VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Sep 18, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --

 

press release

Sept. 18, 2012, 10:02 a.m. EDT

Time Santa Stopped for the Sake of Kids?

Canadian Publisher Pamela McColl was compelled to edit the most famous poem in the English language in the interest of protecting young readers. "Exposure to the depiction of Santa smoking a pipe cannot be good," says the single title small press publisher. Santa has been smoking in Clement C. Moore's holiday poem New York Times Bestselling Twas The Night Before Christmas for 189 years and McColl says it's time readers had an alternate version. Parents agree and are opting for a smoke-free Santa for Christmas 2012.

McColl adds that the intent of this edit was to secure the future of this popular poem and not to see it cast aside for being at odds with the needs of children. Parents tell of children worrying about Santa's health due to smoking and of ripping out specific pages to avoid children being exposed to the tobacco imagery and verse. The verse in question is: "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. "

The publisher is not without critics who claim a classic poem should not be edited. McColl replies, "What is a classic if it does not stand the test of time; the pipe is this poem's test. Since the year 2000 pipe smoking has increased by 483% and to have Santa with a pipe is a mistake. Nicotine addiction is a pediatric disease and prevention must start early."

The smoke-free edition released September 2012, has fired up discussions on social media about the cultural influences that contribute to youth smoking. The publisher is on twitter twas4kids and blogs on the website www.twasthenightbeforechristmas.ca

 In August 2012 the ebook won the Global Ebook Award for the Best Christian Children's Book and was a finalist for Best Children's Picture Book.

Books in all formats available in English, French and Spanish.

Title: Twas The Night Before Christmas, edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st century

      
Contacts: Grafton and Scratch Publishers Pamela McColl 604 563-0055 twas4kids@gmail.com
 

SOURCE: Grafton and Scratch

          
        mailto:twas4kids@gmail.com     
Gail Anderson, a mother of four from Orem, Utah stated. 
 Santa Claus is a beloved figure we nearly all experience as children and then again
through our children. He should represent the values we as parents want him to have. 
As a parent, I’m thrilled to find a smoke-free Santa. I used to just skip over that
part and now I don’t have too.”
Purists may cry mucking about with a beloved classic, but plenty of parents might
 
not want to introduce old St. Nick as a smoker. “Edited by Santa Claus for the
 
benefit of children of the 21st century... and a commitment to nonsmoking is a
 
legitimate goal in materials intended for children." Kirkus Review August 2012 
 
 
 

 Media coverage: National Post ( front page September 18th. 2012) , Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, The Huffington Post, The Vancouver Sun, Global National T.V. News, The John Oakley Radio Show, Calgary News 660, CBC Radio Halifax. Bill Good Radio CKNW, The London Free Press, Digital World, Metro, CTV National, London Free Press. Jerry Agar Radio Talk 1010, Merry Christmas Radio,

 

                                                 http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=771570

   

                    Critics say Butt Out - " Thanks to McColl Santa just did."  Shannon Paterson CTV NEWS

 

400 WORD MEDIA RELEASE

Media Release for September 18th. 2012

Time Santa stopped for the sake of kids ?

Canadian publisher Pamela McColl was compelled to edit the most famous poem in the English language in the interest of protecting young readers. “Exposure to the depiction of Santa smoking a pipe cannot be good.” says the single title small press publisher.  Santa has been smoking in Clement C. Moore’s holiday poem New York Times Bestselling Twas The Night Before Christmas for 189 years and McColl says it’s time readers had an alternate version.  Parents agree and are opting for a smoke-free Santa for Christmas 2012.

McColl adds that the intent of this edit was to secure the future of this popular poem and not to see it cast aside for being at odds with the needs of children.  Parents tell of children worrying about Santa’s health due to smoking and of ripping out specific pages to avoid children being exposed to the tobacco imagery and verse.  The verse in question is:  “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. “

The publisher is not without critics who claim a classic poem should not be edited. McColl replies “What is a classic if it does not stand the test of time; tobacco is this poem’s test.  Since the year 2000 pipe smoking has increased by 483% and to have Santa with a pipe is a mistake.  Nicotine addiction is a pediatric disease and prevention must start early.

The smoke-free edition released September 2012, has fired up discussions on social media about the cultural influences that contribute to youth smoking.  The publisher is on twitter twas4kids and blogs on the website www.twasthenightbeforechristmas.ca

 

In August 2012 the ebook won the Global Ebook Award for the Best Christian Children’s Book and was a finalist for Best Children’s Picture Book.

Books in all formats available in English, French and Spanish.

TITLE: Twas The Night Before Christmas, edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21stcentury

 

 


Extended version:

Santa's no longer smoking in this new edition of the Holiday classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas!

 A new edition of the classic children’s book, Twas The Night Before Christmas, is being released amidst controversy.

This version, published by child advocate Pamela McColl,  has edited out the reference of Santa smoking a pipe, something

he has been seen to be doing for 189 years. This edit raises the question: Are we not compelled to alter a best-selling

institution when in doing so it may save lives?

The intent of the edit is to secure the future of the most famous poem in the English language and to put a spotlight on what

can be done to help prevent youth from taking up smoking.  The deleted verse is as follows:

  “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath."

      The crisis of youth smoking led to the issuance of the first US Surgeon General’s report on the subject in several decades in March 2012. This report outlines the core of the problem in 905 pages. A few key points are as follows:

         88% of adult cigarette smokers who smoke daily, report they started smoking by the age of 18. 

         Each day in the U.S. 3,800 young people under 18 years of age become daily cigarette smokers. 

             Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death.  

             One in 5 people are current smokers. 

             Cigarette smoking costs the nation $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity annually. 

 

It was in response to these alarming numbers that McColl took action. “We need a social cure, a commitment at all levels,

parental, governmental, media, corporate, and consumer to rid ourselves of the scourge of smoking,” says McColl, who

took up smoking as a teenager but managed to quit years later. What concerns McColl the most is the global increase in

smoking and the fact that the World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people will die a preventable premature

tobacco related death,ten-fold the rate of lives claimed by tobacco in the past century.

 

“The poem has had a 'haircut' in order for it not to become obsolete,” says McColl. “Some people will say, “We

shouldn’t muck around with history",  but for a three-year-old this jolly elf is a real dude coming down the chimney.  

Research shows Santa still has great marketing power and his influence still ranks highest of any characters, with Ronald

McDonald coming in second. So if kids see Santa smoking they are picking up the wrong impression from this derivative of

the Patron Saint of Children – St. Nicholas.

This cherished poem spent 36 weeks on the New York Times children’s best-seller list in 2011, and for nearly 200 years this poem has been read by generations after generation of families, becoming the most popular holiday tale ever. None of McColl’s edits impact the story. Still, should we be tinkering with it?

“There is not an issue of censorship or banning of book," stresses McColl. 'The omission of these few words do not 

change the material intent of the author nor do they infringe on the reader’s understanding or enjoyment of the story.  I 

think these edits outweigh other considerations. The best way to honor Santa and this story is to make him smoke-free.”

McColl’s goals and message are quite clear:

1..To advocate for changes that will better protect children from the dangers of smoking.

2. To help parents, grandparents, and teachers become more aware of the influences that contribute to  children turning to experimenting with smoking such as depictions of lighting up in books, movies, television and other forms of media.

3.To join the call for legal reforms and peer pressure to limit children’s exposure to images of smoking.

4. To educate youth on the influence of nicotine marketing and the nature of addiction.

 

McColl notes that in her review of children’s books she found many examples of editions that depicted smoking. From 

Papa Bear smoking over a sleeping Goldilocks to the man in the yellow hat in Curious George

and Frosty the Snowman one can find examples of characters depicted in the act of smoking. She would like to see this

change.

“I have heard parents tell of ripping potentially dangerous pages out of books to limit their children being unduly influenced. Far more often I have had people respond to this new edition by simply explaining that they had not noticed the smoking reference."

 

Twas The Night Before Christmas was originally published anonymously in 1823 as a poem in the Troy Sentinel, a New York newspaper.  The poem was published as a result of the author’s family sending it in to the paper without his knowledge. The author, Clement Moore, a member of the NY Historical Society, reluctantly admitted to writing it 15 years later. The esteemed professor of theology thought his poem, intended only to delight his nine kids, was beneath his pedigree and feared being mocked for his playful story. Instead, the poem has been hailed by scholars and critics as the most famous poem in American history. Indeed, it is a staple of our culture and holiday lore, as it has transformed how we view Santa, introduced us to the magical sleigh led by tiny reindeer and significantly enhanced the way the world celebrates the Christmas holidays.

The New York Historical Society has accepted a copy of this new editon into their permanent library collection. This museum in New York has on display a hand written and signed copy by Clement C. Moore.

McColl issues a “Letter from Santa” in her book that informs adults that “In this updated edition select lines have quietly 

slipped from the pages.  Here at the North Pole we decided to leave all of that old tire business of smoking well behind us 

and I am pleased to report that we have never been healthier or happier.  The reindeer asked that I confirm the fact that I 

have only ever worn fake fur out of respect for the endangered species that are in need of our protection, including my

dear friends those arctic polar bears.” 

