“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 some lights in the darkness. I will focus upon these.

In Congress, the current 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 Obama in 2009, would extend the date through 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 require the millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to prove that to the FDA’s satisfaction.

(It should be remembered that this FSPTCA, trumpeted as allowing the FDA to finally “regulate tobacco,” was in fact crafted by politicians and Philip Morris with all the express intent of keeping safer tobacco/nicotine products from the market in order not to compete with or, heaven forfend, actually reduce, cigarette consumption. Thus, cigarette taxes would still flow to governments and cigarette revenue to Big Tobacco. In this destructive goal, a minimum of, what the law states is proving quite successful).

Don’t trust me? Here’s what Dr. Joel Nitzkin, former head of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, says about the law:

“Since its passage in 2009, the law’s effects have already 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 intake of cigarettes and reducing teen recruitment to nicotine addiction, the present process protects cigarettes from competition from lower-risk and much less addictive products. Essentially, what the law states solidifies cigarettes because the default methods to deliver nicotine to Americans. Inside the almost seven years because the law’s adoption, the FDA did nothing to regulate the standard of creation of any tobacco product.”

The FDA proposed a regulation of e-cigs known as the “deeming regulations,” which may place these near-harmless products beneath the same regulatory umbrella as cigarettes, and thereby make 99 percent of those essentially unmarketable due to the expense of proving them safer than cigarettes – a fact which is obvious to anyone who has passed elementary chemistry.

The FSPTCA will not 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 goods are absolutely not. E-cigs/vapors are not combusted and have no tobacco, thus they emit no smoke, so regardless of the FDA in the infinite wisdom deems them to be, does absolutely nothing to change that fact.

In the event the FDA get away with their word-magic charade, new releases that fail the “substantial equivalence” test – i.e., each of the currently available products – will either go bankrupt or perhaps 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 with the budget amendment’s failure to add it, is certainly very much alive. It might merely delay the effective date of “substantial equivalence” for vapor products for the date the regulations are implemented – if they ever are. Now there are at the very least 48 other Congressmen (all Republicans, for whatever reason) supporting the bill.

Moreover, given the toll of cigarettes inside our nation – the CDC’s estimates are that almost one half million Americans die annually of smoking-related causes – and the reality that millions of smokers (some estimate 10 million) jtaxxs quit smoking because of THR products, at least one observer who should be aware of the political arena (Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform) predicts that vapers could be the key demographic to decide the upcoming elections.

Even passage of the Cole Amendment would not a panacea. The real hope rests using the Office of Management and Budget, an outpost of the White House (where we visited last November to plead this case), that has 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 in the FDA’s proposed regulation, and either remove the most heinous parts or just eviscerate it and inform them to try again, now with public health, not their particular petty agenda, in mind.”

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