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September 16, 1988

Increasing Use of Smokeless Tobacco Leads to Fears of Young Lives Being 'Snuffed Out'

JAMA. 1988;260(11):1511-1512. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410110013003

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SNUFF FIGURED in the first medical report linking tobacco use and cancer. In A Smoking Gun: How the Tobacco Industry Gets Away With Murder (Whalen EM, Philadelphia, George F. Stickley Co, 1984), Elizabeth M. Whelan, ScD, executive director of the American Council on Science and Health, New York City, cites two clinical cases documented by English physician John Hill in 1761.

In his paper entitled "Cautions Against the Immoderate Use of Snuff," Hill recounted two cases, one involving a "gentleman" and the other a "lady of a sober and virtuous life." Both had a hopeless prognosis, in his opinion, because "long and immoderate use of snuff' had resulted in each case in an obstructive growth in a nostril "and all the frightful symptoms of cancer."

Hill's cautions, like so many warnings issued over the years concerning the dangers of tobacco, mostly went unheeded. In the United States today, oral snuff