Harrison`s Death Could Help Smokers Quit
...Walker said Harrison`s fight against cancer began with lung and throat tumors and more recently he received treatment for a growth on his brain....
Nov 30 10:26 AM ET
Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)
Posted on: 11/30/2001
Harrison's Death Could Help Smokers Quit
By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - George Harrison's death may let others
live: experts say the cancer that killed the "Quiet Beatle"
could give the anti-smoking lobby a big boost.
They expect Harrison's death from cancer to raise awareness
of the disease and send a powerful message about the dangers of
The youngest member of the Fab Four who epitomized the
spirit of the 1960s did not hide his illness or the fact that
he was a heavy smoker.
"George Harrison is the latest in a long line of well loved
stars and celebrities to have died from the disease," said Dr.
Leslie Walker of Britain's Cancer Research Campaign charity.
"It shows that cancer is no respecter of fame or fortune."
Walker said Harrison's fight against cancer began with lung
and throat tumors and more recently he received treatment for a
growth on his brain.
"He made no secret of his regret at having been a heavy
smoker, and we know from our research that tobacco is the
single biggest cause of lung cancer," Dr. Walker added.
Like the deaths of Yul Brynner, John Wayne and Linda
McCartney, Harrison's demise will heighten concern about cancer
because society identifies so closely with celebrities.
"We think we know them. They become a part of our extended
family and therefore when something happens to them it is
happening to a virtual extended family of ours," Professor Cary
Cooper, a psychologist at the University of Manchester
Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), said in an
"If they get ill, that illness becomes a significant
END OF AN ERA
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's openness about his prostate
cancer increased demand for screening for the disease. Former
Superman star Christopher Reeve has become the global spokesman
for spinal injury sufferers and actor Michael J Fox is the
public face for Parkinson's disease (news - web sites).
Harrison's death is seen as particularly significant
because of his gentle, spiritual character and because the
Beatles represented the 60s -- a decade of reflection, free
love, rebellion and challenging establishment values.
"It is the ending an era. It is symbolizing the end of what
was probably in Britain and the rest of the developed world the
end of a powerful decade -- the 60s," said Cooper.
Health experts and anti-smoking groups believe Harrison's
public regrets about smoking and his early death at 58 could do
more to convince people to stop smoking, or not start, than any
public health campaign.
"It is a stark message," said Clive Bates, of Action on
Smoking and Health (news - web sites) (ASH).
"For people that grew up with the Beatles and are still
smoking I suspect it (Harrison's death) will cause a real
Cooper believes Harrison's death will even have an impact
on younger people who weren't alive in the Beatles' heyday.
"Teenagers and 20-somethings do not know him directly but
they do know him through their parents. He is an icon in their
eyes even if he is not of their generation," said Cooper.
"I think it could have some positive effects on getting
younger people to think about the effects of smoking."
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