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UofL research shows substituting with smokeless tobacco saves lives
Date:2/18/2012

nsider instituting tobacco harm reduction strategies as a means to save lives.

To see the proof of what tobacco harm reduction can do, look to Sweden, Rodu said. "Over the past 50 years, Swedish men have had Europe's highest per capita consumption of smokeless tobacco as well as Europe's lowest cigarette use. During the same time, they also have the lowest rate of lung cancer than men in any other European country."

In the United States., steps have been made to document the value of tobacco harm reduction. In 2006, a National Cancer Institute-funded study estimated that if tobacco harm reduction was "responsibly communicated" to smokers, 4 million would switch to smokeless tobacco. The American Council on Science and Health which organized Rodu's session at the AAAS Annual Meeting concluded in the same year that tobacco harm reduction "shows great potential as a public health strategy to help millions of smokers."

Rodu is well aware of the controversy his research findings generate. Opponents of any use of nicotine delivery products maintain that smokeless tobacco puts the user at great risk for oral cancer, a position not supported by research.

"The risk of mouth cancer among smokeless tobacco users is extremely low certainly lower than the risk of smoking-related diseases among smokers," he said. "The annual mortality rate among long-term dry snuff users is 12 deaths per 100,000 and the rate among users of more popular snus, moist snuff and chewing tobacco is much lower. For perspective, the death rate among automobile users is 11 per 100,000 according to a 2009 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Compare those to the rate among smokers: more than 600 deaths per 100,000 every year"

"The data clearly show that smokeless tobacco users have, at most, about the same risk of dying from mouth cancer as automobile users have of dying in a car wreck."


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Contact: Jill Scoggins
jill.scoggins@louisville.edu
502-475-2428
University of Louisville
Source:Eurekalert

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