Sunday, December 02, 2001
( 1:07 PM ) Jackie
George Harrison Murdered by Tobacco Industry
Over the past few days I've heard a number of excellent tributes to George Harrison. What has been missing in these, however, is any discussion of his murderers, the tobacco industry.
Harrison was 58 years old when he died of cancer on November 29. He attributed his initial throat cnacer, diagnosed in 1997, to cigarette smoking.
According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC), tobacco causes more than 400,000 deaths per year. Their report states that "Nationally, smoking results in more than 5 million years of potential life lost each year."
This issue is near to me because my mother, a heavy smoker, died of cancer when she was 62, after a long and terrible illness. The original cancer in her case was colorectal cancer, followed by throat cancer, followed by liver cancer, followed by death. She lived for about 12 years after her nearly fatal bout with colon cancer, using a colostomy bag in place of the colon that was removed. An ABC news story states that "Smoking cigarettes for 20 years or more can increase by more than 40 percent the risk of dying of colorectal cancer, according to a study that blames tobacco use for nearly one in eight such deaths in the United States."
Cigarettes and other tobacco products are said to be more addictive than cocaine or heroin according to an article on nicotine addiction. The industry hooks smokers when they are young, creates an early dependency, and uses advertising to reinforce the addiction.
It would be a great good if every tribute to Harrison also gave us this information.
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