Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kansas Lawmakers Consider Resolution on Harm Reduction

Smokeless Tobacco Study Weighed By Kansas Lawmakers In R.J. Reynolds-Backed Resolution

Slowly but surely, the tide is turning in the direction of tobacco harm reduction. The antiquated approach of quit or die that has been foisted upon smokers by the sheer force and muscle of anti-tobacco lobbyists is slowly coming to an end, as it should. Tobacco is a legal product and the people who use tobacco products are law abiding citizens who have the right to be armed with all of the information available with regards to the varying relative risks of tobacco products. While I am not personally into smokeless tobacco or snus, I believe that this sets an important precedent for all users of tobacco in all of its forms. If one product is 90+% less risky than another, we have the right to know about it. If vaporized tobacco cigarettes are less risky, then we have the right to know about that as well, for it would enable many smokers to switch to less hazardous alternatives which could very well mean the difference between life and death itself. Combustible cigarettes are not the same either. If one cigarette brand is 30, 40, 50, 60% more or less risky, we have the right to know about it. If a tobacco product only carries a 10% reduction in risk, I want to know about it. In fact, we have the right to know about it all. In addition to being a freedom of speech issue, this also amounts to what has evolved into a human rights issue. We smokers are taxed beyond what we put into the system, yet we are told that we have no rights. Where has all of that tax money been going to and why hasn't it been going into research and resolutions such as what's been proposed above? Wait a minute...I know why.. It's largely due to pro-death groups such as this:
The cancer society opposes the measure, citing concern about smokeless tobacco's potential cancer link, including a risk for oral cancer, Masoner said. State public health officials should not conduct research for an industry, he said. Supporters of the measure have said the study would not cost additional taxpayer funds.
Of course they oppose the idea. If people stopped getting cancer, they'd be out of business. If tobacco use were to become a benign habit, then how would they justify extorting all of that tax money from smokers? Never mind that the fact that a Swedish study that followed 280,000 snus users from 1978 to 1992 found that there was no increased risk of lung or oral cancer in Swedish snus users as compared to that of never smokers. How is it possible for a group that purports to be about health to be against the study of something that may have the potential to eradicate much of what society has come to despise about tobacco? Hasn't that been the point all along, to reduce the harm associated with tobacco use? It is clear that the Neo Bishops of (Counter) Do-Gooderism have been walking in our midst with blinders on. The world is not flat and there will never be a world free of smokers. Using science, rather than blind dogma and politics, is the only practical solution that lies before us. Besides, it is our lives and our money at stake here; therefore, the direction and the trajectory that tobacco harm reduction sets out on is ultimately our decision to make, not theirs.

Thankfully, there are a number of lawmakers that are beginning to realize the importance of an alternative approach in reducing tobacco related illness(s), for Kansas is now the fourth state, behind Indiana, Nebraska, and Kentucky, to recognize the importance of tobacco harm reduction. They are beginning to realize that science, in its absolute form, is what is needed to increase the quality of life for smokers everywhere. The social relativism and religious fervor of the anti-science and anti-free speech crowd has only served to do the public great harm. The dissemination of truthful information is the backbone of progress itself. It is time that we smokers witness a bit of that progress that we have been hearing so much about.

Change is coming.


  1. Great column and well-said JR! What amazes me is when I hear them saying they need to do "research" to determine if using smokeless tobacco is safer than smoking it. Do they somehow think the smokeless tobacco is going to give people lung cancer or emphysema? Yes, there's an increase in oral cancer, but there has NEVER been any studies showing that increase to be in the same ballpark as the harms they claim come from smoking.

    - MJM

  2. Michael,

    "Do they somehow think the smokeless tobacco is going to give people lung cancer or emphysema?"

    Lol! They would try to make that claim if they could. On the issue of oral cancer, I did read (forget where) that there was a study(s) conducted on Swedish snus which showed little or no relationship between snus and oral cancer. Have you come across any studies like this?

  3. I use an alcohol and drug harm reduction program to control my cigar smoking. I smoke one cigar a month, I enjoy it very much, and feel the benefits; relaxation, enjoyment, socialization, hobby interest, collecting, etc. far outweigh the costs; low to non-existent health risk. I have been successful at this regimen for one year.
    HAMS harm reduction network