Homeless in Vancouver: New safe smoking tube looks like a crack pipe

This evening my friend Florida Pete showed me the latest thing in “safe smoking” apparatus for street people: a short length of clear plastic tube.

Pete was wearing at least two too many jackets to be comfortable when he came to visit me this evening in McDonald’s. It wasn’t long before he was so dozy he had to go back outside to look for a place to crash. But first he put on a bit of show and tell.

He started with a nifty little LED flashlight someone had dropped. It also doubled as a red laser pointer. Neat!

Then he showed me what he said a community health nurse had given him earlier in the day outside the Kingsgate Mall at East Broadway and Main Street. At first glance it looked like the sort of glass tube used for a crack pipe but no, it was about two-and-a-half inches of flexible plastic tubing. It was the simplest of devices for “safely” smoking used cigarette butts.

Look what a crack team of health professionals came up with!

Simple enough for a homeless person to understand.
Stanley Q. Woodvine

Pete showed me how the tube was just the right diameter to firmly hold the filter end of a cigarette butt. With the used stogy held in one end of the tube, Pete could smoke it through the other end of the tube and his lips would never have to touch the filter that other lips had touched.

The nurse had given him two of the tubes in a little zipper-lock bag with a printed note to the effect that the tubes were to be used to “avoid oral cancer and other diseases spread by saliva”.

Furthermore the note warned, “do not share with other people.”

Pete is keenly aware that at first glance it brings to mind crack smoking but he’s willing to try it, at least for a while. 

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