 

 

“Nearly all tobacco use begins in childhood and adolescence.  In all 88% of adult cigarette smokers who smoke daily, report that they started smoking by the age of 18.  This is a time in life of great vulnerability to social influences, and the pervasive presence of tobacco product marketing—including everything from sleek ads in magazines to youth-generated posts on social networking sites, to images of smoking in the moves—conveys messages that make tobacco use attractive to youth and young adults.”  -Regina Benjamin, US Surgeon General, M.D., M.B.A., March 2012

 

"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death, killing an estimated 443,000 Americans each year.  Cigarette smoking costs the nation $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity annually.  In addition to the billions in medical costs and lost productivity, tobacco is enacting a heavy toll on young people. Each day in the United States, over 3,800 young people less than 18 years of age become daily cigarette smokers.  The vast majority of Americans who begin daily smoking during adolescence are addicted to nicotine by young adulthood.  Despite the well-known health risks, young and adult smoking rates that had been dropping for many years have stalled.” -Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services March 2012

“The simple fact is that we cannot end the tobacco epidemic without focusing our efforts in young people.  Nearly 100% of adults who smoke every day started smoking when they were 26 or younger, so prevention is the key.  The tobacco industry spends almost $10 billion a year to market its products; half of all movies for children under 13 contain scenes of tobacco use.” -Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health March 2012

“Preventing smoking and smokeless tobacco use among young people is critical to ending the epidemic of tobacco use.” Thomas R. Frieden, MD. M.P.H., Director of Centre of Disease Control and Prevention March 2012.

"The abuse of tobacco is the NO. I reason that we have cancer deaths in this country. It has to be stopped."

                                                                                                             Lance Armstrong

            

 

 

 

 

Washington, DC—In a May 8 2012 letter signed by 38 state and territorial Attorneys General, the National

Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) urged 10 movie studios to adopt published policies to eliminate

tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies. This effort follows the March 8 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report,

Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, which states that “[t]he evidence is sufficient to

conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of

smoking among young people"...

“This is a colossal, preventable tragedy,” reads the May 8 letter. “There are specific, meaningful steps your studio can and should take to reduce this harm substantially.” “A point we made to studios nearly five years ago bears repeating: each time the industry releases another movie that depicts smoking, it does so with the full knowledge of the harm it will bring to children who watch it,” the NAAG letter reads.

 

           

Pamela McColl  Biography

A children’s advocate and publisher, Pamela McColl is releasing a smoke-free version of the classic Twas The Night Before Christmas.

When she was 18 she rescued her father from their home, which was engulfed in flames as a result of her father falling asleep in bed with a cigarette.  She is the publisher of eight books, including Pacific Spirit: The Forest Reborn, which

United States Senator Frank Murkowski, the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, labeled as

“one of the most important works on forest management” in recent years.  

The Canadian has been featured in major media in her country, including Maclean’s magazine, CBC and talk show Radio, and National television CTV, Global National News.

Her diverse career includes previous experience in publishing, as a health care worker with Canadian Mental Health. Her early career was spent in the field of costume design and she attended the National Theatre School in Montreal and worked at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and the CBC.  The Vancouver resident earned a BA in History/Sociology attended Queen’s University, The University of Manitoba, and did postgraduate work in Theatre History at the University of Victoria, she returned to study in the faculty of Women’s Studies at the Univ. of British Columbia and holds certification in Peer Counseling.  She received certification in Brief Tobacco Intervention for Maternity through the University of Arizona. McColl, age 54, has 24-year-old twin daughters (neither of whom smokes and share a love of yoga.)

Grafton and Scratch Publishing is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association of America.

In Maclean's Magazine ( 1995) Allan Fotheringham wrote a back page column story about the new publisher on the scene: "Telling a Great Canadian Fish Tale." - "What's next for the one book publisher ? A book on opera. She's not a millionaire but she's what builds a country. "  AF

 

Pamela McColl Q&A


1. Pamela, why do you feel that it’s necessary to alter a classic story? By the very definition of of classic it must stand the test of time and if the smoking remains in this classic story readers may well cast aside a book that does not reflect the sentiment of the times. We as a society and culture have come to the conclusion that second-hand smoke is something we need to be protected  from.  The levels of acceptance of smoking from the time this poem was originally written – in the 1820’s -- to the present day have radically changed. In the 50’s smoking hit a high point in popularity - much to the credit of the glory age of advertising backed by a very wealthy tobacco industry. Although there had always been critics and warnings about the health risks from concerned individuals, it wasn’t until 1964 with the release of the Surgeon General’s statements about the real dangers of smoking and the link to cancer that we began to see the decline of smoking rates.  The Western male was the dominant smoking customer and when this market began to decline it is documented that the industry looked for new markets, primarily women and children to attract to their products.

We now see anti-smoking hiring policies, increasing limitations on where to smoke and programming in place to help people to quit.  Smoking has come to be considered, by the vast majority of people, to be wholly undesirable and it has lost its allure.In answering your question regarding as to whether or not it is acceptable to change a classic I feel that I was compelled to change it to protect children. Other people have worked with the spirit of the poem and there are countless editions that take all kinds of liberties. There are farces, satires, and some very comical editions and some truly awful ones. Some purists argue that the poet intended Santa to portrayed as a miniature creature - somewhat akin to a leprechaun.

