New Mexico should declare war on tobacco products

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Albuquerque oncologist Dr. Barbara L. McAneny and anti-tobacco activist Thomas Ramsey detail the disconcerting failure of the state to combat one of its most serious public health hazards -- smoking.

For four decades now, since the first U.S. Surgeon General's report stated the undeniable reality that smoking and death are intertwined, the medical community has known that preventing smoking is one of the most significant public health measures that can be taken to save lives - hundreds of thousands nationally each year and thousands here in New Mexico.

The loss of life, primarily from smoking-induced cancers, heart disease and lung illnesses, is only the worst part of the picture. Smoking not only kills people, it cripples entire families.

Despite the availability of millions of dollars from the national tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, New Mexico got F's across the report card from the American Lung Association. ...

The state's grades are not just disappointing letters on another social litmus test or even an indication of how little it cares about the welfare of its people. ...

No single effort will do more to save human life in New Mexico than getting smokers to quit and preventing youngsters from ever starting to smoke. But the addiction is powerful -- more so than mainline illegal drugs, according to some studies. So fighting it is going to take effort and money. ...

It will be a long campaign. But, starting today and on behalf of its citizens, New Mexico should declare war on tobacco.

-- The Albuquerque (N.M) Tribune

Feb. 20

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