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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, 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.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for SG

    Of course the author of this article hsa been a paid shill and advisor to the smokeless tobacco industry for decades. His chair in harm reduction at the university is paid for by US Smokeless, his research his in the days before snus which advocated for the use of conventional old school loose leaf spit tobacco as harm reduction (a known cause of oral cancers) was also paid for by the tobacco industry.

    As a marketing ploy the smokeless industry has been very smart. Web based viral spread of their ideas and products has kept most of it below the radar of adults, but has been very successful. This addictive product is gaining ground across the United States, and their new tactic of claiming harm reduction is particularly smart, but harmful to our population. Even if the Swedish studies are true, American smokeless including chew, snus, and the new candy like dissovables that are popular with our children, are completely different products, with unknown long term consequences.

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