2. Why stop with smoking? Why not change Santa’s weight (obesity) or his use of reindeer(animal rights)? I am not certain of Santa’s health but from my latest account he was pretty fit and certainly keeps up his exercise program – quite the feat travelling the globe and climbing in and out of all those chimneys. I certainly wouldn’t want to scare children with the idea that Santa is less than perfect or sickly or in need of a fix-it bootcamp. Santa isn’t depicted in the book as overeating or feasting and if he was, it might be a project for Jamie Oliver who is doing so much good in the world to help children to a better way of eating. It is the specific portrayal of smoking, not just an idea that he might smoke or overindulge in donuts. that we are talking about.  As an aside I do not think that everyone has to be thin to be fit and a case could be made for greater diversity of body types over the idealized or standard ideal figures portrayed in so much of what we all see.

Santa has the power to sell but that is not what this book is about. I am not selling “smoking prevention” and the book is very quiet about the message that the smoking has simply slipped off the pages. I wish I didn’t have to mention it at all, but given that there were 15 to 20 editions on the shelves last December, all with smoking in the text and many with it illustrated even on the cover, I have to mention the edit or it could well be another year that Santa is out there smoking away. The last thing we want to do is call attention to this fact to a three-year-old. This book is about Christmas Eve and is a wonderful story about giving and receiving.  My wish would be that parents simply could buy a book that didn’t end up being disappointing when the child they are reading to looks up from the pages with a concerned face and asks:  “Why is Santa smoking in our living room.”  I have heard from people who have ripped out the page that references smoking.  

I haven’t heard any complaints from the reindeer about their work conditions but always open to watching out for the animals who we share this planet with.  I think they part of the elf union.

On a more serious note nicotine use is an identified risk that we need to to protect our youngest of readers from, be it

second-hand smoke or from the possibility that they will start smoking at some point in their youth.  Exposure to second-

hand smoke for long periods of time can cause the same tobacco related diseases that afflict smokers.  Children exposed to

secondhand smoke have more colds, flu and ear infections, tooth decay and are more likely to be inflicted with asthma,

leukemia, and SIDS.

    Where should we draw the line in terms of how politically correct we should be in remaking the all-time classics?

   ‘Do no harm” is the golden rule and measure. Knowing what we now know about the risks of nicotine use this is not a difficult

    or complicated choice to make for me. The spirit of the story stays alive and carries on.  Think about lead poisoning

    prevention or seat belt usage or any other changes we make for the safety of our children.  If the seven dwarfs were drinking

    out of lead cups would someone step in and say hey let’s make an edit?  We see kids in seat belts in movies and wearing bike

    helmets and we notice if someone is snowboarding without a helmet or doing something else that we as a society have

   decided is in the best interest of the welfare of children, we take note


 

   Why does Twas the Night before Christmas still fascinate children today? It is the anticipation of Santa’s arrival and of

    course the decorations and the presents, but it is the magic and wonder of it. The poem is highly creative and full of imagery. 

    I asked the illustrators to add many animal images in the outdoor scenes as well as for the interior and to feature a dog and cat

    as family pets. I wanted children to be delighted with the details.  I wanted this book to be one that would be enjoyed by a

    three-year-old and kept as a keepsake of Christmas. Unfortunately my edition of childhood, which I still have, is covered in

    smoking imagery. It was published in 1958, the year I was born and as it was a gift to me from my father it is one of my

    treasures. My father loved Christmas and always delighted us with bringing in the tree and wonderful special treats.  

    Christmas memories, surrounded by family and friends, are the very best of all. I had a large extended family and Christmas

    as a child in our household was truly glorious and yet my sibling and I have suggested that Family Vacation has nothing on the

    hilarious episodes that we experienced at family holiday get together.

    

    In 2011, different publications of the book led it to hit the New York Times best-seller lists for 36 weeks. It’s

    considered the most famous poem in American history, dating back to its initial publication nearly 200 years ago in

    a newspaper. Isn’t it sacrilegious to tinker with it?

 

Is longevity sacred? Is it not best to preserve and have this poem carry on delighting millions of people of all ages and not see

it cast aside or become obsolete? I think the only person who would be pleased at that outcome is the mean one Mr.

