• May 26, 2024

US public misinformed

 US public misinformed

The US public has become mostly unaware that smokeless tobacco is much less harmful than cigarettes, according to a story by David J. Hill for the University of Buffalo.
In 1986, Hill said, the US government passed legislation requiring a series of warnings for smokeless tobacco products, one of which advised “This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes”.
That warning, however, obscured an important distinction – that cigarettes were much more harmful to health than were smokeless tobacco products.
And over the 30-plus years since, the US public had mostly been unaware that smokeless tobacco use is much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, Hill said, quoting one of the nation’s leading tobacco policy experts writing in a paper published recently in Harm Reduction Journal.
“It is important to distinguish between evidence that a product is ‘not safe’ and evidence that a product is ‘not safer’ than cigarettes or ‘just as harmful’ as cigarettes,” said the paper’s author Lynn Kozlowski, professor of community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
“The process at the time of the establishment of official smokeless tobacco warnings in the 1980s paid no attention to this distinction,” Kozlowski adds. “The American public has become mostly unaware that smokeless tobacco is much less harmful than cigarettes.”
Kozlowski was quoted as saying that as long as cigarettes remained legal in the US, US consumers should be provided with proper information on the relative risks of tobacco/nicotine products that are ‘less lethal’ or otherwise less harmful than cigarettes. In addition, consumers should receive information on the ways in which a product causes harm, he said, adding that none should be viewed as harmless.