Good News from An Unexpected Source

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In an article with the headline "Philip Morris Pushes Smokeless," today's Wall Street Journal reports "Tobacco giant Philip Morris USA Inc. is urging the Food and Drug Administration to adopt a regulatory plan that would encourage smokers who can't or won't quit tobacco to switch to less-harmful smokeless tobacco."

"I don't like this headline," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "The word 'pushing' sounds to me like they're pushing a very dangerous or illegal drug, but the tone of this article does reflect the positive nature of this move. We have long been aware that Reynolds has been dedicated to moving towards noncombustible products, and this article provides firm evidence that Philip Morris is moving in that direction also. It's definitely a beneficial trend for public health.

"We understand why people are skeptical of any statements that tobacco companies make, but in this case, the scientific evidence that non-combustible tobacco products are far less harmful than cigarettes is overwhelming. The anti-tobacco group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids objects to Philip Morris and Reynolds calling for stating the truth about the reduced harm of smokeless products, claiming that it is 'a ploy to weaken' the new FDA tobacco law."

Dr. Whelan further notes, "As a vocal anti-smoking advocate for more than thirty years, it seems ironic, but I side fully with the tobacco companies in the debate with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids over disclosure of the relative risks of cigarettes versus smokeless. Science must come first, and in this case, the tobacco companies have science on their side."