I was recently invited to speak at the Virginia Youth Tobacco Program’s Annual Conference in Richmond, Virginia. My topic was whether snus (smokeless tobacco) might help some smokers to quit smoking. Drs Thomas Eissenberg (Victoria Commonwealth University) and Dr Lois Beiner (University of Massachusetts) also gave presentations in the same session on the topic of smokeless tobacco (and particularly snus). Dr Eissenberg's presentation showed that most of the snus products launched so far in the USA deliver relatively low nicotine levels, and Dr Beiner's presentation showed that most Americans (wrongly) believe that smokeless tobacco is at least as harmful to health as cigarettes, and that relatively few are using these new smokeless products. Of course if the products deliver relatively little nicotine, and the population believes them to be just as harmful as cigarettes its really no surprise that few smokers are switching to them. Why would they? I continue to be perplexed as to why many tobacco control experts have great difficulty in admitting that many forms of smokeless tobacco are much less harmful than cigarettes (no lung cancer or respiratory diseases, and lower rates of virtually every other tobacco-caused illness than smoking, makes it at least 95% less harmful)
When people are speaking at conferences they typically try to summarize their views and data in pictorial slides much more than when writing in journals. It is often a lot easier to “get” the main points by checking out their slides than by reading the articles! It is therefore particularly helpful that the organizers of this conference have made almost all of the conference slide presentations freely available as powerpoint files.
Because the conference was organized with parallel sessions I wasn’t able to see every presentation but in addition to the speakers on snus (mentioned above) being very good, I also thought that Gary Giovino’s presentation on the epidemiology of tobacco use in young people, and Mitch Zeller’s presentation on FDA regulation of tobacco were particularly interesting. Many of the slide presentations at this conference are well worth a look.
You can find, download, or just view all of the powerpoint slide presentations from the conferences via the link below: