Monday 24 October 2011


Thank you Andrina for this update on your mother.  Kudos to you for helping her do the right thing for herself. This new place sounds just right for her in many ways.  Of course we would have preferred that she had a warm dry place indoors to indulge in her enjoyment of two or three cigarettes per day, but hopefully one day, through hard work, devotion, perseverance and patience we will knock some sense into the public health tyrants' heads and we will see civility and harmony reinstated in society starting with our most deserved members:   the vulnerable elderly. 

We have managed to find a private facility for my mother. It too has a non smoking policy but as long as she is well enough and  wishes to have a cigarette she is free to go outside to smoke and join others who also enjoy a cigarette a couple of times a day.  Chairs and ashtrays have even been provided for this purpose! A simple chair and ashtray have become a treasure.
Those in wheelchairs are taken outdoors if they wish to smoke. When seniors are given access to the outdoors they are also enjoying  nature, fresh air and friendship with others who have a common interest. The most important thing is freedom to choose and not to be stuck in a lock-up facility like street criminals! 

It has been difficult to take her outdoors twice a day but with the help of friends we managed to do just that. We could not stand by and watch her beg staff to take her outside for just ten minutes. Begging became her nightmare and ours too and not one that any of us will soon forget.

My mother will now have all meals provided in a beautifully appointed dining room , assistance with bathing, a hairdresser in the facility, medications dispensed and a measure of safety as well as privacy. Most importantly she will have freedom of access to the complete facility and be encouraged to talk with others at the same level as herself. Until now she has been with residents who for the most part are unable to speak because of dementia or severe strokes and other impairments. She has been using plastic cups for coffee and plastic juice glasses like one would give a little child.  Thank goodness she is a reader and listens to world issues on TV. There have been few activities in the time she has been in this lock-up facility.
God bless the other individuals who are such lovely people but for the moment my mother and her happiness has become our only concern.

Basically at the new facility they are given their rights as they would be at home. Independence is encouraged and so is wellness. There is a  bill of rights in Canada for seniors in long term care facilities private or government run. This should be read by all Canadians especially those who have loved ones in Ontario long-term care homes. Please read this and pass it along if possible.

We all know there is not a perfect place for seniors to live once they have given up home ownership or private apartments. What is important  is that family, friends and community attempt to ensure safety, security, wellness, happiness and independence. We must do more for seniors both in private and government run facilities. Surely at this point in their lives it is wrong to put them to bed at 6.30 PM as is often the case in government  run facilities. My mother was unable to have a bath because one staff member called in sick and that situation made it impossible to give baths that evening. 

I am sad for those we leave behind but happy for my mother who might have a few years of enjoyment left in her life. She will now be able to have her own bed and chair from home and even her own linens. She might for the first time in months find a little joy in living. She is happy to make the move and though a bit anxious about the changes she looks forward to a better life. 

Thanks everyone for your support.

Andrina Lejon

Thursday 20 October 2011


Drunkorexia: A term coined to refer to condition of binge drinking combined with the typical self-imposed starvation seen with anorexia nervosa. It has also been used to refer to individuals who use purging (as seen with bulimia nervosa) to try to reduce caloric intake to offset the calories consumed in alcohol. The typical individual described as a drunkorexic is a college-aged woman who is a binge drinker, starving all day in order to get drunk at night. (Source:

The Calgary Herald reports that a non-peer reviewed study (aka Science By Press Release) found that one in five students in campuses suffer from drunkorexia, and that this ‘’disorder’’ could affect their ability to learn, to make decisions, and to ultimately damage their internal organs.  They sure give new and awful connotations to something many students have been doing ever since universities were established and mostly all grew out of it alive, don't they? 

''Valerie Taylor, the chief of psychiatry at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, told the paper that “alcohol abuse and mental-health issues are on the rise in Canada and schools continue to try to address the problem.”
Perhaps Taylor should be looking elsewhere for the cause of the rise in mental health issues in Canada because according to Statistics Canada alcohol consumption is not increasing. Actually it has decreased significantly since 2004.  Rather than blaming an increase in alcohol consumption that simply didn’t happen for the rise of mental issues, Taylor should be looking at psychotropic drugs that her profession is now over-prescribing to ever younger children. 

