How Queensland’s new smoking bans saved a woman’s life

Imagine going to work in a real estate office and being killed by a runaway SUV while sitting at your desk having a coffee.
It’s what happened to Sue West yesterday. She wasn’t in the street. She wasn’t behind the wheel of a car. She wasn’t bungee jumping or skydiving. She was doing none of those things that could spell danger.

What could be safer than sitting down having a morning cuppa? And yet she was killed by a person who had apparently suffered a heart attack while driving. His car ploughed into the real estate office and Sue West died.

Three others were injured but Sue’s boss, Wendy, who had stepped outside for a minute to smoke a cigarette, was saved.
How ironic it is to think that a cigarette could have stopped her from being a victim too. And it was Queensland’s anti-smoking laws which forbid smoking inside an office or any other commercial premises which made the boss smoke outside, thus removing her from the SUV’s path.

In this case then, you could conclude that smoking was not detrimental to Wendy’s health and in a convoluted way the new anti-smoking legislation saved her life.

The whole episode has made me reflect once again on the notion that when your time is up it is up. It’s comforting in one way I suppose, because you don’t have to worry yourself silly about everything but it’s also very unnerving to realise that whatever one does is not going to change what is destined. In fact, had Wendy given up smoking the day before, then she most likely would have been killed or maimed as well.

I don’t like to think that human beings have such little control over their lives. It’s disturbing. But on the other hand, perhaps that song by Bobby McFerin makes perfect sense. “Don’t worry. Be happy”


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