choosing to kill themselves with every puff,” said Rob Hall, Momentous Corp.’s president.
Man mugged on smoke break
February 17th, 2011
A 19-year-old man who took a smoke break in the inner city early Wednesday ended up getting mugged at gunpoint.
The victim had stepped outside to have a cigarette about 4:15 a.m. in the 300-block of Ross Avenue when a male armed with a handgun demanded his property and cash, police say.
The suspect is described as male, aboriginal in appearance, with long black hair tucked into a black winter jacket.
Guns pulled on man with cigarette
Feb. 13, 2011
By ROSS ROMANIUK
It was a police raid that showed another way that smoking might get you killed.
A young Winnipeg man is breathing a bit easier following a tense encounter with city cops while he was holding only a lit cigarette at his North End home just after midnight Friday morning.
Standing on a staircase inside the front door, Dorian Kennedy saw the red beam of a tactical team cop’s gun squarely on his chest shortly after midnight Friday while the heavily armed officers were at the Stella Avenue four-plex to respond to a call about a firearm seen nearby.
“I just had a smoke in my hand, and they were pointing that (gun beam) at me — pointing it right at my chest here, and telling me to put my smoke down. And I was telling them to hold on for a second — I had two more drags,” Kennedy said Saturday of the incident, which was caught on video by a Winnipeg Sun photographer.
“And they started screaming at me, ‘Put the f***ing cigarette down!’ or something — really loud, man.”
Despite his surprise at the order concerning what he doesn’t consider a weapon, the 19-year-old tossed the cigarette onto the floor. He said he was handcuffed almost immediately after.
He was not charged in the incident, though officers did charge a 17-year-old boy with carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon dangerous to the public peace after the youth allegedly carried a pellet gun in the area near McGregor Street.
Police spokesman Const. Shaun Chornley said officers were “absolutely not” overreacting to the cigarette.
“It’s a lit cigarette. He can use it as a weapon, either burning the officer or poking him in the eye with it — anything,” Chornley said of any potential suspect who is smoking while cops close in.
“It would make sense to have nothing in his hands when he’s taken into custody.”
Kennedy learned that when it comes to even tobacco products, cops don’t fool around.
“That was a little freaky. I thought they were going to shoot me,” he said.
“It looked like they wanted to.”
88-year-old woman told to butt out – or be evicted
Oct. 19th, 2010
By Lea Storry, Calgary Herald
CALGARY — Friends and family of an 88-year-old Calgary woman say the lifelong smoker is “ashamed and embarrassed” after she was told to find another place to live because her residence has gone smoke-free.
Philipina Schergevitch, who has smoked for 73 years, has been living at the Francis Klein Centre for a decade.
The centre is run by the Bishop O’Byrne Housing for Seniors Association, which banned smoking in July.
Schergevitch’s daughter, Liz Daniels, said her mother is devastated over the news she has to find a new home by the end of this month as her lease isn’t being renewed.
Daniels said her mother is so stressed out, she hasn’t yet told her she’ll be forced to move.
“Who expects to be evicted at age 88?” Daniels asked.
The association provides affordable housing for people who are functionally independent.
Myrt Butler, the association’s chief administrative officer, wrote in an email that because of provincial privacy laws, the association couldn’t comment on tenants.
Butler said the association’s board of directors voted five years ago to implement a no-smoking policy in all 519 of its Calgary units.
In 2009, residents were given a one-year notice there would be a ban on smoking in suites, effective July 31, 2010, said Butler.
She said short-term leases were signed with smoking tenants so they could either adjust or find alternative housing.
Tenants are allowed to smoke in designated exterior areas, Butler said.
Daniels said her mother has been smoking since she was 15 and has tried to quit, but at age 88, it’s hard. She’s been smoking in her suite since she moved there in 2000.
“I understand no one likes smoking, but are these people lepers?” said Daniels. “It’s not fair. These people have contributed all their lives and now they’re treated like this.”
Neighbours Joan Poulin and Carol James have appealed to the association to make an exception to the no-smoking policy, because Schergevitch moved into the residence before the ban was imposed.
James, who has lived at the centre for a year, said Schergevitch will have trouble finding a home.
“There’s no place for people to go,” said James, 66. “These are independent apartments, subsidized for low-income seniors and they have to find something like it, but there’s very little out there.”
Poulin, 73, has lived at the centre for 10 years. She said Schergevitch is a much-loved friend, and if she leaves, it’ll be like losing a family member.
Tobacco troubles: Law enforcement has not kept up with the illegal trade in cheap cigarettes
Kevin Libin, National Post?
May 07, 2010
Almost exactly two years after the Conservative government launched a sweeping strategy to combat the rapid growth of illegal cigarette trafficking, Parliament and the public got their first look at the government’s progress so far.
Many were left unimpressed.
At a Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security hearing last week members questioned the nearly two years it took to issue the annual progress report, and raised concerns that enforcement was falling behind the flourishing black market in unregulated cheap cigarettes that have flooded the central Canadian market and, more recently, the Atlantic and Western provinces.
“The progress is inadequate,” said Mark Holland, federal Liberal critic for public safety. “The number of seizures is not keeping up with the growth of the contraband market and so the result is that … the problem with contraband is out of control.”
In announcing the RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy in 2008, then public safety minister Stockwell Day warned of the deepening role of organized crime in the contraband tobacco trade.
Revenue from the cigarette trade was “enhancing [the] capability” of criminal organizations to deal illegal guns, drugs and other crimes, he said, noting that the Mounties had identified up to 100 criminal groups producing and dealing contraband cigarettes. A priority of the strategy must be to “dismantle the illegal manufacturing of these cigarettes and disrupt the supply lines,” he said.
The report reveals that the number of criminal organizations profiting from contraband tobacco has mushroomed since 2008 from 100 to 175. And while the bulk of illegal cigarettes had in recent years been imported into Canada, usually channeled through First Nations reserves along the St. Lawrence, the report says there are now approximately 50 illegal factories operating on this side of the border.
The ministry of public safety was unable to comment by press time.
Testifying to the committee, Superintendent Joe Oliver, director of the RCMP’s border integrity program, defended the strategy’s progress as a “success,” though he testified that the RCMP not yet succeeded in shuttering a single illegal cigarette factory.
“I can’t go into the circumstances as to precisely why,” he said, though he alluded to the challenge of securing warrants and “public and officer safety” issues. The report also identifies “operational pressures and resource-related challenges” as constraints on the police force’s effectiveness.
And while some First Nations have been co-operative, some have shown a “refusal to accept that contraband tobacco is an illegal activity,” the report says. “There’s different perceptions about tobacco in the various First Nations. Some do speak to traditional values and their inherent right to deal, trade, be in possession of tobacco products,” said Derek Simmonds, director of the RCMP customs and excise branch. “It’s difficult.”
Seizures of illegal cigarettes did reach record highs in 2008, up more than 50% from 625,659 cartons in 2007 to 965,688 cartons, but the contraband market is growing even faster, said Eric Gagnon a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco. “How can you stand up and say we’re claiming success, things are good, when we haven’t shut down a factory, the number of organized crimes has increased from 100 to 175, and the contraband is at an all-time high?”
Studies commissioned by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco estimated that in 2008, 48.6% of cigarettes purchased in Ontario and 40% in Quebec were illegal. While legal cartons typically sell for $80 or $90, illegal cigarette cartons are usually offered for as little as $6, and are frequently available to minors. The RCMP estimates that provincial and federal governments lose roughly $2.5-billion in annual taxes to the underground trade.
“Governments are forgoing a massive amount of revenue,” Mr. Holland said. “And we’re losing all of the ground we’ve made in blocking access to cigarettes for young people. It’s now becoming easy and cheap for adolescents to get access and get addicted to cigarettes.”
Representatives of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Customs and Immigration U nion as well as the Canadian Convenience Stores Association and the National Coalition against Contraband Tobacco all told the committee that they saw in the report little progress in reversing the growth of illegal cigarettes in Canada.
“Everybody’s spoken out about this,” Mr. Gagnon said. “When you have tobacco control groups and the [tobacco] manufacturing industry asking for the same thing I think it’s time for the government to listen because it doesn’t happen often.”
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