- "require changes in tobacco products to make them less toxic"; and
- "provide FDA authority over tobacco products just like the authority it has over drugs, medical devices, and other products we consume."
The FDA legislation allows the Agency to require the reduction or elimination of specific tobacco constituents, but not in a way that fundamentally changes the design of the product (for that would conflict with the bill's provision that it cannot ban any specific class of cigarette). Because there are over 4,000 toxins and more than 40 carcinogens, there is absolutely no evidence and certainly no substantiation for a claim that elimination of a few of these components would have any effect in terms of making tobacco products less toxic.
Thus, in claiming that the removal of some of the components in tobacco smoke will make cigarettes less toxic, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is essentially making an unsubstantiated health claim. Yet in the same action alert, the Campaign asserts that we must "stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health consequences of using their products." Perhaps the Campaign should first set an example by discontinuing its propaganda which is misleading public health advocates, policy makers, and the public about the potential health consequences of using products with somewhat fewer than 4,000 toxins and somewhat fewer than 40 carcinogens. At least until there is scientific substantiation that that performance standards as established by FDA would indeed make cigarettes less toxic and reduce disease rates.
A more fundamental and more irresponsible misrepresentation of the legislation is the Campaign's claim that it would "provide FDA authority over tobacco products just like the authority it has over drugs, medical devices, and other products we consume." The truth is that the legislation gives FDA authority over tobacco products which is nothing like its authority over drugs, medical devices, and other products we consume.
By misleading its own constituents about the information that is essential for a decision about the merits of this important policy proposal, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is shirking its ethical responsibilities under the Public Health Code of Ethics.
I think it is time for new leadership in the tobacco control movement. Can we begin by having some integrity and a commitment to revealing the truth?