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May 26, 1989

Cela n'etait pas une couverture

Author Affiliations

University of Vermont Burlington

University of Vermont Burlington

JAMA. 1989;261(20):2956. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420200046026

To the Editor.—  The cover of your most recent issue on smoking—La trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe)—is ostensibly a painting of a tobacco-connected product. Yet your cover discussant, Dr Southgate,1 states the painting is intended to illustrate how an object can have multiple realities; eg, the painting is a pipe, is a picture of a pipe, is a symbol representing all pipes, etc. Dr Southgate suggests "the viewer must... distinguish among the various realities and perhaps even begin to wonder what reality is."I believe this cover is especially appropriate as tobacco has several realities in our society. The Surgeon General2 and the American Psychiatric Association3 state that tobacco is a drug of dependence. The majority of the lay public, the Food and Drug Association, and the tobacco industry state tobacco is not a drug. The Department of Agriculture states tobacco is