(Hat Tip  to Andrew Phillips at for the video)  

What we're witnessing is only the beginning of the modern day alcohol prohibition and there will be a lot more from where this came from. Better get used to reading results from junk studies, bogus statistics, sound bites such as no safe level of alcohol, harm to the ''kiddies'', new disorders, new drugs, higher taxes, no advertizing, gory health warnings on the bottles…There is lots of money to be made from selling anti-alcohol propaganda.

The WHO propagandists are talking about it here European Region has heaviest drinking in the world - Countries seek to reduce the harmful use of alcohol where you can read that ''There is no safe level of drinking, and in many societies no difference in the risk for men and women.''

The CDC talks about it here Alcohol & Public Health
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So does anyone want to wager on how many years before we are no longer allowed to drink in a bar if we don’t seriously fight against these neo-prohibitionists?  Get involved now!  Write, phone, use public forums and open lines to make your opinion known before it goes too far.  

Wednesday 19 October 2011


Le 22 septembre dernier nous écrivions que malgré que le Plan d’action européen visant à réduire l’usage nocif de l’alcool 2012-2020 touche prioritairement l’Europe, l’O.M.S. cherche néanmoins la collaboration de tous les pays membres.  

Voilà que les instances de santé américaines le CDC (Center for Disease Control) n’ont pas tardé de répondre à l’appel.   Ou serait-ce peut-être que l’offensive s’est faite simultanément et que les nouvelles américaines nous seraient parvenues avec un décalage de quelques semaines?  

Il importe peu qui l’a prononcé en premier ou même en simultané, la rhétorique est à peu près la même.  Le CDC, à l’instar de l’OMS, sonne l’alarme sur les décès reliés à l’alcool aux États-Unis qui se chiffrent selon eux à 79000.  Au fait, d’après vous, si vous étiez buveur, fumeur et sédentaire à la fois, quel lobby profiterait de votre décès pour renflouer ses statistique?  Sans aucun doute les trois, car aucun de ces chiffres représente des décès réels.  Seulement des estimés basés sur des calculs effectuées par des logiciels programmés selon les résultats d’un nombre d’études épidémiologiques sélectionnées.  Si on ne se fiait qu’à ces chiffres chacun de nous mourrait certes deux ou trois fois selon s'il était fumeur, buveur, sédentaire ou les trois à la fois.

Dans le cas d’une femme, le CDC estime une consommation excessive d’alcool à plus de quatre verres lors d'une même occasion et à plus de cinq pour un homme. On qualifie de ‘’gros buveur’’ une femme qui consomme plus d'un verre quotidien et un homme qui en consomme plus de deux.  

Sans doute pour impressionner le lecteur, le CDC fait ensuite le bilan du coût de la consommation d’alcool à la société tout en confondant les dépenses personnelles avec les dépenses publiques mais heureusement ils (ou le journaliste) se révisent par après indiquant que ces coûts faramineux sont partagés à part égal entre la société et l’individu.  

Ils suggèrent une hausse de taxe sur l’alcool et une réduction des points de vente.  Êtes-vous surpris?  Et pourtant la consommation de l’alcool a baissé considérablement aux États-Unis dans les dernières décennies tel qu’illustré dans cette excellente analyse :  Alcoholic Beverage Consumption in the U.S.: Patterns and Trends  .  Par ailleurs,  nous prédisons sans trop de crainte de nous tromper que, si les politiques anti-alcool deviennent aussi agressives et répressives que les politiques anti-tabac, cette tendance à la baisse se verra compromise tout comme fut le cas avec le tabac dans le pays d’Oncle Sam ainsi que la plupart des pays qui ont adopté des lois anti-tabac abusives.  

Thursday 13 October 2011

"Principles are never a good enough excuse for cruelty and lack of compassion" -- Dan Romano -- C.A.G.E

A comment to the following letter that we received from one of our readers would be tainted with mixed emotions such as anger, sadness and resentment.  Nothing constructive is ever obtained from such emotions we will therefore abstain from commenting.   

