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Monday, April 16, 2007

Powerful perfume puts brakes on bus ride

The scent of a woman was too powerful for bus drivers in western Canada who twice banished her to the curb for dabbing too much perfume.

The buxom brunette said she boarded a bus on two separate days wearing her usual two squirts of Very Irresistible by Givenchy, billed in advertisements as bringing out a woman's spontaneity, audacity and sensuality.

But during each commute, the driver said the potent odor was interfering with his ability to operate the vehicle, and kicked her off.

"I was humiliated and embarrassed in front of other passengers," the 25-year-old chiropractic assistant told broadcaster CTV. "I got off that bus in tears."

When she complained, transit officials steered her to the back of the bus, next to an open window. "I felt like a modern day Rosa Parks," she told the National Post.

Pundits said the confrontation illustrates changing attitudes in Canada to heavy perfume use, much in the same way that smoking became less acceptable in recent decades.

"At one point, the etiquette was that if you didn't like the smoke, then leave," scent expert Roedy Green told the Globe and Mail newspaper. "Now the rule is that you don't have the right to pollute somebody else's air."

In 2000, the city of Halifax in eastern Canada banned scents in all municipal buildings, including schools, libraries and courts, as well as many workplaces, theatres and shops.

The Lung Association meanwhile said it has received more and more requests for scent-free signs and related materials, with rising rates of asthma and other pulmonary diseases that are greatly susceptible to irritants in the air.

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