Many tobacco control advocates have asked me why, as a harm reduction supporter, I am always talking about the use of electronic cigarettes to help people quit smoking, rather than the use of smokeless tobacco products.
Tony Gwynn's tragic death at age 54 from repeated smokeless tobacco use is the reason why. While it is not common, traditional smokeless tobacco use is clearly associated with oral cancer. In addition, there is little evidence that as marketed and used in the United States, these products are helping a substantial proportion of smokers to stay off cigarettes.
For these reasons, I believe that electronic cigarettes are a much more viable option as a harm reduction approach for smoking cessation.