M988.175.41 | A Smoker Jumps

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Drawing, cartoon
A Smoker Jumps
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
June 3, 1988, 20th century
Ink, felt pen and film on paper
28.1 x 33 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Anonymous citizen (162) , Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , Life in society (104) , People (413) , smoking (9) , Social (105) , social (690) , Social stakes (275)
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Keys to History

"I enjoy wandering all over Montreal; so many areas of the city are visually stimulating. Occasionally, I like to use a familiar locale as the backdrop for a cartoon. For this drawing, I didn't have far to go. It shows Rue St. Jacques, in the heart of Montreal's financial district and also the location of The Gazette's offices before the move uptown to the corner of Peel and Ste. Catherine. The window in which the figure is perching was the window of my studio.

The cartoon addresses two issues very much on the public mind at the time. It was about one year after the mini-crash of 1987, so many people had financial concerns. Might the person be thinking of jumping because of financial ruin? Nope. He was just another employee who had been told he could no longer smoke indoors, so he was sitting out on the window ledge having a smoke. The issue was clearly on my mind - I had yet to quit smoking."

Terry Mosher (alias Aislin)

  • What

    With the enactment in the late 1980s of laws restricting smoking in public places and in the workplace, smokers were forced to make dramatic changes to their daily routines. Many were critical of the laws; others saw them as an incentive to give up smoking. Still others, who could not forego the pleasures of cigarettes, simply went outdoors to smoke... often in the street, but sometimes in more unusual places such as the one the cartoonist shows here, thereby underlining the message that cigarettes can kill.

  • Where

    The new laws prohibited cigarette smoking in most public places. The smoking rooms in buildings and smoking sections in restaurants and bars are the last places where one might encounter drifting blue smoke... apart from on the street, the last stand of smokers!

  • When

    The Act respecting the Protection of Non-smokers in Certain Public Places, adopted in 1987 by the government of Quebec, as well as the Non-smokers' Health Act, adopted in 1988 by the federal government, are intended to regulate tobacco use.

  • Who

    In response to public opinion and to lobbying by health groups, the governments of Quebec and Canada adopted laws aimed at protecting non-smokers and improving the wellness and health of all citizens.