No butts about it

T. Rozett M.D.

Although I support The Chronicle’s right to publish the article on the “beneficial” aspects of smoking even though it was written under a pseudonym, the article on the health consequences of smoking requires a response. For purposes of this letter, I will not review the validity of the studies cited in the article. I agree, however, that nicotine, an addictive substance, under some limited circumstances may have some benefits on brain function. But, realistically, nicotine is not consumed as a purified substance. Cigarettes are a nicotine drug delivery system which release up to 4,000 chemicals, in addition to nicotine, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, formaldehyde, ammonia, and, or course, cancer causing tobacco tars.

The overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence supports the view that cigarettes are a lethal product, responsible for 20 percent of deaths in the United States, or about 450,000 people a year. Smoking is responsible for nearly 90 percent of lung cancer cases, and 30 percent of all cancer deaths. In addition, it is a major cause of heart disease, strokes, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Under these circumstances, the marginal “beneficial” effects of smoking look rather trivial and misleading.

Ronald T. Rozett, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Master of Health Administration Program QU Smoking Cessation Committee (QUit)