Journalism in the Public Interest

Congressman Who Compared Cigarettes to Smoking Lettuce Becomes Lobbyist for R.J. Reynolds

Indiana Republican Steve Buyer fought tobacco regulation while in the House.


Former Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., fought tobacco regulation when he served in the House. (Harry Hamburg/AP Photo)

A former 18-year member of Congress who was a longtime friend of the tobacco industry while in office has become a paid consultant and registered lobbyist for tobacco giant Reynolds American.

Steve Buyer, a Republican congressman from Indiana from 1993 to 2011, had been the beneficiary of over $100,000 in Reynolds donations over the years and pushed the company’s legislative goals.

In 2009, he gave a famously colorful speech on the House floor endorsing smokeless tobacco: "You could have smoked that lettuce and you still end up with the same problems. You could cut the grass in your yard, dry it, and roll it up in a cigarette, and smoke it — and you're still going to have a lot of problems," he said. "It is the smoke that kills, not the nicotine.”

Buyer revealed the new job for Reynolds American in little-noticed testimony Sept.19 before the Indiana General Assembly's Health Finance Commission. A federal disclosure filing shows that Buyer and his former chief of staff, Mike Copher, registered to lobby for a Reynolds American subsidiary called RAI Services as of the beginning of September. (Buyer became a lobbyist immediately after leaving Congress in 2011, with a health care company his first client.)

At the Indiana hearing, Buyer said he is working as “an advocate of Harm Reduction Strategies” for Reynolds American, according to his prepared remarks.

“To be an agent of change you can do it from the outside and attack tobacco manufacturers like many anti-tobacco organizations do or you can do it from the inside,” he said. “I have chosen to be an agent of change from the inside.”

Buyer argued that the public is being “misinformed by the public health community about risks presented by tobacco in its various forms.” He disputed statements by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that smokeless tobacco — which include chewing tobacco and snuff — is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. The CDC says smokeless tobacco products “can cause cancer, oral health problems, and nicotine addiction.”

Messages to Buyer’s lobbying firm, where Copher is now a partner, were not returned. Reynolds American declined to comment.

In the face of declining U.S. cigarette consumption rates, Reynolds American has been aggressively marketing smokeless tobacco products such as its Grizzly and Kodiak snuff lines.

Buyer has long been an advocate of smokeless tobacco and an ally of Reynolds American.

The company gave $132,500 overall to Buyer’s campaign committee, political action committee, and private foundation between 1997 and 2009, public filings show. More than $80,000 of that came Buyer’s way in 2008-9 when proposed stricter tobacco regulations were before Congress and had to make it through the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, on which Buyer sat.

Buyer led the charge against the bill, which gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco and was ultimately signed into law by President Obama in 2009. Buyer had offered an amendment that would have delayed implementation of the law for up to 10 years, Congressional Quarterly reported at the time.The amendment failed.

He then offered an alternative bill, backed by Reynolds American, that would have had fewer restrictions and created a new Tobacco Harm Reduction Center in the Department of Health and Human Services instead of giving the FDA the power to regulate tobacco. Buyer’s bill, which also touted smokeless tobacco products, failed in a House vote.

It was during the debate over tobacco regulation in 2009 that Buyer made his remarks about smoking lettuce:

The speech earned him national attention, including a much-viewed episode of the satirical Auto-Tune The News.

Buyer announced in 2010 he was retiring from Congress at the end of his term amid national media scrutiny of his non-profit, the Frontier Foundation. Buyer cited family reasons for the decision.

In six years, the charity had raised nearly $900,000 from companies with business before Buyer’s committees — including $50,000 from Reynolds American. But it had not spent any money on its stated purpose: scholarships for Indiana students. Some of the money was spent on fundraising golf trips to the Bahamas and Disney World for Buyer and the corporate contributors. The foundation maintained it was waiting to raise $1 million before giving out scholarships.

The group’s most recent tax return, covering 2010,reported donations of $10,000 to a pair of Indiana hospitals. It reported nearly $600,000 in assets. Messages left with the Frontier Foundation were not returned.

In an interview with CBS News during the foundation flap, Buyer denied impropriety when asked about his role fighting the FDA regulation of tobacco and the Reynolds donations to his foundation.

"I created this,” he said of his alternative bill. “R.J. Reynolds didn't create that. Steve Buyer created that.” 

Why should we expect R.J. Reynolds to hire ethical people anyway, being in the business of spreading addiction and disease? Of course it’s the nicotine that enslaves the brain to smoking tobacco, but that part’s conveniently left out.  This revolving door between public service (hah!) and lobbying in Washington needs to change, and Congressman Buyer should be upheld as the cause’s poster boy.

Isn’t this just what the Indians call “samsara,” for politicians?  Lawyers reincarnate as legislators.  They retire from legislative positions and are reincarnated as lobbyists.  They retire from lobbying to reincarnate as Presidential advisors.  They leave the Cabinet to reincarnate as CEOs.  Eventually they reincarnate as butterflies or something so we can stick pins in them for being so annoying and the arrogance creates the next lawyer…

Seriously, it’s mildly interesting in the abstract, but Chris Dodd went from the Senate to running the MPAA and lobbying the Senate for the right to turn off your Internet connection.  Donald Rumsfeld ran Searle when they created Aspartame and was Ford’s Chief of Staff when the FDA approved it.  You could probably file an annual encyclopedia on the revolving door.

Or, on a slightly less cynical note, would we expect Reynolds to hire someone who took a stand AGAINST their products?  We might see it as the fruition of a long-term bribe, but if you can’t hire your best cheerleader to do your lobbying, it kind of defeats the purpose.

So, what else is new?

Joshua Kricker

Oct. 2, 2012, 3:39 p.m.

I’m not surprised by the fact his name is Buyer. He was bought a long time ago. I don’t expect it to happen with the Rethuglican majority in Congress, but there should be some ethics rules in place about former legislators becoming lobbyists as soon as they leave office.

Lawyers and law schools are primarily responsible for this entire food chain of corruption of our political system.  They go to school to learn how to defend corporations from the sovereign and democracy.  And, then they use that power to dismantle our rule of law.  There is absolutely no way our nation could be in this mess without the complicity of the legal establishment.  They right the laws.  They defend the laws. 

If you want to subvert the law, if you want to rewrite the law for purposes of control, if you wish to rewrite the law to rig the rules to the game, if you want to rewrite the laws for your own personal benefit, become a lawyer.  90% of politicians are lawyers.  Ditto with lobbyists.  The executioners of Wall Street’s crimes against our nation were its corporate lawyers. 

It’s like William K. Black’s book - If you want to rob a bank, own one.  If you want to rob society, become a lawyer and then politician, and then lobbyist and then corporate counsel, and then think tank scholar and then law school professor. 

Harvard, Yale and other elite institutions who are esteemed schools of law are responsible for the looting of our society by corporate criminals, politicians and elites.

Oops.  They “write” the laws.

Most law makers are unethical and liars and crooks after a few years being in congress or senate.  I believe most start out with admiral ideas but the corporations or party bosses buy them off and then they are crooked till they die.  This is all politicians in general.  Republicans are only re obvious because of the pro business (bull shit spin that party puts on most stuff)

What is missing from this discussion is that Buyer is correct. What he said about the dangers of smokeless tobacco is right on the mark, and the science backs it up.

Smokeless tobacco is at least 98% less harmful then smoking. Inhaling any kind of smoke is harmful, regardless as to if it comes from tobacco, wood smoke, dried grass, or even lettuce. This is toxicology 101. Combustion completely changes the chemical nature of anything.

Without the tars and other bi-products of combustion tobacco is just another plant, but with a high level of nicotine. Nicotine does not cause cancer, heart disease, and any of the other health issues that come from inhaling smokes several hundred times a day.

This is common sense that is backed up by dozens of studies on Swedish snus.

I am sure that the Congressman knows more about health than the CDC????? I thought there was a waiting period after one leaves the government before you can become a lobbyist.

Is chewing tobacco considered “smokeless tobacco.”  Are you familiar with oral cancer.  I am because I lost a person v. dear to me to it.  Look into all those baseball players who have suffered from it.

Unadulterated tobacco might be safe.  I don’t know.  When I was v. young, 7 or so, I handled green tobacco leaves, and I can still remember the sticky, dark sap stuck to my hands as a result.

Joshua Kricker

Oct. 2, 2012, 6:38 p.m.

There are law schools out there such as University of District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (f/k/a Antioch School of Law) is a school that trains lawyers in the public interest. There are many in all fields of law who represent those in poverty, who serve as public defenders, are environmental lawyers, a very good friend of mine is an Asst. U.S. Attty who prosecutes public corruption and child predators. Yes, Harvard, Yale, Stanford the so-called ivy league schools train lawyers to be shills for corrupt corporations. That’s really a choice the individual makes. As a rule a scumbag shill for a corporation decided early in his or her life that’s what they wanted to do. They’d be that way law school or not. Don’t paint all lawyers with the same brush.

He found the one job where he can still put a salad on his expense report.

Not all whores work on their backs.


Anybody that has spent any time thinking about it understands that the ongoing effort to reduce the size/power of government is, in reality, just “eliminating (the expense of) the middle man” that is Congress/the Executive Branch/the Supreme Court while formally acknowledging that wealth is the denominator of power in modern America.

When I read stories like this, I’m tempted to throw my hands up at the depth of the corruption and go along with the Stalinists who are the so-called “conservatives”.

After all, we could always bring dueling back and offset the power of wealth with the power of numbers - and thus ensure justice.

“Is chewing tobacco considered “smokeless tobacco.”  Are you familiar with oral cancer.  I am because I lost a person v. dear to me to it.  Look into all those baseball players who have suffered from it.”

Yes, chewing tobacco is considered a smokeless tobacco, but you are misinformed about the connection to oral cancer and smokeless tobacco. Products like snus have shown to have no connection, and even with chew there is as very small risk, if any.

A friend of mine looked into how many professional baseball players got oral cancer and he came up with 4. That is 4 out of many thousands over the decades that have played pro ball and used smokeless. Doesn’t appear to be an epidemic of oral cancer.

The leading causes of oral cancer are smoking. alcohol, and HVP from oral sex. There actually is an epidemic of oral cancer among young people but the cause is not smokeless tobacco but oral sex with multiple partners.

There are no studies that back up any strong connection from any form of smokeless tobacco sold in the US and cancer. That’s what the science tell us.

I have no vested interest in whether people use smokeless tobacco or not except for health reasons.  Apparently, smokeless tobacco is also addictive.  Here is an excerpt from the article I am including below, which also includes info. on where to get help if one is addicted.

“As long ago as 1986, the advisory committee to the Surgeon General concluded that the use of smokeless tobacco “is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. It can cause cancer and a number of noncancerous oral conditions and can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence” (5). Furthermore, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2006 stated that the “range of risks, including nicotine addiction, from smokeless tobacco products may vary extensively because of differing levels of nicotine, carcinogens, and other toxins in different products” (6).”

I see no reason to pursue this discussion any further.  People should do their own research and decide especially if they use the stuff.  Good health to everyone.

It would appear that some well-accepted authorities disagree with you, Alan:

The bottom line - and I extract same from the above document - is there is no safe form of tobacco. 

I’m a smoker, and I don’t want somebody telling me I cannot smoke.  On the other hand, I will not dispute somebody’s right to say they don’t want to be forced to inhale my smoke (although the idea that all buildings/areas are to be smokeless is extremism the other way.)

I say that with the knowledge that - what with the petrochemical companies, fracking, agribusiness, and so on - increasingly there is no strictly “safe” air or water anymore, either.  The world is getting nastier and dirtier, I’m not going to compound the carcinogenic and mutagenic risks the planet’s population faces by forcing my particular bad habit upon somebody else for my pleasure or my profit. 

Big Tobacco shouldn’t, either.

(lollll…if this planet’s population stops burning carbonaceous forms of energy, I’ll have to quit smoking…I won’t be able to rationalize my contribution to the planet’s toxic loading as inconsequential anymore.)

My point - seeing as I still smoke - was “Don’t be telling whoppers about the risks.”

“It would appear that some well-accepted authorities disagree with you, Alan:

The bottom line - and I extract same from the above document - is there is no safe form of tobacco. “

Isn’t it interesting that they have no studies to back up what they claim. They are no links to back up there claims. That’s because there aren’t any. Besides that, the statement “there is no safe form of tobacco” is misleading to the extreme. There may not be any tobacco product that is 100% safe, but there are ways of using tobacco that are dramatically less harmful then smoking. That’s what tobacco harm reduction is about.

You may want to read up a bit on the science of harm reduction


You realize that if you continue smoking you can never be in Mitt Romney’s cabinet.

GR, my point wasn’t that this was acceptable, but that it’s pervasive.  “Congressman becomes lobbyist of industry he defended” is as much news as “water is wet.”

