Friday, July 15, 2005

Killer Asthma Epidemic Created By Secondhand Cigarette Smoke

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Caroma is concerned about the nation's asthma epidemic. And he should be, as 20 million Americans now have asthma, or three times as many persons as 25 years ago. Yet the nation shows no seriousness in outlawing the number one cause of new asthma cases, cigarettes or even public smoking.

And children are paying a very high price for the selfish nicotine drug addiction behavior of adults. There are 5,000 hospital emergency room visits required for asthma in the U.S. each day in America, costing the health care system $500 million a year. Many of these persons hospitalized are children. And one in eight American children now have asthma, the highest number ever recorded. And 1,000 persons become hospital admissions due to asthma each day. And some children or adults die each day from this serious breathing disorder, that could be greatly reduced if only politicians had the political will to ban smoking or at least ban public smoking.

And asthma is becoming an urban and inner city illness, where selfish nicotine drug addict adults exist in high numbers who refuse to stop smoking for the sake of children. These drug addicts, like all selfish drug addicts, only prize their next drug fix more highly than the lives of children or adults with illness. Cigarette smokers are a more serious and widespread abuse threat to children than any other form of child abuse. Yet government is not serious to stop this child abuse epidemic.

As any inner city epidemic, such as hunger, poverty, drug abuse or even gun violence, it is often the Black community that suffers most from inner city issues. This is only the latest way in which powerful Southern business tobacco interests are profitting from promoting misery in the Black community. It was tobacco and cotton interests who brought slaves to America from Africa, helped to launch some proslavery churches, helped to cause the civil war when slavery was threatened and other racist examples of harming Blacks to promote tobacco industry profits. yet many do no see this as another important civil rights issue against an immoral industry with a long antiBlack community racist background.

The U.S. Surgeon General seems to want to lay blame on those with asthma, claiming they don't manage the illness often very well. But this is simply blame the victim nonsense. There is no way for children or adults with asthma to avoid secondhand cigarette smoke. It is in the apartment buildings that children live in. It is on public sidewalks. It is at busstops. It is in the entrance of grocery stores. A child with asthma cannot even rent a cartoon video without smokers often hanging around in front of the neighborhood video store, making them ill. There is no way for children to avoid this menace.

The economy pays a high price for this with lost days from work or school because of asthma. And asthma costs $16 billion yearly in medical costs, that could be drastically cut if politicians would stop accepting tobacco lobbyist donations, paid vacations, and other tobacco industry favors to give tobacco a free ride from government regulation with real teeth.

Government should show the moral backbone to stand up for children, and to reduce unnecessary illness and medical expenses. All other products that have been proven to cause illness or injury, especially to nonusers, have been taken off the market. But tobacco is given a special rights status to profit by injuring and killing. How tobacco executives can sleep at night knowing they are injuring and killing children is amazing.

Children need action from government and prayer to deliver them from this evil.

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