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I was surprised at the childish stance taken by your editorial, "Tobacco `criminals"' (AA, July 4). It is clear that the threat of loss of advertising revenue from the tobacco industry, a very real threat, has clouded your moral vision and pushed you toward an alarmist, irrational, Limbaugh-esque position of denial.

Tobacco companies, and indeed the world, have long known of the direct link between smoking cigarettes and the shortening of life. I don't think any of us can truthfully say we don't know someone who has become seriously ill through their long-time smoking. Your comparison of cigarettes to meat and french fries is absurd, as the health risks of eating too much fat are miniscule in comparison.

The government's recent anti-tobacco push is certainly a concern to all involved in the advertising industry, for if it is ruled that they may no longer advertise at all (as is likely), it will mean a very real loss of jobs in an industry just picking up from a recession.

But to irrationally defend an indefensible moral position is foolish. You are not only outwardly denying the fact that marketing and advertising efforts of tobacco products have, on some level, been responsible for a considerable number of deaths, but you are trying to avoid dealing with that issue for yourself. It is something that most people can no longer accept.

Damon Graff

Advertising sales

Miller Freeman

Newton, Mass.

Sent via Prodigy

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