It’s news because we’ve all been brainwashed to hate tobacco (after the brainwashing to love it—look up Edward Bernays for some interesting tidbits on that score), whereas nobody batted an eyelash when Chris Dodd was suggesting censoring the Internet for the Hollywood studios because it works fine in Iran and China.  That’s only Freedom of Expression…

Not that I’m against Dodd specifically, when he’s done some very good things over the years, but you’d think a threat to the Constitution (or obvious manipulation of the approval process, in Rumsfeld’s case) would be a bigger deal than someone lying about tobacco.

I think David brings up the most important point, though, which is that Congressmen are increasingly dismissing their two-year bans on lobbying.  (And more—don’t forget that Hillary Clinton took the Cabinet post knowing full well the Constitution says no, though she at least tried to wriggle out of the problem.)

Of course the closeness of our corrupt, career politicians are in bed with corporate America with rewards abound for both parties.  Great information.  Thanks.

Salwa said:  “People should do their own research and decide especially if they use the stuff. “

Does that apply to vulnerable children and teens, who were bombarded with messages from the media, especially TV and movies?  Plus tobacco companies giving out free samples on street corners?

The policy was to hook ‘em young and ya got ‘em for life.  Tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs in use.  Big Tobacco knews this very well, and was quite happy to sacrifice young lives for the sake of their stockholders.

When the Surgeon General’s report came out, decades ago, movies and TV stopped pushing this drug—for a while.  Now, if you notice, it is creepig back in.  Called “product placement”.

Basically, it all depends on the values inculcated in the family.  But alas, many parents are either ignorant or uncaring.  So children’s future lives are still at risk.

These poor kids are not in a position to ” do their own research and decide ... if they use the stuff. ”


I agree with you 100%.  Some yrs ago, I read the book “Merchants of Death” about the Tob. Indus., and they are abominable.  They also put all kinds of things in cigarettes to make them more addictive. 

My comments above were directed at this forum and whether smokeless tobacco had health risks and not at whether the industry should be regulated.  In any case, basically all the hen houses (regulatory agencies) are being guarded by the foxes.  So, we have problems from all sides.

Hypatia, if we’re going to plug kids into a world with pervasive communications and networking, it’s probably well past time that we teach them to distrust everything they’re told and do their own research.

That’s not to pick a fight, here.  Obviously, regulate things we know are dangerous, work to stymie all attempts to propagandize the population (again, check Bernays, his impact on smoking, and where his work has been used since), and fight companies that trade in endangering their customers.

But nearly every teenager out there (with the number climbing quickly) is carrying a supercomputer with access to the biggest libraries in the world, and we spend a lot of money teaching them to read for exactly the purpose of making them capable of doing their own research.  What’s missing is healthy suspicion, and that goes for health, consumption, economics, and politics.  (Last I read, teenagers were something like 75% likely to believe whatever garbage is forwarded to them by friends on Facebook.  That needs fixing before someone starts leveraging it.)

John, Thanks for that, but you are preaching to the converted<g>.  I am a card-carrying member of the Skeptics Society ( , and a life-long evangelist for critical thinking.  Meaning, I believe, what you are categorizing as “healthy suspicion”.

Parents and mentors should talk STRAIGHT to kids, not beat around the bush with vague cautions about sexuality, tobacco and the rest of your list: health, consumption, economics and poliics.  (The latter very urgent at a time when—believe it or not—some voters are still waiting for the debates to make up their minds!!  I.E., go by appearances, not by the documented views and histories of the candidates!!!)

Ex: about “vague cautions”:  If parents, for example, would tell their little girls:  “When a man in a car stops and asks if you want a ride, pull out your cell phone and tell him ‘just a minute till I ask my mother’ ”—you would hear screeching tires and one more little girl’s life saved.”

Same with young people’s sexual relations:  I taught my son 3 things from an early age:
1. Do not take advantage of a girl; i.e. lie to her.  2.  Do not make a girl pregnant.  3.  Do not get or transmit an STD.  Plain, simple, direct.  Leave the **&%^%)_ morality out of it.
That is subsumed under (1).

If parents (esp. in the Southern Bible Belt!!!) would just deal straight with their children—
WHEN the questions start to arise—not before it is time—explain functions of sex organs, explain in an age-appropriate way the consequences of misusing them, and most important teach the child to understand and deal with peer pressure!!!

