Apparently not to be outdone by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association has joined the fray by waging its own campaign of deception to promote the proposed FDA tobacco legislation.
In an email sent to its constituents yesterday trying to entice them to write their Congressmembers in support of the FDA tobacco legislation, the American Lung Association stated: "As you know, the legislation pending before Congress would restrict tobacco marketing and sales to kids, require changes in tobacco products to make them less toxic and less addictive, stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health consequences of using their products. These are common-sense consumer protections that should have been passed a long time ago."
The statement in question is that: "the legislation pending before Congress would ... require changes in tobacco products to make them less toxic and less addictive."
The Rest of the Story
The truth is that the legislation would not require changes in tobacco products to make them less toxic and less addictive. It would merely give the FDA the authority to require changes that might make tobacco products less toxic and less addictive. But the bill requires no such changes.
This is a critical difference. The bill merely gives FDA the ability to require changes in cigarettes, but it doesn't require that FDA mandate any such changes, nor does it give the FDA any guidance in suggesting what changes would make cigarettes less toxic and less addictive. Nor is there any evidence that simply by reducing levels of various constituents, a cigarette could be made that is less toxic and/or less addictive.
In fact, the bill gives the tobacco companies the opportunity to use their tremendous political power to block any attempt by the FDA to require the reduction or removal of constituents, especially nicotine. An escape clause in the legislation essentially requires Congressional approval of FDA action (by allowing the industry to use its political power to get Congress to exercise its veto power that the bill specifically provides).
It seems like outright deception for the American Lung Association to tell its constituents, falsely, that the proposed legislation would require cigarette companies to make changes to their cigarettes to make them less toxic and less addictive.
Is there some sort of requirement I am not aware of that forces groups advocating for the FDA tobacco legislation to deceive the public?
Is there some sort of law requiring anti-smoking groups which promote the FDA legislation to hide the truth about what the bill does and does not do?
Are the arguments in favor of this legislation so weak that the groups supporting the bill cannot rely on the truth, but instead must wage a campaign of deception?
Is it not mildly ironic that deception is the basis of a campaign for a bill whose very purpose is supposedly to prevent the tobacco companies from deceiving the public?
Is there some rule that in order to join the coalition with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, you too need to deceive the public in your communications about the legislation?,
Do any of these groups think for themselves, or do they simply copy the deceptive rhetoric from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids without paying attention to what they are saying?