Modest good news on smokeless tobacco use

by Carl V Phillips

I’m back.  I’ll start with something quick and easy and try to dive into the backlog of difficult topics shortly.

The CDC has belatedly reported some statistics on U.S. smokeless tobacco (ST) use from the 2000s.  Comparing surveys from 2005 and 2010, they found that ST use increased from 2.7% of the population to 3.0%.  For men, the figures were 4.9% and 5.6%, reflecting the fact that in this population, almost all ST users are men, and indeed that dominance increased over the study period.

This accounts for about 1/10th of the drop in smoking recorded by the same survey.  This is a rather more modest impact of THR then we usually estimate (some broader statistics suggest that replacement by ST accounts for about half of the smoking reduction through the 2000s).  But it is still a positive.

Of course, as with most studies from the “public health” industry, you have to just look at the statistics and ignore the prose to get the good news.  CDC leads off with lies about ST causing cancer and devotes most of the paper to whining about how this good news is bad, and must be attributable to some mysterious magical marketing.  The possibility that people living in the information age might be learning that CDC et al. have been lying to them does not seem to cross their mind.

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8 responses to “Modest good news on smokeless tobacco use

  1. “Smokeless tobacco causes cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, and pancreas” [1]

    That is a big fat lie!

    According to a retrospective cohort study, which investigated 279.897 male Swedish construction workers from 1978-92, the use of Swedish snus should be added to the list of _tentative_ risk factors_ for pancreatic cancer. TENTATIVE is not definitively!
    The authores also stated: “We were unable to confirm any excess of oral or lung cancer in snus users.” [2]

    [1] http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6322a1.htm?s_cid=mm6322a1_e
    [2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17498797

    • Carl V Phillips

      The pancreatic cancer claim, which was a favor of the ANTZ for a few years in the 2000s, also did not stand up to scrutiny.

  2. jredheadgirl

    ” Employers can help reduce tobacco use among employees by making their workplaces tobacco-free,”

    Sigh…Will they ever leave us alone? What a lovely precedent this (potentially) sets, for if they can tell you that you can’t consume smokeless tobacco at the workplace, then what is to stop them from demanding that you only consume wheatgrass (I like wheatgrass, btw…) and broccoli sprouts?

    • Carl V Phillips

      These are genuinely evil people, no doubt about it. They like to inflict pain. Mandatory wheatgrass would not be quite as evil, but it is up there IMO (broccoli sprouts I could live with).

      Delta Airlines used to have a policy (ANTZ-engineered, no doubt) of no ST use, which they explicitly mentioned during the safety spam lecture. Maybe they still have the policy officially and quietly, but I notice they stopped saying it. Given how much use of ST I observed on their planes, they obviously did not enforce it, and employers in most settings would have an even harder time.

      • jredheadgirl

        “Delta Airlines used to have a policy (ANTZ-engineered, no doubt) of no ST use, which they explicitly mentioned during the safety spam lecture.”

        Safety lecture? Good lord. What’s the safer option for pilots, passengers, and crew, Chantix or smokeless tobacco?

        I don’t care for Delta any way, as they have had a bad rep with musicians (trashing instruments, making it difficult to carry on instruments, etc..) for a while now. Stupidity seems to spread exponentially in some circles.

  3. Pingback: Modest good news on smokeless tobacco use | Tob...

  4. Can I just confirm one of the stats quoted, please: ST use was 3% of the population in 2010? (It may perhaps be 3% of the adult pop not gen pop.) US pop in 2010 was 310m, so 3% = 9.3m ST users. Yes/no?

    • Carl V Phillips

      It is adults basically. Actually it is a bit odder than that: it is people with jobs. But that is a pretty good estimate for adults overall. And, so yes, that aggregate number is about right.

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