Ex-surgeon general smokes Dole
over remarks on cigarettes
June 22, 1996
Web posted at: 12:45 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Jeff Levine
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who served as surgeon general for two Republican presidents blasted the party's probable presidential nominee Friday for saying cigarettes aren't addicting.
At a forum on the health risks of smoking, Dr. C. Everett Koop said Bob Dole's remark earlier this month reflected either an appalling ignorance or "blind" support for the tobacco industry. (150K AIFF or WAV sound)
Koop, an ardent anti-tobacco activist, often used his post as surgeon general as a bully pulpit to decry the hazards of smoking.
The Dole campaign didn't respond to Koop's comments. But while the Kansas Republican has said he's against smoking among children, he opposes proposed federal rules to restrict youth access to cigarettes .
Searching for new ways to quit
But the focus of the conference was not tobacco politics. It was the science of addiction and news on research efforts to develop new ways to help smokers quit.
That could mean higher doses of nicotine replacements in items like the patch, gum or spray. Or, perhaps, other non-nicotine drugs that may work well in certain patients.
"Nicotine is an addictive substance," said FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler. "It is simply not scientifically credible for anyone to conclude that nicotine is not addictive."
Nicotine-like drugs, as well as medicines for treating high blood pressure, are being studied as ways to help smokers give up the habit.
Could a cigarette itself be used to reduce the risk in smoking? Some researchers think something like the virtually smokeless Eclipse (a so-called safer cigarette) may be helpful in reducing cancer. It contains significantly less tar, which has been linked to lung disease.
"There are more than 400,000 premature deaths per year, fifty deaths per hour from smoking. If we could eliminate the cancer risk and the chronic lung disease risk, we would reduce that by two-thirds," said Dr. Neal Benowitz of the University of California.
Still, Benowitz admits there are ethical and medical problems associated with so-called safer cigarettes, including an equally high risk for heart disease.
- Smokeless cigarette goes on sale - June 3, 1996
- CNNfn: Tobacco inferno ignites election race - June 19, 1996
- Non-prescription nicotine gum hits market - Apr. 18, 1996
- The Master Anti-Smoking Page
- Smoke'em If You Got'em
- Blair's Quit Smoking Resource Pages
- Friends of Tobacco
- American's For Non-Smoker's Rights
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