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.
Dr. Theodore Carl Houk, Lutherville