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Smoke free tobacco can save lives.

Tobacco smoke

Not specifically targeting electronic cigarettes, but certainly mentioning them, Dr Radu, Professor of Medicine and holder of an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research at the University of Louisville, James Graham Brown Cancer Centre, has written a commentary piece on smokeless tobacco in the Signal Tribune.

He writes,

“Tobacco policy in the U.S. is driven by prohibitionists who insist that smokers quit nicotine and tobacco altogether. They ignore the fact that nicotine, although addictive, is not the major cause of any disease associated with smoking. Nicotine is similar to caffeine, which is addictive but safely consumed by millions daily in coffee, tea and cola drinks. Science shows that it’s the smoke that kills, yet the government refuses to tell smokers about far safer alternative products like smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes.”

According to Dr Radu, government policy doesn’t have to be this way. He continues his piece by citing the success the Swedes have had with snus, where research shows quite categorically that smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes help smokers to stop smoking, and he dismisses the ´gateway’ theory that e-cigs will lead to smoking, as we all know that it doesn’t

He continues,

“Tobacco prohibitionists inaccurately portray smoke-free products as causing teen smoking, but there is no evidence for these claims. National surveys show that teen smoking has declined to record lows. Tobacco initiation by young people should be stopped in its tracks. But the 8 million Americans who will die from smoking-related illness in the next 20 years are not children today; they are adults, 35 years and older. Children shouldn’t be used as a smokescreen to condemn their smoking parents and grandparents to premature death.

The British Royal College of Physicians (among others), which found “…that smokers smoke predominantly for nicotine, that nicotine itself is not especially hazardous, and that if nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”

He ends his comment piece by stating,

“Switching from cigarettes to smoke-free tobacco products yields almost all of the health benefits of quitting altogether. That’s the life-saving truth”

14th May 2015, 16:24