The peer pressure angle is very important in the topic of this thread:  Tobacco use.  With all the pressures to emulate the “most popular” kid in school, we need to teach our children to be strong and independent.  That way we will have far fewer tobacco-addicted teenagers and adults running up health care costs for everyone.  And we will have far fewer “Dear Abby” type situations where a fearful woman w/o self-esteem stays with her abuser despite battering and verbal humiliation.  And we will have FAR fewer unwanted teenage pregnancies!

@Alan, who said the source I provide was unsubstantiated:  You appear to have failed to read the article, for all of the references and studies are provided further down the page.

@Milt, who warned me of my future ineligibility for Romney’s cabinet (however dubious - whether my selection, or a need for a cabinet on Romney’s part - the prospect may be):

To purloin a phrase from salwa, admitting me to Romney’s cabinet would truly be a case of the fox in the hen house.  Or, perhaps more appropriately, a mongoose in a den of snakes. 

I would probably be the first member of an Administration imprisoned for sending out hard drives as Independence Day presents for the American people.

There most certainly are lawyers that work towards the public good and for justice.  But, there is a wholesale sellout of democracy, especially with influential establishment law schools.  It is systemic and broad ranging. 

Maybe those people would be scumbags no matter what but the reality is “the system” of establishment law schools are wholesale enablers to the destruction of the rule of law and democracy. 

There is a relatively recent book by a law school professor that I would be glad to provide that surveyed lawyers 7 out of 10 regularly commit fraud by overbilling.  Criminals are drawn to the practice of law the way it is currently structured.  We can’t allow the virtue of people to be the deciding factor of whether lawyers turn out to be moral or not.  We need rule changes in the practice of law and the powers of corporations that protects democracy from looting lawyers.

lollll…I’m sitting here rereading my comment about sending out hard drives, and I have to face it:  I shot my mouth off. 

Wayyyyy back when, I had all kinds of security clearances…I took them seriously then; I would take them seriously if I ever were in a position to be stuck with them again.  So, in short, the reality is I would avoid having security clearances in a Republican context like the plague. 

These modern Republicans…serving under them is more like serving against America…I ain’t going to do it without a compelling reason that will not further what I can deduce of their motives.

“bsteve2u: who said the source I provide was unsubstantiated:  You appear to have failed to read the article, for all of the references and studies are provided further down the page.”

I did read the page and have read it in the past. You seem to have failed to notice that there are not links backing up what they are claiming. There are some links that say smokeless tobacco is addictive (who knew), but no links to studies backing up there claims of cancer and heart disease.

Do a google search on “tobacco harm reduction” and you will find many studies that show smokeless tobacco is dramatically less harmful then smoking.  Even the honest researchers who are biased against tobacco admit that. The studiers are showing the truth. Unfortunately the anti-tobacco zealots are not.

tsk, tsk…a .22 caliber pistol is dramatically less harmful than a .45 caliber pistol.

Guess it depends on if you’re lucky, or not…some folks are lucky, some folks aren’t.

Hey, Alan Selk…it was a bit disingenuous of you to claim that there “are not links backing up what they are claiming”.  While “technically” true in that there wasn’t an embedded URL - one that you just “click” upon and it takes you there - the document most definitely gave you a reference - the (1) that pointed at the source entity/document name/publication/etc….to whit:

International Agency for Research on Cancer. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines. Lyon, France: World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2007. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 89.

If you want an actual link, here you go:

You’ll have to copy and paste it into your browser - and it is a big document.  ‘Cuz I’m such a nice guy, I hereby do you the great good favor (no doubt you’ll be properly appreciative) of extracting the table of contents regarding the actual cancers the smokeless tobacco user accepts as a potential risk:

Studies of Cancer in Humans ..............................................................................166
2.1 Introduction…...............................................................................................166
2.2 Oral use ........................................................................................................167
2.2.1 Cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx ............................................167
2.2.2 Precancerous lesions ........................................................................191
2.2.3 Cancer of the oesophagus ................................................................201
2.2.4 Cancer of the pancreas…...................................................................205
2.2.5 Cancers at other sites ........................................................................209
2.3 Nasal use ......................................................................................................229
2.3.1 Cancer of the oral cavity ..................................................................229
2.3.2 Cancer of the oesophagus ................................................................231
2.3.3 Cancer of the paranasal sinus ..........................................................231
2.3.4 Cancer of the larynx ........................................................................231
2.3.5 Cancer of the lung ............................................................................233

Kind of me, eh?  I’m just one thoughtful guy.