Grinch.   I have considered what a very young child might say in discovering for the first time the image of Santa smoking

and also what my possible response would be if the child was to ask if Santa was going to die from smoking or some other

questions that would demand an adequate response.  What does one say to their grandchild when asked about this jolly elves

smoking in the living room?  Do we really want to stop in the middle of a magical Christmas moment, sitting around the fire

and delighting in a wonder of it all and then having to bring out the perils of tobacco use lecture? Of course we could say that

we have heard that he has recently quit but pictures speak volumes and that simply isn’t going to suffice.   I have had my

children ask me if I have ever smoked and I have answered truthfully and told them that I did once upon a time but quit and

consider it unimaginable that I would ever smoke, for I have come to highly value my lungs and my yoga practice and to

truly understanding nicotine as an addictive drug that can play havoc on your brain.

 

I recently read that it takes up to two weeks for an enclosed room to be safe or clean from second and third hand

smoke exposure.  If children think Santa will be exposing them to this type of harm the whole thing collapses.  We

might have to start celebrating Christmas outside.

 

Author, Clement C. Moore, was a member of the New York Historical Society. Can you give us some context and perspective on the origins of the poem?

There has been an ongoing debate as to who actually is the true poet of Christmas Eve, as the poem was first published

anonymously in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in 1823.  Moore took credit for it when he included it in a later anthology of

his other work but family member of Washington Irving and Henry Livingston both laid claim to it.  One of the arguments

going against Clement Moore being the true poet comes from the evidence that Moore himself was a staunch anti-smoker. 

The poem’s influence on Christmas has been immense and we can create this poem with a number of significant firsts:  Santa

coming by a reindeer team-driven sleigh, that the reindeer had names.  The most important change came with the depiction

of St. Nicholas as a merry gift-giver. In this magical poem there is no list of good or bad children, any judgment of wrong or

right and it makes clear there is “nothing to dread”. It is benevolent, kind, loving and generous. This abundance and warmth

is what endears many of us to its message and images. It also is non-denominational.The poem first appeared in print as A

Visit from St. Nicholas.  I chose to use the Twas The Night as it is part of the magic of the verse, the nostalgia and the lure –

similar to Once Upon a Time. It sets the stage and is simply more fun than The Night Before Christmas in my way of

thinking.

 

You rail against the dangers of smoking to our youth. Why does the issue personally resonate with you?

I think there is a general complacency about smoking in the urban world.  On a global basis the rise of smoking poses an

enormous problem. Also, I have seen many people struggle to end their relationship with nicotine. Upwards of 80% of

smokers wish they didn’t and I think this is a very sorry state of affairs and makes for a great deal of suffering.   60% of

individuals who experience clinical depression smoke and there are other groups who have higher than average smoking

levels. We have changed the social acceptance around smoking and marginalized smokers; out of sight, out of mind.  I think

it is particularly unfortunate for parents-to-be who want to quit but find themselves trapped.  Pregnant smokers suffer an

even tougher road of social stigma.  If I rail against the dangers it is because of the addictive nature of nicotine and the way it

robs people of their health and money, offering nothing of any value in return.

 

    You say you would like to see books with depictions of smoking or references to tobacco in children’s libraries to

     have warnings to make parents aware before they open the book. Isn’t that a form of censorship?

 

Education and awareness is one thing and bans and censorship are another. I would like to see fewer people smoke, I would

like to see more children never start and it is going to take awareness and education to see that happen.  It will take one

generation to not start – to turn their backs on tobacco and nicotine for there to be significant change. It is completely

possible but not if we don’t do whatever we can to prevent children from thinking nicotine use has any benefits whatsoever.

It will take a social cure.

I am not devoting my energies to telling people not to smoke or that we need to ban anything along those lines but rather that

we need to protect children.  I think of the situation where smoking has been banned for the good of non-smokers and it begs

the question: What happens to the person who smokes who is after all addicted?  Here they are out in the rain, out in the

streets and wanting to quit but stuck in this relentless addiction. I think smokers have been given a really rough time. I find it

fascinating that people would question making edits in the name of liberty when the people’s whose liberties they aim to

protect are being recruited to nicotine which will result in half of them dying prematurely.

 

    What are the goal for your organization, www.youcanstopsmokingnow.com

 

The goal is to open up a new way of looking at quitting. I am very much in support of smokers being given a more

compassionate and supportive voice.  Since 1964, 37 million people in the USA have quit smoking and 98% of them did it

unaided.  I think a lot of people have given up on smokers and are frustrated that they continue to smoke in light of the

reports that it is dangerous to their health.  When I talk to people who have expressed a desire to quit I focus on how to quit

rather than dwell on the numerous reasons why they should. I question if it is not counterproductive to be telling a smoker 

how hard it is to quit.  I find the following equation interesting: 

 

You may of heard that Nicotine Replacement Therapy doubles a persons change of success....

 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) gets about 7% success rate at best - and cold turkey gets around 3.2%. 

But we also know that 98% of people actually succeed with unaided ( a form of cold turkey ). So here is the piece of

information that is needed to make sense of these numbers. The 3.2% ( the doubling to 7 %) is a comparison of one

single serious cold turkey attempt when in fact it takes 5+ serious cold turkey attempts for most people to find success. 

