Speech at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
by Candierrick Narcisse
Reality Check - Bronx

August 1, 2002

Good afternoon members of the public, colleagues, press and delegates of the United Nations. My name is Candierrick Narcisse. I am a member of Reality Check; a New York Statewide youth led anti-tobacco movement to expose the deceptive marketing practices of the tobacco industry. Reality Check's main goals are to change the way the tobacco industry is viewed by society and how the industry is allowed to target teens in New York State. It empowers teens to fight against the tobacco industry by educating us on the negative effects of smoking cigarettes.

As a child, my mother taught me not only to care about myself, but also to care for others. I was responsible for making sure that my brothers and sisters were safe. I had to protect them from anyone who tried to inflict harm upon them. My mother in turn would protect all of us from unscrupulous people wanting to confuse and deceive us into harming ourselves. Today, we are here because there are some people our mothers can't protect us from, the Tobacco Industry.

They, the tobacco industry, have known since 1953, studies of clinical data tends to confirm the relationship between heavy and prolonged tobacco use and incidence of cancer of the lungs according to private memos found in one of the biggest tobacco company. Apparently tobacco is bad for you. DUH!!!

There are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette and 43 are known cancer-causing agents. Tobacco is truly a global problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that each year about four million people die from tobacco related illness. If current trends continue, this figure will rise to about ten million per year by the year 2030, with seventy percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. In fact more people are expected to die from tobacco related illness over the next thirty years then from AIDS, automobile accidents, maternal mortality, homicide and suicide combined.

For this reason, tobacco should be seen as a major public health issue, and in fact the American Surgeon General says that smoking is the most overlooked form of drug addiction in today's society. That is the reason we are here today, we, the teens of New York State want to make sure that the Delegates of the United States hear our voices and make a strong treaty. Protect us, all, from the Tobacco Industry. It's time that the world listens to the overwhelming amount of data that shows tobacco to be a very deadly product. Please, make sure that those who choose to put profit over health are held responsible for all the harm they are causing our communities here in the USA and around the world. Thank you.

This speech was delivered by Candierrick Narcisse at a demonstration against the U.S. sabotaging of an international tobacco control treaty -- on behalf of Philip Morris (United Nations - August 1, 2002). Narcisse is a teen member of the New York youth empowerment program Reality Check (Bronx Chapter).