Search

After the American Heart Association came out with a strong statement against the use of smokeless tobacco as a smoking cessation aid, Dr. Gilbert Ross sent them this letter on Sept. 23:

Re: Piano et al, "Smokeless Tobacco Products and CVD"

To the American Heart Association: Physician leaders such as yourselves who consider themselves experts in cardiovascular disease and public health should be deeply ashamed of the recent AHA policy statement downplaying—indeed, denying—even the possibility of using smokeless tobacco to help addicted smokers quit.

Your statement was supposedly the distillation of an extensive review of the...

An editorial warning about the alleged dangers of smokeless tobacco — posted on a local South Dakota news website, TheDailyRepublic.com — had ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross riled up this morning since it “contained more falsehoods and misleading statements in the fewest words that I’ve had the displeasure to read recently.”

The editorial castigates the tobacco industry, specifically R.J. Reynolds Inc., for its newly launched ad campaign for Camel Snus, which the author wrongly asserts is a smokeless brand of chewing tobacco. In fact, it isn’t — it’s a moist tobacco product in a tiny pouch that doesn’t involve either chewing or spitting.

And what’s wrong with the ad campaign anyway? asks Dr....

There is little more disheartening than scientists who pursue unscientific ideological agendas when public health is at risk. Yet that s what happened at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society this week, where a group of scientists reported finding the first strong oral carcinogen in smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snuff, and other products.

Dr. Stephen Hecht, a researcher in carcinogenesis and chemoprevention at the University of Minnesota, led the study that identified NNN (one of a class of compounds called nitrosamines that are found in tobacco) as the carcinogen in question. Dr. Hecht and colleagues arrived at this conclusion after they fed two forms of...

The FDA regulates tobacco products, but it s still determining how to categorize what are known as dissolvable tobacco products. Three different forms of these are currently manufactured by R.J. Reynolds under the Camel brand name, all made from finely ground, flavored tobacco and delivering less nicotine than a cigarette. Camel Orbs are roughly the shape and size of a breath mint, Camel Sticks resemble a toothpick, and Camel Strips fit in a strip over the tongue. The marketing and health effects of all of these products first tested in Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN; and Portland, OR, and now in Denver, CO and Charlotte, NC are being studied by the FDA, which will report to Congress in March of 2012.

Critics of these...

The good news is that cigarette sales are declining, and the better news is that some of that success may be attributed to a rise in the popularity of smokeless tobacco products. At least that s the hope of Altria Group Inc, a giant tobacco company that has recently cranked up its production of smokeless tobacco products in the U.S. As tobacco-related diseases take their toll on smokers, some have decided to make the switch from cigarettes to other cleaner nicotine delivery systems. And since these smokeless tobacco products are much less harmful than cigarettes, Dr. Whelan is excited to hear that their sales are increasing.

This confirms what we ve predicted: that tobacco companies are...

Dr. Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA s Center for Tobacco Products, spoke at a tobacco policy conference on Monday. Jeff Stier got a chance to participate in the conference on Tuesday. The topics included smokeless tobacco (snus) as a means of harm reduction, and the FDA's deliberation of a ban on menthol.

I was honored to be a discussant on a panel yesterday with Drs. Carl Phillips, Brad Rodu, Joel Nitzkin, Michael Siegel, says ACSH's Jeff Stier. A key point that Dr. Phillips made strongly is that most of what the speakers said would be illegal if someone from the tobacco industry was saying it, due to how strictly smokeless tobacco companies are prohibited...

For many people who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, abstinence seems impossible. Now doctors and public-health officials are debating whether it's even always necessary.

A number of medical researchers now believe that smokers and alcohol abusers can benefit from "harm reduction" meaning instead of kicking the habit, they can reduce health risks by merely drinking less or switching to a less-hazardous alternative, such as smokeless tobacco. With the success rate of abstinence programs abysmally low about 75% of those who go to 12-step anti-alcohol programs drop out, for example, and only about 20% of those who remain actually stop drinking -- the aim is for smokers or drinkers to "manage" their addictions at a potentially less-harmful level.

The notion already is...

Currently the media is covering two "safer tobacco stories," one dealing with the claim by Vector Tobacco that its Omni cigarette is "the first reduced carcinogen cigarette" (a topic addressed on HealthFactsAndFears.com last week), the other dealing with claims that chaw use is safer than cigarette smoking. Indeed, U.S. Tobacco, the maker of the chewing tobaccos Skoal and Copenhagen, is currently asking the Federal Trade Commission for permission to advertise that its products could be a safer way to consume tobacco than cigarettes.

Regarding Vector's claim of a "safer cigarette" there is absolutely no basis for such a claim. Since we have never fully identified the precise components of a cigarette that make the product inherently dangerous, and since there are so many...

While the FDA is in the process of assessing how it will regulate modified risk tobacco products, a new study in Harm Reduction Journal reports that smokers remain largely misinformed about the relative safety of these products compared to cigarettes. The study draws from data collected between 2002 and 2009 from over 21,000 smokers in Canada, the U.S, the U.K., and Australia, where public education and access to smokeless products is varied. Regardless of these differences, however, the researchers, from public health institutions in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., observed a significant lack of knowledge about the therapeutic potential of smokeless tobacco...

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...