Gerald Demontgny (gdemontg@CCS.CARLETON.CA)
Tue, 25 Apr 1995 14:09:07 EDT
As Scouters we need to recognize that smoking and scouting are no more
appropriate than scouting and alcohol consumption. Indeed, smoking is
an addiction that leaves in its wake millions of cancer patients, lung
patients, and patients with heart disease. Clearly, we want a better
future for our youth than than provided from smoking.
The issue of Scouting and smoking is not simply a matter of individual
health effects, but of the violation of the rights of non-smokers.
There are some of us out there who are allergic --that is as
medically tested and confirmed by an allergist-- to tobacco and its
products. The result is that the 'individual' habit of some people
makes life for many of us absolute hell, as exposure to tobacco, at
least in my case results in an asthma attack, and bronchial
congestion that continues for at least two days. Quite simply if I go
into a retaurant where there is smoking, I will develp asthma within
about half an hour, and will not be able to breath properly for about
two days. This means very simply that the presence of smokers in many
taken for granted situations acts as a barrier to my presence. This
means that I am unable to:
1. Celebrate with family and friends by going to a restaurant where
there is any smoking allowed --the vast majority. Smoking sections
are not adequate.
2. I am unable to go to bars, clubs, dances, socials, where there is
3. I am unable to stand in a line-up in a store where there is
4. I do need to consider every venue before agreeing to meet someone.
Unfortunately, at Woodbadge Part I's and II's I have had innumerable
instances where someone has lit up at an outdoor session, believing
that his/her smoke would not affect others. At camps with my cubs,
where most of my leaders smoke, my efforts to have them light up away
from the cubs have generally been ignored or else I have been treated
with some sense of scorn and derision for suggesting that they should
not smoke in front of the Cubs. I suppose, it could be said that I
was not assertive enought, however, many smokers, even scouters do not
take kindly to being told to smoke out of sight. They are indeed
often treated as pariahs by others for their obnoxious habit.
Somehow even today many smokers seem to think that their smoking
cannot really bother non-smokers, that when people complain that these
people are just being difficult. Yet, the effects of second hand
smoke are increasingly being disclosed. Their habit does harm others
in very real physical ways.
Anyhow, I appreciate that this may sound harsh, however I would ask
those who smoke to consider the next time their wife or husband asks
them to take them out for an anniversary, for their birthday, or just
to celebrate, to stop and consider what the possibilities would be in
their community for them to go out, if they were unable to attend any
facility where smoking was allowed. I would ask those who smoke in
their cars to monitor the breathing of their children. I would ask
those who smoke in their houses to record the numbers of colds, flues,
and other illnesses that their children have suffered and to ask
whether there is a relationship between their children's health and
I appreciate that this post was not a scout centred as it should have
been however, I felt that it was important to frame the issue as
profoundly affecting the health of non-smokers.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City