2013 Smokeless Summit

2013 Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit – Day #2 Recap

Wastepanel & kdip stopped by the forums this afternoon to give us a recap of day 2 at the 7th National Smokeless & Spit Tobacco Summit from Missoula, Montana.

The roller coaster that was day 2 is now over.

Day 1’s theme was how sneaky tobacco can be in its marketing, packaging, and even product.  It focused on prevention methods and message and served as a call to change the culture of tobacco as tobacco changes its culture to better fit a “safer” narrative (i.e. yesterday’s Godzilla theme).

Day 2 began with a session on quitting.

Our speaker was Dr. Herb Severson, who many people referred at the conference as “Dr. Dip”.  His initial message was outstanding as it mirrored our site’s message and philosophy.  He even pointed out to many people (that were quite surprised to learn this) that NRT’s such as nicotine gum and the patch are not effective to those trying to quit smokeless tobacco.  He talked about the people that had come to him for help and gave a face to the addict.

Then we began to differ on philosophy.

He conducted a study with teenagers and young adults quitting smokeless tobacco.  The teenagers were given a 12 week free sample of nicotine lozenges and received telephone calls on occasion (I think he said 3-4.).  After 3 months (or conveniently 12 weeks), 44% were considered “quit” DESPITE STILL USING OR JUST RECENTLY STOPPED USING NICOTINE IN LOZENGE FORM.  We spoke to him afterward and he made the statement that “we grossly under-medicate our patients” and that he theorized the lozenge was so effective because it carries twice the dose of nicotine than other NRT’s and is absorbed in a similar method to smokeless tobacco.

We sat in another session that found Altria (owner of both Phillip Morris and US Smokeless Tobacco) began pushing smokers to become “dual users” in the 90s under the guise of harm prevention.  This study concluded that this statistically made it impossible to quit nicotine. That is a scary study.  We learned that e-cigarettes now have the capability to track nicotine usage and patterns, and that data can be uploaded to a computer or a server.  That scared us to the core.

We were feeling low at the lunch break, and then things took a turn for the better.

We attended a session with Donald Reed of West Virginia University.  His session was entitled “Spit It Out:  Rural Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Strategies”.  This was the first session we attended that spoke about quitting as not just as a decision, but as a commitment.  Their program (Save Face) is changing the culture and traditions of West Virginia towards an anti-tobacco stance through community involvement, media, and follow up.  We talked to some staff members, and they said that the quitters really needed that personal touch and to know that somebody cared about their quit.

At dinner, we spoke to Karen (epidemiologist, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  We had a wonderful conversation with her on NRT’s use in quitting.  Many state programs have a medical doctor leading the message.  When fighting for budget dollars, these doctors take a hard stance on the NRT funding, but choose to cut the service based portion of the program.  Seems like the American way, right?  Give me a drug to make me better.  I don’t want to actually work at this… 

However, we were on the same page regarding NRT’s and she was very interested in our work here at Killthecan.org.  There are many researchers here (behind the scenes and not presenting) that do not believe that NRT is “the magic pill”, but more of  a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

It’s been a great day.  Looking forward to day 3!

Wastepanel and KDip (771 and 1801 respectively)

As with yesterday’s recap, the guys sent along some photos – this time of the lovely Missoula, Montana!

I’d like to once again offer my thanks to both kdip and wastepanel for taking the time out of their schedule to be in Missoula representing KillTheCan.org.  Can’t wait to read your day #3 recap!

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