Who will protect non-smokers?

Discriminate – a verb -- quoting from The Oxford Dictionary , is used to make or see a distinction, especially on the basis of race,

Dear Editor,

Discriminate – a verb — quoting from The Oxford Dictionary ,  is used to make or see a distinction, especially on the basis of race, color, or sex –or what I have found can happen, if one is a non-smoker.

I consider Ponoka my home, I lived here during the 1940s, graduated from the Red Brick School, way back in 1948, and I retired here in 1999.

Ponoka has three senior residences, Reid Manor, Legion Arms and Slater Place, with a total of 80 apartments. The problem for me is that seniors here do not have a smoke–free building or even a smoke–free portion of one of the rent subsidized buildings available to them.

And, as a non-smoker, I wish to go into a smoke–free environment as I use bronchial inhalers due to asthma, brought about many years ago, by having to live and work in areas, which were smoke filled.

Question: Why can’t one of the three residences in Ponoka be declared smoke-free?

Answer: Smokers have the “RIGHT” to choose which building they wish to live in.

When I asked “Could not the building with the fewest smokers allow only non-smokers to move in, as the smokers moved out, so eventually the building would then be smoke free?”, I kept getting the same response – discrimination against smokers, they can go into whatever residence they choose.

Excuse me, please – I feel that I should have the ”RIGHT’ to have access to a safe, healthy, smoke-free apartment with subsidized rent.

Enough has been written and proven that smoking is a serious health problem. . It is the smokers who burn holes in carpets and counter tops, start fires by either falling asleep while smoking or butting out where it is unsafe to do so. Smokers have a higher chance of getting breathing conditions and/or heart conditions – serious, costly healthy conditions.

I am told that these are government-owned buildings; some years ago, all government-owned buildings were made, through law, smoke free.

I am told that the Rimoka Foundation has control of the seniors’ buildings, so why would the foundation not have declared one of the three be a smoke–free building from the beginning?

Could it be yet another example of “no one wants to be accountable for taking a stand and/or making a decision” for a change that should have been an obvious move when the foundation was originally set up?

Rumour has that the government is finally considering changing all seniors’ homes to no-smoking. And just when might that be? Some nebulous, far away time in the future – long enough for many of the current non-smoking residents, currently in our Ponoka facilities, who have suffered for years from cigarette smoke, to pass away .

There are many of us who demand that justice be served now, not years down the road.

Declare one of the buildings smoke-free now and let only non-smokers move in as the smokers move out.

We know the current law states a smoker cannot be evicted, but there are ways to work within the law and bring justice about for everyone.

Discrimination? Yes. Against whom?  All seniors who have chosen not to smoke.

J. Vieaux