Listener Reaction to our program "No
|I remember when DEATH cigarettes were on the
market, and back then I wondered if the people making them had gotten
the idea from comedian Denis Leary, whose early 1990s comedy album
"No Cure For Cancer" has him positing that smokers will
continue to smoke no matter how big or scary the warning labels are:
"Doesn't matter how big the warnings are.
You could have cigarettes that
were CALLED the warnings. You could have cigarettes that come in
pack with a skull and a crossbones on the front called TUMORS, and
would be lined up around the block going, 'I can't wait to get my
hands on these f---ing things!'"
Perhaps both Denis Leary and Boz Temple Morris
got the idea from a third source, but I think it's a lot more likely
that Morris heard Leary's comments and decided to act on the idea.
|the school that i went to in about eighth grade
put all the students into the auditorium and had someone give a presentation
about smoking causing lung cancer or emphysema. we saw the difference
between healthy lungs and smoker's lungs. the speaker also said that
the tobacco companies and cigarette manufacturers were making a huge
profit from smoking. i was a child at the time, of course, but i thought
that there was something wrong with profiting from growing, making,
and selling tobacco products. i have never smoked, and i am proud
of it. much more recently, i head of something called something like
"truth". i never saw much from them, tho. i heard that the
tobacco companies somehow prevented them from disclosing their profits,
and that the tobacco companies know that is the most effective way
to keep anyone from smoking or to quite smoking.
incidentally, that school was the school where glenn miller went
to high school.
|I hate smoking. I hate the smell. I hate cigarette
butts I see thrown on the ground. I hate it when I have to inhale
someone elses toxic smoke. I do all I can to stay away from
cigarette smoke and smokers. I even stay away from family members
that smoke. My friends do not smoke. I will not work around smokers.
I think smoking is a scourge and much rather people drink alcohol
to relieve stress, or use medications to help with anxiety or stress.
--Greg (In Seattle KUOW)
|As a recently reformed smoker sitting in work
on a Sunday evening listening to your program, I can imagine no better
test of my resolve than at present!
Your portrayal of smoking has even my non-smoking
colleague chomping at the bit to have his first.
Thanks for the test. At least its in the
name of art!
|I listened to your program about smoking and found
it wonderful in so many ways. I am a smoker- have been on and off
since I was 15 years old- so for 35 years almost.
I know about quitting and I know about starting. It is interesting
to make this sort of status. I have kind of always seen myself as
free to stop smoking any time I choose, and I still believe this-
I just need a good enough reason.
I have stopped smoking twice, and each time it has been for 5-6 years.
To start with the times I started smoking - 3 in all.
The first time- I was 15 and all my classmates smoked. As long as
I was pressured to smoke by my peers- which ironically was happening
at the church grounds during breaks as we were preparing for the protestant
confirmation- I choose to set myself apart and not join - I don't
like group pressure. Then one day- shortly thereafter, I got curious
and had my first cigarette with a neighbor friend and I liked it plus
I liked the feeling of doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing.
I was in my mid twenties when an temporarily broken heart made me
stop. I realized that I loved someone, and I loved him more than I
loved the cigarettes so it was my sacrifice to the love for him when
I stopped and it was easy. I stopped smoking for 5 years. I was now
30 and came to America to study. Lots of parties and being around
people who smoked I joined in. Great enjoyment again. The thing about
smoking is that the first cigarettes are just absolutely wonderful-
as long as you can keep it to one every few days. this is possible
only for a few weeks I have found. I smoked through marriage and divorce
and met my second husband who also smoked. We both wanted to stop.
I wanted to stop because I felt that the cigarettes had too much control
over me but what made me stop was the dream of having a child. We
wanted a child and I knew I would risk passing on chemicals to an
unborn child if I did not stop for two years before getting pregnant,
so I stopped again- for 5 years for the sake of the unborn child.
We never had a successful pregancy, and we started building a house
which was very stressful. I started again and the cigarettes took
the top of my anxiety and I think pulled me through the experience.
Now I think about stopping again, cough in the morning etc., and I
am looking for a deep reason to stop, as I need that to motivate me.
Somehow living longer is not a motivation.
