NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Anti-Smoking Movement is Hazardous to Smokers' Health

October 28, 2003

Prohibitionists control the American anti-smoking campaign and they are not inclined to help inveterate smokers, say critics. These groups are also obsessed with tobacco abstinence and with the public health strategy: quit smoking or die, according to University of Alabama researchers Brad Rodu and Philip Cole.

In contrast, Britain's Royal College of Physicians -- one of the world's most prestigious medical societies -- issued a report acknowledging that products such as smokeless tobacco are safer than cigarettes. This finding, however, has met with opposition from the tobacco control advocates in the United States who refuse to allow this potentially life-saving information to be disseminated to smokers, say researchers Rodu and Cole.

Among the information being withheld from smokers:

  • There are other effective sources of nicotine delivery such as smokeless tobacco, which is 98 percent safer than smoking.
  • In Sweden over the past century, men have smoked less and used more smokeless tobacco, resulting in the lowest rates of smoking related deaths in the developed world.
  • Smoking carries twice the risk for mouth cancer as smokeless use.
  • If all American smokers had used smokeless tobacco instead of cigarettes, the annual tobacco-related mortality in the United States would be only two percent of the current figure; saving of about 430,000 lives per year.

Rodu and Cole conclude that the tobacco industry has been under scrutiny for 50 years and now moderate and reasonable persons in the anti-smoking campaign, and the public must scrutinize the anti-smoking industry and its failed policies and practices.

Source: Brad Rodu and Philip Cole, "The Anti-Smoking Movement is Hazardous to Smokers' Health," ALEC Policy Forum, Spring 2003.


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