C . A . G . E .
Citizens Against Government Encroachment -- Citoyens Anti Gouvernement Envahissant






November 15, 2007 – Published in the Toronto Star – This letter was commenting the article New studies confirm cancer is alcohol's deadly hangover’’.

Next thing you know, sex will be banned

Those who applaud the anti-tobacco quasi-prohibition tactics and the aggressive anti-obesity campaigns will take comfort in knowing that misery loves company. If the neo-prohibitionists follow the precedent set by anti-tobacco, tax increases, advertisement controls and brief interventions will soon lead to alcohol-free bars.

In a society where indulging in pleasure is being aggressively controlled, the only ones who benefit are the underground economy and the pharmaceutical empire. The former will make a fortune selling alcohol at affordable prices, just as we are witnessing with tobacco contraband and illegal drugs, and the latter will openly market anti-depressants and miracle pills to control our cravings for pleasure.

Iro Cyr, Citizens Against Government

Encroachment, Montreal


September 16,2007 – Published in the Ottawa Sun

Re: "Make room for veterans" (Sept. 13). We were delighted to learn that the Perley veterans will be getting their smoking room.

Kudos to these residents, to have found the energy and fervour to put up a fight for their comfort and safety in what is considered their home.

Kudos also to Earl McRae and all those who helped to make this happen through their compassion and generous donations. Shame on the Ontario government and the anti-tobacco zealots who remained inflexible to their plight, not only failing to grandfather the old smoking rooms, but refusing to financially aid the homes to build new ones to stringent government standards.

Had it not been for ordinary citizens, our vets would have had to go through another harsh Canadian winter dragging their worn-out bodies outside to indulge in one of the few pleasures left to them.

Unfortunately, most of the other elderly people in Ontario will continue to be victims of zealotry and insensitivity of a government that allows a fanatic doctrine to rule over civility and common sense.

Iro Cyr



March 25/07 – Published in the Ottawa Citizen



Let science, logic rule


Re: Make homes smoke-free, March 21


The tobacco control lobby is blatantly irresponsible for its consistent efforts to turn gullible non-smokers against smokers. This suggestion will deprive smokers of their right to rental or condo housing on the pretext that secondhand smoke drifts through elecrical outlets or cracks in the wall and affects the health of nonsmoking tenants in other apartments. This circumstance is not only unsubstantiated but unethical and immoral.

Society must allow unbiased science and especially common sense to prevail.


Iro Cyr, Montreal, Citizens against Government Encroachments





Re "Smoking seniors left out in the cold." Jan. 14


Published in Thunder Bay Chronicle – Jan. 16/07

The tragedy our senior Ontario smokers are living with in the old age homes
is a result of the zealotry of politicians and holier-than-thou anti-tobacco
groups whose arrogance is only surpassed by their leaders' financial and
political interests.

The Ontario anti-tobacco legislation is the only one in the country that has
reached such absurd proportions -- making it a living hell for the seniors,
the most vulnerable members in our society, in their only remaining homes.

We tried to raise public awareness and put pressure on the politicians by
demonstrating in the streets, sending out press releases and participating
on radio interviews, to no avail.  A society's civility can only be measured
by the way it treats the defenceless, and judging by what it does to its
elderly, Ontario ranks somewhere between primitive and barbarian.

Iro Cyr




For all the right reasons:  Published in Thunder Bay Chronicle - Oct. 25/06

In reference to your article in title :

It is very disturbing to see the dangerous levels that the tobacco control movement has reached. When government pays minors to entrap their peers, it no longer has anything to do with health promotion. If not halted immediately,  the day is not far when our youth will be turning in their parents and grandparents for smoking, overeating, not exercising, having that extra beer, or over a friendly poker game.  What is even more disturbing is the fact that carefully orchestrated social marketing has brought society to the point that most people don't, or refuse to see the slippery slope that the ''for your own good'' public health policies have engaged us in.  ''For all the right reasons'' of course. 

Iro Cyr


On bicycles:  Published in the Montreal Gazette,

In his letter of September 13 ("Cyclists at fault"), Donald Haslam bemoans the fact that on streets such as Milton, cyclists ride against the one-way flow of traffic. Perhaps Mr. Haslam should visit the Netherlands one day, a society that truly encourages the use of bicycles.

