Thursday, March 29, 2012

Indiana General Assembly Urges Study of Tobacco Harm Reduction

A year ago, Indiana became the second state in the U.S. to codify tobacco harm reduction as a rational basis for excise tax policy (discussed here). This year, the Indiana legislature passed resolutions urging the Legislative Council (comprised of eight representatives and eight senators) “to establish an interim study committee for the purpose of assisting the legislature in considering the inclusion of tobacco harm reduction strategies to reduce smoking-attributable death and disease.”

The resolutions note that “Numerous public health organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine, the American Council on Science and Health, the Royal College of Physicians, and the World Health Organization, have all recognized that there is a continuum of risk among tobacco product types, and that the risks associated with cigarette use are substantially higher than those associated with the use of smokeless tobacco.” And, they add, “abstaining from all tobacco is clearly the best and most effective way for smokers to reduce their risk of disease and premature death (no tobacco product has shown to be safe)…”

The rationale for the resolutions is rock solid: “…it is appropriate to consider whether those who will not abstain can substantially reduce their risk of disease and premature death by switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco products that present less risk.”

These resolutions indicate growing awareness among legislators about the public health impact of tobacco harm reduction.

If the interim study committee is approved by the Legislative Council, discussion of tobacco harm reduction will take an important and exciting first step in Indiana.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's great news!