Narcissus' Echo

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cancer sticks and coffin nails

Canada tobacco warnings now considered modern art

Oct 7, 2005 — OTTAWA (Reuters) - Gruesome Canadian images of tobacco-damaged gums, lungs and hearts will form part of an exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Canada's health ministry said on Friday.

The graphic images appear as health warnings on Canadian cigarette packs, and they will now be part of a MoMA exhibition on objects designed to protect the mind and body from dangerous or stressful influences.

"I am very proud that these labels have been recognized as being among some of the most innovative contemporary designs in the world," Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said in a statement.

Canada was the first country in the world to add pictures to its health warnings on cigarette packs, which also tell smokers that tobacco can cause impotence, or that second-hand smoke can harm children and babies.


Some of the labels (click for larger image):

Trivia: Singapore and Brazil are the only other countries in the world, besides Canada, that mandate pictures accompanying health warnings on cigarette packs.

Tobacco smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and disability in Australia. It kills more than 19,000 people a year and costs the Australian community around $21 billion in social costs per year.


Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Each year, more than 400,000 Americans die from cigarette smoking. In fact, one in every five deaths in the United States is smoking related. Every year, smoking kills more than 276,000 men and 142,000 women.

Men who smoke increase their risk of death from lung cancer by more than 22 times and from bronchitis and emphysema by nearly 10 times. Women who smoke increase their risk of dying from lung cancer by nearly 12 times and the risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by more than 10 times. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among middle-aged men and women.

Annually, exposure to secondhand smoke (or environmental tobacco smoke) causes an estimated 3,000 deaths from lung cancer among American adults. Scientific studies also link secondhand smoke with heart disease.


Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 430,000 deaths each year, or one in every five deaths. Paralleling this enormous health toll is the economic burden of tobacco use:  between $50 billion and $73 billion in medical expenditures and another $50 billion in indirect costs.


A study conducted by the Tufts' School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Massachusetts revealed that a cat living with a smoker is two times more likely to get feline lymphoma than one that's not. After five years living with a smoker, that rate increases to three times as likely. And, when there are two smokers in the home, the chances of getting feline lymphoma increases to four times as likely.

This indicates that the risk of developing cancer from second-hand smoke may be greater for cats than for humans, including children. One possible reason is that the cat receives the cancer-causing agents both by inhaling and by grooming.

A study by Colorado State University found that a dog that that has exposure to a smoker in the home is 1.6 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a dog that is not exposed to a smoker. The study also found that skull shape had an effect on the estimated risk of lung cancer in dogs. Dogs with long noses (like German shepherds) have a higher risk for nasal cancer and dogs with short noses (like pugs) have a higher risk for lung cancer. This is because, in theory, a dog with a long nose has an extra filtering system in its nose, so it is more likely to develop nasal cancers, but because of this extra filtering system, tobacco smoke is less likely to reach its lungs and cause cancer there.


Don't get me wrong, I am not a fascist. I am all for freedom of choice. Hey, if you want to die a slow, expensive, painful and agonizing death, it's your choice. BUT you should not be allowed to exercise this choice in a location where other people and animals may be harmed (i.e. your secondhand smoke). Furthermore, when you smoke, you should be disqualified from subsidized health care (if you reside in a country with a socialized health system). Why should other people pay for the consequences of your drug habit?

Yes, I consider smokers drug addicts.
Well, that's the truth.
So sue me.
You better do it fast though. Before your name ends up here.


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