These links are a few years old, but bear with me. You see, there's this guy called Clive Bates, and he's extremely critical of the stance currently taken by the public health industry against smokeless tobacco.
Take this article from June 2006, for example (emphases mine).
What is absolutely amazing though is that there are forms of tobacco use about 10- 100+ times less hazardous than smoking (ie. chewing, sucking - anything non-combustible) - it's the smoke that really kills. Widespread use of these is why, for example, Sweden has the lowest rates of cancer and heart disease in the world. If the world tobacco market shifted to selling more of this and less cigarettes, millions of premature deaths could be avoided over the 21st Century. But true to form, the well paid and comfortably smug public health community refuses to accept this concept and adopts a counter-productive prohibitionist stance - hoping naively that if people have a choice between quitting and dying, they'll choose to quit. Inconveniently, tobacco is highly addictive, so many wont or can't choose to quit and will die. So instead of telling the truth about low risk options, there is a conspiracy to lie and mislead (for example, the US Surgeon General told a barefaced lie about it to Congress). In Europe, we even have a directive (2001/37/EC see article 8 and 2.4) that bans the much lower risk products than cigarettes. If there is a reason to be a Euro-sceptic, then this is one of the strongest - deliberate denial of access to products that are much lower risk to people that are addicted to nicotine.Pretty strong stuff, I think you'll agree, and exactly the harm reduction drum that is still regularly banged over at Snowdon's place. Especially since the EU is now planning to go further by banning all smokeless tobacco, not just snus - already banned everywhere in the EU except Sweden - which is the product referred to above.
He had more to say on the subject in September 2007.
If you want to say something absolutely jaw-dropping in its idiocy, then you need to cloak it in lots of fake sophistication. And this is what ASH Scotland has done with its new position paper on smokeless tobacco.And expanded in the comments.
No less than 266 references are used to support the truly stupid idea that smokeless tobacco, which can substitute for cigarettes and is far less hazardous, should be banned.
If you put that idea to any normal person they look at you as if you've lost your mind. Only in the insular world of 'tobacco control' do these ideas survive for longer than it takes to express them.
People like the fools at ASH Scotland and much of the tobacco control Taliban talk as if there is no evidence that smokeless tobacco is a harm reduction effect. Rubbish. Not only are there many studies on this now, but they somehow ignore dramatic proof of concept in Sweden where the smoking rate is the world's lowest and tobacco related disease is the world's lowest.So just who is this Bates character? Well, if you haven't clocked it already, here's a clue.
Yes, that's right. It's the Clive Bates, former supremo of ASH.
Isn't it interesting how the anti-smoker view differs between those who have crawled out of the pharmaceutical pocket, and those who haven't?