Since 2012 the government has spent nearly $2 million on a campaign to get women to nag the men in their lives to quit using smokeless tobacco. The National Institutes of Health has sponsored a continuing grant for the Oregon Research Institute to “evaluate an innovative approach that encourages male smokeless tobacco users to quit by enlisting the support of their wives/partners, both to lead smokeless tobacco users to engage in treatment and to help them sustain abstinence.” Researchers had already “established that women can be readily recruited” to get their husbands to quit chewing tobacco, but now the project is going a step further with a multimedia push that includes a website with an interactive and tailored support plan. Researchers will conduct a randomized clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of the cessation program. The program is raising eyebrows among taxpayer watchdogs, health advocates and activists on women’s issues, who see the expenditures as wasteful and gender pandering. “American women don’t need the federal government spending money to get us to nag our husbands to stop using tobacco, we do that just fine on our own,” said Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, a conservative women’s group. “Even if it were a worthwhile effort, we are$18 trillion in debt. We simply can’t afford it.”

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