4/15/08

Will the Pro-Life Pope Speak Out Against --- Smoking Cigarettes?

While in the US I hope this strict Pope will speak out for the 485,000 victims who die prematurely each year of diseases caused by smoking cigarettes.

I know however that they chances of this happening are slim and none. (Not Virginia Slims...)

Here is what one public health professional has recently written on the subject:
Some twenty years ago, while preparing a book on the history of the cigarette in America (A Smoking Gun: How the Tobacco Industry Gets Away With Murder, Stickley, 1984), I wrote to the Cardinal of New York and asked him why the Church had no pronouncements on cigarettes, the leading cause of premature death -- a clear threat to the value of life. The letter I received back was scathing, calling me stupid and naive, arguing that I had obviously not traveled outside the U.S. much and seen poverty and hunger -- otherwise, I would not be worrying about something as trivial as cigarette smoking.

As a public health professional, I do not consider 485,000 premature deaths annually in the United States to be "trivial." And I am outraged to see the ongoing marketing of cigarettes here in our country. But the recently-announced move by Philip Morris to addict hundreds of millions more people in Africa, China, Korea, Russia, and beyond is nothing short of appalling. As this international massacre continues -- indeed, intensifies -- is silence by the Church compatible with a pro-life commitment, or is it just sheer hypocrisy?

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan is president of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org, HealthFactsAndFears.com).

Here is a cigarette ad from the Phillipines:
"Philippines: Pray for health In the Philippines, with a large and devout Catholic population, various wall calendars tout popular tobacco brands. This one is from the Fortune Tobacco Company."

2 comments:

John D. Enright said...

My goodness, miracles apparently do happen! This is a post with which I agree. You might like to read this article: Tobacco-free zone? Pope urged to stomp out butts in Vatican City. It is from the Catholic News Service.

Tzvee said...

Thanks!