Letters to the Editor

Forget ‘smoke shacks,’ just quit

While I agree with some of what Barry Mudge says in “Practical solution: build a gazebo for hospital smokers,” (Letters, The Leader, Jan. 3), we must focus much more on what smokers need, as opposed to what they want because, frankly, I don’t give a damn about what they want.

Building a gazebo or any other structure on hospital property to accommodate smokers is not a practical solution.

While most hospitals around the world are striving for 100-per-cent smoke-free property status (and an ever-increasing number of them have achieved that), building such a structure – a “smoke shack” – would be a huge step backwards.

Getting back to smokers’ needs vs. wants: What smokers need is nicotine.

Bearing in mind that smoking is not addictive (nicotine, which occurs naturally in tobacco, is the most addictive drug known, but the actual act of smoking, per se, is nothing more than an albeit powerful habit), a much better solution would be for hospitals to provide, either free or for sale, any or all of the very wide range of NRTs (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) that are now on the market – from nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, rubs, implants, inhalers to, believe it or not, nicotine water – to name just a few.

So smokers get their nicotine fix and, if they still feel the need to suck on something, well, the options there are pretty much endless too – anything and everything except a burning tube of sliced, diced and carcinogen-laden tobacco leaves, thank you very much.

And the rest of us get the 100-per-cent smoke-free air that we need.

Everybody’s needs are met.

Problem solved.


Errol E. Povah, president,

Airspace Action on Smoking and Health


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