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September 19, 1997     The Message
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September 19, 1997
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 19, 1997 What happened to the kid in the hail . =T...eex,,.g.,..e. wasoneo, t.o.en.o. ..,.i,,ca., port. of ,.e,es.. wa. the .a.. d on opportunity to use a fire extinguisher to put out a gasoline fire, set up in a safe area for the demonstra- tion. It was the first time as a child or adult that I ever memories I have from my pened when that fire extinguisher landed upside squeezed the handle and watched what happened. grade school days is something that happened to a classmate involving a fire extinguisher. The classmate was disciplined by our teacher for some classroom activity, the exact nature of which I do not recall. That's not the memorable part of the story. The discipline -- or rather what it lead up to was quite memorable. As punishment, or perhaps just to get rid of him for a while, the teacher sent the disruptive student out of the classroom. She told him to stay out until she came back to get him. He sat on the floor in the hallwa near the classroom door, meekly accepting the sentence handed out to him. He didn't notice the fire extinguisher hanging on an easy-release mounting near that classroom door. He didn't notice that he was sitting on the floor directly below it. That is, he didn't notice it until the teacher returned to the hallway and he quite respect- fully stood up the way we were all taught to do, when a teacher entered a room. Then he noticed it, quite painfully, as his rising head struck the bottom of the cannister and lifted it neatly from its mounting. down on the tiled floor of the hallway, near the door to our classroom. Sudsy foam flew everywhere. Those of us inside the classroom could catch only a glimpse or two of the spray, and the dance of pain and sudden surprise that was executed by the teacher and the student. The memory of that incident came back to me recently as I took part in a fire safety lesson at the Catholic Center. Fires -- and fire extinguishers -- are serious matters, but ! couldn't help but smile at the memory of the first fire extinguisher I ever saw that actually did anything more than hang on a wall. The fire inspector who conducted our lesson pointed out a frightening statistic. He said that 85 percent of fires in the home are started by children playing with lighters. He handed out informaiton which noted that children less than five years old are twice as likely to die in a fire as older age groups. When a fire occurs, children frequently run and hide rather than inform- ing an adult or trying to escape. Take the time today to get good advice from a fire safety expert, and make your home as safe as you can. Establish rules and practice them at home. Question church and school officials about fire safety. Support improvements which may be necessary. Find out about the fire protection services where you live. Find out where help would come from, and who would provide it, if you needed it. Find out what assistance for fire victims is avail- able. Consider a ceremony or activity in your parish to honor fire fighters, and others who provide emer- gency services. Take the time to help another person, perhaps a child or an elderly neighbor, to live a life of greater safety. Pray for all who are victims of fires. Comments about this column are welcome at prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Family Movement, P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Washington Lett00r More than one addiction at issue in tobacco debate By MARK PATYISON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) The $368.5 billion deal between the tobacco industry and state attorneys general reached in June is still being tinkered with. The deal, which needs an OK by both the White House and Congress, is liable to be reworked to see how many more restric- tions the tobacco industry can take without the whole deal being reduced to ashes. What is going on, according to Catholic university profes- sors observing the tobacco deal and related issues, is a series of addictions to rival the smoker's addiction to nicotine. The government needs a win. The attorneys general, having already had a win, want more and are cutting individual deals separately with the tobacco industry. But the biggest addic- tion of all belongs to the tobac- co iridustry, said Georgetown 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evar4Ue, IN 47711 4160, E-,tansV, IN 47724-0168 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year s0g cow Pr: S.SO Emmd u i= m m h Po oFaom m  N 47701. Pui nu 4aaoo. lm:  PO010n 79  OIf el Pu0aa CoRm 1 C, atx Pm o E University law professor Joseph Page. "All of corporate America is addicted to profits, as are all shareholders. That's what makes the system run," and the tobacco industry is no different, Page told Catholic News Service. Even with a huge price tag of $368.5 billion  a number that could be forced higher with set- flement revisions and is already creeping up with the state set- tlements -- Page said the tobac- co industry figures it's getting by with the least pain. Without a settlement, the industry would have to face more individual liability law- suits m a practice the deal pro- hibits. While Page said the tobacco industry has had a near-spotless record in court "you can't get better than per- fect" m revelations in once- secret documents that cigarette makers manipulated nicotine levels put that winning streak in jeopardy. "Juries would come in with big judgments," he predicted. The industry has to try some- thing else to ward off the specter of huge payoff, and the settle- merit, he added fills that role. The Senate on Sept. 10 voted 95-3 to rescind a portion of this summer's budget agreement that would have returned $50 billion to the industry through a tax credit deducting the amount of revenue that will be raised by a 15-cents-a-pack hike in cigarette taxes. White House advisers are dickering among themselves to see if more straws can be added to the camel's back without breaking it, sensing that the tobacco industry is on the run. An industry spokesman, J. Phil Carlton, has said: "We haven't agreed to change one word in that document" which, semantically speaking, is different than, "We have agreed to not change one word in that document." As part of the deal cigarette companies will face greater restrictions on advertising. Marl- boro Man images will no longer be next to stadium scoreboards, for instance. But that raises other issues. Marquette University adver- tising and public relations department chair Jack Crowley, an ex-smoker for 35 years, believes it's a good thing the cigarette makers are voluntari- ly giving up some of their advertising options. "But it's the precedent I'm concerned about," he said. "As long as the product is legal, it has a right to be advertised," said Crowley, a First Amend- ment supporter. While laws can be narrowly tailored to avoid underage audi- ences from getting seduced by cigarette ads, they are difficult to write. It is one thing to ban cigarette ads from high school newspapers, but another to shelve the Joe Camel character, Crowley said, since studies show both adults and children like the use of cartoon charac- ters in advertising. Georgetown's Page said mak- ing tobacco or nicotine illegal won't happen. In a move sepa- rate from the tobacco settle- ment, the Food and Drug Administration wants to declare cigarettes a "delivery system" for nicotine, just as nicotine patches are a delivery system. "The authority to regulate drugs, especially new drugs, is, rather limited," Page said. With nicotine now being classified as a drug, the FDA would have to say yes or no as to whether to allow its distribution. The FDA "couldn't possibly" say no, so governing distribution is the next best step, he added. If the FDA goes ahead this way, will there be compliance? "It's a question of will," Page replied. "There's obviously going to be a political problem. There's going to be so many i i ways you could get around"'! i! potential regulations. R. Reed Hardy, an associate professor of psychology at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis., said the recent revelations of the manipulation of nicotine by the tobacco companies c?ts down on the blame that can be laid on; individual smokers for their addiction. "If you're 21 years old, or evert!l 18 years old, you're going own some of the for the consequences," said. That can't be said as of, for example, Africans with nO i knowledge of smoking who I may be introduced to U.S. ciga rette exports, he added. ]i The tobacco industry have conducted research the effects of smoking their products less Hardy said. "But they chose hoard all their profits and it into influencing That makes it hard te as the good guys." Hardy calls himself "a long smoker as an considers himself a alcoholic." Having smoking at age 9, Hardy had a smoke in mid-Au "I'm off more than I'm on," said. The $368.5 billion may seem to some like off But Americans will "know tice has been served." : Unity Day Mass, St. John the Apostle Church, Evans- ville, Sunday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m. Clergy Convocation, Lake Barkley, Ky., Monday, Sept. 22 through Thursday, Sept. 25. Mass, St. James, Haubstadt, with students, parents and faculty, Friday, Sept. 26, 8:20 a.m.