This morning I was walking along Bloor Street in Toronto, and the woman in front of me was smoking. She turned her head to the side to blow. So I’who have never smoked’got her mouthful right in my face.
Thanks to her, according to smokershelpline.ca, I ingested more than ‘4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known or suspected to cause cancer.’
When are we going to ban smoking on sidewalks?
We’ve blogged about sidewalk smoking before, but my encounter this morning and my vacation to Japan last week reminded me why we shouldn’t stop talking about it.
In Tokyo, I didn’t notice the absence of street smokers because I was I was too busy looking at the sights. (One "sight" was a smoking store packed with vending machines and clientel, shown above.) It wasn’t until I was in Hiroshima when I saw signs that read: No smoking/No littering. Amazing, I thought.
However, they do allow cigarettes in bars, restaurants do have smoking sections, and the Shinkansen trains offer specific cars (which were empty by the way, while the non-smoking cars were packed). But I can avoid those places. The sidewalk I can’t.
According to The Japan Times, the individual cities enforce smoking bans in public spaces starting back in 2002, and just this past spring, train stations removed ashtrays and banned lighting up on platforms.
Sure, we have smoke-free restaurants and public transportation, but it would be nice to walk to work without a faceful of secondhand smoke.