When Glenn Farr’s brother was diagnosed with tonsil cancer the first question Trevor was asked was how long he had been smoking.
Trevor was a non-smoker. It’s believed his cancer was caused from second-hand smoke.
“We didn't frequent pubs but we always went there after a game of footy or a training session, and everybody there seemed to smoke. Back in the ‘70s places were just blue with smoke so we were all exposed,” Mr Farr said.
“At that stage we didn't understand the ramifications. If you dig a little bit deeper I bet you'll find a hell of a lot more stories.”
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Mr Farr has joined the Cancer Council’s Saving Lives 2019 campaign. It is advocating for the NSW government to fix the current smoke-free laws by amending the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000.
As it currently stands, people are able to smoke in pubs and clubs if they are in the gaming rooms.
“I would like them to extend the laws so people aren't allowed to smoke. That's the aim of it,” Mr Farr said.
“If you want to smoke go out in the paddock and smoke, I'm just looking at the welfare of people. The less exposure the better.”
Mr Farr said a lot of progress had been made since the ‘70s but he wanted the loophole closed to protect more people.
Cancer Council Western NSW community programs coordinator Camilla Thompson said smoking caused 5,500 deaths and 47,000 hospitalisations in NSW every year.
Trevor was 45-years-old at the time he was diagnosed.
“He had to have an anesthetic before he could eat, but with a lot of radiation he had 23 years after that,” Mr Farr said.
“The cancer did come back, as they said it probably would. They said it could come back anywhere from his nose to his toes and in the end he passed away because he had pancreatic cancer. He had surgery and that was not successful because it was a bit more extensive than they thought.”
Mr Farr is also a non-smoker.
“I've been a non-smoker my whole life but I grew up in a house of smoke with my mother and brothers that smoked. At this stage I guess I've dodged a bullet, maybe, who knows down the track? Who knows how many people who have worked in the hospitality industry over the years have passed on because of this?” he said.
“There's nothing good about smoking. Full stop.”
Community members can support the Cancer Council’s Saving Life 2019 campaign by signing an online postcard at canact.com.au.