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A Kentucky cancer center is advising smokers to switch to smokeless tobacco. Its “Switch and Quit” campaign is creating controversy in the state and beyond.

The campaign, created by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the University of Louisville, is using advertising on billboards, radio and newspapers, according to USA Today.

The campaign’s designers say smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco are more likely to stop smoking than those who use nicotine patches or other smoking cessation methods, and that smokeless tobacco is less dangerous than cigarettes.

“We need something that works better than what we have,” Dr. Donald Miller, Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, told the newspaper. “This is as reasonable a scientific hypothesis as anybody has come up with and it needs to be tried.”

The article notes the campaign runs counter to the public health community’s belief that there is no safe way to use tobacco.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that smokeless tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. Under federal law, tobacco companies cannot say that smokeless tobacco is less dangerous than cigarettes.

Kentucky has the nation’s highest smoking and lung cancer rates, the article notes.

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