The statistically success rate of a second NRT attempt is zero.  The vast majority of people quit unaided it just takes 

them sometime and it is not really fair to claim NRT has any doubling effects.  

 

What exactly did you change, add or omit in your version of the public domain work, Twas The Night Before Christmas?

Santa asked that the verse regarding his smoking a pipe be eliminated along with any associated illustration. I removed the

reference to Santa wearing fur due to his wish to assist in the preservation of the polar bear that are a species of special

concern due to globe climate change. It is all about awareness...  I would truly be upset to wake up one day to find that we

did not have any polar bears left and I had been oblivious to their plight.  I can’t save the polar bears or stop the world from

smoking but I can make a contribution if I choose to engage.

 

What can we do to make more parents, grandparents and teachers aware of the dangers of reading smoke-filled books to young, impressionable minds?

All over the world there are people working very hard to help solve the problems of youth smoking. One campaign that I am involved with is working on the WHO initiative to get smoking out of films rated for young audiences. There is a direct relationship between children’s exposure to on-screen smoking and uptake of this drug at some point in their youth.  Children, whose favorite actors have smoked in three or more of their recent films, are 16 times more likely to feel positively about smoking, making them much more likely to start smoking themselves.

 

 Children, aged 10-14, who see the most smoking on screen, are three times more likely to start smoking than children who

see the least. Exposure to on screen smoking is responsible for 44% of youth tobacco users. Smoking in movies increased

from 1998-2005 and tobacco is still in half of all films rated PG13.

It concerns me that young women are exposed to images of models and actresses smoking. Kate Moss is a popular icon and 

when she walked down a  runway smoking I was concerned on what message was being sent out to young women my

daughter’s age. Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue, included an apology in her recent book – “… forgive me

for all these cigarettes I’ve put in all these issues.” This is the shift in thinking that we need to see.

 

    The U.S. Surgeon General issued a statement this spring regarding youth smoking – the first such report in a dozen years. Is the government doing enough to deter our youth from taking up smoking?

 

    The WHO recommended changes to film ratings to better protect children from the influence of film and China has complied.

    There is movement and I have high hopes with the new efforts coming out of the Surgeon General’s Report of March 8th.

    2012.

    On the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids website I recently read an article ``A Broken Promise to Our Children`- the

    1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 years later -  points of interest:

    - the states have cut funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first received tobacco settlement funds

    - the states this year ( fiscal year 2012) will collect 25.6 billion$ in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8% of it on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

    - most states are falling short of funding levels for tobacco prevention programs recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only two states, Alaska and North Dakota - currently fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC recommended levels.

      STATES - CONNECTICUT, NEVADA, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND OHIO AND DC PROVIDE ZERO STATE FUNDS FOR TOBACCO PREVENTION THIS YEAR.

    - Tobacco companies spend nearly $23 to market tobacco products for every $1.00 the states spend to fight tobacco use.

 

 

 

 

     How effective has the smokefree movies campaign been to remove or reduce images of smoking in our movies? 

 

       People can get find out more about this issue  through www.smokefreemovies.com.  I do what I can for western Canada

    and I blog and tweet about the issue frequently.  I wish the movie stars would get on the page on this one – the Brad Pitts,

    Johnny Depp, Leonard Dicaprio, even Meryl Streep. Julia Child was known for her cooking and would the film Julia and Julia

    have lost its creative tension if the character had not smoked?

 

    Babar. Curious George. Frosty the Snowman. They are amongst many popular children’s tales that reference smoking a pipe. Do the copyright owners of these works have a responsibility to sanitize their stories to rid them of any smoking references?  

    It is a question of doing what you believe is important and what you believe will make a difference.

    Since the Surgeon General’s warning in 1964 that smoking can be linked to cancer – nearly 50 years ago – how far

    have we come to decrease the number of smokers? Some populations have changed their attitudes about smoking and

    others are very much at risk. The overall world consumption is so high it will impact everyone unless things change.  The

    number of people who will die in this century is 10 fold from the previous century according to the WHO.  It stands that one

    billion people will die premature deaths at the hand of tobacco in this century, especially in these times of government cuts.

 

    May 31 is the World Health Organization’s No Tobacco Day.  It is celebrating its 25th year. How can a 24-hour ban on smoking help some people quit?  

    Any effort that draws light to the real situation of nicotine use and what can be done to educate children about its associated

    risks are worthy.

 

    How difficult is it to get a smoker to quit and to stay away for good?

    Why is preventing our youth from starting the killer habit so important?   Not ever taking up smoking is the key, as this is the

    most addictive drug on the planet and one in which only 5% of people ever successful quit at any given time.

