The Dana-Farber article says that these organizations “are partnering to spread the word that chewing tobacco, otherwise known as spit, dip, chew, or smokeless tobacco, is not a safe alternative to smoking.” Using an “absolutely safe” straw-man standard is now standard fare among smokeless prohibitionists.
The most egregious misinformation comes from Dr. David P. Lustbader, an oral surgeon: “Chewing tobacco is the most dangerous form of tobacco because it comes in contact directly with the oral mucosa.” Dr. Lustbader ignores the reams of medical literature irrefutably identifying cigarettes as “the most dangerous” of tobacco products.
Dana-Farber’s Dr. Marshall R. Posner does no better, saying, “Nicotine and the other tars in chewing tobacco change the cells throughout the mouth and tongue and lead to cancer.” First, nicotine does not “lead to cancer.” Second, nicotine is not a “tar.” Third, there are no “tars” in chewing tobacco. What was he smoking?
I emailed the director and associate director of media relations at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, detailing the misinformation in the press release and requesting a correction. No response or correction was forthcoming.
Dana-Farber (here) claims to “pursue excellence relentlessly and with integrity in all that we do, adhering always to the highest standards of conduct,” and the Massachusetts Dental Society is dedicated to “promotion of the highest professional standards.” These values are betrayed by the pernicious pronouncements about smokeless tobacco by their purported experts.