Kids need to ignore tobacco advertising
Dear Annie: We are the future. It may sound cheesy, but that’s the motto I live by, and it’s one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the need to prevent and reduce tobacco use among teens and kids. My passion for tobacco-use prevention started when I saw the harm that tobacco use caused my older sister. She started smoking at age 13 and ended up with an addiction that spiralled out of control, in many ways taking her childhood with it.
Every year, tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans, and the vast majority started smoking as children. Kids are overwhelmed with pressure to smoke, from tobacco industry marketing, their peers, movies and other sources. But we have the power within ourselves to win the fight against tobacco, and I am proud to advocate for policies proven to reduce tobacco use and save lives.
To learn more about tobaccouse prevention and to see how you can be part of the efforts of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, please tell your readers to visit www.tobaccofreekids.org. —Gabe Glissmeyer, age 19,
Salt Lake City, Utah
Dear Gabe: Thank you for writing and giving us the opportunity to tell our readers about the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The cigarette companies do an excellent job of recruiting new smokers. It’s time for the rest of us to do our part to keep that in check.
Dear Annie: I have a speech problem that makes my voice sound hoarse and gravelly, and although people can understand me, some ask, “Where are you from?” (They think I sound like Henry Kissinger.) I usually an- swer with the name of a local working-class neighbourhood where people sound a bit rougher, and sometimes that shuts them up. But more often, they persist in commenting on my “accent.” I find this incredibly rude.
Isn’t it wrong to question people like this? It’s none of their business why I sound this way. My city has a diverse population, and it’s not unusual to hear foreigners. I wouldn’t dream of asking them about their place of origin.
The questions are starting to get to me. I was talking on my cellphone on the street, and some guy stopped and asked where I was from. I said “none of your business” and walked away. This guy was horrified by my rudeness. Maybe this is the best thing to say. Any other ideas?
—Native New Yorker
Dear New Yorker: You could make up an unlikely response (“I’m from Canada”), but although the question is rude, we don’t think it’s intentionally so. You are sensitive about your voice, but people are curious and you sound interesting to them. They mistakenly believe they are being friendly.
You are not obligated to provide personal information. You can simply respond, “Why do you need to know?” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t like to talk about it,” and keep moving.