Post By Stubby
This is a must link for tobacco harm reduction
Brad Rodu is one of the founders of tobacco harm reduction. He started publishing papers in the 90's when his studies showed that smokeless tobacco from the US and Sweden are several orders of magnitude less harmful then smoking. To bad very few people listened to him as the anti-smoking/tobacco craze was going into full steam, with millions of dollars flowing into tobacco control groups with little to no oversight.
Brad Rodu was almost alone in standing up for the rights and dignity of tobacco users.
You summed up the 'official' stance in two words there Stubby, 'tobacco control'.
Those in power want to be seen to be doing something, so they introduce 'control' measures.
Warnings on packets, advertising bans, even restricted areas, will not stop millions of people from smoking, maybe a small percentage who have a lot of willpower and an ever increasing number who have turned to harm reduction by vaping.
They also have to pacify Big T by not banning tobacco outright and Big T has influence.
The more effort that they put into restricting smoking can be used to further the cause of vaping. We need to turn their own arguments into support for a less harmful alternative rather than just directly opposing them. I have said before that you have a better chance of influencing people if you are sat around their table exchanging ideas than you have by throwing rocks at their windows; that should be a last resort and we are still a way from that scenario. Entering the 'lions' den' often reveals just noisy cats in need of some tasty titbits and it can help to remove some of the barriers between the two sides. This is not the sole answer, but it's another way we can push our case forwards.
I just wish I could find those people who are willing to sit around the table for a discussion. I would be only to glad to have a chat.
What is interesting is that my close friends, and they are all non-tobacco users, immediately caught on to the idea of tobacco harm reduction and fully supported my switch from smoking to smokeless (snus). When I sat down with them and laid out the ideas of harm reduction and showed them articles on studies done they had no problem grasping onto the concepts. The average person, when the concepts are explained, are almost always very supportive.
When you get into the media and politicians that changes. There are very hardened views coming from all sides. It is either "all tobacco is equally bad and we have to get rid of all of it" on one side, or some type of freedom libertarian view that pushes the idea that is is just about staying out of peoples lives (the anti nanny state).
It's a false debate as neither view helps smokers make rational choices. You are from the UK so the debate is likely somewhat different, but I would guess there are more similarities then differences.
Unlike the UK, in the US smokeless tobacco is a big part of harm reduction. There is a long history of smokeless tobacco use here so there are reduced harm products readily available to nearly everyone. The problem is the massive amount of misinformation about smokeless tobacco that has saturated the media for decades. Trying to untangle that mess is a real chore, but progress is being made. Bill Godshall has stated that there are about 2 million people in the US who have switched from smoking to smokeless despite all the misleading information. Smokeless tobacco sales have been going up at a good clip of about 7% a year while cigarette sales continue to fall (though that may be hard to get a handle on because of the black and grey markets).
It should also be noted that big T is increasingly becoming a part of tobacco harm reduction. The big tobacco companies have boughten into smokeless tobacco in a big way and now own nearly all of the smokeless companies. Also the well know purchase of Blu by a large tobacco company. Big T is not inherently the problem, and is now starting to becoming part of the solution.
One type of smokeless tobacco that is readily available in the UK is nasal snuff. You are home to some of the oldest and finest nasal snuff makers in the world. Nasal snuff doesn't have the mountain of studies done that moist snuff from the US and northern Europe has to back it up, but it is thought to be at about the same level of harm reduction as swedish snus.
Last edited by Stubby; 07-04-2012 at 06:37 PM.