[Letter to the Editor]
January 23, 1999
CONTACT: Scott Goold at 505.293.2504
Dear Christopher Johnson:
Editor and Publisher, Weekly Alibi

In response to M. Costic's letter (January 21-27) we would like to add that our organization agrees in principle with Costic: Society would be better served if you would drop tobacco advertising. Your readership is highly vulnerable to the subliminal messaging in these ads. We would be willing to help compensate your loss in revenue if you drop their ads.

In Tupak Amaru Shakur's single "Changes" there is a line that goes, "I made a g' today." Tupak answers, "But you made it in a sleazy way."

These artists are rappin' about drug trafficing, but the effects to society from tobacco are a hundred times worse than that from illicit drugs. We ask your editorial board to consider the ethics of tobacco advertising. Yes, you have "the right" to profit from this industry, but it is not the right thing to do.

Many people are not aware that tobacco kills more Americans each year than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, car accidents, homicide, suicide, fires, and AIDS combined. Most smokers start around the age of 14, long before they realize what they are doing. An estimated 70% of current smokers wish they could quit -- but cannot due to the addictive grasp of nicotine. The tobacco industry has manipulated the level and effectiveness of nicotine for years. Few people realize how powerful this addiction is.

States, and likely the federal government as well, prepare to take billions of dollars from the tobacco industry to compensate for the increased public health and medical costs. Yet how do we compensate for the millions of deaths? Our organization does not want to interfere with an adult's decision to smoke. They must make that choice themselves. We are asking society to reconsider their position on tobacco to save our children.

The tobacco industry has targeted kids and minorities for many years. Researchers have long suspected this, but the tobacco industry has consistently denied these allegations. Due to the recent court cases, internal tobacco industry files were released that document the years of deception and lying by big tobacco. We must take strong steps to counter these manipulative practices.

The Weekly Alibi is by nature a counter-culture publication. You have the forum and audience that would welcome such a revolution. The tobacco industry is a bunch of "graying, fat, rich white boys." They have made billions preying on innocent and trusting cohorts of Americans -- children and minorities. They have been able to establish through advertising, promotional activities and Hollywood that smoking is cool, empowering and a sign of independence.

This has been one of history's greatest deceptions. Smoking is not cool. People do not like the smell, stains or the toxins in second-hand smoke. The consequences of smoking are not empowering. Cigarettes weaken, sicken and kill. The addictive nature of nicotine proves that smoking is not an act of independence. It grabs the soul and enslaves the user. Most smokers are dependent for the rest of their shortened and sickened lives.

Democratic government is traditionally known for its lethargy and slow call to arms. Yet we have seen 46 state governments combine forces against big tobacco. The remaining four states were successful in their individual attacks. Governments from around the world, as well as our federal government, now smell the rat. Tobacco is on the run. Do not be the last to join the revolution -- be one of the first. Break from this evil tradition before your reputation is tarnished.

We have known of the destructive health effects from tobacco for many years. We are learning more each day about the destructive social effects. Those who continue to support or profit from obacco will soon learn of the destructive political effects of this unethical alliance.

Break from your addiction -- the appeal of fast and sleazy money -- now.


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