Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SmokeFree Wisconsin not about public health

In a recent blog post, I addressed a recent blog post by SmokeFree Wisconsin regarding smokeless tobacco products.

After a few readers questioned the logic of refusing to do "less harm" in promoting the use of smokeless tobacco over smoked tobacco, the author replied,
Our priorities include proving for smoke-free environments, increasing the price of tobacco, and ensuring there is a strong, comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program.

To serve those priorities we partner to collect data, data which indicates that smokeless use is already on the rise in WI. We use data which shows that the burden of tobacco is NOT reduced by the use smokeless products.

We are not exposing smokers to any risks. We pass policies, we don't do treatment.

Smokeless is not less harmful. Period.

So, where is the goal of protecting public health in this statement?

Where is the accountability that in setting policies, they affect public behavior?

Since when did it become "the burden of tobacco" over the burden of smoking and it's affect on public health?

Where is the science that proves that smokeless is not less harmful than smoking? There is plenty of science that proves the greatest exposure to toxins and carcinogens is in the smoke - we see it in the news and in public statements from groups such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.

If what SmokeFree Wisconsin says is true about smokeless tobacco, wouldn't the opposite also be true? That smoking is no more dangerous than smokeless tobacco? So why the need for indoor smoking bans, if the smoke isn't the real danger?

In its policy to put eradicating any tobacco use as a priority over getting people to quit smoking, SmokeFree Wisconsin completely ignores valid, scientific research and urges people who use tobacco products to continue to use only its most dangerous form - smoking.

Because if smokeless tobacco is no less dangerous, why switch from smoking?


  1. It appears that SFW doesn't need their opinion to make sense as long as it carries the 'party line'.
    According to them, low fat yoghurt IS as bad as Ben & Jerry's lol

  2. So, correct if I'm wrong, but is SFW actually admitting to cherry-picking data to pass tobacco policy laws? Cuz that's what it sounds like to me.

  3. This quotation fits the situation: "Contrary to a popular misperception, all forms of tobacco are not equally risky. Smokeless tobacco causes neither lung cancer nor other diseases of the lung, and users have no excess risk for heart attacks. In fact, the only consequential — but infrequent — adverse health effect of smokeless tobacco use is oral cancer. In 1981, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Deborah Winn and colleagues established that smokeless tobacco users are four times more likely to develop oral cancer than are nonusers of tobacco. However, this relative risk is only about one half the relative risk of oral cancer from smoking." http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsid.744/healthissue_detail.asp

  4. The last line he commented on bugged me the most.

    "Smokeless is not less harmful. Period."

    This is the comment I left but I doubt he will post it.

    "What an absolute reckless, irresponsible and dangerous statement to make. Period!

    Where is this data you claim to have to back this statement up? Everything I researched on smokeless tobacco products points to the contrary.

    Personally, I cant wait for the day when policy makers like yourself are held legally accountable for the lies they spread."

  5. The preponderance of the harm is in the smoke; get it! Apparently not! Like the saying goes, you can not graft a new idea onto a closed mind!

    The "all or nothing" mentality of anti-Tobacco Harm Reduction zealots will result in countless deaths! I don’t know how they can look themselves in the mirror or sleep well with that on their conscious?