A cancer center is taking a unique approach to getting cigarette smokers to quit by suggesting they use smokeless tobacco as an alternative.
The James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the University of Louisville have aimed their “Switch and Quit” campaign –headed by Brad Rodu, professor of medicine at the University of Louisville — at Owensboro, Ky., a city that has the nation’s highest smoking rates (it kills about 220 residents a year), in a state that leads the nation in tobacco growth and export.
It is an understatement to say this program — which was started in 2011 and continues today — has an uphill battle in getting Owensboro residents to switch, but as Dr. Donald Miller, an oncologist and director of the cancer center told USA Today in an interview, “this is as reasonable a scientific cancer hypothesis as anybody has come up with and it needs to be tried.”
Supporters of the program say that smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco rather than nicotine patches or gum, are more likely to give up cigarettes. For the 46 million Americans who smoke, that could be welcome news. “If nicotine can be delivered in a less harmful way, millions of lives could be saved in the United States,” Radu said. Bolstering Radu’s research is a 2007 report from the Royal College of Physicians in London, which suggested that some smokeless tobacco products are about 90 percent less harmful than cigarettes.
This is also good news for tobacco accessory producers like FLASR, an Atlanta-based company that has created portable spittoons.
“If more people turn to smokeless tobacco, they’re going to need an easy and discreet way to enjoy their product of choice without attracting attention,” says FLASR CEO Everett Dickson.
To that end, FLASR has created a flask that has an advanced closing mechanism, ensuring that it stays securely closed when not being used, which eliminates the risk of embarrassing spills and leaks so often seen with cups and bottles. In addition, the 4-ounce pocket-sized spittoon is designed to allow users to open and shut it with just one hand, making it an ideal solution, no matter where you go.
“Finding a way to let people have their nicotine that carries less risk, it’s the realistic solution,” said one oncologist.