Tag: smoking

Is there a conservative case for smoking? No? All right, let’s move on, then. Kidding: In this episode, Young Americans Jack Butler and Alec Dent crashed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Friends, trying to turn it into the Department of Health and Human Flourishing as they make the case to two inveterate smokers that there is nothing bodily or philosophically defensible about smoking cigarettes. Their argument inadvertently becomes a Millennial vs. Gen X clash along the way.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the lineup of the two Democratic debates. They also evaluate Joe Biden’s vow that cancer will be cured if he’s elected president and Joy Behar of ‘The View’ suggesting climate change makes a cure much tougher. And they break down the political battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rev. Al Sharpton over a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes in the Big Apple.

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I’ve a confession to make. I used to be a phillumenist. I have an excuse though – I was young. Plus, until about ten minutes ago, I didn’t know what a phillumenist was. As per the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society (BML&BS), phillumenists collect items related to matches including but not limited to matchbooks […]

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John Tierney joins Aaron M. Renn to discuss the federal government’s efforts to limit electronic cigarettes (vaping), and the corruption of the public health profession more generally.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, public health officials combatted epidemics of cholera and dysentery through improvements in water and sewage systems. In its modern form, however, this once-noble profession acts largely as an advocate for progressive causes, with trivial priorities including taxes on soda, calorie counts for restaurants, and free condoms.

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part III

 

This is the last in a three-part series on e-cigarettes. Part I is available here. Part II is available here.

E-cigarettes or vapor products aren’t specifically mentioned in the Tobacco Control Act. The FDA had no expressed mandate to do anything. But that isn’t stopping them from trying. If the FDA actions are not significantly changed by the administration, the Congress, and potentially the courts, FDA regulations will certainly do more to harm public health than benefit it. The nexus used by the FDA to sweep vapor products into its regulatory regime was that nicotine in the products was “tobacco derived.” Most, or all of it, is, just like the nicotine used in gums and patches. Frankly it’s cheaper to acquire nicotine from tobacco than it is to acquire it from other plants (it’s in tomatoes, eggplant, and other nightshades) or to create it in a lab. But, as regulatory agencies often do, the FDA has indicated that they will broadly exercise authority to regulate devices (that contain no nicotine and are not tobacco-derived) or zero nicotine liquids.

Most significantly, the FDA deeming rule related to these products creates an effective ban on tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of existing products. The Tobacco Control Act and subsequent FDA regulations allowed all cigarette products sold before 2007 to remain on the market so long as they complied with existing rules. Rather than allow existing vapor products to remain on the market upon publication of the deeming rule, the FDA immediately banned any new products from entering the market and will require all existing products to complete a prohibitively expensive and largely arbitrary application process, with no clear guidance from the FDA and little or no likelihood of approval.

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part II

 

This is the second in a three-part series on e-cigarettes. Part I is available here.

Vapor products contain no tobacco. They produce no smoke. Most contain nicotine and it’s the same nicotine used in FDA-approved gums and patches. While the devices look different, they all operate by heating a liquid solution (propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavor) to produce an aerosol. Importantly, the products allow users to replicate the act of smoking. Like smokers, vapers engage hands and mouths in a ritual similar to the one they practiced every day for many years as a smoker. Like a smoker, the vaper inhales and exhales and can both feel and see the vapor produced. But unlike cigarette smoke, the aerosol dissipates quickly. There’s no smoke, no tar, and no carbon monoxide – the things that cause half of all smokers to get sick and some to die. Nicotine doesn’t cause lung cancer or make smokers sick. As far as its heath impact, it’s comparable to caffeine. As long as you don’t consume caffeine or nicotine through smoking, most people can use it without incident for an entire adult lifetime. Nicotine also seems to bring health benefits for some.

There is little doubt that part of the consternation of tobacco control groups and regulators simply arose from the fact that products are called e-cigarettes and using them resembles smoking. That reaction is emotional, not rational. Perhaps we can appreciate that it motivates tobacco controllers to investigate further. Rather than investigate and try to understand, however, the FDA initially stepped in and attempted to shut the industry down by banning the importation of e-cigarettes as unapproved medical devices. And electronic cigarette company, NJOY (previously Sottera), was targeted by the FDA and had imported products seized at the US border. NJOY fought the federal government, ultimately winning in court.

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part I

 

Since the US Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health in 1964, governments (local, state, federal) and tobacco control groups have waged a comprehensive campaign to encourage smokers to quit and discourage non-smokers from starting. They have used every tool available with cost being of little concern.

They’ve educated about the harms associated with smoking. When that didn’t do the trick, they attempted to shock and scare smokers away from the habit with graphic images. They’re in a half-century cycle to fight for increased taxes. They’ve banned smoking anywhere people congregate. They’ve filed individual lawsuits, class action lawsuits, and lawsuits from state attorneys general (resulting in the tobacco master settlement agreement that forced tobacco companies to pay billions to the states, all costs passed on to consumers via increased prices).