I love smoking for all the reasons that Richard Klein described- there
is a poetic quality to the moment when you are all by yourself- sitting
out on the patio enjoying the first early morning cigarette-plumes
of smoke in the air, tingling in the body- not a care in the world-
add the morning paper, sun peaking through the trees, and a cafe au
lait and life is good. This time is all yours and you are doing something
for yourself- might be bad for you physically but it is great mentally.
There is a sense that you do something that is not approved of- an
adolescent sort of obstinacy- yet why is that so bad? I never liked
people to tell me what to do or not do. Isn't this the American way?
- well apparently not anymore. I guess I belong to a generation where
freedom was of ultimate importance. I think this is was part of my
attraction to America and still is. Yet, we are becoming a bunch of
sheep really. I get sort of disgusted by the holier than thou non-smoking
atitude so prevalent in our society. It almost seem that if you need
to prop yourself up you can just look down upon smokers and pass another
silly ordinance. Well look at alcohol consumption, people smoking
pot (in secret), gambling- computer games, sex-- eating too much -
a really big one! -excessive materialism etc. etc. I have this theory
all that the sum of additions stay constant. You drop one and you
find something alse to substitute it. It is the addiction to addiction-
meaning that you like to have something that pulls you out of the
funk- something to look forward to, something that pleasures you and
satisfying that pleasure. I think it is very human and a seriously
So for me it is smoking- and a few more things, but I will not suffer
from obesity related illnesses at least. Well one of these days I
will take up running and perhaps meditation. Then I might find the
peace I need through meditation and the high through running. I might
also have to face a few things that smoking helps me suppress and
change those things. But I will only stop if I want to- and yes me
last wish will also be a cigarette.
|I can appreciate the freedom of choice to have any
and mostly all matters of issue and discussion to be public opinionated.
Bottom line, are you trying to convince our population esp. our young
people to NOT smoke or encourage them to get it on to the benefit
of the tobacco companies or do everything we can to prevent it? there
is nothing glorious or romantic about smokes and being in the presence
Richard Klein must be taking a little payola from south of the Mason
Sincerely, a life time supporter of the American Lung Association
and member of a family that has suffered immensely to lung and other
smoke related disease. I have expended many years to intelligent awareness
I trust the majority is with us the rest can go to their graves in
misery, just like my mother in law is doing now.
|I am 22 and have never smoked, though I watched
my father smoke until August of 2001, when he had a brain aneurysm.
While in the VA they had him on morphine so he never felt the urge
Watching him smoke growing up and knowing what it was doing to him
I came to the conclusion that smoking is the cruelest form of suicide.
Because you tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and all
the time your actions are telling them that you don't love them enough
to stop. More over that you want them to watch you die over decades.
Once in the 5 years since he quit he threatened to start up again.
I told him and my mother that if he ever did I would leave and never
comeback until he was dead.
That's my thoughts on smoking.
Salt Lake City, UT
|Thank you for a great program. I found myself really
angry at the first segment, that someone would glorified smoking was
THEY need to grow up and be responsible for the enormous cost that
smokers prepetrate on the rest of us.
Well, that felt good. Now for my story. I smoked. I quit to get even
with my husband who said that we could get a dog if I stopped smoking.
I was so angry I quit that very moment and did not smoke again for
15 years until I divorced him. Then I started again. That went on
for about 5 years when I was operated on and when I came out of it,
I was not a smoker. I could not even imagine what that was or why
someone would put this white cyclinder in their mouth and lit it.
The smell of other people's cigarettes really makes me gag. The Doctor
swears they did not say anything while I was under. I'm happy. Regards,
I am a smoker, have been for 55 years and have no intention of quitting.
While I agree with your premise that smoking is unhealthy, I believe
it's necessary to put matters into prespective. There are certainly
people who should not smoke; there are also people who shouldn't ingest
dairy products, seafood, sugar, etc. It's an individual thing.
