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    USSTC Pushes Safety

    Asks FTC to back claim that smokeless tobacco is less harmful than cigarettes.


    GREENWICH, Conn. -- U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. is asking the government to allow it to run advertisements saying smokeless products, such as snuff, are safer than cigarettes.

    The company asked the Federal Trade Commission in a letter to issue an opinion supporting ads that discuss "the harm reduction that a growing number of public health advocates believe can result from switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco products."

    The U.S. surgeon general issued a report in 1986 saying smokeless tobacco products can cause cancer. Congress subsequently passed a law stating that such products must be sold with health warnings. But in its letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the company said dozens of scientific publications have asserted that smokeless tobacco is less harmful than cigarettes.

    It said providing that information to consumers would help them "make better educated choices about the tobacco products they use."

    The job of the FTC is to prevent false and deceptive advertising. The company said the "types of information it proposes to communicate in advertising are truthful, non-misleading and substantiated," the Associated Press reported.

    U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. is the world's largest manufacturer of moist snuff. Its brands include Copenhagen, Skoal, Rooster and Red Seal brands.

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