FDA Head With Financial Ties to Nicorette Doesn’t Want You To Consume Competitor’s Products

Have you heard of snus? It’s a Swedish tobacco preparation that’s a little like chewing tobacco, except that it comes in little pods and doesn’t need chewing or make you spit. And similar to ecigarettes, there’s a decent evidence that it’s a vastly safer way to consume nicotine than any method that involves combustion and also effectively helps smokers stop smoking.

But you probably haven’t heard of snus, because it’s illegal in most of Europe, and versions in the United States are made with sugar and to lower standards, arguably making it not just an inferior product, but a different one. And now, FDA has ruled that Swedish Match (who manufactures snus) cannot call its product a safer alternative to smoking.

Conveniently, Mitch Zeller, the head of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, has worked for a consulting firm, Pinney Associates, that works for GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s top seller of nicotine-replacement products like Nicorette.

Perhaps FDA should cease financially-motivated self-dealing and start enabling consumers and doctors to weigh the risks and benefits of drugs themselves.

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