Letters To The Editors
Bostonia welcomes readers’ reactions and encourages expressions of opinion,
pro and con. Submit your letter below.
Up in Smoke
I was outraged to see that Bostonia highlighted the Cigar Aficionado Society (“Smoking Allowed,” “CommonWealth,” Summer 2011). There are thousands of BU graduates contributing to our global society, making it a better place for all. You had the audacity to promote a student club that promotes smoking. I wonder how happy School of Medicine Dean Karen Antman was with your article? I certainly am proud to be a member of the Emory University campus, which is becoming tobacco-free, starting in September 2011.
I am so disappointed that my alumni organization has such poor judgment and would do such a stupid thing as to devote space to smoking.
Lee Pasackow (CAS’74)Decatur, Ga.
Shame on you for publishing an article extolling the joys of cigar smoking, ironically in the same issue as an article about breast cancer. Although cigars do not cause breast cancer, they cause oral, laryngeal, and lung cancer, and are made from tobacco. Why celebrate tobacco use, then detail the struggles of life with breast cancer?
Jane Ellsworth (SON’68)Arlington, Tex.
I enjoy reading Bostonia, but was dismayed to read in your recent issue about the Cigar Aficionado Society that is condoned by the University. In an issue that highlights two cancer researchers, I don’t quite understand how you can condone any type of smoking, much less support a club that tries to attract students to a harmful pastime.
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health reports that cigar smoke “contains toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers.” The institute also reports that cigar smoke is possibly more toxic than cigarette smoke because there are higher concentrations of nitrosamines in cigar tobacco that are released when a cigar is smoked than in cigarette smoke; there is more cancer-causing tar in cigars than cigarettes; and the larger size of most cigars (and therefore more tobacco) and longer smoking time (one student reported that “a good cigar takes an hour to smoke”) result in higher exposure to such toxic substances such as carbon monoxide. Furthermore, cigar smoking causes “cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, and lung. It may also cause cancer of the pancreas.” Finally, although cigar smokers may claim that they don’t inhale, the institute reports, “all cigar and cigarette smokers, whether or not they inhale, directly expose their lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx to smoke and its toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, when saliva containing the chemicals in tobacco smoke is swallowed, the esophagus is exposed to carcinogens. These exposures probably account for the similar oral and esophageal cancer risks seen among cigar smokers and cigarette smokers.”
Quite an indictment. And yet this club has been a permanent fixture at BU for 10 years? Frankly, I’m disappointed that the school would encourage this club to continue.
Gail Schlenger (CAS’72)Tarrytown, N.Y.
Kudos to Cancer Doctor
After losing my mother to stage IV cancer less than two months ago, I found the article about Peggy Duggan (“Beyond the Word ‘Cancer,’” Summer 2011) to be touching and inspiring. I appreciate her approach to the women who undergo such devastating experiences. It’s an honor to know that a fellow BU alumna is helping to shape the approach to cancer.
Andrea Carrillo (LAW’12)Boston, Mass.
Inspiring! It’s wonderful that David Guardino (CAS’08) (“En Garde!” “CommonWealth,” Summer 2011) didn’t let a disability prevent him from doing what he wanted to do. As I’m aging, I find myself less able, but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. I’ve modified a lot of my activities so that I can continue. I’ve also taken up hand drumming—much to learn, but I have a great teacher.
Marion Frost (CAS’51, SED’76)Ipswich, Mass.
Singing the praises of STH
Thank you very much for the special gift of your Bostonia issue. I graduated years ago from the School of Theology with my preacher’s degree. Those three years were probably the most eventful of my life. I have served churches for more than 30 years, and I have been grateful for the training I had at BU. God bless you for the great work you do to train us preachers.
Reverend Ronald W. Ober (STH’43, GRS’48)Elyria, Ohio
Setting the Record Straight
The organization was in fact founded by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), known at BU during that time as the Minority Engineers Society (MES), by executive board member Linda Uko (ENG’05), and its name had nothing to do with the story told in the article.
I’m writing on behalf of my classmate and hope that the correct information can be shared with the wider BU community, giving credit to Linda and the other founding NSBE/MES members.
Christina Turner (CGS’03, CAS’05) Providence, R.I.