“I haven’t written on tobacco harm reduction in quite a while, so catching up for lost time now is no longer possible, too much water has flowed under the bridge. But among the ongoing, pervasive campaigns of deception and misleading assertions coming from all the official policy makers and “public health” authorities trying to dissuade smokers from switching to safer reduced-harm products (Best Electronic Cigarette, vapor products, etc.), there are several lights within the darkness. I am going to focus upon these.
In Congress, the current Omnibus budget bill did not include perhaps best short-term hope, the “Cole Amendment,” HR 2058, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). This easy, one might say obvious, alternation in the vile, lethal “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” (FSPTCA) signed into law by President Barack Obama during 2009, would extend the date in which tobacco harm reduction, or THR, products would be considered “substantially equivalent” to older vapor products, and thereby perhaps escape probably the most onerous requirements of proving that they do not need the huge amounts of money and thousands of man-hours to prove that towards the FDA’s satisfaction.
(It ought to be remembered that the FSPTCA, trumpeted as allowing the FDA to finally “regulate tobacco,” is in fact crafted by politicians and Philip Morris with the express intent of keeping safer tobacco/nicotine products off of the market in order to not contest with or, heaven forfend, actually reduce, cigarette consumption. Thus, cigarette taxes would still flow to governments and cigarette revenue to Big Tobacco. Because destructive goal, at least, legal requirements is proving quite successful).
Don’t believe me? Here’s what Dr. Joel Nitzkin, former head of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, says regarding the law:
“Since its passage in 2009, the law’s effects happen to be the exact opposite of [former FDA Commissioner David] Kessler’s original intent. As opposed to creating legal and regulatory processes that secure public-health benefits by substantially reducing consumption of cigarettes and reducing teen recruitment to nicotine addiction, the current process protects cigarettes from competition from lower-risk and fewer addictive products. Basically, the law solidifies cigarettes because the default way to deliver nicotine to Americans. Within the almost seven years since the law’s adoption, the FDA has done nothing to regulate the quality of manufacture of any tobacco product.”
The FDA proposed a regulating e-cigs called the “deeming regulations,” which will place these near-harmless products underneath the same regulatory umbrella as cigarettes, and thereby make 99 percent of these essentially unmarketable as a result of cost of proving them safer than cigarettes – a well known fact that is obvious to anyone who has passed elementary chemistry.
The FSPTCA fails to currently cover e-cigarettes. However, the FDA is permitted to “deem” other products as tobacco products and thereby regulate them just as if they were – which THR products are absolutely not. E-cigs/vapors usually are not combusted and also have no tobacco, thus they emit no smoke, so no matter what the FDA in its infinite wisdom deems those to be, does nothing to change that fact.
If the FDA pull off their word-magic charade, new items that fail the “substantial equivalence” test – i.e., all of the available today products – will either go bankrupt or even be swept up by that same “evil” Big Tobacco, ostensibly the final thing public health will want. Yeah, right.
The Cole Amendment, which THR devotees thought went down using the budget amendment’s failure to incorporate it, is actually very much alive. It would merely delay the effective date of “substantial equivalence” for vapor products to the date the regulations are implemented – should they ever are. There are now a minimum of 48 other Congressmen (all Republicans, for some reason) supporting the bill.
Moreover, because of the toll of cigarettes in our nation – the CDC’s estimates are that almost one half million Americans die every year of smoking-related causes – and the fact that an incredible number of smokers (some estimate ten million) jtaxxs give up smoking thanks to THR products, a minumum of one observer who should know the political arena (Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform) predicts that vapers could be the key demographic to choose the upcoming elections.
Even passage in the Cole Amendment would not really a panacea. The real hope rests using the Office of Management and Budget, an outpost in the White House (where we visited last November to plead this example), which has yet to rule on the FDA’s destructive proposal.
There is still time, and hope, that OMB will perceive the anti-business, anti-public health nature from the FDA’s proposed regulation, and either eliminate the most heinous parts or simply eviscerate it and let them know to try again, now with public health, not their very own petty agenda, in your mind.”