Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Again Deceives the Public About FDA Tobacco Legislation; Honesty is Apparently Not Possible

In a press release last Thursday, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids once again deceived its constituents and the American public by stating that the proposed FDA tobacco legislation would require the tobacco companies to reduce or remove the harmful ingredients in their products.

According to the press release: "Legislation pending in Congress would ... require that tobacco companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and reduce or remove harmful ingredients."

The Rest of the Story

The truth is that the legislation does not require tobacco companies to reduce or remove the harmful ingredients from their products. What it does is give the FDA the authority to require the reduction or removal of select, specific constituents in tobacco products. It is grossly deceptive to tell the public that the legislation requires companies to reduce or remove harmful ingredients from their products. In fact, the legislation specifically provides Congress with veto power to ensure that the tobacco industry retains the political power to block any FDA requirement for the removal of harmful ingredients that it does not like.

There is a huge difference between legislation which requires tobacco companies to reduce or remove harmful ingredients from their products and legislation which gives the FDA the authority to require changes in product ingredients.

The difference is one between telling the truth and massively deceiving the public. Despite this being pointed out to the organization, it continues to be dishonest about the nature of the legislation. In my view, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids does not seem capable of being honest about the legislation.

Perhaps that is the strongest argument yet for opposing this legislation. If it is so bad that telling the truth about what the legislation does is too risky, then it seems there is very little reason to support such a bill. If telling the public the truth about the bill would result in losing support for it because the public would realize that it is not as strong as we are being told, then perhaps the bill is so weak that there is no reason to support it in the first place.

I have come to the conclusion that the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is either unable to tell the truth or is uninterested in being truthful about this legislation.

The Campaign is doing exactly what the tobacco companies did for years: deceiving the public in order to gain public support for its policies.

The sad thing is that while the tobacco companies appear to have largely discontinued this practice, the Campaign has taken over the practice and put it in full swing.

I guess that's one advantage of fighting an opponent for so long. You can start to borrow pages from their playbook and use them to your advantage.

And of course, the ultimate irony is that the Campaign claims that this legislation is necessary specifically to stop the tobacco companies from deceiving the public.

Would somebody please introduce some legislation to stop the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids from deceiving the public? I don't think I can stand it any longer to wake up every morning and find yet another deceptive communication coming from a supposed leader in the tobacco control movement.

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