Debate over smoking breaks out at woman’s funeral

There may be a time and a place for everything but a funeral is a bad time to wage a campaign against smoking.

In Quincy, Mass., Carol Tan Wong died of lung cancer. During his eulogy for his mother, Adrian Wong said “she was not a smoker. Not exposed to secondhand smoke. Never worked with chemicals. She was simply unlucky.”

That’s when David Small, who was not invited by the family and nobody seemed to know, decided to come forward and opine on the smoking and the “Asian culture,” insisting that it likely played a role in the woman’s death.

“I’m not affected by this but I see that the smoke in the church in the Asian churches is so prevalent that I gag when I go inside,” Small said.

After a funeral director asked him to step aise, he added, “I hope what I’ve told you about the smoke in the church is not taken in offense. I mean it’s your culture.”

Small later told a Boston TV station he was concerned about a “high rate of smoking in the Asian community, and Asians burn incense in their churches, which is a health risk.”

“I think he owes an apology not just to me, but to the entire community,” Mr. Wong said.