This letter was published in The Tri-Cities Now on November 6, 2014:
The first line of "Plan to ban cigarette sales opposed" (Oct 21 Now) said, "You could call Bev Harris a rebel."
As a twenty-year friend and colleague of Bev's, I know she's a rebel...and, when it comes to causes, few, if any, are bigger and better than the one we -- and many others -- have chosen to tackle.
Everybody's talking about the ebola crisis. Well, with all due respect to everyone who has been impacted by Ebola: I don't recall when we first started hearing about it this time around, but a very conservative estimate would be one month ago. Globally, about 5,000 people have died from Ebola. In that same month, 100 times as many people -- yes, about 500,000 people, globally -- have died from tobacco use (about 10% of that toll being non-smokers, killed by second-hand tobacco smoke). While ebola may have a small potential to change human history, tobacco has already done so.
A couple of other interesting comparisons: Africa (where Ebola originated) is also a primary target of Big Tobacco, complete with virtually unfettered marketing and advertising to kids of all ages...and, while those fighting to contain/eradicate Ebola are hailed as heroes (as they should be), those of us fighting Big Tobacco are often, at best, ignored; at worst, vilified.