“I haven’t written on tobacco harm decrease 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 E Cigarette On The Market, vapor products, etc.), there are some lights in the darkness. I will focus upon these.
In Congress, the current Omnibus budget bill failed to include perhaps best short-term hope, the “Cole Amendment,” HR 2058, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). This straightforward, one might say obvious, improvement in the vile, lethal “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” (FSPTCA) signed into law by The President during 2009, would extend the date through which tobacco harm reduction, or THR, products could be considered “substantially equivalent” to older vapor products, and thereby perhaps escape probably the most onerous requirements of proving which they do not need the millions of dollars and 1000s of man-hours to prove that towards the FDA’s satisfaction.
(It ought to be remembered the FSPTCA, trumpeted as allowing the FDA to finally “regulate tobacco,” was in fact crafted by politicians and Philip Morris with the express intent of keeping safer tobacco/nicotine products off the market in order never to contest with or, heaven forfend, actually reduce, cigarette consumption. Thus, cigarette taxes would continue to flow to governments and cigarette revenue to Big Tobacco. Because destructive goal, a minimum of, the law is proving quite successful).
Don’t trust me? Here’s what Dr. Joel Nitzkin, former head from the American Association of Public Health Physicians, says about the law:
“Since its passage during 2009, the law’s effects have been the exact opposite of [former FDA Commissioner David] Kessler’s original intent. Rather than creating legal and regulatory processes that secure public-health and fitness benefits by substantially reducing intake of cigarettes and reducing teen recruitment to nicotine addiction, the existing process protects cigarettes from competition from lower-risk and much less addictive products. Essentially, legal requirements solidifies cigarettes as the default methods 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 manufacture of any tobacco product.”
The FDA proposed a regulation of e-cigs called the “deeming regulations,” which may place these near-harmless products under the same regulatory umbrella as tobacco cigarettes, and thereby make 99 percent of them essentially unmarketable due to the expense of proving them safer than cigarettes – an undeniable fact which is obvious to whoever has passed elementary chemistry.
The FSPTCA will not currently cover e-cigarettes. However, the FDA is permitted to “deem” other products as cigarettes and tobacco products and thereby regulate them as though these were – which THR goods are most definitely 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 their infinite wisdom deems them to be, does absolutely nothing to change that fact.
When the FDA get away with their word-magic charade, new releases that fail the “substantial equivalence” test – i.e., all the available today products – will either go bankrupt or 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 add it, is certainly significantly alive. It would merely delay the effective date of “substantial equivalence” for vapor products for the date the regulations are implemented – when they ever are. Now there are at the very least 48 other Congressmen (all Republicans, for some reason) supporting the bill.
Moreover, due to the toll of cigarettes within our nation – the CDC’s estimates are that almost one half million Americans die every year of smoking-related causes – and the reality that an incredible number of smokers (some estimate 10 million) jtaxxs stop 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 could possibly be the key demographic to choose the upcoming elections.
Even passage in the Cole Amendment would not really a panacea. The true hope rests with the Office of Management and Budget, an outpost of the White House (where we visited last November to plead this case), which includes yet to rule on the FDA’s destructive proposal.
There exists still time, and hope, that OMB will perceive the anti-business, anti-public health nature of the FDA’s proposed regulation, and either eliminate the most heinous parts or simply eviscerate it and tell them to use again, now with public health, not their particular petty agenda, under consideration.”