Why Can't We Tell the Truth About Snuff?

It's safer, but the government won't let manufacturers tell you that.
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 1:46 PM CST
Why Can't We Tell the Truth About Snuff?
Skoal Snus product is racked alongside traditional spit tobacco behind the counter of a Sheetz store in Morgantown, W.Va., on Nov. 18, 2008.   (AP photo/Vicki Smith)

(Newser) – Chewing tobacco has its share of health risks, but it’s 10 to 1,000 times safer than cigarettes, according to one British Royal College of Physicians report. The reason is obvious: chewers are not actually inhaling smoke into their lungs. “The Royal College of Physicians can tell you that. I can tell you that. Alvin and the Chipmunks can tell you that,” writes Steve Chapman on Reason Online. But for some asinine reason, tobacco companies can't—legally.

Tobacco companies, eager to sell snuff and snus, have implored the FDA to let them market them as a safer alternative to smoking. But critics have countered that that’ll lead to more smoking—even though the evidence suggests the opposite. “American smokers are stumbling around in a dense cloud of ignorance,” writes Chapman; 83% think chewing and smoking are equally deadly. “Letting smokeless tobacco companies dispense truth would do a lot to clear the air.”
(Read more cigarettes stories.)

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