U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. will pay $5 million to the family of a Bobby Hill, who died at 42 from tongue cancer caused by nearly 30 years of chewing tobacco. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco is owned by Altria, which is Philip Morris’ parent company.
After Hill died, his wife sued, charging in part that the tobacco giant marketed their chaw to kids, getting them hooked with candy-flavored products, says an American Association for Justice report. Hill popped his first plug at 13-years-old.
The settlement comes at a time when tobacco companies are marketing chewing tobacco as smoking’s safer cousin. The claims are based on studies finding low rates of cancer in Sweden despite high chewing tobacco use. But the difference is Swedish steam pasteurizing IS healthier than American fire cure process, according to AAJ.
Meanwhile, the “American Council on Science and Health” is saying that people who choose to use tobacco choose smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes as a "measure of harm reduction."
According to SourceWatch.org, the “American Council on Science and Health” has taken “an apologetic stance on every health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry,” with the exception of cigarettes.
Here’s a link to the ACSH’s romanticizing of the socio-historical European tobacco chaw tradition.
The ACSH report culminates with the whoa-is-me lamentation:
"It is ironic, and perhaps even tragic, that Swedish snus [chewing tobacco] is prohibited in every other country in the European Union, where rates of smoking and, most importantly, smoking-related deaths are far higher."
In response to an earlier version of this blog, an ACSH spokesman called to clarify the organization’s position, and said ACSH “does not advocate” for the use of chewing tobacco.