Emotions build over smoking

Re: Cancer patients struggle with gauntlet, Oct. 16; Enforce rules for smokers, Oct. 25 letters.

An open letter to Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Fraser Health.

Re: Cancer patients struggle with gauntlet, Oct. 16.

A couple of weeks ago,

Peace Arch News had an article about the smoking outside the cancer clinic by Surrey Hospital, and after that some letters to the editor.

My husband had major lung cancer surgery a couple of months ago and is now having chemotherapy at the clinic.

On Friday, Oct. 26, we were met by a man with a cigarette in his hand, sitting on the bench beside the parking meter, and I asked him if he had not seen the ‘no smoking’ sign beside his left shoulder.

“What sign?” he said, and I pointed at it.

“Well, I haven’t lit it,” he said.

As we went away, I turned and he’d already lit it and was smoking.

We turned the corner, and on the bench reserved for patients waiting for transport, a couple was sitting – she was in a kind of “nighty” and was smoking. So I asked if she was not aware of the big ‘no smoking’ sign beside her, and she yelled after me: “I have permission from the fire department!”

Two hours later, I had to put more money in the parking meter, and the same two people were again sitting on that bench; this time both were smoking. So I said: “You have no respect for cancer patients. What you do is not permitted.”

She yelled a lot after me…

When my husband’s treatment was finally over one hour later, we went out to our car, and she was – as far as I had observed – sitting on that bench for the third time smoking.

I could not help myself and said: “What you do is illegal, what is your name?” And she answered that it was illegal of me to ask her name.

Last Friday, we were at the clinic again and, on those same two benches, people were smoking. As I went outside to pay more for parking, more people were smoking, on the benches, by the meters and in front of the door to the hospital. When we left, the same woman from the Friday before was again smoking.

My question is: What is the mayor and Fraser Health doing with this problem? We read in the paper that it was against the bylaws to smoke, and there are lots of signs, but nobody seems to respect these signs.

It is a terrible stress having chemotherapy and also being the spouse of someone suffering, and then have to walk through that “fog” of smoke and smell.

It would seem the right thing to do is to have bylaw officers there often enough to fine all these people, so maybe they will realize that their unlawful conduct and lack of respect will have consequences.

Anne-Lill Christoffersen, White Rock

• • •

Re: Enforce rules for smokers, Oct. 25 letters.

When I read the letter, I was so angry. I can’t believe the ignorance!

Smokers outside of Starbucks are not breaking the law.

Where the heck can they smoke? They are already outside.

If the letter writer can’t breathe, maybe she should run down the back alley. She should shut her mouth. I am so tired of whiners.

What about the buses and cars? Doesn’t their exhaust hurt you, too?

Smoking is not illegal.

Karen Fox, Surrey