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'Quitting Isn't That Easy'
Date:6/23/2008

mportant, smokeless tobacco products are 98 percent safer than smoking. While no tobacco product is completely safe, the majority of cigarette smokers are routinely misinformed -- by government agencies and by anti-tobacco extremists -- about the relative safety of smokeless products. Unlike cigarettes, smokeless does not cause lung cancer, heart disease or emphysema. Smokers rightfully worry about mouth cancer, but they should take comfort in the fact that the risk for mouth cancer with smokeless is far lower than it is with cigarettes.

Statistically, smokeless users have about the same risk of dying from mouth cancer as automobile users have of dying in a car wreck.

In fact, switching from cigarettes to smokeless provides almost all of the health benefits of complete tobacco abstinence.

Substituting satisfying and vastly safer sources of nicotine for cigarettes is called "tobacco harm reduction." Tobacco harm reduction has worked in Sweden, where men have smoked less and used more smokeless tobacco over the past century than in any other Western country. The result: Swedish men have the lowest rates of lung cancer -- indeed, of all tobacco-related deaths -- in the developed world.

A colleague and I recently published research, based on an analysis of the federal government's National Health Interview Survey, documenting that tobacco harm reduction has also worked for American smokers.

The Royal College characterized harm reduction as "a fundamental component of many aspects of medicine and, indeed, everyday life, yet for some reason effective harm reduction principles have not been applied to tobacco smoking." It concluded, "If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved."

Senator, your genuine desire to quit tobacco altogether is commendable.

But if you find this goal unachievable, like millions of inveterate smokers, I urge you t
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SOURCE Dr. Brad Rodu
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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