In response to the recent letter defending smokeless tobacco use ("All tobacco products are not equally harmful," Jan. 24), the risk of tobacco trumps all others. Fifty cigarettes a day increases the risk of end-stage lung disease and lung cancer 150-fold. This is orders of magnitude worse than other modifiable risk factors like weight, aerobic capacity blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose level.
Even if smokeless tobacco is responsible for only 2 percent of tobacco deaths, we cannot accept thousands of deaths instead of over 450,000 deaths a year in America. This huge total is several times larger than letter writer Brad Rodu mentioned. He forgot to include heart attack and stroke deaths, which makes his position suspect.