I got a call last week from a lady who said she had been the first female School Trustee in Abbotsford 40 years ago. She had to deal with the prevailing attitude at the time that a board room was no place for a lady. Sure enough, she introduced some novel and apparently disturbing ideas. She argued that, in order to be good role models, there should be no smoking at the meeting table. She was ridiculed.

What seems ridiculous to me is that it was only one generation ago that women were believed subserviant and the convenience of a nicotine addict was more important than a school trustee being a good role model or the health of the people around them.

Thank you, Ms. Henson, for pioneering women’s civil rights and the promotion of health responsibility. 40 years later, we’re still battling the same selfish attitudes. Hopefully my grandchildren will be just as surprised with my story about how, back in 2006, people felt entitled to smoke tobacco on restaurant patios despite all the obvious risks and discomfort to everyone around them.

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