In the Netherlands, cyclists are generally exempt from the one-way street rules. Additionally, urban bike paths there incorporate bicycles into traffic, so that cars learn to expect and look for cyclists on their right-hand side. Montreal, in contrast, segregates two-way bicycle traffic into 1 lane subject to more stop signs and rules than cars must abide by, such as the Rachel street bike path.

Finally, Dutch law automatically blames automobiles in any bicycle-car collision, with strict penalties for the car driver. Given that cars pollute, make noise, take up space, promote a sedentary lifestyle, and kill people, the Dutch approach of favouring bicycles seems reasonable. It also seems to be working – virtually everyone in the Netherlands uses a bicycle daily, and there are no helmet laws there either...


David Romano


Published in the Winnipeg Free Press

Editorial cleared the air

Re: Let's clear the air (Aug. 17).

Winnipeg Free Press  Letter to Editor- Aug 22/06

Your editorial is one of the most lucid I have ever read in the mainstream media about the smoking issue. Indeed, not only the Manitoba government, but all provincial governments have imposed their respective anti-tobacco legislations to appease the noisy anti-smoking lobbies. This has nothing to do with health and everything to do with politics, pharmaceutical companies' interests and greedy, voracious anti-tobacco lobbies.

As you so well stated, every cancerogenic substance has permissible exposure levels and second-hand smoke is no exception. It is a pity that the governments have artificially created such a deplorable situation where one segment of the population has to turn against the other in order to defend its livelihood and civil rights.



Here's the editorial she was responding to:

EDITORIAL - Let's clear the air

Thursday's Free Press Editorial: Thu Aug 17 2006

PREMIER Gary Doer's province-wide smoking ban was flawed from the outset, imposing upon some businesses, but not all, a smoke-free rule rooted more in social activism than health protection. Now the Non-Smokers Health Protection Act has been found to be insupportably discriminatory by a Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench justice, who says the exemption for First Nations communities cannot stand. This legal wrangle is not worth an appeal because there is a more logical fix to be made.

Mr. Justice Albert Clearwater is giving the province time to get the First Nations businesses to comply with a universal smoking ban. That creates a political problem for the NDP, which has historically benefited from the political support of native communities. At the time the law was implemented, the minister responsible said the government did not want to intrude into First Nations businesses because it feared a lawsuit. Muddled thinking produced a muddled law -- and a fine against a Treherne bar owner angered at the uneven application of the law sparked a lawsuit anyway. Healthy Living Minister Theresa Oswald was asked if an appeal was planned and said a response to the Clearwater ruling is complicated because governments must respect the rule of law and treaty rights of First Nations. She did not explain what treaty right a smoking ban would trample, probably because no treaty struck on the Prairies protects smoking. No decision was taken at yesterday's cabinet meeting.

The NDP government is in a bind because the law was imposed to appease a noisy anti-smoking lobby, not to protect health. Smoking fogs indoor air with toxic chemicals, but the public is not forced to patronize any particular private business. It is a different for employees, some of whom may be exposed to varying amounts of smoke for most of their shift, most of the days they work. Air quality tests can detect carcinogens and their concentrations and Manitoba labour law already expects employers to reduce airborne carcinogens as close to zero as practicable. The province has authority over workplace safety on reserves and over most First Nations businesses. It can use Workplace Safety and Health legislation to force employers to clean the air of a cigarette's toxic byproducts. It has no excuse for not protecting native and non-native workers, regardless of where they are employed.

First Nations were quick to warn off the provincial government from imposing a smoking ban on their businesses, and so the NDP may want to just let a judge decide if there can be one rule for them and another for everyone else. A principled solution would be to put into a law that everyone can recognize as good the right of all Manitoba workers to a safe workplace. If an employer cannot sufficiently exhaust the smoke from its business to meet acceptable air quality standards, then smoking ought to be banned. Otherwise, that employer should decide if his business goes smoke free, and the public can choose to stop in, or patronize the competition.



