‘Smokeout’ proves valuable lesson

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 19, 1999

Though the success of the Great American Smokeout 1999 may never be fully realized, the fact is that today, people across America took a break from an addictive and potentially deadly habit.

Tobacco kills, as scientific evidence proves. Anti-tobacco advocates contend that it is the only legalized substance that, if used regularly for its intended purpose, will kill.

The fact is that smoking is legal, and we do not contend that it should be otherwise. Still, the idea of the habit being passed on to those who are not mature enough to make rational decisions regarding the nature of the substance is frightening.

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And every time an adult quits smoking or chooses not to smoke, it influences a younger person.

Young people do as their elders do in most circumstances and the stronger the convictions of adults are, the more those convictions influence youngsters.

Will thousands of people quit smoking because of The Great American Smokeout this year? Probably not. But some will. And every person who quits shows the power and discipline to conquer a habit.

Society has taken a dim view of smokers in recent years – some of it deserved, and some of it not. Smokers are like all people. Some are considerate. Some are not. They are male and female, black and white, young and old.

But as more and more of them put down their lighters and resolve to leave their bad habits behind, the stronger the example that is set.

We want to congratulate those who took a break from smoking – even for one day. We hope that their abstinence from the habit for a day will give them the courage and strength to stay away from cigarettes for another day, and then another.

Though there will likely never be an end to smoking, we can curb it. And the less cool it becomes, the longer our children will live when it’s time for them to make their choice.

Nov. 18, 1999, 11 PM