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June 20, 1986

Killing Forests to Cure Tobacco

Author Affiliations

Hospital of Scripps Clinic La Jolla, Calif

JAMA. 1986;255(23):3244. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370230050011

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To the Editor.—  The recent issue (Feb 28, 1986) devoted to the adverse human health aspects of cigarette smoking deserves great praise. The recently revised cigarette package and advertisement warnings will educate the general public regarding the risks of lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, premature birth, fetal injury, low (fetal) birth weight, and elevated carbon monoxide levels. Recently, Dr C. Everett Koop, US Surgeon General, has even voiced concern about the synergy between cigarette smoking and occupational hazards and has attributed 340,000 premature deaths to cigarette smoking. But it must be noted that cigarettes take a nonhuman toll as well.According to Wachtel and McNeely, tobacco utilization is responsible for a significant rate of demise of forests (International Wildlife, January-February 1986, p 15). In fact, they state that outside North America, an acre of forest must be burned to cure an acre of tobacco. Most frightening is the fact that