Published in the Montreal Mirror July 6, 2006

Smokes, let’s go

Thank you for publishing my letter [“Pro-smokers still fuming,” June 15]. There is a point I have to make, however, as to the title. Where did you see anything pertaining to pro-smoking in what I stated in my letter? Being against political manipulation on behalf of the anti-tobacco lobby’s propaganda has nothing to do with being pro-smoking. Being against the means does not necessarily mean one is against the end results. There’s nothing wrong with a smoke-free world, but everything wrong with using unethical, dictatorial and hypocritical ways to obtain it.

Iro Cyr



Published in the Montreal Mirror June 15, 2006

Pro-smokers still fuming

In reading Scott Jones’s attack of Dr. Romano’s views on smoking bans, I was really saddened to see how people in our society have been misled by the anti-tobacco industry’s unethical scare tactics [Letters, “Smoke-free satisfaction,” May 25].

The public should not take Dr. Romano’s nor the anti-tobacco zealots’ word to tell the difference between truth and manipulation. A little common sense and research on the issue would convince even the most sceptical individual of the fallacies behind the anti-smoking propaganda.

Smoking bans are not in place to protect non-smokers from the fictional harms of second-hand smoke, but to coerce smokers to comply to the government’s view of an ideal citizen through immoral, fear-inducing propaganda. Dr. Romano, a political science doctor, is exactly the type of doctor needed to recognize political manipulation when he sees it.

Wake up people, and smell the odour of dangerous precedents being set in your own so-called democratic country

Iro Cyr

This is in response to Scott Jones’s letter in response to my colleague Dr. David Romano—whose PhD in political science, by the way, is a better qualification than medicine to assess this situation.

The trend nowadays is definitely to gut our hard-earned liberties under pretexts of protection from imminent dangers. The dangers are exaggerated, and then authorities can step over our fundamental rights to “protect” us with some approval.

This is especially true when it comes to health. Obesity crusaders, for instance, are starting to review the success of anti-tobacco and consider applying the same strategies. So much for denormalization. It is nothing but the opposite of democracy to impose an “expert”-decreed normality on citizens’ personal lifestyle choices.

About the smoking ban and “such scare tactics”: If people weren’t scared of second-hand smoke, few would support such draconian bans, and the polls suggest a split opinion even after years of unidirectional propaganda.

But the truth is, second hand smoke is not any more harmful (at a risk factor 1.17–1.30) than chlorinated water (at 1.5) or whole milk (at 2.4!) if one is exposed daily for many hours. According to a May 12 ABC News story on non-smokers

who lived with smokers (abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1955237&page=1), “they studied people who were exposed to lots of smoke, often shut in with chain smokers for years in claustrophobic situations like homes and cars. Even then, some of the studies found no effect... [Dr. Michael Siegel], who helped ban smoking, now says his movement is distorting science.”

Even working daily in a smoky environment is an annoyance that can easily be ventilated to a comfortable level. And should it even be a risk we, adult citizens, as owners, employees or patrons should be allowed to choose it if we so please. We members of CAGE (Citizens Against Governments’ Encroachment) are not suggesting that anyone should be forced into smokey places, just that they should have the choice.

As for Heather Crowe, her case actually raises a lot of questions beyond the capacity of the anti-smoking establishment to curve the Workplace Safety Board’s decisions and exploit a dying lady. What of the Hamilton fireman who was denied benefits for his cancer? He likely caught it fighting a toxic fire, but, according to a CTV News story (toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20060504/ firefighters_private_members_060504/20060504?hub=TorontoHome), his cancer “could not be definitively linked to the fire.” How was Mrs. Crowe’s cancer “definitively linked” to ambient smoke? All evidence is conveniently unavailable (see this Moorish Orthodox Social Justice Committee page at www.geocities.com/defendliberty2004/heathercrowe. html).

And why are we paying for all this propaganda with our tax dollars? That is no matter for medicine.

Joël Demers, Citizens Against Governement Encroachment




Published in the Ottawa Sun June 11, 2006

Butt out on memorial

Earl McRae shares responses from Sun readers who strongly oppose a memorial to anti-smoking activist Heather Crowe

By Earl McRae

If the feedback reflects overall public sentiment then the answer is NO, most of you don't think Heather Crowe deserves a memorial.

