Letter on THR/Snus and science from this summer that maybe has had a very small part in a recently published article in Forbes Magazine

Unconscionable is about as strong a wording as I can think of with regards to this specific issue and I am glad to see it used by a respected researcher who is also an MD.
I am just happy that you agree with the basics and can’t really ask you for anything besides continuing to be a voice of reason and continuing to spread the word whenever and wherever possible. Should I ever get so far as to actually apply for research grants according to the last paragraph of this email however I may have to call on you to hopefully corroborate that there is nothing sinister about, it quite the contrary.
I will however venture to give you a few points that may be useful to deflate some of the arguments that you will undoubtedly come across if you talk about these issues.
  • It seems that WHO FCTC/FCA secretariat and the FDA and the CDC are actively pushing for  and funding (fraudulent) science to be done and published in “odd” countries and published in obscure journals there that have serious issues with “Peer review” on both smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. It seems the prerequisite for the science is that is aimed at finding risks and it is to be published without any “Big Picture” comparisons to cigarette smoking. These of course end up in the databases (BMJ/PubMed/etc) and there become established facts. Besides of course actively funding and promoting science in the USA and Europe that has the quality of “Policybased evidencemaking science” rather than “evidence based science for sound policymaking”
  • It seems most advocacy groups and NGO’s, especially those receiving funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement, are doing the same.
  • One important focus area of this new development seems to be to persuade the Governments in the LMIC part of the world to immediately and decisively ban all forms of cigarette alternatives.
  • February 2013 a professor in Sweden (Gilljam) was tasked by the government to again try and comprehensively calculate societal costs from tobacco use in Sweden with regards to smoking and “snus” use respectively. In may 2014 his report came back raising the death toll from cigarettes from 7000 per million to 12000 per million but not able to calculate any educated guesses for “snus” because of lack of observational or other evidence. Odd considering that snus has over a period of 150 years gone from the single largest product, to the smallest, and then back again to being the most frequently used tobacco product in Sweden (50%); I think you will agree with me that this is insanely odd and strange. Unless of course the harms are so low that they are indistinguishable from the ambient health “noise” always present.
  • This last sentence represents my stance, and I believe Sweden actually has all the proof necessary to show a “proof of concept” to the entire world. Such a “proof of concept” would of course mean a complete revolution for the way the world looks at tobacco control measures. Full tax and almost no harm.
In Sweden it is an immediate firing offense (or at least a career killer) to speak out publicly and criticizing the quit-or-die agenda. An agenda that negates any possibility of discussing “snus” in Sweden as one of the greatest “tobacco control” achievements anywhere in the world. Sad but telling, since Sweden is the only country in the world with all the facts and observations.
FYI: US AHA (American Heart Association) recently published and widely circulated a study from Uppsala in Sweden stating that quitting snus use after an MI halves your risk of dying within 24 months after surviving the first 30 day crisis period. That is BIG and IMPORTANT anti tobacco news.
What the researchers fail to mention, and also the AHA is this: The combined group of snus quitters and snus continuers had a total death rate of 3,3% in 25 months after their MI (measurements started after 30 days after release from IC unit).
Exactly one year earlier the AHA published a study to be used in internal conferences and the such stating that the 13 month (12+1 crisis) death rate in the USA after an MI was 25,9%.
Conclusion to all this rambling:
So many professionals worldwide working in non-profit environments have bet their entire careers on that everything to do with tobacco is (or will show to be) inherently deadly. I argue that exposing the “Swedish Silence” is their only hope of honorably being able to shift positions to allow and embrace “Tobacco Harm Reduction” policies.
We, the “THR” community need help in accomplishing this, if only in the form of silent support and critical honest review of science.
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