    It takes only a couple of cigarettes to wire the human brain for this addiction.  Millions upon millions of people have quit

    smoking unaided and remain nicotine-free. It is doable and is both a physical and psychological challenge. The physical

    withdrawal period for nicotine is 72 hours but the psychological tricks this drug plays can be relentless.  We are still learning

    about the effects of addictions and the brain.

 

    Your dad was a smoker. When you were 18, he set the house on fire after falling asleep with a lit cigarette. How did that experience change your views on smoking?

    It didn`t. I grew up in the Madmen era, everyone smoked – or so it seemed. I smoked as a teenager but luckily was able to

    stop in time to have my children in my twenties and I never went back to it.  I consider it unimaginable that I would ever

    smoke. My children have never smoked.  

 

    Do most adults realize all of the influences on our children regarding smoking via news media, movies, books, television, games, and advertising?  

Nicotine use is a legal adult activity and the tobacco industry’s strategy for quite some time has been to “normalize it” and it

has been very effective. I was in New York in May 2011 when Central Park went smoke-free. The ads in the papers that

day placed for Camel Snus:

NYC SMOKERS RISE ABOVE THE BAN. SMOKERS, SWITCH TO SMOKE-FREE CAMEL SNUS AND RECLAIM THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY.  SHARE YOUR SUPPORT FOR TOBACCO FREEDOM AT …   BREAK FREE LOGO WITH A CAMEL.  WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CAN CAUSE GUM DISEASE AND TOOTH LOSS. 

I called the American Dental Association and asked them if they were going to respond in USA Today and they said that they

didn’t have the funds to fight back.  

The tobacco industry, in 2006, spent $12.49 billion (over 34 million a day) to promote and advertise its products.  Some of it

is dismissed but it has an effect that no one can compete with. The tobacco industry outspends tobacco prevention 20 to 1.

In 1999, the first year after the Master Settlement Agreement, the tobacco companies spent a record on advertising and

promotions, an increase of $1.5 billion, and the largest one year increase since the US Federal Trade Commission began

tracking tobacco-industry marketing expenditures in 1970. I collect images of Santa smoking on ads, in stationery Christmas

cards.  I also keep scrapbooks of old tobacco ads I come across. One of my favorites is “Blow in her Face and she will

follow you anywhere.”

 

How should one teach children – and at what age – about the dangers of nicotine addiction?

By not providing examples of smoking period.  It has been shown that good or bad characters depicted have the same

effect. It is the normalization of smoking that is the risk. That Santa just merely shows up and casually gets away with

smoking in the middle of Clement Moore`s living room is not okay. If it was am old aunt who smoked a cigar would it be

okay or would she be asked to use the porch.  The best strategy that the tobacco industry has to keep their market share is

to play the elephant in the living room trick – only this time Santa isn`t playing along.   I am looking forward to hearing

Victor Denoble speaking to school kids in the fall. His work is showing good results and he is reaching about 350,000 kids

per year.


                                                  Smoking Statistics: Death By The Numbers

   

    Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people each year in the US – more than the total combined number killed by AIDS,

    alcohol, homicide, illegal drugs, suicide, and motor vehicles. -- www.Kickbuttsday.org

   

    Cigarette use decline sharply during 1997-2003. Since that time, rates have declined far more slowly. Each day in the US,

    approximately 3,800 young people under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,000 youth in that age

    group become daily cigarette smokers.  19.5% of all high school students smoked at least one cigarette in any given month in

    2009; 5.2% of middle school students did so as well, 8.9% of high school students used smokeless tobacco in 2009 and 2.6%

    of middle school students did so as well. -- www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data  

    Nearly 25% of young smokers, globally, tried their first cigarette before they were 10 years old.

InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

     26% of Americans say they used to smoke in the past. 49% of Americans never smoked.  19.8% of US adults smoke (a new low) vs. 25% in 1997. --InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the U.S. and the most smoking related deaths in the nation. --InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    Smoking causes more deaths and disabilities than any single disease (WHO).

    50% of students said they have tried smoking a cigarette in 2007.  That’s down from 70% in 1999.

--InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    Smokers die, on average, 15 years sooner than non-smokers.  --InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    18% of all U.S. deaths each year are due to smoking.  50,000 of 443,000 annual smoking deaths come from secondhand smoke. --InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    An estimated 1.3 billion people smoke worldwide. Around 700 million children worldwide inhale air polluted by tobacco smoke, especially at home. Half a billion Asian youth worldwide are at risk from tobacco addiction. (WHO)

    Walt Disney is the first Hollywood studio to ban cigarette smoking in its films (July 25, 2007)

    About 100 million people died because of tobacco use in the 20th century. 5.4 million deaths worldwide are caused by tobacco each year.  If current smoking trends continue, 1 billion will die from tobacco use this century. -- InfoResearchLab.com/kidsmokingfacts 

    1964- US Surgeon General issues first warning that cigarette smoking can lead to cancer.