I received scores of e-mails and phone messages to my column in which I asked for your suggestions for some kind of permanent memorial for the late anti-smoking activist and former waitress who was diagnosed with lung cancer from second-hand smoke in restaurants where she'd worked -- a park, a street, a building in her name, a statue in her image. The column was in response to a lengthy e-mail from reader Latisha Otsira who attacked me for equating the morality of Crowe's mission to that of Terry Fox. Otsira said Crowe was a willing pawn of the political anti-smoking lobbyists, Fox's motives were pure and apolitical, and there should be no memorial in her honour.

The vast majority of you agreed with Otsira. Your passion is hot. You want to be heard. I haven't the room for all your responses, so today selected anti-memorial excerpts.

Michelle Gervais, director media relations, Citizens For Civil Liberties. "Heather Crowe was financially compensated in the first set of commercials aired when she won her worker's compensation claim. She was paid $20,000 from Health Canada. We have a letter from the minister of health documenting this fact. During her employment with the federally funded lobby group Physicians For A Smoke Free Canada she travelled across Canada and even to England on the taxpayers' dollar. I have the impression this woman was, at least, a very financially astute woman who profited quite nicely from her illness and actions ... We are requesting a public enquiry into the matter of the Heather Crowe file."

'Political campaign'

Steve Colterman. "I don't think she fought for the benefits of all workers until the special interest groups jumped onto her bandwagon. A monument honouring her would turn into a political campaign for the politicians who most certainly would turn up for the unveiling."

Ann Welch, Kitchener. "I do not believe Heather Crowe was a hero. She was an activist supported by a well-oiled anti-smoking lobby group funded by the taxpayers' money. Had she not become sick I believe she would have just continued on as a private citizen. To honour Ms. Crowe with a memorial insults and disrespects every soldier, police officer and firefighter that knowingly puts their life on the line each and every day as part of their job."

Padi Hooper, Carlsbad Springs. "Perhaps if she was lobbying for the banning of tobacco sales then she'd be worthy of some memorial. But from what I've seen, it was never her intention, it was only about 'control'."

Iro Cyr, Boisbriand, Que. "Making her a hero would only motivate the self-righteous anti-tobacco dogmatists to further control our lives based on fallacies and manipulation."

Kevin Mulvina. "Her glorification would amount to no less than cheering for unilateralist propaganda."

Frank Zaniol, Niagara Falls. "If Ms. Crowe is elevated (by government) to the same status as Mr. Fox, I would have to re-examine my support for the annual run. The shameless and ruthless exploitation of this unfortunate woman would, if the truth was made public, be recognized as one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the Canadian people."

'Manufactured martyr'

Fred Quarie, Belleville. "Terry Fox wasn't a martyr, he was a true hero. His well-deserved reputation would be diminished by granting Heather Crowe, a manufactured martyr, similar status and recognition."

Larry Vianneau, Vancouver. "Asinine. What's next? A government memorial for anybody who campaigns against junk-food restaurants whose crap caused their heart disease?"

Don Blais. "The media calls her 'a true Canadian hero' which is a slap in the face of the real Canadian heroes such as Terry Fox, our war veterans, our current serving troops, and many others who make a difference. I suggest you place a bucket somewhere near your 'memorial' as this whole thing makes me sick." 

L. Rheaume, Toronto. "What about your friend George Chuvalo, Mr. McRae, and his national fight against drugs that are destroying our youth and families as they did his? Are the disgraceful politicians talking about a memorial for George? Nope. If they won't give a memorial for Mr. Chuvalo, then they sure as hell can't justify one for the politically duped Heather Crowe






Published in the Montreal Mirror June 8, 2006

Smoking politics

Last week, letter writer Scott Jones ridiculed David Romano’s assertion that the smoking ban signifies a dangerous step down the slope of government intervention in our lifestyle choices [“Smoke-free satisfaction,” June 1]. I wonder what Jones thinks of recent proposals to tax junk food or ban perfume and scented deodorants. Completely unrelated?