My mother, a recent but hopefully  temporary resident of a Stratford Ontario Nursing facility is 82 years old. She has smoked for 62 years! Some idiots in the health ministry/ Stratford Ontario bylaws have decided to ban smoking within 9 meters of this facility. Also, staff are not allowed to accompany her to smoke outdoors. My mother has become slightly physically disabled and she requires assistance even to go outdoors. It matters not that a verandah of 70 ft or more is in place because that verandah (mostly unused) is off limits also. This facility is a relatively good care place to be but unfortunately the short staff situation has become a problem. If the government would provide even one more staff my mother and others could have a daily cigarette. Has anyone ever seen or heard an elderly person beg for a cigarette while in a nursing home? Sadly, this is the case for my mother. She quite literally begged them to let her have a cigarette. She was independent until a short time ago so begging is new to her.
I should mention she smokes 2 perhaps 3 cigarettes a day and healthwise when this is withdrawn, her last enjoyment of life is being denied. Firstly it was her driver license, secondly her partially disabled body was in trouble and now she is forbidden to smoke ( a legal cigarette ) even on the verandah. How anyone in power could do this to an elderly citizen is beyond my scope of understanding especially one who has smoked for 62 years and is unable to defend or protect her rights. Strangely as a smoker she is very beautiful in appearance and looks 10 years younger than her age.

Compassion has vanished and so has her right to smoke. They protect her privacy but strip her freedoms. It is horrifying to think what else Canada might do or is doing to its elderly. None of us expected this to be happening in my mother's new residence. For God's sake someone help the elderly who are being denied their basic rights! At some point we will all have to walk the walk and I wonder what it will be like for us in the hands of these fanatics who have decided to remove all of our risk behaviors. I can only say this is not done with
" alcohol" because many of our law makers are drunks! Believe me when I say that I would prefer to sit next to a smoker than a "drunken" arrogant law maker! Only drunks and idiots believe the manipulated stats if it will reduce the payouts for elderly in long term care.

Allow her to smoke on the verandah with the assistance required.. It is her right to do so. Dictated by compassion instead of draconian laws would enable us to rectify this for an elderly citizen, who does not have many years left. She did pay her taxes for decades and this is her reward -- often referred to as the "golden years". Let me mention that my grandmother (her mother) lived to age 99 complete with second hand smoke. She never had a surgery of any kind in her life. My mother had one surgery at age 60 or so.  Health wise the smoking itself had not harmed my grandmother and if in fact it finally does harm my mother at 82 years old that is her own choice from a life time of smoking but not from 3 cigarettes a day at this point in time. Her doctor knows about her smoking and of course he prefers she does not smoke but he does not dictate her life and agrees that a couple of cigarettes a day no longer can harm her at this age. She has told me to be sure and let her smoke as a last wish before she dies.

Part of the year (in winter ) I live with my Italian born partner who has Parkinson's disease and for this reason we must return to Italy for his health and for him to visit specialists and take part in the trials of new medicines. Because of this we had to arrange a compassionate man who will take my mother outdoors once a day. Also, a female caregiver who is willing to take her outdoors three times a week. This is all at our own cost. What do residents do who are living on a small govt. pension? My family is very much anti smoking and believes she is better off to be distracted from her dirty harmful habit. I feel alone in my quest to give her assurance that she is a worthwhile effort no matter her addiction. I believe she has a right to smoke. This is a lady who reads world history and economics and is not easily distracted by child-like activities that take place in many nursing homes today.

It has left a foul taste so I have begun to think of my own aging and will have to make a decision on which country I should live in and what care might be provided. We must begin at a younger age so that we have a measure of control regarding the facility where we will spend our "golden years" should we ever reach them. Who will protect our rights and who will deny us the simple pleasures we have gotten used to throughout a lifetime? Who will it be to lock the doors and inform us we must stay indoors because there is a lack of staff to
assist us to the outside for a fresh air walk, and/or a cigarette? Pity the poor souls who must live in these conditions of fanaticism set down by our health ministries and governments. The elderly have been silenced and have no hope to recover a measure of independence. God help us all for allowing this to happen.

Last night in the rain I managed to push my Mom in a wheelchair outdoors. Having a slight disability myself made it next to impossible but after some effort we managed with an umbrella in tow to let her have the evening enjoyment of a cigarette. She said «thank you thank you thank you" Poor lady outside in the rain like a second class citizen but it was worth it just to see her smile.
"This ministry thought it could de-normalize smoking but what it has achieved is non other than the normalization of bigotry and intolerance. " 

"Principles are never a good enough excuse for cruelty and lack of compassion" -- Dan Romano -- C.A.G.E

"Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad,
 but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison."
 - William Shakespeare
Thanks for reading this letter.
Andrina Lejon.