About me: I am 68 years old and in perfect health, 6'2" and 205
lbs, ride a bicycle 300 miles a month and regularly lift weights at
a local gym. Smoking has no adverse effect on me whatsoever, except
as I am taxed without representation and the money collected in these
repressive taxes doesn't go to helping people who've had "smoking
Cigarettes, in and of themselves, have never been decisively connected
to heart disease, lung cancer, or emphysema, and never will be as
the effects of cigarette smoking cannot be isolated from other such
health-threatening conditions as obesity, sinus conditions, allergies,
etc. and the causal conditions such as exhaust emissions, food additives,
alcohol, and others. The anti-smoking campaign is just one more excuse
for neurotic people to be unpleasant and feel superior.
But there is a problem. Cigarettes are more harmul than they otherwise
might be owing to FILTERS, which are made with fibers, plastics, charcoal,
(asbestos at one time) whcih the body is incapable of breaking down.
But witch hunts are a part of the social fabric, so thanks for scaring
people with your unbalanced presentation. How about a program citing
people who, such as myself, smoke without any adverse effects, who
will not light up if asked not to, and would like to be left alone
to enjoy my filter-less pleasure.
Oh, and nicotine is not an addictive drug. There is no such thing,
only addictive personalities. Being a recovering alcoholic, sober
for 26 years, I know whereof I speak. But is there a campaign against
drinking? That was tried once, if you recall and we all know how that
How about a program on depleted uranium? Now that's a real health
hazard about which NPR has nothing at all to say. Or how about the
80 or so chemical agents that we are all carrying around in our systems
from cleaning agents, food additives, exhaust emissions, coal fired
aerosols, sulphur, and all the rest of the "treats" we enjoy
George H. R
|Well, you asked for feedback, so here it is.
Both my parents smoked about two packs a day since their early
twenties (or even earlier, as far as I know). My dad did die of
lung cancer at age 65 (my age now), but my mom lived to 90 and died
of breast cancer and other complications. I however, was spared
such a fate, because I have never been able to even tolerate the
smell of smoke. I think this was because when I was little, whenever
we went for a car trip, my parents would light up in the car, and
I would promptly throw up. I guess I learned a combination of tolerance
for low levels of second-hand smoke and avoidance of smokers enabled
me to get through to the modern smoke free era. But
I do remember virtually suffocating on a Greyhound bus trip home
from college, and asking for airplane seats as far from the smoking
section as possible. Today, in the smoke free era, I
have become so sensitive to it that I am frequently offended when
someone stopped next to me at a traffic light is smoking, and I
can plainly smell it. Smokers simply do not realize how offensive
the smell of burning tobacco is to non-smokers.
Herewith, a few anecdotes: My first wife, who I married despite
a low-level smoking habit (she had other attributes that offset
this negative) finally gave in to my constant nagging when our first
son was born (you dont want to set a bad example,
etc.) that she actually gave up the habit. That may be the only
good thing I did for her, in the long run (other than giving her
a house, car, etc. in the divorce.)
While between marriages I had occasion to attend some kind of party
with a long-time girlfriend (we had been dating for well over a
year). I was absolutely astonished when someone offered her a cigarette,
and she lit up. I didnt know you ever smoked!
I said. Well, when you first met, you told me you would never
go out with anyone who smoked, so I never did it around you!
was the answer. I did not know whether to be flattered that she
thought that much of me, or offended that she had conned me for
Today, with smoking bans in force at work, in virtually all commercial
establishments, and at work, I can go for days or weeks at a stretch
without the slightest whiff of tobacco smoke, so I tend to agree
that smokers should be left alone to kill themselves, so long as
it does not impact on me.
Economics may have a lot to do with pricing tobacco out of the
market. I remember that when I was just a small boy, my parents
would give me a nickel and dime to get a pack of Camels from the
cigarette machine at a restaurant, and it came with two pennies
change inside the wrapper (this was in Pennsylvania, probably around
1950). The two cents was my reward for getting the smokes for them.
Of course, in those days you could actually buy something for a
penny penny candy was a reality, not just an adjectival phrase.
Today, it amazes me to see people paying multiple dollars for a
pack of dried plant leaves wrapped in paper. In fact, I wonder why
nobody has tried to develop a home tobacco kit to enable
people to grow, cure, and smoke their own tobacco, rather than paying
the exorbitant taxes now placed on these poor souls.
