Wednesday, May 22, 2013

American Cancer Society Opposes Banning the Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors

In 2013, everyone is sensible enough to believe that the sale of e-cigarettes to minors should be prohibited.

Most public health advocates agree.

The tobacco companies agree.

Even the electronic cigarette companies agree.

However, there is apparently one group that believes e-cigarettes should continue to be available to minors and which opposes the ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to youth:

The American Cancer Society.

The Rest of the Story

As reported by Dr. Carl Phillips over at his tobacco harm reduction blog, the American Cancer Society is leading the fight to prevent the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Dr. Phillips cites testimony given by the American Cancer Society in opposition to a provision in state legislation in Rhode Island that would have prevented the sale of electronic cigarettes to youth under 18 years of age.

An excerpt of the ACS testimony follows:

"Good afternoon, Chairman.  I’m Susan Roberts.  I am the State Director of Governmental Relations and Advocacy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  And again, I want to reiterate what my former colleague testified to, that we really appreciate that the chairman has taken a look at protecting our youth here in Rhode Island. We do have some concerns about this bill, and we also recognize that you realize that this bill has an identity crisis.  It looks like a Trojan horse to us.  I mean, it is coming to us saying that it’s protecting youth, and, in fact, what it’s really doing is circumventing some things we didn’t really get into a little bit today:  FDA regulation of these products. ... So that is of great concern because right now, FDA is looking at these products to figure out how safe and effective they really are, and we want to wait. ... It’s essential that we wait until we get guidance from FDA before we even put in any kind of ban for the products for youth."

So let's get this straight. We need to wait before we protect youth from electronic cigarettes. We have to wait before we ban the sale of these products to minors. The ACS, in other words, wants - for the time-being - for electronic cigarettes to remain freely available to youth.

So why is the ACS one of the only groups in the nation to oppose banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors?

I can think of no better answer than the one Dr. Phillips offers: "This really leaves only one apparent explanation that we can think of for the policy of trying to stop states from banning e-cigarette sales to minors:  The American Cancer Society and their allies prefer that more children use e-cigarettes because that would look bad for e-cigarettes. It is fairly clear that their political faction is trying to bring about a ban or similar crippling restrictions on adult access to e-cigarettes."

So the rest of the story is, that as Dr. Phillips puts it: "It might sound over-the-top to suggest that ACS et al. would sacrifice the children in pursuit of their real goals, but I have not thought of or heard any other explanation for the behavior that has been observed."

No comments: