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20120214_HSQCover22-176x225Dr. Brad Rodu is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville. He has been an ACSH advisor for many years, and has written or co-written many of our publications on tobacco harm reduction.

He was also a member of the ACSH Panel at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science...

ACSH takes great pride in the distinction won by our remarkable roster of friends and advisors. Their knowledge and insight informs our work. Today we take delight in offering the perspectives of two men who contacted us about recent subjects of our Dispatch.

Bill Godshall, head of Smokefree Pennsylvania and co-author of ACSH’s publication on tobacco harm reduction, writes with regard to a controversy over Star Scientific’s new smokeless tobacco product:

While all smokeless tobacco products are far...

Yesterday brought news that smokeless tobacco manufacturer Star Scientific had issued a press release saying that they would ask the FDA to formally acknowledge that their new moist smokeless tobacco product, called Stonewall Moist-BDL, was 90-99 percent lower in carcinogens than those offered by their competitors. The tobacco lozenge maker is asking the government for “modified risk” approval.

While the need for tobacco harm reduction products is desperate, ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan believes that Star Scientific is heading in the wrong direction. “The reason smokeless tobacco is less harmful than cigarettes is not because...

While speaking to over 30 University of North Carolina Wilmington students, Paul Turner Jr., director of the N.C. Spit Tobacco Education Program and former director of the CDC’s oral health division, haphazardly groups various smokeless nicotine products, including dip, snuff and snus, into one category — harmful to human health — despite each having its own risk profile.

As part of his program, Turner travels to various schools and points out the health risks associated with dipping or chewing. While also stopping in to chat with dentists and health workers, he cautions them about the rise in smokeless tobacco...

From the UK: Clive Bates, Director General of Sustainable Futures in the Welsh Government, makes some observations on the European Union's ban on snus (low-risk oral tobacco) that we wish someone at the European Commission would listen to. Why? Well, for one thing, as Bates points out:


The reason for allowing it on the market is that smokeless tobacco is an effective substitute for smoking, but far less hazardous to health than cigarettes. [ ¦] Switching provides a substantial health benefit to smokers who switch, in fact switching is not that much different to quitting smoking altogether.

Bates goes on to point out the hypocrisy of banning the low-risk forms of smokeless tobacco while leaving much more hazardous...

While U.S. tobacco regulations prevent marketers from truthfully informing smokers about lower-risk products, the U.K. appears to be fostering more harm reduction-oriented tobacco laws. The Wall Street Journal reports that tobacco giant British American Tobacco is establishing a new unit — Nicoventures — devoted to the manufacture of “innovative, regulatory-approved” smokeless products. According to the Nicoventures website, “The UK Government’s recently updated public health strategy for England recognizes there are many smokers who may not want to quit smoking but who want a safer alternative to cigarettes.”
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Smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes are being recognized as safer, satisfying cigarette substitutes by increasing numbers of American smokers, writes ACSH advisor and professor of medicine at the University of Louisville Brad Rodu. Yet as Rodu also notes, Tobacco prohibitionists appear to be countering with a national misinformation campaign aimed at dissuading smokers from switching to smoke-free alternatives.

To address this disconnect, Rodu has written a letter to one of tobacco harm reduction s major detractors, explaining why switching from cigarettes to smokeless provides almost all of the health benefits of complete tobacco abstinence. He also wonders what the agenda is of those ostensibly acting to better public health, when they must...

A New York Times health blog celebrates the advent of larger warning signs on smokeless tobacco products like snus, which were dictated by the 2009 FDA tobacco law: “Research has also shown that larger warning statements discourage users. … The new law requires a rotating set of larger warnings, including, ‘Warning: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes,’ ‘Warning: This product can cause mouth cancer,’ and ‘Warning: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.’”

“While these warnings are technically true, they are still overstating these dangers,” says Dr. Ross. “There is a risk of oral diseases as a...

As many smokers are attempting to fulfill a New Year’s resolution to finally nip their cigarette habit in the bud, leading cigarette manufacturer R.J. Reynolds is launching its first campaign specifically aimed at encouraging smokers to switch to its Camel Snus brand of smokeless tobacco. Unlike many smokeless tobacco ads, which seem to suggest that consumers may wish to engage in dual use of smokeless tobacco with cigarettes in order to obtain a nicotine fix when or where smoking is forbidden, this “take the pleasure to switch” campaign marks the first attempt by a large U.S. tobacco company to convince smokers to substitute cigarettes with a smokeless alternative....

A July 13, 2006 column (reprinted on July 17) by Steve Chapman on the use of smokeless tobacco instead of cigarettes as a method of harm reduction concludes with a quote from ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross:

Public-health zealots pretend that the only alternative to smoking is complete abstinence from tobacco. Gilbert Ross, executive and medical director of the American Council on Science and Health, says this approach is "condemning 45 million people to quit or...