Cigarette makers promote tobacco in Springfield

Apr 11, 2013

  Cigarette manufacturers were in Springfield Thursday urging lawmakers to promote other forms of tobacco as an alternative to smoking. But as IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, public health officials say it's a dangerous message: 

 Tobacco companies have been under assault for years ... with lawsuits, smoking bans, and rising cigarette taxes. But they're still looking to make money.Enter Brad Rodu, a dentist and professor whose research into "tobacco harm reduction" is funded by the tobacco industry.

Rodu says anti-smoking campaigns are not effective enough.He says instead of being told "quit or die," smokers should be encouraged to switch to smokeless tobacco, like snuff or electronic cigarettes.

 "It is vastly safer than smoking. Scientific research over the past 50 years has documented that fact." But Craig Conover, a physician with the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the best way to reduce smoking is to encourage people not to use tobacco at all. He says the tobacco industry has a history of targeting children. "And now we're in a situation where they're marketing smokeless tobacco to look like candy, taste like candy, and saying with a straight face that this is a good move." Conover says people who use smokeless tobacco usually end up smoking, too.