Furthermore, Jones claims that “second-hand smoke has been proven harmful, even deadly.” Why didn’t he step up to the plate and meet Romano’s challenge to find a study that gives second-hand smoke a risk ratio higher than 3.0? Because there are none. (One death, supposedly from second-hand smoke, does not a credible study make.)

Jones also attempts to discredit Romano by questioning his credentials (a PhD in Political Science, rather than medicine) to write on the smoking ban. However, with the issue rapidly appearing more and more political rather than medical, perhaps Romano might indeed be the most adequate expert.

Lucy Brown , Ste-Marguerite




Published in the Windsor Star:

Anti-smoking engineers use questionable data

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Re: Letter from Dr. Allen Heimann, Second-Hand Smoke and Cancer Studies, May 17. How can one seriously use the opinions of Health Canada or the WHO about tobacco as a reference? We all know that they are crusading -- alongside with the likes of Dr. Heimann -- to torture smokers and science data until they abjure to the holy power of their social engineering.

But it was indeed entertaining to hear a doctor talk about "proof" of 16 per cent or 17 per cent increased risk (upon tiny risk for non-smokers) when anyone familiar with epidemiology knows that 16 to 17 per cent is simply not a statistically significant risk ratio.

How can we refrain from getting a chuckle when reading this, while simple common sense tells the layman that better ventilation would obviously reduce this minuscule risk?

May Windsor survive the economical cancer that the health crusaders are subjecting it to. Good luck, Windsor. You will need it.


Montreal, Que.


Published in the Windsor Star:

Statistics on Smoking Exaggerate Risk Factors

Published May 24, 2006

Re: Second-hand Smoke and Cancer Studies, May 17. It is surprising that Dr. Allen Heimann, medical officer of health, does not know that a 16-per-cent and 17-per-cent estimated increase in risk equates to a 1.16 and 1.17 risk factor which is so low that epidemiologists themselves would normally consider it insignificant because of all the bias and error factor that an epidemiological study presents.

Coming from him, however, it is not surprising that he did not mention that this same study showed a protective effect to children subjected to second-hand smoke. Reliable science? Probably as reliable as a "smoker's tumour" diagnosis on a lung cancer patient, when no such medical term exists, nor can science differentiate from a "non-smoker's tumour."

It's also no surprise that Health Canada declined to test ventilation standards, since they're not at all interested in anything but harassing people who smoke. Their contention that "no ventilation system will protect everybody," along with the World Health Organization and its spinning of statistically insignificant 1.16 risk factors, show how readily the anti-smoking crusaders misrepresent the truth.

After all, we can adequately ventilate underground parking lots against the infinitely more dangerous car fumes present there, as well as everything from mine shafts to factories.

Nor is Dr. Heimann apparently aware of the Ontario government's own study that predicts a $500-million loss at Casino Windsor alone. But if it suits the anti-smoking agenda, why hesitate to ignore real science and true collateral damages?

After all, it's only thousands of jobs and millions in revenue that are at stake in Windsor, and the doctor gets to keep his job.

Iro Zannetides Cyr

Citizens Against Government Encroachment

Blainville, Que.





Published in the Ottawa Sun – April 30/06

RE “Ban fires up patients” (April 25): There is only one word for this inhumane situation: Despicable!

The anti-tobacco dogmatists and the government should be ashamed of themselves and be served wholeheartedly similar treatment as these long-term patients that have no choice to be where they are. Public health they say? How about public tyranny! 

Iro Zannetides Cyr

(As tyranny goes, having to give up the “pleasure” of smoking strikes us as fairly minor – the editor)



In the Montreal Mirror


Quebec libertarianism
up in smoke

Regarding your anti-smoking law coverage of late [“End of a smoky era,” April 13.]:

“Nature moves too slowly; I think we need to follow the example of our neighbours in Ontario,” he said to me. It was late January, and I was speaking with Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard about his new anti-tobacco law. I had just asked Mr. Couillard, “Aren’t half the cafés in Quebec already 100 per cent non-smoking? Why do we need a law like the one you’re proposing when things are changing naturally?”

Other statements Couillard has made since I first met him that day in January convince me that he does indeed look to Ontario for his direction. In late May of last year, he even reproduced a completely absurd statement that Ontario’s anti-smoking activists repeat often: “It would take a tornado to adequately ventilate a bar or restaurant where there is tobacco smoke.” Really? How is it that we can adequately ventilate mine shafts more than a kilometre below the earth, or underground parking garages? Disturbingly, neither the English nor the French language media seems to have questioned the Minister regarding such an absurd statement.

Do we really want Quebec to become more like Ontario? Although Ontarians are quite nice, the government’s role in their lives isn’t. In fact, the Ontario provincial government seems to view Ontarians as sheep that can’t be trusted to think or make choices for themselves. I can’t think of any other way to explain the numerous laws aimed at controlling people’s behaviour over there.

For example, I have to break two laws just to engage in one of my favourite pastimes in Ontario: cycling to a park with my picnic lunch, a bottle of wine and a friend. This is illegal, since I don’t cycle with a bike helmet, and having some wine with your picnic is also forbidden there. Even at outdoor concerts, Ontarians are not allowed to have a beer unless they go to a special segregated “beer garden” far from the stage. No wonder they like to come to Quebec for New Year’s Eve and other holidays—their own government has made it impossible for them to relax and enjoy themselves!

And now Mr. Couillard wants to copy Ontario’s anti-smoking crusade. Whatever we think about smoking, freedom-loving Quebecers should oppose the Ontario approach to this issue. Once we accept that government should coerce us to protect us from ourselves, there’s no end to it. More restrictions on alcohol, a tax on “junk” food, mandatory helmets for everyone, orders on how to raise our children—all pursued with our own tax money and, obviously, against our will (otherwise, why the need for a “ban” or a law?).

Of course, Mr. Couillard and his health-militant allies would have us believe this is a public-health issue—never mind the easy ventilation solution. Apparently we should also never mind that they’ve spun the insignificant results of studies on second-hand smoke in order to make us believe it’s a real threat (give me a study with a risk-ratio of 3.0 or above and we’ll talk, Mr. Couillard), or that they claim to know the economic impact this ban will have on businesses better than the business owners themselves.

Before we even know it, Quebec will have become a sterilized, conformist, francophone version of Ottawa and Toronto. Thanks, Mr. Couillard!

Dr. David Romano Co-Founder, Citizens Against Government Encroachment, www.cagecanada.ca



Published in the Edmonton Journal: 


Smoking ban startles visitor....

Dear Editor, April 13/06

As a visitor to your great city..Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, I noticed a situation that will be etched in my mind forever.

I watched two females in wheel chairs just off the hospital grounds, one hooked up to an IV, smoking cigarettes, looking cold, excluded, and alone. I can only imagine what kind of reactions they were enduring from the people walking by them into and out of the grounds they’d been exiled from.

If that situation was about race, colour or creed, I would imagine that the public outcry would be so loud that the City of Edmonton would probably never recover. There is absolulely no human, medical, or scientific reason why sick patients can’t be treated better than that.


Thomas Laprade

Thunder Bay, Ont.

These next two letters, by Dan Romano and C.A.G.E.-supporter Thomas Laprade were in responce to an antismoking exhibited organized by one of the Ontario Health Units. The Editor of the Chatham Sun is in the habit of always adding a little one-liner response at the end of the letters they publish. In response to Dan Romano’s letter, the editor writes: "Saving people from themselves has always been a noble cause".

We at C.A.G.E. could not disagree more! Saving people from themselves, whether done by the Salem Witch Hunters, Dominican Inquisitors, or any other religious-based persecution done for the good of the persecuted, has always been a justification for the most heinous of state-sponsored crimes against people. In the "Free" Western Democracies, organized religion has been pushed out of the business of politics, so they can no longer save our souls in the name of "G-d". So instead, we have the types of persecutors who are trying to save our bodies in the name of "health". However you whitewash it or justify it, we still end up with a group of cruel people who feel justified in imposing their morals on others. And so I would respond to our noble editor: "No sir, Saving people from themselves has NEVER been a noble cause."

ChathamSun, Jan. 23

Dear Editor,

I could not help but laugh as I read about nobody showing up to see blackened pig lung in an antismoking demonstration. (ChathamSun, Jan. 19)

In addition to the weather, I would venture two more guesses as to why there was no interest: First, they may have been rightly cynical about the scientific pertinence of a disembodied pig’s lung being pumped full of concentrated tobacco smoke, and the implied analogy with a living, cleansing, regenerating human lung.

