What We Should Fear


Terrie Linn McNutt Hall.

Remember the name. It’s a name that will live on for many years to come as the voice for all smokers who have fallen prey to cancer. She died just 8 days ago on September 16, 2013. On her deathbed, the Center for Disease Control took videos of her as she passed. Maybe they will use the footage in future advertisements, maybe not. As I looked on at the small black video box on YouTube, I hesitated to watch the video for which she has been known for. I didn’t have a television but I’ve seen this ad online. I think they should also show it here in the Philippines because of its strong message.

I remember just years back and people were debating about tobacco. People were afraid of the tobacco industry. Movies, articles and books were being written about the Marlboro man, what happened to him and the clear and present danger that smoking causes in people. As I was researching this, I happened upon a chronological and comprehensive list of the legal battles and controversies that the tobacco industry faced and is facing. I could scarcely believe the lengths that they would go to, just to protect their business of death. People back then were not afraid of dying due to smoking. They were afraid of going against big tobacco.

You could find the PDF document entitled “ASH: Action on Smoking and Health” here.

I pressed the button and watched the video.

Seeing this video again didn’t really scare me, though I know that it could happen to me or any smoker just as well. I’m guessing that a lot of smokers probably couldn’t afford that kind of treatment or hands free device. If I get throat cancer, I don’t know what I’ll do.

That’s when I realized it. I don’t know what I will do if I get throat cancer.

Go to the doctor I suppose. But I can’t even afford a doctor. Well, I now have four doctor relatives so I guess the doctor’s fees could be covered. Just kidding hahaha.

But after that, the laboratory tests, the long trips to the hospital and all that boil down to one thing: I don’t want to have this. I do realize that it could happen to me. Right now, I may have that feeling of invincibility. That attitude of this isn’t going to happen to me. But Terrie reminded me that there’s absolutely nothing special about me.

I am a smoker. I was a smoker. It could happen to me. It could happen to you.


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