Friday, August 20, 2010

Federal Agencies Agree: Phrase “Spit Tobacco” Is Inappropriate

Readers of this blog may remember my July 14 post (available here) describing the use of the derogatory term “spit tobacco” on websites run by the FDA and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). At that time, I wrote to the directors of the agencies, asking them to remove this offensive language from their sites.

I have just received reply letters from both agencies. Susan Johnson, Director of the Office of Communications and Health Education at NIDCR, wrote that the institute “is in the process of substituting ‘smokeless’ (or product-specific terms) for ‘spit’ in our online materials; we anticipate these changes will be completed by the end of August 2010.”

In a separate letter, Anne Henig, from the Office of the Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, advised: “NIDCR has updated its webpage and changed the title to Smokeless Tobacco: A Guide for Quitting” (here)...FDA has also updated its webpage to reflect NIDCR’s change. I hope these modifications will address your concerns.”

I appreciate the timely responses from NIDCR and FDA. I’m encouraged that officials at these agencies have joined the CDC in resolving to treat smokeless tobacco users with respect and dignity.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your efforts in bringing the truth regarding smokeless tobacco to the forefront. The NIDCR's webpage has been updated to read "Smokeless" rather than "Spit"...BUT, it shows a picture of what I take to be a big glob of brown tobacco spit!!! Ugghhh!
Thanks again for your work...

Brad Rodu said...

Dear Jackie,

Thank you very much for your comment. I also saw the "spitting" image on NIDCR's webpage, so I called the Office of Communications. I was told that text and images might be removed on different schedules, but that all would be gone by the end of August.

Brad Rodu

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Brad! We may get there yet.
Thanks again,