In June 2013, Ray, still a heavy smoker was hospitalized with pneumonia which resulted in his fighting for his life. He eventually recovered but was given a diagnosis of last stage emphysema. Ray tried valiantly to stop smoking but was unable to do so. Shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with cancer with a prognosis of only a few years to live at best. In September 2013 Ray tried his first e-cigarette and stopped smoking immediately. He refused traditional oncology treatment and concentrated all his efforts on becoming healthy.
Following his tragic moment, Ray became a passionate and highly active consumer vaping advocate, co-founding the Tobacco Harm Reduction Association of Canada, one of the first vaping organizations in the world.
Ray pictured above at the Nova Scotia Legislative Building in 2016, showcasing the number of flavours and chemicals found in combustible tobacco.
Today, the product which successfully prolonged his life the last 7 years has ironically become the smoking gun used to justify an action which, if carried out, will undoubtedly kill him.
He has been told by government officials in his home province of Nova Scotia that despite using the service for three years, he is no longer entitled to free oxygen because he vapes; vaping is now a preclusion to the provision of services. Ray has been informed that this service will be forcibly withdrawn unless he was prepared to quit vaping. Following a widespread social media campaign by THRA Canada and INNCO, Ray has been offered a one month reprieve "to allow him additional time with which to stop vaping". The act of removing life-supporting equipment from a citizen dependent upon it is surely a major breach of ethical and legal practice.
In addition to this travesty, Ray has had issues with accommodations. The home in which he lived sold. The need to find a suitable home was urgent. Assisted living offered Ray a placement but at the eleventh hour, it was revoked because he vapes. He now exists in a small hotel room with very few amenities.
The funds raised from this effort are going to provide Ray with a home oxygen system, portable oxygen unit and an affordable, sustainable place to call home.
for THRA Canada
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- Nicholas Green
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