Second, maybe they just don’t care. Those who don’t smoke, such as myself, have no interest in such a macabre exhibit. And those who do smoke enjoy doing so and have made their choices.

These latter people have made decisions for themselves, not only with full knowledge of all the horrible pictures they see on their cigarette packages, but also aware that the average life expectancy for a smoker in Canada is a ripe-old mid-seventies.

The smoking rate in Canada is decreasing steadily and consistently.

I suggest we let things proceed, stop harassing our fellow citizens, stop wasting public money trying to tell people how to live, and let these good nurses go back to doing more meaningful work.

Daniel Romano Montreal     (Saving people from themselves has always been a noble cause, (Editor))


Dear Editor,

Nobody showed up for the pig lung demonstration, because of poor weather conditions (Chatham Sun, Jan. 19).

Is it a remote possibility that smokers just happen to enjoy smoking, regardless of the possible long-term effects?

Thomas Laprade Thunder Bay      (Some likely do (Editor))





The Montreal Gazette has been publishing some very strange and outlandish claims about cigarette smoke recently. Perhaps they actually believe the multi-million dollar ads that the government has been bombarding us with in order to make their anti-tobacco law easier go down easier? On January 16th, one illustrious journalist went so far as to claim, without citing any source whatsoever, claims "an hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker." Now, we are all quite busy, but somebody has to speak up against this sort of hyperbole. Here are some letters from our members to the Gazette Editor, only the first two of which has been published so far (with all the juiciest parts edited out, unfortunately). We’ll have a scan of the original article and published letter up for you shortly. Meanwhile, if you are interested in adding your voice to the uproar over such propaganda being masqueraded as journalism: please write the editor at:


Here is the original article:

Quebec campaign puts stress on second-hand smoke Children, who breathe faster, are more sensitive to its effects

Marc Richard, executive director of the Sir Winston Churchill Pub complex, says the new law barring smoking in bars

would lead to layoffs at his establishment, although other people believe more non-smokers would visit bars more often.


SAROJ BAINS, The GazettePublished: Monday, January 16, 2006


Make it your business to butt out this week as Quebec marks its annual non-smoking campaign.

The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, along with other anti-tobacco groups, launched the campaign yesterday, focusing primarily on the effects of second-hand smoke.

According to Mario Bujold, director of QCTH, the need to break the habit is not just for the smoker, but for those around them as well.

Even though an estimated 400,000 Quebecers have quit smoking since 1997, 64 per cent of smokers still bring the habit home. And those numbers have shown no real decline in the past three years.

And Bujold added that 26 per cent of these smokers are exposing second-hand smoke to children.

Research shows that children are more sensitive to the effects of second-hand smoke "because children are fragile," he said.

Children breathe 40 times per minute compared with 18 times per minute for adults. Even dogs exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke have 60 times greater risk of developing lung cancer.

The campaign began in Quebec City yesterday under the banner: For a world without smoke.

"We have a lot of work to do" Bujold said. According to the QCTH, a person’s chance of developing cancer are 57 per cent greater following exposure to second-hand smoke than exposure to all other airborne pollutants.

Two-thirds of a cigarette is not inhaled by the smoker but is absorbed into the air around them. Spending one hour in a smoke-filled room is the equivalent of smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker.

Second-hand smoke contains at least twice as much nicotine and tar than that inhaled by the smoker.

An estimated 13,000 Quebecers die every year from smoking-related illnesses.

"In building a world without smoke, we are all breathing better" said Mireille Deygun, spokesperson for Quebec’s annual non-smoking week.

Some activities around the province include restaurants going non-smoking on Thursday. More than 500 restaurants across the province have signed up. For a list of participants, visit www.restaurateurs.ca.

For information on other activities related to the campaign, visit www.cqst.qc.ca/sqast


(This following response got published 17 January 2006)

Back to Journalism School

Newspapers are supposed to vet information, rather than repeat even the most absurd things people tell their more naïve journalists. Saroj Bains’ artilce (Jan.16, "Quebec campaign puts stress on second-hand smoke") states that "An hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker."