Bottom line:  That story about George Washington and the cherry tree may be a fable, but the premise is valid and should drive both business and government.  Until it does again, America will continue to decay - and the price of that decay is our children.

Don’t think anybody has the right to profit from our children - a principle that is worth fighting for to our last breath.

What an amazingly corrupt system we have. Professional politicians who have enough of a problem convincing themselves they’re 100% honest and all above board, let alone trying to convince one of us normal people that what they’re doing is enlightened and all for our benefit…....and then they become lobbyists and everything becomes so blatantly obvious, and they STILL try to tell us they’ve done nothing wrong; they were never put into a compromising position; there was never ever ever a conflict of interest. They line their pockets with the earnings of any immoral, self interested corporation they can sink their claws into and when they’ve finished using us for the required votes to keep them in office they go the other way and use their contacts and immoral earnings to prejudice the decision making abilities of governments.

It’s sickening.

Here is a good place to start to get you head around the idea of tobacco harm reduction. Published by the Royal College of Physicians. Certainly not a fringe group. They have come to the same conclusion that other competent and objective researches have come to, western smokeless tobacco is dramatically less risky then smoking

That’s just a starting point but there is much more without to much digging.

“This study does not support any association between use of snus and development of AMI. Hence, toxic components other than nicotine appear implicated in the pathophysiology of smoking related ischemic heart disease. Case fatality after AMI is seemingly increased among snus users, but this relationship may be due to confounding by socioeconomic or life style factors.”

“The use of moist snuff and chewing tobacco imposes minimal risks for cancers of the oral cavity and other upper respiratory sites, with relative risks ranging from 0.6 to 1.7. “

“This collaborative analysis provides evidence that cigar smoking is associated with an excess risk of pancreatic cancer, while no significant association emerged for pipe smoking and smokeless tobacco use.”

And there are many more.

I have seen the WHO document in the past. It is far to large to tackle here. If that is all they can come up with to support there irrational claims they have a long ways to go to prove their point.

I’ll just never understand why someone could claim that the sole fact that the immediate risks associated with the use of smokeless tobacco products are lower than the immediate risks associated with smoking justifies pushing their use upon the public…especially when that public includes children, and that use may extend over decades.

Seen too many things which didn’t show “immediate” harm but did show “long term” harm…and the tobacco plant…well, let’s just say it has a reputation.

And the tobacco industry and those who speak on its behalf…well, let’s just say they have a rep, too.

@alan selk:  I do like this bit:

I have seen the WHO document in the past. It is far to large to tackle here.

lollll….in the military, we called that “Escape and evasion.”

Stephanie Palmer

Oct. 4, 2012, 2:48 p.m.

Maybe a more appropriate name for Buyer would be seller. What a snake, and a thief. His former chief of staff isn’t far behind. Our Congress members, and there are more than a few of them, have no honor and no sense of ethics. I hope the Indiana voters that voted for him realize what a creep they elected.  We can now add Buyer’s name to the wall of shame, started by Dick Armey, that super patriotic who became a lobbyist before he even left Congress. These people are pigs. Don’t believe anything they say.

@Stephanie Palmer:  ProPublica has something of an “honor roll” of such covert-thiefs-turned-overt-thiefs, but in this case they specialized in Medicare.  Former Republican Representative Billy Tauzin is far and away my “favorite” example of the public’s trust betrayed.

lollll…geeze…indignation and my spelling don’t happily coexist…replace “thiefs” with “thieves”.  I must have been thinking “chiefs” (he says, in a sad attempt to look a little less ignorant).

ibstevetwoyou: I have seen the WHO document in the past. It is far to large to tackle here.

lollll….in the military, we called that “Escape and evasion.”

Talk about evasion. I have posted many links to very reputable studies from highly respected researchers and doctors, and you have failed to say a word about that. So who is it that is avoiding the issue???

That’s your choice to remain ignorant. 

The WHO document is a massive document that is nearly impossible to get into in this format. I did read it when it came out. The biggest problem with the document as far as we are concerned is that it doesn’t focus on western smokeless tobacco from the US and northern Europe. Because of that it is very difficult and tedious to extract good information on the type of smokeless tobacco used in the US, and there is a big difference in risk factors between different types of smokeless. You can’t treat smokeless tobacco from India or Africa the same as smokeless tobacco from the US or Sweden. It’s apples and oranges.

