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'Everybody Nags' : Smokeout: Abstinence--or Anger

November 19, 1987|Associated Press

Where there's smoke, there's ire, especially on Great American Smokeout Day when the nation's 46.8 million puffers had a choice between a day of abstinence and smoldering recalcitrance.

Smokers at Southwestern Bell and several other companies were told today that they no longer have a choice, as tough anti-smoking policies were announced or went into effect.

In Washington, Rep. Chester G. Atkins (D-Mass.) introduced "The Adolescent Tobacco Education Act" that would ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 18. It would also outlaw all vending machine sales of tobacco products and require that existing drug education programs warn students of the dangers of tobacco.

This was the 11th annual Smokeout, and the American Cancer Society confessed that it is becoming harder to win converts.

'Less Hoopla, More Working'

"We're at a day and age when anyone who's smoking knows the health risk. We don't have to hit them over the head with the fact that they're killing themselves. They know that," said Margaret Murphy, spokeswoman for the society's New Hampshire chapter.

"These people shouldn't be attacked; they should be worked with. It takes a little less hoopla and a little more working with them," she said.

In New York and other cities, U.S. Healthcare offered to trade cigarettes for apples.

"The apple won't stop me," said Maria Kabatnik of New York. "I'll give up a cigarette, but I won't stop smoking."

"I know it's unhealthy to smoke. I'm playing with fire. But I hate the way everybody nags and nags," said Francis Ferrari of New York. "I enjoy my cigarettes but I might try to quit tomorrow. It depends on how good the apple is."

Shirts for Nonsmoking Babies

In St. Paul, Minnesota Twins "Homer Hankies" were offered as no-smoking bait.

Cancer societies around the country distributed pink or blue shirts to newborns, proclaiming that they were born nonsmokers.

In Dallas, an easy-listening radio station tried to induce not smoking with a male voice softly explaining the hazards of smoking. The subliminal messages were broadcast with regular music at pre-announced times.

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