Wake up in the morning got the yearning for herb
which loosens up the nouns, metaphors, and verbs
And adjectives, ain’t it magic kid what I’m kicking
Multi-flavored bags of sess, for the picking
So listen to the izm as it talks nonstop -Channel Live “Spark Mad Izm”
[T]hat line is taken from one of HIp-Hop’s most enduring songs “Mad Izm,” Channel Live and KRS-One. Smoking marijuana and cigarettes was obviously not invented or popularized by rappers. Toking on a cigarette or some weed has been en vogue amongst musicians since at least the 1930s when both white and black jazz artists openly puffed away on the ganja, popularized in songs like Louis Armstrong’s “Muggles” and Cab Callaway’s song more direct song “Reefer Man.” The party ended in 1937, when marijuana use became illegal in all states in 1937.
Despite the laws, hitting the herb remained popular in America in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Yes, smoking pot has always been a part of Hip-Hop culture, for better or for worse, dating back to the genre’s origin. Early pioneers like Kurtis Blow and MC Eddie Cheeba, who took his last name from a slang term for weed, lit up. Even Run of Run-DMC was in on the act in the earlier days, confessing to keeping “a bag of Cheeba” inside of his locker on one of Hip-Hop’s early hits, 1983’s classic, “Here We Go.”
More recently, major stars tout their smoking habits. West coast legend Snoop Dogg has admitted to smoking up to 81 blunts a day, while Waka Flocka Flame recently launched a search for an employee to serve as a blunt roller for a $50,000 salary. Thanks to technology, smoking has now become more popular than ever.
While cigarette use may have declined in 2014, the use of cigars and E-Cigs has shot up astronomically. According to the American Cancer Society, over 2.7 million high school aged boys smoked cigars, while 2.3 million smoked cigarettes, marking a spike for the former and a decline for the latter. But, according to a study by the CDC, in 2013 alone, over a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a real cigarette used an E-Cig.
Thanks to technology, smoking has now become more popular than ever. In fact, the use of E-Cigs and vaporizers was so popular in 2014, that the Oxford Dictionaries named “vape” its word of the year. While it’s universally agreed that smoking is bad for everyone, it has more effects on African-American men. Statistics show that African-American men are the highest at risk to develop lung cancer out of any other group.
Dr. Christopher S. Lathan, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, treats patients with the disease and discusses lung cancer among African-Americans. This interview may make you think twice before you hit that dab, or twist up that Swisha.
Does lung cancer affect African-American men more than other groups?
Of all ethnic/racial and gender groups in the United States, African-American men are the most likely to develop lung cancer and also to die from the disease. We don’t know why that is. Smoking alone cannot explain the high incidence and mortality from the disease in African-American men.
What causes lung cancer?
The main risk factor for lung cancer is cigarette smoking. However, smoking does not explain all cases of the disease. About 15 percent of cases occur in nonsmokers. More research is ongoing to understand the role of risk factors other than smoking.
Is lung cancer always fatal?
No. When detected at an early stage, lung cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the disease is frequently found at more advanced stages, when it cannot be cured. This is a tough disease to treat—we’re curing only about 15 percent of people with lung cancer.
Do beliefs about lung cancer differ among different racial and ethnic groups?
My research suggests that African-Americans are less likely than whites to think that changing their behavior or lifestyle would decrease their risk of developing lung cancer. This concerns me because getting people to quit smoking is critical for making progress against this disease.
What should the public know about smoking and lung cancer?
We stress two messages. First, if you smoke, the best thing you can do for your overall health is to stop. You don’t have to quit on your own—help is available (such as the toll-free quitline 1-877-44U-QUIT). Second, if you smoke now or smoked in the past, talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened for lung cancer based on your age and smoking history.
What do you hear about the disease from your patients?
Many African-Americans in my clinics tell me that they never thought lung cancer would affect them or their community, even though the disease clearly has a large impact on their community. I also hear people say that there are no treatments for lung cancer, yet treatments are available.
Have treatments for lung cancer expanded in recent years?
We now live in an age of personalized medicine. We can identify subgroups of patients with lung cancer who are likely to respond to new treatments. These new therapies are often better at controlling cancer and have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
Are you optimistic about our ability to combat lung cancer in the future?
I am. In the future, we’re going to detect more lung cancers at earlier stages, when they may be treatable. We’re also making progress in treating lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. And, finally, fewer people smoke today than in the past. All of these things make me hopeful that things are going to get better with this disease. We just have a ways to go.