Radical Proposal on Smokeless Tobacco: How About Telling the Truth?


The American Council on Science and Health has just published a position paper in which it endorses smokeless tobacco as a harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes. Based on a longer report by University of Louisville researcher Brad Rodu and Smoke-Free Pennsylvania founder Bill Godshall (which I reviewed and commented on prior to publication), it clearly lays out the huge difference in risk between oral snuff and cigarettes, correcting a record that has been deliberately muddied by public health officials and anti-smoking activists. The paper's policy recommendations generally seem sound to me, although it's sad they are necessary. "Government agencies and private health organizations should provide accurate and complete information about the health risks of tobacco," says the first one, "including information about the differential risks of different types of tobacco use." A less diplomatic way of putting it: Anti-smoking groups and their allies in government should stop lying.