To Harm or Not To Harm or To Harm Less

The Center for Disease Control’s recent study indicating that the low hanging fruit of smokers able and willing to quit has been plucked with the result that in recent years the decline in smoking rates has significantly diminished. This suggests to some that an alternative to cigarette smoking be found to reduce the amount of harm caused by tobacco consumption. Many analysts of smokeless tobacco claim that smokeless is 98% (or as much as 99.9%) less harmful than smoking. Many public health advocates argue that any claims about less harmful forms of tobacco will legitimize the existence of tobacco in the market and refuse to support less harmful forms of tobacco use even though they know that many pharmaceutical products designed for cessation purposes use tobacco-based nicotine. Should the public health community support less harmful tobacco products even if such support may run counter to the out and out anti-tobacco stance that many have taken till this date? If public health fails to support less harmful tobacco products, are they really supportive of public health? Where are you?

2 comments ↓

#1 apalled & angry smoker on 11.23.07 at 10:03 AM

Interesting predictament, but I think the truth should be known. Those that are pushing the anti smoking cause often use misleading propaganda, misrepresent the numbers and just out right lie to the public since who can question their cause. Are they any better than the big tobacco guys who mislead? If a product is less harmful it should be allowed to communicate it’s message if governed properly. Even anti-smoking leading advocate Michael Siegel is demanding the anti-smoking community discontinue it’s practice of manipulating the numbers and be truthful.

Pretty surprised in an industry with thousands that no one has commented on this post. Let the truth be known. The manipulation of the data by the liberal politicians is all an attempt on our civil rights. I’m apalled that the liberals want to even tell me what I can do in my own home. Can’t smoke in my home? Why don’t folks get it that there is a bigger issue that is getting lost in this anti-smoking message.

#2 Legend on 12.09.07 at 11:12 AM

I have to agree with Smoker here. While working on my MBA and with several courses in statistical analysis, I have always questioned the data on which anti-smokers and people who have in fact changed the law come to their conclusions. As an example, to say that less than 25% of our adult population smokes is actually saying that less than 25% of the people participating in the survey actually admitted that they smoke. A friend who smokes maybe a pack every week or two does not consider himself a smoker. When you tie in things like mortality and health issues, this data is based on “after the fact” information. Mr. X dies of heart disease – did he EVER smoke – he is added to that statistic. Finally, the debate issue as to whether smokeless is actually healthier returns to one issue – the delivery system. I guess the logic is smokeless cannot cause lung cancer because it doesn’t get there but then I remember the old anti-smokeless ads showing gum cancer and never have known smoking a cigarette to do that.

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