“I haven’t written on tobacco harm decrease in quite a while, so catching up for lost time now is no longer possible, excessive 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 E Cigarette On The Market, vapor products, etc.), there are several lights within the darkness. I will focus upon these.
In Congress, the recent Omnibus budget bill neglected to include perhaps best short-term hope, the “Cole Amendment,” HR 2058, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). This easy, one might say obvious, improvement 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 by which tobacco harm reduction, or THR, products will be considered “substantially equivalent” to older vapor products, and thereby perhaps escape the most onerous requirements of proving that they do not require the vast amounts of money and a large number of man-hours to prove that to the FDA’s satisfaction.
(It ought to be remembered the FSPTCA, trumpeted as allowing the FDA to finally “regulate tobacco,” is in fact crafted by politicians and Philip Morris with all the express intent of keeping safer tobacco/nicotine products off of the market in order not to contest with or, heaven forfend, actually reduce, cigarette consumption. Thus, cigarette taxes would carry on and flow to governments and cigarette revenue to Big Tobacco. In this destructive goal, at least, what the law states is proving quite successful).
Don’t believe me? Here’s what Dr. Joel Nitzkin, former head in the American Association of Public Health Physicians, says about the law:
“Since its passage in 2009, the law’s effects have been the exact opposite of [former FDA Commissioner David] Kessler’s original intent. Instead of creating legal and regulatory processes that secure public-health and fitness benefits by substantially reducing usage of cigarettes and reducing teen recruitment to nicotine addiction, the current process protects cigarettes from competition from lower-risk and much less addictive products. Basically, what the law states solidifies cigarettes because the default means to deliver nicotine to Americans. Within the almost seven years because the law’s adoption, the FDA did absolutely nothing to regulate the quality of creation of any tobacco product.”
The FDA proposed a regulating e-cigs called the “deeming regulations,” which would place these near-harmless products under the same regulatory umbrella as tobacco cigarettes, and thereby make 99 percent of those essentially unmarketable due to the cost of proving them safer than cigarettes – a fact which can be obvious to anyone who has passed elementary chemistry.
The FSPTCA fails to currently cover e-cigarettes. However, the FDA is allowed to “deem” other products as tobacco products and thereby regulate them as if these people were – which THR goods are absolutely not. E-cigs/vapors are not combusted and have no tobacco, thus they emit no smoke, so whatever the FDA in its infinite wisdom deems them to be, does absolutely nothing to change that fact.
When the FDA get away with their word-magic charade, new products that fail the “substantial equivalence” test – i.e., all of the available today products – will either go bankrupt or perhaps be swept up by that same “evil” Big Tobacco, ostensibly the final thing public health want. Yeah, right.
The Cole Amendment, which THR devotees thought went down using the budget amendment’s failure to add it, is certainly greatly alive. It might merely delay the effective date of “substantial equivalence” for vapor products for the date the regulations are implemented – should they ever are. Now there are a minimum of 48 other Congressmen (all Republicans, for reasons unknown) supporting the bill.
Moreover, given the toll of cigarettes within our nation – the CDC’s estimates are that almost one half million Americans die each year of smoking-related causes – and the truth that an incredible number of smokers (some estimate 10 million) jtaxxs give up smoking due to THR products, at least one observer who ought to know the political arena (Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform) predicts that vapers may be the key demographic to choose the upcoming elections.
Even passage in the Cole Amendment would not be a panacea. The real hope rests with the Office of Management and Budget, an outpost in the White House (where we visited last November to plead this example), which includes 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 just eviscerate it and let them know to test again, this time with public health, not their own petty agenda, in mind.”