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Tobacco Information and Prevention Source: TIPS

You can Quit Smoking

Tobacco resources on the Web

Tobacco Free Kids

Abeja's Dispatch on Tobacco in Zimbabwe, from the World Trek


Pop Quiz -- Cigarette Smoking is:
a)dangerous, b)lethal, c) smelly, or d) all of the above?


First of all, congratulations to all of you who participated in the Great American Smokeout on November 18th and in Lung Cancer Awareness Week from November 12-18. Your involvement makes a huge difference and is the first step in living longer and healthier.

Second, you should know that tobacco has been around for centuries in the Americas, but only recently have experiments pointed out the horrifying effects of smoking on human health. The trekkers are currently moving through Southern states like Virginia and the Carolinas, where tobacco has always been important. Even today, tobacco corporations grow their crops and have headquarters in the South. For examples, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. (Kool, Capri, Raleigh, Lucky Strike brands) is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. Lorillard Inc. (True, Kent, Newport brands) is based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The largest tobacco corporation, Philip Morris Inc. (Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges), has a corporate office in New York City. (It's the only office building in the entire city that unwisely still allows smoking: City Council has banned smoking everywhere else!)

Philip Morris, on its website, has a list of all the chemicals in their cigarettes and makes you believe that these additives are harmless. Check it out! However, what they don't say is that these additives, which do show up in foodstuffs and cosmetics, were never meant to be burned! Cigarettes and cigarette smoke contain over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known to cause cancer like naphthalene (also found in mothballs), toluidine, and benzpyrene. What else can you find in the smoke? How about arsenic, which is also found in white ant poison? There's also: toluene (found in industrial solvent) cadmium (found in car batteries) hydrogen cyanide (used in gas chambers for execution purposes) formaldehyde (used to preserve body tissue) ammonia (found in floor cleaner) Mmmmmmmmm... doesn't that sound yummy? (Not.)

If you've read the news lately, you know that companies like Philip Morris are starting to 'fess up to harming human health. In November 1998, four tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion in a settlement with 46 states. In April 1999, a jury awarded Florida smokers $12.7 million in a class-action suit.

Are your eyes popping? Sure, that's a lot of money, but it doesn't bring back the dead. 400,000 people still die from smoking-related illnesses EVERY YEAR. One in five deaths in the United States results from the use of tobacco. Did you or someone you know light up for the first time today? You're doing exactly what cigarette companies want you to do! Every day, nearly 5,000 adolescents (aged 11-17) smoke their first cigarette. About one-third of those that become smokers will eventually die of smoking-related illnesses.

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, so you CAN do something to help your friends, relatives, and loved ones who are still smoking. Here's a first step -- read this online: You can Quit Smoking. Remember that cigarette smoking is addictive and that addiction can be managed and eventually controlled. There are more resources on the web in the "Cool Links" section. Hide the cigarettes if necessary. Stop thinking your coolness factor depends on some leaves. If you're feeling low self-esteem or you think that smoking is a quicker way to make you sick, take a moment to think about your life and all the things that would be so much worse if your lungs weren't working. Now QUIT!


Links to Other Dispatches

Neda - Visiting the houses that cotton - and slave labor - built
Rebecca - Pass the gumbo and another sweet potato biscuit please
Stephanie - Huckleberry Finn makes waves along the Mississippi
Teddy - The amazing Booker T. Washington, former slave turned college founder