September 12, 2012 / Tulsa World News / — OKLAHOMA CITY – Experts told a House panel on Tuesday that promoting smokeless tobacco as an alternative to cigarettes was a bad and potentially dangerous idea.
Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, asked for the interim study at the request of a company that makes a smokeless tobacco, called Snus. The product has been credited with substantially reducing smoking in Sweden, Cox said.
Cox, a doctor, said that officials have looked for ways to help smokers quit, such as medication, patches and gum. The most recent innovation is the electronic cigarette, Cox said.
Some are promoting smokeless tobacco as a way to stop smoking, he said.
The purpose of the study was to look at smokeless tobacco as an aid, he said.
Cox said he didn’t condone smokeless tobacco, but it has fewer carcinogens than cigarettes.
But Robert McCaffree, an Oklahoma City pulmonologist and incoming president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said there are effective, safe and proven ways to approach the issue.
Tobacco companies promoting smokeless tobacco as a means to stop or reduce cigarette smoking is merely a way for them to create new addicts and keep current addicts addicted, McCaffree said.