Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Senators Calling for Ban on Flavors in E-Cigarettes are Full of Disingenuous Baloney

A group of U.S. Congressmembers - including Dick Durbin (D-IL), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) - are calling for a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes in order to protect youth from "nicotine addiction."

In a salvo of actions, these lawmakers first issued a report decrying the use of flavorings in electronic cigarettes and then criticized the FDA's proposed deeming regulations for not imposing a ban on these flavorings.

The report issued by these lawmakers calls for a ban on flavors in e-cigarettes.

Senator Blumenthal has clearly stated his position: "'I think flavors ought to be banned,' Blumenthal told U.S. News. It's 'completely disingenuous' to say adults are the primary users of popular flavor options, he said."

The Rest of the Story

Actually, what is completely disingenuous is the attempt of these politicians to pretend that they are committed to ending the use of flavorings to addict youth to nicotine. The rest of the story is that these same lawmakers chose not to ban the use of cigarette flavorings to addict youth to nicotine. Specifically, they have supported an exemption for menthol, which is the number one flavor used by cigarette companies to addict youth to nicotine and cigarette smoking.

Moreover, these politicians - while callling for a ban on flavorings in fake cigarettes - are not calling for a similar ban on all flavorings in real cigarettes. They are not calling for a ban on the use of menthol cigarettes to addict kids. They are not calling on legislation to amend the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to remove the menthol exemption. They are not calling upon the FDA to ban menthol.

Frankly, these politicians are full of baloney. If they were truly concerned about the use of flavors to addict youth to nicotine and tobacco products, they would not have supported legislation with an exemption for menthol. And more importantly, if they really cared about the health of the nation's youth, they would be calling for an immediate ban on the use of menthol in tobacco cigarettes -- the real ones.

Furthermore, they are lying to the public. In their report, they state: "The Tobacco Control Act restricts the distribution and sale of cigarettes with characterizing flavors." That's not true. After all, the Act does not restrict the sale of cigarettes with menthol as a characterizing flavors. It only prohibits flavors - such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry - that were not actually used in cigarettes at the time the legislation was enacted.

The rest of the story is that these Congressmen are insincere and disingenuous. They are also hypocrites. And they are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. This is clearly motivated by a desire for political gain, rather than a sincere interest in protecting the health of the nation's youth. 

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