Thirty-two months on the 21st of May my husband of 44 years passed away from Lung Cancer. He began smoking while still in high school, and before he stopped smoking 34 years later, he admitted to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. I always wondered that if he admitted to smoking 3 packs a day, how many packs did he really smoke.
He would say that if he had known the evils of tobacco he probably would never had had that first puff. That’s what he would say, but is it the truth? Who knows?
He was a charming blue-eyed Irishman that frequently had a twinkle in his eye. He was a leader, not a follower, and I suspect that if he thought it was “cool” to smoke, he would have smoked. But there was no research like there is today; when he finally did stop smoking – 31 years BEFORE he died – he stopped because he finally believed what research was telling him. He thought that by quitting smoking, he was prolonging his life, and the cause of death would never be “lung cancer.”
He was wrong. But…in defense of the smoking lobby, it is not certain that cigarette’s caused his cancer. He – and I – were both born and raised in the Los Angeles basin. We told people that as soon as we could see the air we were breathing – (smog) – we moved. But we breathed that air for years – thirty-nine for him; twenty seven for me.
Another factor that might have caused his lung cancer was that, as a Principal opening up a new school, he helped the contractors close the asbestos laced ceilings so that school could open on time. Yes, he would stand on a ladder with his head poked into the ceiling gluing tiles to the braces in the attic. Any of these things could have caused his lung cancer – asbestos, smog, and, of course cigarettes.
When I heard that the tobacco industry was behind the “NO on Proposition 29” I immediately knew that I would do everything I could do defeat proposition 29.
And then I did some more research – I wanted to know who else was behind the “NO” propaganda. After all, the television commercials show these physicians telling us not to pass the proposition.
I was amazed at the “partial listing” I found by googling “no on proposition 29” endorsers. There are 117 small markets listed; 40 all-purpose gas stations; 15 police departments; 22 Chamber of Commerce’s; 11 Tax Payer Associations; 3 Water companies, and a few more that were singletons. Why are we listening to the large tobacco companies, or to the shop owners that stand to lose a great deal of money , with rhetoric that has no basis. Philip Morris Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds (using a variety of its conglomerates , is the money behind the “NO” campaign.
The biggest effect of Prop. 29 would be a dramatic drop in smoking. That’s why Big Tobacco is spending $80 million to fight it. The main tool: confusion and lies.
For instance, it’s not true that it lacks oversight. The research money would be managed by a committee consisting of the UCSF, UCB, and UCSC chancellors, cancer center directors and other experts and stakeholders. That’s written right into the text of Proposition 29. And it’s a red herring that the money won’t go to treatment. The money is going to PREVENTION: reducing smoking, a key cause of cancer; and funding research, a way to fight other causes of cancer.
Who are the main supporters of “YES” on Proposition 29? Here’s a partial list:
American Cancer Society; Lance Armstrong Foundation; American Heart Association; Michael Bloomberg ; American Lung Association ; Volunteers Organized for Community Empowerment; Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund; University of California/San Francisco Foundation ; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center ; National Dialogue on Cancer Foundation and many more.
It seems to me that we can believe one group or the other. I for one will go along with the respected health groups over the tobacco industry and small businesses that stand to lose money if people stop smoking. As Jim Knox, spokesman for the American Cancer Society states,
“ Using tobacco taxes to pay for cancer research makes sense. Tobacco use causes cancer. The connection is very direct.”
I can only hope that a loved one of yours does not suffer the ravages of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most underfunded cancer of all of the cancers. There is little research being done as contrasted to the research for breast, prostate and other cancers.
Please join me in voting “YES” on Proposition 29. I only wish there had been more research done before Bob died. (It is interesting to note that since he died the scientists have discovered that a more thorough chest x-ray can determine at an early stage if lung cancer is present. Bob – and most lung cancer patients – are not diagnosed until they are at STAGE 4. And there are very few survivors of a STAGE 4 diagnosis.)
Please–don’t succumb to the tobacco industry falsehoods.