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CBS’s 60 Minutes devoted a segment to the smokeless tobacco product snus as a possible method of tobacco harm reduction last night.

“They accurately described the facts about smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction method: that it’s a substance that addicted smokers can use to get nicotine without inhaling the deadly products of combustion in cigarette smoke,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Dr. Karl Fagerstrom appeared on the segment describing the Swedish experience with snus. Swedish men in particular have switched from smoking to snus with resultant dramatic declines in smoking-related disease.”

Dr. Fagerstrom will be a member of a panel organized by...

ACSH's friend and co-author of our 2006 report on tobacco harm reduction Bill Godshall passed along a study published in the Annals of Oncology about cancer rates in Europe.

He wrote: "Despite having the highest smokeless tobacco usage rate, a new study finds that Swedish males have lowest mortality rate for mouth cancer in Europe. With the lowest cigarette-smoking rate in Europe, Swedish males also have the lowest lung, larynx, and overall cancer mortality rates in Europe. Unfortunately, the study's authors failed to acknowledge any of these important findings (i.e., in regards to Sweden's high smokeless tobacco use or low cigarette use)."

"You can't ignore the fact that 30-35 percent of cancers are cigarette-related," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, "and if...

Helping smokers quit has been ACSH s longstanding mission, so we were honored to have our very own Dr. Gilbert Ross organize and moderate a panel on tobacco harm reduction at the annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Saturday.

The keynote speakers included the following experts: ACSH advisor Dr. Brad Rodu, professor of medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center; Dr. Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians; and Scott D. Ballin, a tobacco and health policy consultant in Washington, D.C.

The speakers, focusing on how smokeless tobacco products...

Three top FDA administrators have a column published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week about how they will use their authority under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“We’ve established that we don’t like this law,” says Stier. “But it is the law now and we have to live with it, so the issue now is implementation. They talk about all sorts of things like candy-flavored cigarettes and restrictions on advertising, but what I don’t see them talking about is one of the most important issues when it comes to tobacco: helping addicted smokers quit.

“This article is not only self-serving, it’s troubling because of how it...

As we approach yet another Great American Smokeout -- tomorrow, November 20th -- both good and bad news on smoking abounds.

•The good news is that adult smoking rates in 2007 have dropped below 20% for the first time since this statistic has been recorded with any accuracy. There are now more former smokers than current smokers, and women's smoking rates have declined for the fifth year in a row.

•The bad news is still shocking: there remain over 43 million adult smokers in the U.S., and the decline in teen smoking has leveled off of late. Cigarettes still kill well over 400,000 Americans each year, mainly from heart disease and lung cancer, but also from other cancers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (which is...

We were disappointed to learn that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has taken an unfavorable stance toward modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs), advising the FDA to set high hurdles for the manufacturers of such products before they can market them as less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

The IOM report released yesterday concluded that MRTPs, which include a variety of smokeless tobacco products and clean nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes), should not be marketed as less harmful until researchers manage to accumulate a wide range of favorable evidence regarding their composition, efficacy, addictive...

In other tobacco-related news, four U.S. senators have sent a letter to the Major League Baseball players union, asking them to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco during baseball s World Series, which begins tonight with Texas visiting St. Louis. Along with other health officials, the senators explained why such a ban is necessary: When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example.

But ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross is quick to point out, It s also important that the senators make the distinction between chewing tobacco and modern smokeless tobacco products, which...

RIP TonyGwynnEven (or especially) Tony Gwynn himself ascribed his salivary gland cancer to his prodigious chaw habit, carried on over decades in baseball. The parotid gland is a salivary gland located just in front of the ear, over the mandible (jawbone). While its location is in the vicinity of the oral cavity, it s embryonic and histological (tissue) origins are unrelated to the lining of the oro-pharynx, or throat and tongue. While cancers of this area are linked to chronic use of poorly-refined smokeless tobacco (chaw, dip, snuff), they are also caused by cigarette smoking (in fact, smoking is much more of a factor than...

A report by the World Health Organization reveals that tobacco use kills 5 million people worldwide each year. The WHO attributes 600,000 of those deaths to exposure to secondhand smoke.

"As ACSH points out in our publication on the health effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), ETS can have serious impacts on nonsmokers, including increased risk of asthma, ear infections, and more," says Dr. Whelan. "Still, it is unlikely that it causes 600,000 deaths each year, but then again, we cannot make a science-based estimate on what mortality from ETS might be."

"This ties into our campaign to promote use of harm reduction techniques including smokeless tobacco," says Dr. Ross. "Smokeless tobacco not only has 100-fold less health risk than smoking, but also has zero risk...

By Brad Rodu, Ph.D.

In virtually all developed countries, cigarette smoking has been the dominant form of tobacco consumption for about one hundred years Sweden is a remarkable exception. While smoking rates among Swedish women have been consistent with those of other European countries (a fact reflected in comparable lung cancer rates), smoking rates among men in Sweden have always been lower than those of their European counterparts. Lower smoking rates mean fewer smoking-induced illnesses such as lung cancer. In fact, long-term studies reveal that Swedish men had among the lowest lung cancer rates in the world over the past fifty years. Instead of smoking, many men have preferred Swedish moist snuff (called snus), which is not burned but placed in the mouth. In fact, Sweden...