Former UT coach Butch Jones is now on staff at Alabama
Mike Wilson, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
After last week’s Alabama game, Albert Haynesworth attacked University of Tennessee ex-coach Butch Jones for lighting up a victory cigar.
“You’re smoking a cigar like you accomplished something?!?!” the former UT star tweeted.
Haynesworth should have directed his criticism at the cigar instead. That stogie stank more than Jones ever did.
The tradition of the winners lighting up after the Alabama-Tennessee game dates to 1961, when Jim Goostree, the trainer for the Crimson Tide, passed out smokes after Bama bashed the Vols 34-3.
The practice has persisted. Even Nick Saban couldn’t stamp it out, though he doesn’t smoke and disapproves of tobacco in the locker room.
Practice predates surgeon general’s report
Coincidentally, 1961 was the year that leaders of the American Cancer Society, the National Tuberculosis Association and the American Public Health Association asked President John F. Kennedy to form a commission to study the health hazards of smoking. Kennedy gave the job to his surgeon general, whose famous report in 1964 linked smoking and dying.
The insanity of sucking tobacco smoke into the lungs has become increasingly clear ever since.
Smoking now causes almost half a million deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in every five deaths is related to the habit, and 10 times as many Americans have died prematurely from smoking as from all the nation’s wars combined.
Deadlier than cigarette fumes
Cigar smoke supposedly isn’t inhaled, but those fumes are fouler than cigarette smoke.
Extra-high levels of cancer-causing nitrosamines are produced in the fermentation of cigar tobacco, according to the American Cancer Society. There’s more tar, too.
Because cigar wrappers are less porous than cigarette wrappers, cigar tobacco also burns less completely, leaving thicker plumes of pollution behind.
All this makes cigar-smoking especially good at causing cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus, and the nicotine absorbed through the mouth makes cigar-smoking addictive, just like cigarette smoking. In fact, one cigar can provide as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
By the way, smoking has been banned in Neyland Stadium for eight years, and this August the university banned all use of combustible tobacco products everywhere on campus.
UT a no-smoking campus?
Jeff Maples, senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration, helped come up with the new no-smoking policy.
But he admits enforcement is an issue.
“We’d be foolish to think that there will be no smoking on game days,” he said. “But what we’re trying to do here is slowly change the culture.”
Here’s a suggestion: Start with this stupid tradition.
Next year, Tennessee plays Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and if players want to spew toxins into Bryant–Denny Stadium, fine.
But the following year, when the Tide tries to blow smoke into the Vols’ house, stop them.
Better yet, win the game, then Tennessee can eschew the foolish display, which really started with bad Bama behavior anyway.
Jack McElroy is executive editor of the News Sentinel. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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