Date Published: July 31, 2007
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Abstract: ThePLoS Medicine editors discuss whether publishing papers on smokeless tobacco serves a legitimate public health interest.
Partial Text: The editorial this month was triggered by a discussion among the editors at PLoS Medicine about whether or not we should, as a medical journal, be publishing papers on the use of smokeless tobacco (snus), the topic of the debate by Gartner, Chapman, and colleagues ). At one end of the spectrum of views expressed, one editor argued that we should not give the topic room in the journal at all, because even discussion of the use of snus simply plays into the hands of the tobacco industry, which has a notorious history of doing anything it can to addict people to tobacco. At the other end of the spectrum, another editor pointed out that since snus is associated with less risk to health than cigarettes, a discussion of its use as a harm reduction measure is an appropriate topic for a medical journal. On this topic, the editors simply could not come to an agreement. (Another such topic, incidentally, is that of qualitative research, on which more in future.)