And yet, nicotine must have some powerful, wonderful effect on
people, desirable enough for them to accept high cost, possible
death, and social approbation. Perhaps it is one form of the mythical
nectar of the Gods, too powerful for humans to tolerate.
Hope I never find out.
|You asked for experiences related to this program,
and I have two stories for you - well I have hundreds of stories,
but here are two related to smoking, and quitting smoking:
First, I worked for Leo Burnett Co. Advertising as an apprentice
in the library when they were doing a presentation to get the Malboro
Cigarette account back in around 1950. Andy Armstrong, one of the
most gorgeous men around, and a chief Art Director at Burnett, was
the brains behind this presentation. I helped in my own little way,
digging out artwork, old ads, etc. for him from the library. Andy
got the account, and when the model who was supposed to be in the
first ad didn't show up, he drew an eagle 'tatoo' on his hand, put
on the cowboy hat and flannel shirt, lit up a Malboro and became
the first 'Malboro Man,' for one time only.
Second: My older sister taught me how to smoke when I was around
16, and by 18 I was joining my mother, older sister, and younger
sister in having a cigarette after dinner with our coffee. (My poor
father never smoked, but somehow put up with us - well, he was outnumbered
by women.) I worked in advertising most of my life, and it seemed
that everyone in that business smoked like mad. I smoked through
my first pregnancy at 30. My first husband died, and I remarried
at around 35. When I discovered I was pregnant again at 43, I was
a bit worried, but happy that I was still going to the doctor who
had delivered my first child....and really disturbed when he snatched
the cigarettes out of my purse, crumpled the pack and threw them
away with, "You are pregnant - and YOU just QUIT
SMOKING." It was that or get another doctor. (He had had a
heart attack, and quit smoking.) I was scared to be pregnant at
such a late age, so I did quit cold, and never smoked again. Bless
dear Dr. Gross for that. I had another big, healthy child, a son,
who never smoked, (nor does his wife) and has given me three beautiful
and healthy grandchildren. We are now a completely smoke-free family,
as he also finally convinced his older sister to quit last year.
Not sure this is where I should be writing this....but hope you
enjoy the stories.
Peggy C, San Francisco
|How really bizarre to combine the ethereal program
on the moon, the stars and the universe with this really dreadful
program telling us all about the joys of smoking. Better you combine
the Joys of Smoking program with a Joys of Lung Cancer, Heart Disease,
etc. Happy New Year - and I vote for more programs like the former
and fewer like the latter. Cheers!! Sally K
|After trying for years to convince, wheedle, threaten
and bribe my husband to quite smoking, I finally wrote a prose poem
that used my energy in a more productive way. I never did show it
to my husband; I knew it would just irritate him. But it's been one
of my most-requested poems in my read-aloud repertoire.
UNCLE BYRON, DON QUIXOTE, & THE MARLBORO MAN
Uncle Byron dreams impossible, unfiltered dreams,
a ciggie, lit or not, hung, barely brinked, on lower lip,
tongue poised to spitthf-ff-tttobacco bits.
His Byron (dashing poet) name somehow has never fit
with Uncle (big and teddy-bearish) nor with him.
He's short and tough, that Cagney-cocky tough of
smallish guys who're city-bred, street-wise,
with merchant seaman years to boot. You'd guess
he rolls his own, one at a time, lights up
with one deft hand, (his left), bent book match
still attached, a 1-2-3, flick-scratch-ff-ftt to flame.
He quick-draws, ufff-fff-sss, and smoke gets sucked
'way deep in lungs smoke-bathed for fifty years,
maybe eight million drags inhaled, each score today
a full-tilt boogie windmill joust, a Gentle-Knightly
battleground where haloed images prevail,
of Bogie lighting two at once, of heroes off
with Lucky Strike to war, of rugged billboard cowboys
scorning namby-pamby warning signs.
No way our noble Byron would abandon sacred principle,
a truth self-evident since junior high: SMOKING IS COOL.
How many of us honored this in deed: on youthful dates,
exam-crams, parties; then, with morning coffee, dusk martini,
and that holy ritual, the post-coital smoke!
