* I just received an e-mail from a tobacco company exec about a meeting this week of the Illinois Consumer Protection Committee. It’s a subject matter hearing on “Tobacco Harm Reduction.” The exec explained the phrase this way…
At its core, tobacco harm reduction recognizes ways in which smokers can reduce their health risks from cigarettes without quitting tobacco products altogether.
And from a link he provided…
While no tobacco product has been shown to be safe and without risks, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco believes significant reductions in the harm associated with the use of cigarettes can be achieved by providing accurate information regarding the comparative risks of tobacco products to adult tobacco consumers, thereby encouraging smokers to migrate to the use of smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products.
We believe adult tobacco consumers have a right to be fully and accurately informed about the risks of serious diseases, the significant differences in the comparative risks of different tobacco and nicotine-based products, and the benefits of quitting. This information should be based on sound science.
* Indiana took a look at this and the American Lung Association was opposed. From the ALA’s website…
Tobacco Harm Reduction strategies are being promoted by tobacco companies like RJ Reynolds one of the nation’s leading purveyors of cigarettes and other tobacco products to bolster sales of their smokeless products by marketing them as “safer” alternatives to smoking. According to Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, tobacco companies spend $10.5 billion annually marketing tobacco products. In Indiana alone, $307.5 million was spent. The tobacco industry has tripled smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion from 1996-2006.
The State of Indiana and our elected officials should be in the position of deterring the use of ALL tobacco products and NOT be in the business of condoning any sort of tobacco use. State and local governments can reduce tobacco use, save lives and save money by implementing effective, proven solutions to the problem. These include higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces and public places, and well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
There are those who believe the tobacco industry is using this campaign to promote the use of e-cigarettes and get kids starting to smoke…
In 2012, the e-cigarette brand Blu was purchased by Lorillard Tobacco Company and started airing television commercials featuring celebrities using e-cigarettes. The limited published research about the safety, efficacy, or public health impact of e-cigarettes raises concerns about the product’s lack of regulation, safety/quality assurances, and its appeal to youth or nonsmokers
* The Question: Should the Illinois House be holding this hearing? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
*** UPDATE *** From a press release…
Illinois legislators will hear public testimony, April 11 at 8:30 a.m. on new tobacco products the industry is deceivingly promoting as “reduced risk” or “reduced harm”.
In advance of this hearing, Heather Eagleton, Illinois Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released the following statement:
“This is the latest effort by the tobacco industry to confuse and mislead the public about the dangers and addictive nature of tobacco products. This is a new twist on the old tobacco marketing campaigns of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s that falsely promised health benefits to be derived from filtered, “light”, and “less tar” tobacco product alternatives that were “more safe” versus “less safe.” These “harm reduction” messages were false then and are false now.
“The tobacco industry has marketed this new generation of smokeless tobacco products as a temporary way to deal with increasing cigarette taxes and smoke-free policies in public places. Despite the risks, these products, which include snus and dissolvables such as strips, orbs, and sticks, are being promoted by the tobacco industry as less harmful, more convenient, and more socially acceptable alternatives to traditional cigarettes. There is no scientific evidence that these products are safe, may be considered a safe substitute for, or are an effective means of quitting tobacco use.
“There is research, however, to show these products cause cancer of the mouth, pancreas and esophagus, as well as other serious health conditions.
“So long as tobacco products continue to be responsible for nearly one out of every five deaths in America today, tobacco product manufacturers cannot pose as being the solution.
“The FDA – not tobacco companies – should remain the final arbiter of what tobacco cessation therapies are proven to be truly safe and effective. Any claims of modified risk or reduced harm must be substantiated by extensive, long-term research that shows health benefits, and no hidden side effects, not just for certain individuals, but also for entire populations at large.