Saturday, February 18, 2012

Here we go again: discouraging PR #SPAM by posting them pre-embargo: Here's one about smokeless tobacco #AAASMtg

Just received this in my email.  As I have said before (The Tree of Life: How to stop press release spam? Post embargoed press releases) I am sick of getting unsolicited press releases that are embargoed and do not have any relevance to my work.  They are SPAM.   And to discourage this practice I am posting them to my blog when I receive them in order to break their embargo which I did not agree to.  Please - all of you out there sending out unsolicited PR SPAM - stop it.  Stop it.  Stop it.

(3 P.M. PST, SATURDAY, FEB. 18, 2012)
Contact: Jill Scoggins, 502-475-2428,

Presentation at AAAS shows scientific foundation for tobacco harm reduction efforts

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Substituting smokeless tobacco products can save smokers’ lives, and there is a scientific foundation that proves it.

That is the message Brad Rodu, D.D.S., professor of medicine at the University of Louisville (UofL) School of Medicine and the Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction at UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Feb. 18. Rodu spoke at the session, “Harm Reduction: Policy Change to Reduce the Global Toll of Smoking-Related Disease.”

“Quit or die: That’s been the brutal message delivered to 45 million American smokers, and it has helped contribute to 443,000 deaths per year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Rodu said. “The truth, however, is that total nicotine and tobacco abstinence is unattainable and unnecessary for many smokers.”

Rodu’s presentation, “Transforming Tobacco Use: The Potential of Tobacco Harm Reduction,” was based on his almost 20 years of research. His work shows that smokers can greatly reduce their risk of disease and death by replacing smoking products with e-cigarettes or modern, spit-free smokeless tobacco. These products provide a much safer alternative for those smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking because they continue to deliver nicotine without the harmful effect of smoking.

“Nicotine is addictive, but it is not the cause of any smoking-related disease. Like caffeine, nicotine can be used safely by consumers,” Rodu said.

Decades of epidemiologic research bear out Rodu’s findings. While no tobacco product is completely safe, smokeless products have been shown to be 98 percent safer than cigarettes. In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Physicians reported in 2002 that smokeless tobacco is up to 1,000 times less hazardous than smoking, and in 2007, further urged world governments to seriously consider instituting tobacco harm reduction strategies as a means to save lives.

To see the proof of what tobacco harm reduction can do, look to Sweden, Rodu said. “Over the past 50 years, Swedish men have had Europe’s highest per capita consumption of smokeless tobacco as well as Europe’s lowest cigarette use. During the same time, they also have the lowest rate of lung cancer than men in any other European country.”

In the United States, steps have been made to document the value of tobacco harm reduction. In 2006, a National Cancer Institute-funded study estimated that if tobacco harm reduction was “responsibly communicated” to smokers, 4 million would switch to smokeless tobacco. The American Council on Science and Health – which organized Rodu’s session at the AAAS Annual Meeting – concluded in the same year that tobacco harm reduction “shows great potential as a public health strategy to help millions of smokers.”

Rodu is well aware of the controversy his research findings generate. Opponents of any use of nicotine delivery products maintain that smokeless tobacco puts the user at great risk for oral cancer, a position not supported by research.

“The risk of mouth cancer among smokeless tobacco users is extremely low – certainly lower than the risk of smoking-related diseases among smokers,” he said. “The annual mortality rate among long-term dry snuff users is 12 deaths per 100,000 and the rate among users of more popular snus, moist snuff and chewing tobacco is much lower.  For perspective, the death rate among automobile users is 11 per 100,000 according to a 2009 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Compare those to the rate among smokers: more than 600 deaths per 100,000 every year"

“The data clearly show that smokeless tobacco users have, at most, about the same risk of dying from mouth cancer as automobile users have of dying in a car wreck.”

About Brad Rodu

Rodu earned his dental degree from The Ohio State University. After an oral pathology residency program at Emory University, he completed fellowships at the University of Alabama at Birmingham sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. He was on the UAB faculty from 1981 to 2005 with appointments in several departments in the schools of Medicine, Public Health and Dentistry. He joined the UofL faculty in 2005. His research is supported by unrestricted grants from tobacco manufacturers to the University of Louisville and by the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund.


  1. Have you heard of the "Streisand Effect." You've just ensured that the press release will get far more publicity than it deserves.

    What does that mean for the rest of us?

    It means more spam from University Press Offices.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. No Larry I don't think it works this way ... I don't post PRs that are public. I only post ones that have an embargo on them. And I have gotten messages that make it clear that the people sending out the PRs do not want me to do this. It does not give them the publicity they want.

  3. I note - if I were just posting PRs I would agree with you - but the pre-posting them before the embargo breaks is the way to get them to stop sending out embargoed PRs.

  4. The PRs are embargoed because of the restrictions imposed by the journals. The university is respecting that restriction by putting on the disclaimer. That's all they need to do to meet their legal obligations.

    If they send the press releases to a bunch of bloggers who deliberately post the press releases because of the disclaimer, then who benefits? And if a controversy arises because some blogger disobeyed the embargo, who benefits from the free publicity?

    Don't quit your day job. You're never going to be a successful PR person! :-)

  5. I won't quit my day job but again, from the messages I got I think you are wrong


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