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Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco (PANAT) Petition Pope Benedict XVI to Condemn Tobacco Industry, and Tobacco Use, and Declare Vatican First Tobacco- Free Country

PROVIDENCE, R.I., MARCH 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco, Inc., (PANAT) an organization of physicians, nurses, health-care officials and supporters, are petitioning Pope Benedict XVI to condemn the production, distribution, sale and use of tobacco, and, as a Head of State, to declare the Vatican the first tobacco-free country. PANAT is petitioning the Pope as a political, spiritual, and moral leader to set an example for others entrusted with a similar duty to protect.

PANAT, through its official web site,, is assembling a petition addressed to the Pope that will be published in The Boston Globe newspaper in April 2008 on the occasion of the visit of the Pope to the United States to address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Recently, Claude A. Curran MD, founding member and president of Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco, said to a group of health-care providers in New England: " We have witnessed the effects of smoking on the health of our patients and we realize the message to 'quit' is futile. Nicotine addiction is too powerful; few smokers can definitively quit their habit. We have to band together to change public policies and positions toward the production, distribution, sale and use of tobacco. Leaders are entrusted with the care and protection of their citizens. They can no longer overlook the scientific research demonstrating the danger of tobacco."

A recent World Health Organization report entitled "Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008" {Issued Thursday, February 7th, 2008} reported tobacco use killed over 100 million people worldwide in the 20th century and would kill over 1 billion people in the 21st century unless governments act now to reduce its use.

Dr. Curran went on to say: "Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco is convinced that tobacco is a social evil harnessing societies the world over with the burden of repairing the damage it causes. Tobacco addiction perverts the person's natural drive and reward system. It disconnects the intellect from the will. It renders the person irrational and in effect dehumanizes the person. This demonstrates to us that tobacco is a moral evil as well."

Roger A. Boshes MD added, "Studies show that governments around the world are collecting more than $200 billion in tobacco taxes every year but spend less than one-fifth of 1 percent of that revenue on tobacco control. Addiction is a brain disease and governments should not be in the business of profiting from addiction. Addiction alters the brains ability to make rational decisions and enslaves people to a life of health problems and misery. Recent research has also suggested that the teenage brain may become nicotine-addicted after just one cigarette."

Dr. Curran continued, "We believe religious and moral leaders can no longer overlook this issue. The Pope and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences are obliged to recognize the stark findings of over fifty years of medical research and the evidence incriminating the tobacco industry. The Pope, in his role as 'The Defender of Man,' must address the problem of tobacco addiction. Isn't it time all leaders recognize their similar duty? That is, to protect, instruct, lead and guide. Therefore it is our intention to unify and amplify our voices, persuading those who can and must regulate human activities to condemn the tobacco industry and the use of tobacco. We who are members of Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco assert that if the Pope addresses the problem of tobacco addiction, other moral leaders will follow suit. We must act. The consequences are too severe to do nothing. The millions of tobacco-related deaths testify to the power of nicotine addiction. I see it every day as a physician and I urge all concerned to join us in our work to end the blight of tobacco."

SOURCE Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco, Inc.
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