Now we, the faithless lot, forgot our sultry Dietrich,
jaunty FDR, the Duke; James Dean, Ed Murrow,
Bette Davis all our smoky icons, so intense yet COOL.
Fainter of heart than Byron, we will shrink at sacrifice
of lungs and vocal cords, at wrinkling skin,
at cutting-off in years of life.
We see but barren plains of cancer, heart diseases,
asthma, secondary smoke effects, the thousand ills
that smoke is air to.
Still, forsooth, our Uncle Byrons fight,
yea fight to death, and not alone,
though millions of his kindred met their fates,
and millions more lost faith, to join ex-smokers' ranks,
or slouch with frequent-quitter armies, neither free nor true.
But you, the faithful few, who reach with yellow fingers
into high-taxed packs, and matchless strike a Bic against the wind,
and rush from smokeless offices to littered exiles of blue haze,
who buttless, hawking, lurch at 2 AM to All-Nite Drugs ,
of you we sing.
Like Don Quixote, you have kept your dream,
chose your own Windmill.
Brave, a dying breed, you tilt, stand up for cause
against all odds and reason, risking life and breath.
Your bell tolls daily faster, Byrons all.
So Hail, I say, and soon, I fear,
-----Pauline Masterton, 1992 ---
|I was extremely disturbed to listen to Richard Cline
(sp?) this Saturday a.m. when I turned on your station in my car.
Especially when I discovered it wasn't a joke! His thoughts that we
should encourage people to smoke between ages 20-30 and then quit
(yes, just like that Richard!) and then by age 50 the negatives of
smoking would be wiped clean from our bodies! Wow, please pass on
the American Cancer Society's website (www.cancer.org) so Mr. Cline
can possibly educate himself on the negatives of smoking and how extemely
difficult this addictive habit is to break. He also stated that kids
should be encouraged to try smoking! I was sick to my stomach thinking
that possibly people listening to his comments would take him seriously!
I'm thinking though that there are very intelligent people listening
to public radio and they, like me, found him disgusting and tuned
into another station as quick as we could. I am hoping I will not
hear him on your station again. Maybe there was more information shared
after his talk but I missed it as I'm guessing lots more educated
people did too when we changed stations!
Smoking romantic and poetic??!! What a horrifying picture! Please
understand that I sat with my father who was only 74 and watched
him try to keep an unlit cigarette in his mouth while he breathed
oxygen from a tank, slowly dying of various types of cancer throughout
his body. He started when he was barely a teen and our family suffered
with him everytime he tried to quit this addictive habit which was
numerous unsuccessful times.
It would have killed him even quicker if he'd known how sick from
heart disease he had made his dear wife of 50 years since she inhaled
his second hand smoke all that time. She died 4 years after him
from heart failure that was caused by second hand smoke. I find
nothing romantic about smoking. I will work nonstop as long as I
can to encourage as many people as I can to never smoke and to quit
if they are smoking.
Check our our new web site about healthy lifestyles. Maintain a
healthy body weight. As winter weather sets in, you still need to
exercise daily, and eat well. Eating less and being more active
will help tip the scales in your favor. Get in the right shape at
|I am beginning this e-mail at 7:24 P.M., having
turned off todays To the Best of Our Knowledge program
to devote myself to a response to your first guests thoughts.
No doubt you will receive many such e-mails, but at least you might
count this one in the no-smoking column. The idea that
Richard Klein would devote energy in a romantic/spiritual argument
for smoking cigarettes is appalling, and to give him air time for
the sake of conversation is just as horrible. Your editor has failed
you. Add to this unexpected experience I have just had as a listener,
the irritation of the thought that Mr. Klein, a non-smoker, is making
money from his book, too, that your program is promoting his book
by the mere mention of it, and I feel justified in venting my spleen
on the subject. I never respond to what I hear on the radio, but this
bit cries for a plunger. Have you or Mr. Klein ever experienced, personally,
the decline of a smoker? If the answer is No, I only ask
that you, and he, become truly educated. I will miss the rest of the
program because Im upset enough already. I hope the remaining
program time weighs against Mr. Kleins mercenary fancy.
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