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An Eye-Catching Lung Cancer Slogan

March 16, 1986|JANICE MALL

An unaesthetic picture of a crushed, smoking, lipstick-stained cigarette and ashes surrounded by the caption "Kiss Your Butt Good-bye" in large, bold letters is the eye-catching--and some will say not very genteel--new message aimed particularly at women by the American Lung Assn. of Los Angeles County. It will appear on buttons, posters and even T-shirts. The copy goes on to say, "There are two ways to kiss your butt good-bye. One is to quit smoking. The other is to keep smoking . . . so decide which it is you want to kiss good-bye, your cigarettes or yourself."

This campaign, which will surely not be universally judged tasteful, was originated by the Lung Assn. chapter in western New York State and has been picked up by some chapters across the country, although not by the national American Lung Assn.

Taste was one of the considerations when the Los Angeles and California state affiliates made the decision to adopt the campaign, publicist Miriam Schneider said, but the association is not expecting that people here will find it offensive. "In New York it got great coverage and no complaints, and I'd think L.A. would be even more liberal," she said.

No. 1 Cancer Killer

The society picked women as its target for Lung Cancer Awareness Week, Tuesday through March 24, because, as of 1985, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the No. 1 cancer killer of women (the incidence of lung cancer among women has increased 500% since 1950), and because, for the first time, more teen-aged girls than boys are smoking. It is the first time in American history that more women than men in any major age category are smokers.

The association said that there are 1.7 million teen-age girls who smoke (12.7%), compared to 1.6 million boys (10.7%). This statistic among young women entering their childbearing years is particularly significant in that smoking is linked to higher incidences of low birth weight, miscarriage and fetal and neonatal deaths, and also to a higher incidence of serious respiratory illnesses among young children of parents who smoke.

The association will launch Lung Cancer Awareness Week with a fashion show, open to the public, at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the downtown Broadway Plaza, which will take the same blunt approach as the new slogan. Among the models showing new fashions there will be one--probably an emphysema victim, Schneider said--with an oxygen tank to demonstrate what smoking does to looks and health. Packets with buttons, balloons and order forms for T-shirts featuring the new slogan may be ordered by calling toll-free (800) 824-7888, operator 535.

The lives of America's first women physicians and of the talented women whose ambitions were thwarted by all-male medical schools have been largely lost to history, said Ruth J. Abram, a New York cultural historian.

Abram has uncovered and told some of their stories in "Send Us a Lady Physician, Women Doctors in America: 1835-1920," a traveling exhibition now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington funded partly by a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities.

Among the women highlighted in the show, and a book by the same name, is Harriot Hunt, a Bostonian who in 1847 had her application to Harvard Medical School turned down as "inexpedient" by Dean Oliver Wendell Holmes. Hunt was allowed to buy tickets to medical lectures, a privilege that was revoked when the faculty and students protested, and the result of her unseemly ambition was that Harvard trustees prohibited the admission of women--a policy that lasted almost a century, until 1946.

Hunt had been inspired by a woman who did succeed, Elizabeth Blackwell, who became America's first woman physician by a fluke--the male students at Geneva Medical College in New York had approved her application thinking it was a joke, according to Abram.

'Mother' of Woman Physician'

Hunt never did become a doctor, according to Abram's research for the exhibition, but she is known as "the mother of the American woman physician" because of her lifelong efforts to help others break the barriers. One of her most successful appeals was to persuade Victorian men that training for a wife and mother, the "healer and guardian of the home," would prove advantageous to them as well.

"What men have done for science, women will do for suffering humanity," one 19th-Century male physician, quoted by Abram, wrote. If medicine was approached with the soft suggestion that healing is a female domestic function, there was no such argument for women scientists.

Another exhibition, "My Daughter, the Scientist," chronicles the difficult rise of American women in science. It originated at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and may be seen through April at the California Museum of Science and Industry.

It tells the stories of women who struggled to become scientists in a society that did not offer them public education until the 1830s and did not make graduate degree programs available them until the 1870s.

The exhibition materials cover the 20th Century as well as the 19th, and point out that today, women scientists have more than twice the unemployment rate of male scientists and their salaries are 71% of their male counterparts', a salary gap that has widened in the last two years.

The Jim Gilliam Recreation Center at 4000 S. La Brea Ave. is accepting applications for its new child-care center, a notable event because it is the Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department's first such program.

With a trained staff and a focus on preschool education, the center will offer care to children 2 1/2 to 6 years old for 12 hours a day, five days a week at a comparatively low price. "The main focus is set against being a baby sitter, but rather getting them ready for school," director Andy Neiman said. Full-time care will cost $50 a week, half days $27.50 a week and four hours a day $20 a week. For information call the center at (213) 291-5929.

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