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Redman Over Parliament

January 18, 2010
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Over at Reason, Steve Chapman has a piece lamenting the blanketing policy we have towards tobacco:

…Dipping snuff or chewing tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction, gum disease, and even oral cancer, while scaring off potential employers and romantic partners in droves. But in relative terms—relative to smoking—it could be a boon to individual and public health. Any smoker who gives up cigarettes for snuff is clearly doing his or her body a favor.

That’s because most of the danger from tobacco actually comes from setting it afire and inhaling the smoke. Omitting that step makes a huge difference. A 2002 report by Britain’s Royal College of Physicians found that “the consumption of non-combustible tobacco is of the order of 10-1,000 times less hazardous than smoking, depending on the product.” The American Council on Science and Health puts the overall health risk at about 2 percent of that from sucking on a cancer stick.

Unfortunately, thanks to the FDA’s despotic efforts combined with the anti-tobacco campaign in this country, which refuses to limit itself to cigarettes, nobody knows this:

A 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that only 11 percent of smokers who were aware of smokeless tobacco think it is safer than cigarettes, while 83 percent disagree—which is the equivalent of believing it’s safer to drive without a seat belt than with one.

Anybody who’s ever talked to anybody who doesn’t use tobacco knows this.  They are wrong, and the word is impossible to get out because of 1) the FDA 2) those ludicrous “Truth” campaigns and whatnot and 3) the fact that smokeless tobacco cannot advertise itself as such because of the insane amount of liability they face as a result.  The data on incidences of oral cancer from smokeless tobacco users is undoubtedly skewed due to the fact that smoking cigarettes also increases the risk of oral cancer.  Would anybody who wants to take Philip Morris to the cleaners hesitate for a second to do the same for Copenhagen?

Depicting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes is desirable goal that we will never have a chance to realize because of the mollycoddles in power that think they can protect the citizenry from themselves.  The FDA needs to be dissolved.

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