Even highly trained researchers have a hard time with that rather confusing paper. I can’t imagine you have a clue.

What research I have read ....our smokeless in the US is completely different in it’s manufacture, definitely cannot be compared to the Swedish Snuff. Is definitely not a “harmless product”

ibsteve2you: Do you understand that the slight uptick in risk of oral cancer from certain types of smokeless tobacco is LESS THAN HALF the risk of oral cancer from smoking (which is, in turn, less than the risk of smoking+drinking, and all of which are less than the risk of oral cancer from Human Papilloma Virus spread by oral sex)??

Modern smokeless products like Swedish-style snus and dissolvables have reduced levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines that have not shown a measurable increased risk of any disease.

Try some independent thought and consider for a moment all of the possible negative outcomes from lighting cigarettes on fire and inhaling the smoke hundreds of times per day…Now subtract from that all of the problems that would be avoided if the cigarette was never lit on fire and produced no smoke and what is left?

How can you possibly compare risks that are so small that they often cannot even be measured to the risks of lighting something on fire and inhaling smoke??!  That was the point that Steve Buyer was making: If you lit LETTUCE on fire you’d have most (if not all) of the same risks—and in fact lettuce has more carcinigenic nitrosamines in it than most modern smokeless tobacco products!

All of your “Swedish and American Smokeless snus yum-yum-good!” arguments hinge on the acceptance of the idea that cancer is good.

Over and over you keep saying that the risk of giving yourself cancer by using smokeless forms of tobacco is merely lower than what you incur by smoking tobacco.

I.e. the moral of the story is that if you don’t use any tobacco products - smoked, or smokeless - then you don’t run any risk of cancer caused by tobacco exposure.

Hence, don’t expose your/our children to pressure consume smokeless tobacco products in what simultaneously referred to as common sense and morality.

Apparently my hands don’t keep up with my brain when I’m exasperated.  Last paragraph should read:

Hence, don’t expose your/our children to pressure to consume smokeless tobacco products is what is simultaneously referred to as common sense and morality.

You do know, or you would if you had read a few of the links I provided, that there is no increased risk on cancer from Swedish snus. and if there is a risk from US dip and chew it is having a hard time showing up in studies. The risk of cancer from using smokeless is not merely lower. For low TSNA type smokeless it appears to not exist. You are still caught up in the illusion that tobacco is the problem when the science tells us that smoking is the problem.

It would likely be best if we keep children out of the discussion. Its illegal for anyone under 18 to buy tobacco of any kind and the best way to keep it out of there hands is to enforce the law. What you do as a parent is your business and I’m staying out of that one.

The problem is that there are 45 million people in the US, and over a billion worldwide, and the great majority are misinformed about the relative risk of different tobacco products. That’s the overwhelming reason we still have over 400,000 smoking related deaths in the US every year.  As far as health goes abstinence may be best, but its simple not a reality for the majority of people who are still smoking. For those unwilling or unable to quit smoking tobacco harm reduction can and does save lives.

@Alan Selk:  You’re propagandizing, plain and simple. 

For my amusement - and the reader’s education - I’ll quote you a section from a book entitled The Binary Man by Jacob Prytherch:

Faux-bacco was allowed to be smoked on the station as it had been formulated to cause no damage to lungs, but still retained all of its addictive qualities (at twice the price!).  It also gave off a gentle vanilla aroma.  The larger tobacco companies had realized soon after the 20th century that it was in their best interests if their customers lived longer instead of dying of emphysema, lung cancer, and other corporate image-damaging diseases.

That happens to be a work of fiction.  Interestingly, it parallels the story of Swedish and American snus.

I would note that anyone who wanted to convince the reader (or the public, to include parents and the FDA) of their sincere interest in the health of the user of Swedish and/or American smokeless tobacco products would tell the reader that nicotine and all other addictive components have been removed.

Can you say that?  Or are you trying to <strike>promote</strike> push an addictive product?

It’s weird…every time I feel the need to respond on this thread, I can hear this playing faintly in the background:

lolllllll….you’re pretty good, old son…

Is there any doubt as to why it took so long for a comprehensive tobacco control and statewide smokefree legislation to pass in the state of Indiana? Even after a decade of tobacco industry strong arm tactics, the statewide law is a weak and exemption filled ordinance.

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