John Celock Huffington Post
Kansas lawmakers are considering a resolution that would require state health officials to conduct a study about the health effects of smokeless tobacco, potentially allowing the state to market smokeless tobacco as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee of Kansas’ House of Representatives has been debating a measure that would require the state’s Department of Health and Environment to conduct a study of the health effects of using smokeless tobacco — commonly known as chewing tobacco — to determine if it is safer than cigarette smoking.
One goal of the resolution is for the state health department to ultimately make a recommendation to the legislature as to whether Kansas should promote smokeless tobacco over cigarette smoking. The Kansas proposal follows the passage of recent similar resolutions in Nebraska, Indiana and Kentucky — all backed by R.J. Reynolds.
Richard J. Smith, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds, confirmed that his company has been encouraging the state-based studies. Such studies are in keeping with the company’s “tobacco harm reduction” strategy, he told HuffPost. R.J. Reynolds has found scientific evidence showing that chewing tobacco does not pose the same health risks as cigarette smoking, he said.