Monday, August 08, 2005

When Smokers Die of Cancer, the Press Should Mention It

Ann Althouse, one part of the guest-blogging triumvirate over at Instapundit this week, writes:
"IF YOU SMOKE AND DIE OF CANCER, every obituary will take advantage of your death as an opportunity to remind the living to quit smoking."
That's not taking advantage, it's called good reporting. On top of that, it's public service.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence that smoking causes cancer, strokes, and heart disease, those addicted to cancer sticks often remain in deep denial.

About ten years ago, a person in their early 40's I knew suffered a heart attack. The first thing the doctor said was, "Stop smoking!" The person's spouse approached me to ask for pointers on how to handle things. The spouse would crave cigarettes and all their closest friends were smokers. I couldn't imagine that even addicted smokers would be heedless of the risks to a friend or be able to deny the hazards.

I was wrong! Within a week of my conversation with the concerned spouse, I ran into the couple's "best friends." They brought up with me the advice of the doctor and dismissed it as so much quackery. They said that they had known people who'd had heart attacks or cancer who never had smoked.

It seems to me that every time a prominent person like Peter Jennings dies as the result of ingesting those tar-and-nicotine time bombs, it would be criminal for the press not to mention it.


Deborah White said...

Anderson Cooper of CNN devoted most of his hour-long program last night to lung cancer and the effects of smoking on the body. It was an excellent show.

I admire the good work Cooper does, which he does from the heart, not from financial need. (He's the son of Gloria Vanderbilt.)

Mark Daniels said...

I didn't know that about Cooper and in fact, I rarely watch CNN. (I usually watch MSNBC.)

Bill Hemmer, who recently left CNN, is the son of a wealthy family from here in Cincinnati. When I first arrived in town, he was a sports anchor for a local TV station. He left to travel around the world and after that, went to work for CNN.