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Smoke on the Water

June 19, 1988

San Diegans and all Americans are proud of Dennis Conner and his heroic crew, and we wish them all the best in the upcoming America's Cup defense.

However, when the new catamaran was pictured in the newspaper recently, we were disappointed to note that flags and logos of a well-known cigarette brand are prominently displayed on the boat and all around it.

As representatives of the medical community, we deplore the promotion of tobacco products in this (or any) manner. It amounts to flagrant advertising of a product now known to be addictive, dangerous to the user and harmful to those exposed to the "secondhand smoke."

In addition, this form of advertising cleverly circumvents the federal requirement that the surgeon general's health warnings appear prominently alongside promotional material.

In a city noted for its progressive anti-smoking legislation, and at a time when the surgeon general has declared the goal of a smoke-free society by the year 2000, accepting sponsorship from tobacco companies is a backward step. It will place our city in the position of prominently flying the Marlboro flag right there beside the U.S. flag.

Is this the image we wish to show the country and the rest of the world? We hope not. We realize that building and racing a magnificent craft such as Stars and Stripes takes millions of dollars. It is a shame that the money must come from an industry that costs Americans not only billions in sickness costs, but untold suffering as well.

Let us hope that the Marlboro flags can come down, and we can once again say with pride that San Diego is "America's Healthiest City!"



San Diego County Medical Society

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