"My Addiction" by Tom Beckett
Tom Beckett, a patient at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center, passed
away on November 20, 2006, after a valiant five-year battle with lung
cancer. In 2004, Tom, a gifted artist, teacher, and community activist
completed “My Addiction,” a collage in the beautiful design of a Turkish
rug and a provocative statement about the power of cigarette addiction.
The artwork was created from recycled materials. Consistent with
this theme, the materials used for this piece are cigarette packets from
his preferred brand of cigarettes. The background is paper made from
the pulp of the packets as well as some tobacco. A 1949 cigarette
advertisement is the centerpiece of the design.
Circling the advertisement are Beckett’s pathology reports and the
actual image of the computed tomography (CT) scan in an artistically
Shortly before his death, Beckett loaned “My Addiction” to the Joan
Karnell Cancer Center to display at the Great American Smoke Out. He
supported the smoking ban in Philadelphia restaurants. His message is
clear: “If you smoke, quit now. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.” Tom
quit smoking 26 days before his death after many prior attempts to quit.
He was proud of being a non-smoker.
– Deb DeMille, MS, RD, LDN