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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Happy 'World No Tobacco Day'

Published May 31, 2011 3:57 PM by Valerie Newitt
It is estimated more than 5 million people will die this year from a tobacco-related heart attack, stroke, cancer, lung ailment, COPD, etc. (And another 600,000 will succomb to illness brought on by second-hand smoke.) And as those so-inflicted wend their way to an early grave, there are others who will look the other way,  -- or worse, criticize.

James Kiley, MD, director of NHLBI's division of lung diseases, told me during a recent interview, "There's still a blame mentality out there. People think, 'It's a self-induced disease; after all they were warned.' But that's completely inappropriate. We can draw all kinds of examples for other addictions, and people with those ilnesses are not castrated in a similar way."

Tough talk, for a solid point.

Today is World No Tobacco Day, a global effort to snuff out cigarettes while raising awareness. Countries throughout the world continue to institute tobacco control measures -- who would have believed no smoking in Ireland's pubs! -- to help reduce the harm caused by smoking.

This isn't a time for blame or shame. It's a time to continue to chip away at the worldwide marketing of cigarettes. More importantly, it's a time to educate, encourage, and extinguish.

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