    

    1971- The government banned tobacco products from being advertised on TV and radio.

    

    1998- Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was hatched between four major tobacco companies and the Attorneys

    General of 46 states. This record multi-billion-dollar deal led to the funding of medical costs to treat people with tobacco-

     related illnesses and led to the funding of an anti-smoking campaign that was launched by the American Legacy Foundation.

    

    2009- 24 States, including New York, Illinois, and Ohio, have passed anti-smoking bans in all enclosed public places,

     including restaurants and bars.

 

 

                                     Who Was Clement C. Moore?

Clement Moore was a scholar and a professor of Oriental and Greek Literature. His father for thirty five years was a bishop of the New York diocese and also served a president of Columbia College (later Columbia University).  One of the most interesting aspects of this poem is tied to this religious connection.  During the 1820’s Christmas Day was overtaking New Years Day as the most popular family holiday. By shifting the celebrations to Christmas Eve and focusing on children it solved the complication of religious preferences and practices.  It is a holiday everyone can delight in, no matter their age or religious affiliations.   Excerpted from: About.com Urban Legends:

“TRUTH BE TOLD, the 19th-century author who bequeathed us the image of a fat, jolly white-bearded St. Nicolas (“His eyes- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!”) was himself a dour academician.  His professor of classics at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, Clement C. Moore’s most notable work prior to “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was a two-volume tome entitled A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language.

“Legend has it Moore composed “A Visit from St. Nicholas” for his family on Christmas Eve of 1822, during a sleigh-ride home from Greenwich Village.  He supposedly drew inspiration for the elfin, pot-bellied St. Nick in his poem from the roly-poly Dutchman who drove his sleigh that day.  But from what we know of Clement Moore, it’s much more likely that he found his imagery in literary sources, most notably Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker History (1809) and a Christmas poem published in 1821 called, “The Children’s Friend”.

“It seems reasonable to suppose that Moore’s most profound inspiration came not from his readings but from a keen appreciation of his audience.  He wasn’t writing for publication, but to delight his own six children.  To that end, he transformed the legendary figure of St. Nicholas, the patron of saint of children, into Santa Claus, a fairy tale character for children.  It was perhaps Moore, stodgy creature of academe that he was, refused to have the poem published despite its enthusiastic reception by everyone who read it.  His argument that it was beneath his dignity evidently fell on deaf ears, because of the following Christmas, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” found its way after all into the mass media when a family member submitted it to an out-of-town newspaper.  The poem was an “overnight sensation”, as we would say today, but Moore would not acknowledge authorship of it until fifteen years later, when he reluctantly included it in a volume of collected works.  He referred to the poem “a mere trifle”.

“The irony of this, as Duncan Emrich points out, is that for all his protestations, Professor Clement Clarke Moore is now

remembered for practically nothing else."

CONFIRMED:

 

Tobacco Campaign

http://www.tobaccocampaign.com/santa-quits-smoking-in-new-edition-of-best-selling-christmas-classic

 ThinkProgress

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/22/1058621/santa-claus-quits-smoking-in-revamped-christmas-classic/?mobile=nc

 

WBSM

http://wbsm.com/canadian-author-edits-twas-the-night-before-christmas-to-make-santa-a-nonsmoker/

 

The Interrobang

http://theinterrobang.com/2012/10/twas-the-night-santa-quit-smoking/

 

Fox8 Cincinnati

http://fox8.com/2012/10/16/should-santa-give-up-smoking/

 

The Stir/Café Mom

http://thestir.cafemom.com/toddler/145106/twas_the_night_before_christmas

http://www.cafemom.com/answers/1283586/Santa_quits_smoking_for_Christmas

 

CNY

http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=813318#.UIWVS5G9KSM

 

Cynical Mother

http://cynicalmother.com/?p=1789

 

923TheDock

http://923thedock.com/santa-quits-smoking/

 

WLWT News

http://www.wlwt.com/news/entertainment/Santa-Claus-quits-smoking-in-new-version-of- classic-poem/-/9837584/16998434/-/rsn2me/-/index.html

 

Democratic Underground

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021544451

 

Fox News

http://nation.foxnews.com/political-correctness/2012/10/14/pc-police-destroy-twas-night-christmas

 

Gothamist (Blog):

http://gothamist.com/2012/10/14/christmas_is_ruined_santas_smokes_a.php

 

       KFYI Radio Blog Reached out to them regarding radio interview as well.

http://politics.kfyi.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104707&article=10494988

 

Corey and Jay Show – Reached out to them regarding radio interview as well.

http://coreyandjayshow.iheart.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104668&article=10494988

 

Dallas News

http://www.facebook.com/DallasMoms