Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nebraska Legislature Passes Tobacco Harm Reduction Resolution

The Nebraska legislature on March 27 passed resolution LR 499 to “recognize the importance of tobacco harm reduction strategies as an additional choice to assist cigarette smokers in quitting.” (website here). The measure was introduced by Senator Bob Krist (District 10).
The resolution’s rationale is simple: “many persons addicted to cigarette smoking are unable to quit,” and “studies show that smokeless tobacco presents a fraction of the health risk of smoking cigarettes.” It observes that “Tobacco control policies that facilitate the migration of smokers to less risky smokeless products may be more effective at reducing the deaths, diseases, and expenses associated with smoking than policies that rely solely on the abstinence-only approach.”

Nebraska’s legislature is the third (the second this year, discussed previously here) to recognize the potential for safer smoke-free tobacco products to serve as cigarette substitutes for inveterate smokers.

Nebraska has the only unicameral (one chamber) and only nonpartisan legislature in the nation (more information here). The 49 senators further distinguished themselves by resolving to make the lives of Nebraska smokers a higher priority than the abolition of all tobacco products.

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