Dr. Brad Rodu, senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, testified on Wednesday, September 19 before the Indiana General Assembly’s Health Finance Commission on tobacco harm reduction. His appearance — in which he discussed the so-called “Swedish Method” of quitting smoking by first switching to far-safer smokeless tobacco — prompted a story on WISH in Indianapolis.
It’s great to see the media get on this story. Read Brad’s latest Heartland Institute study on this issue here. And search Heartland’s policy paper database, PolicyBot, for all sorts of tobacco-related research.
Video below, with the print version of (most of) WISH’s story after that.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana lawmakers could soon consider some new approaches to reducing the state’s smoking rate.
The state’s Health Finance Commission took testimony Wednesday from several experts, including those from a campaign called “switch and quit.” It argues that anti-smoking campaigns have been largely ineffective, and a new approach is needed.
“We’ve had anti-smoking campaigns in the United States for 45 years now, but we still have 45 million smokers,” said University of Louisville Medical Professor Brad Rodu, an oral surgeon who has studied tobacco rates for decades. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking causes 400,000 deaths each year, including nearly 10,000 Hoosiers. 8 million Americans are projected to die from smoking related diseases over the next 20 years.”
Lung cancer rates related to smoking in Indiana are also above the national average, Rodu said.
Rodu argues targeted “quit now” campaigns have failed and traditional methods of smoking cessation like nicotine gum and patches have just a 93 percent failure rate.
“That’s for FDA approved medications. I don’t know of any other FDA approved products with just a 7 percent success rate,” Rodu told lawmakers.
Rodu is now the face of a new campaign, backed by the University and a local cancer center, called “switch and quit.” It urges smokers to instead switch to smokeless tobacco and then try to quit. A 2008 study by Rodu found the method has a 73 percent success rate, 38 percent higher than using a nicotine patch alone.
“Many people who successfully quit for a month, six months, or even a year or two, find themselves smoking again when they hit a bump in their life. And, it’s those people that just have struggled to live without nicotine or tobacco, who we believe can benefit from using tobacco in a safer way,” Rodu said.
Switching to smokeless tobacco provides smokers with comparable nicotine levels. Most gums and patches have far lower doses of nicotine, and are thus, ineffective, Rodu said.
“Smokeless tobacco is 98 percent safer than smoking,” Rodu said. “There is no risk for emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease, and the mouth cancer risk is much lower, in absolute terms. That’s according to 22 different studies over the last 50 years.”