Now we’ve all heard of "lies, damn lies and statistics," but this is just plain absurd. By this logic, non-smokers would all be 35 times more addicted than smokers who smoke 1 cigarette an hour. Then again, smokers are exposed to both primary AND second-hand smoke all the time. Why aren’t they all dead? Or better yet, why don’t your "journalists" question the credibility and agendas of people giving them such information?

Does the Quebec government and The Gazette take all of Quebec’s population for fools?

David Romano

Vice-President, www.cagecanada.ca


This response was published 19 January, 2006:

Dear Editor,     17 January

"An hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker"!!!!

How about;

"Standing beside a school bus for 5 seconds as it changes gear equals smoking 998 cigarettes all at one time for smokers and non-smokers."

Strange how the first statement gets lots of publicity but the second one is ignored, yet the statistics of the second statement are much more impressive!

D. Murphy,


These letters were not published, but may have added pressure to get the others in, and they are a fun read!  Please don't hesitate to use them for material if you see more wild claims being made.


Dear Sir,  January 16

I love reading statements like: "An hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker." (Jan.16, "Quebec campaign puts stress on second-handsmoke"). Such preposterous assertions make it really easy to distinguish the good journalists from the poor, and to tell which editors have been sleeping on the job. We are not asking for a rigorous and balanced study of all the research on the topic, just a bit of common sense! What you are trying to tell us is that a non-smoker living with smokers and working in a smoking environment, who may be exposed to smoke filled rooms for 12 hours at a time, smokes the equivalent of 420 or more cigarettes per day. That’s quite a feat! Yet millions non-smokers have been exposed to second hand smoke on a regular basis for hundreds of years, and despite the crazy statistics that some journalists may cite or invent, nobody has ever been diagnosed has having died of second hand smoke exposure. In fact, the population demographic that is most exposed to second hand smoke on a daily basis (Japanese women), also happens to be the longest lived on the planet.

Daniel Romano

C.A.G.E. Canada


Dear Editor,   17 January 2006

"An hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker according to the article by Saroj Bains "Quebec campaign puts stress on second-hand smoke", Jan.16.

A little bit of research before publishing would prevent this kind of nonsense drivel from being published, though research in this case isn’t really necessary, the application of a bit of thought and common sense will quickly expose statements like this to be nothing but baseless fear mongering.

Even the most hardened smoker would be sickened by the consumption of 35 cigarettes in an hour, that means smoking every cigarette in less than 2 minutes, it would be an insurmountable and probably quite sickening challenge.

The entire discussion is further rendered meaningless when through the research that should have been done before publishing one finds that the claims that second hand smoke are a health hazard are not supported by scientific fact.

It is disappointing to find such biased and inaccurate material published so respected a journal as yours.

Fred Quarrie


Dear Editor,   Jan 17.

How far will the ridicule be pushed before journalists catch on to the lies that the anti-tobacco industry is spewing?

Even a 12 year old with a little common sense would question such information before publishing it in his school paper.

I am no scientist, but I don’t need to be one to notice the absurdities in the anti-tobacco propaganda. A non-smoker inhales the equivalent of 35 cigarettes by spending one hour in a smoke filled room ? Comeon, please stop insulting our intelligence. Do some homework before publishing such nonsense.

Iro Zannetides Cyr


Dear Editor, Jan. 18/06

I happen to notice a statement in one of your author’s columns.

"An hour in a smoky room equals smoking 35 cigarettes for a non-smoker."

Can a smoker smoke that many cigarettes in an hour, let alone a non-smoker ‘breathe’ in that many cigarettes??

I find it very strange that an educated person would make a statement like that, especially to the public.

Let me get this straight.

How much smoke is there in a smoky room?

How big is that room?

Is there any ventilation in that room?

Are all the windows(if any) and doors sealed air tight? How many cigarettes that have been smoked in order to say it is a ‘smoky room?

Personally, that statement is an insult to my intelligence and to the intelligence of your readers.

Thomas Laprade

Thunder Bay, Ontario