They’ve restricted the ability of companies to sell and market products, restricted use of brand-name advertising and eventually they decided scaring children might discourage them from becoming smokers. They also thought sending terrified kids home to shame their smoking parents could only benefit their cause.

In Lieu of Flowers, Please Stop Smoking

 

I learned something interesting earlier this month. If you want to donate your body to medical research, there’s usually a minimum weight requirement. If you’re an adult, you need to weigh at least a hundred pounds. If you’re too emaciated, for example, from a long illness, they won’t take you.

I discovered this because I spent the latter half of January helping to take care of a terminal cancer patient. One day she could walk down the stairs. The next day she needed help. The day after that, she lost all feeling below the waist.

At that point, there’s no point in doing scans to figure out what’s wrong. Everyone involved understood that the end was fast approaching. The cancer had either spread to her spine or her brain. Either way, it wouldn’t be long, so a call was made to hospice.

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Most of you will remember New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ill-fated attempt to ban sugary drinks of a certain size in NYC restaurants. The ban was sold as a response to a public health crisis surrounding sugar consumption and obesity. It was eventually struck down by the NYC court of appeals on the grounds […]

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To Kellyanne Conway: The Woman’s Issue is ObamaCare

 
Obese people – as well as smokers – will be routinely refused operations. Courtesy – The Telegraph

Obese people – as well as smokers – will be routinely refused operations. Courtesy – The Telegraph

Amid the daily flood of corruption that overflows the walls at House of Hillary, one of the greatest financial threats to the country and our families may be what’s grievously unreported: The dishonesty of America’s double-dealing healthcare system that has failed to fulfill its authors’ covenant with voters. Yet, curiously, there’s little-to-no messaging from the Right.

Mother’s Day, Worth Hanging Around For

 

I make my home in upstate New York, but right now I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m here visiting my parents, who moved down here from upstate New York two years ago. There are several reasons for their move, not the least of which is that ice doesn’t fall from the sky here (property taxes also played a role).

My father got a job before moving down here (my mother never did), but he retired at the end of last year. Their plans were to travel the country. My father brags that he’s seen all 50 states, and he wanted my mother to see them too. I’m fairly sure their plans included a road trip to Alaska. There’s a great big country out there, and the plan was, unshackled from jobs and kids, to take in as much as they could.

Vapor Madness!

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 4.02.45 PM

In the bad old days, Big Tobacco would have used all the means at its disposal to thwart a new technology that threatened to disrupt the market for inhalable nicotine. But instead of using its relationship with (and leverage over) regulators to throw obstacles into the path of its early-worm competitors, Big Tobacco has read the writing on the wall and begun to supply the demand for e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

One should expect a politically-connected colossus like R.J. Reynolds to arrive late to the e-cigarette game. But R.J. is downright nimble compared to a Ticonderoga-class bureaucracy like the California Department Of Public Health, which recently kicked-off a campaign to confuse low-information consumers (principally Millenials, liberals, and the poor). A website promoted by the state is called, tellingly, StillBlowingSmoke.org.

Purity Before Safety (or Science)

 

shutterstock_88312414The ‘war against tobacco’ has long since ceased to have much to do with saving lives. Here’s the latest bone-headed example:

(Reuters) – Swedish Match AB should not be allowed to alter the warning label on its snus smokeless tobacco products to claim they are less harmful than cigarettes, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Friday.

The Stockholm-based company is seeking FDA approval to remove warnings about mouth cancer, gum disease and tooth loss from its snus products and to state that they present a “substantially” lower risk than cigarettes.

Tobacco’s Two Minutes of Hate

 

candy I’ve never smoked — and don’t advocate taking up the habit — but I can’t help but find the site of huddled, shivering tobacco aficionados lighting up outside their own homes to be a bit strange. Watching the 1979 classic film Alien the other night, I found its most outrageous moment not to be the hand-to-hand combat with an extraterrestrial that bleeds acid, but the site of the crew enjoying their cigarettes while relaxing on the spaceship. I’m not going to make too many predictions about the 22nd century – one look at some of my recent stock picks is evidence of my disqualification as a forecaster – but I’m willing to wager that it is more likely that xenomorphs will be popping out of our bellies than workers will be allowed to have a smoking break in a hundred years.

How did smokers go from being ubiquitous to becoming societal pariahs within a generation? When I was a kid – I’m old but not that old, having been born in the late seventies, when we still had iron horses for travel, moving pictures for entertainment, and The Star Wars Holiday Special for awkward laughs – I remember candy cigarettes. They took two forms: one a white cylinder hard candy with some red coloring at the end and, the other, cleverer, bubblegum-wrapped version with powdered sugar you could blow out to resemble real smoke. That was just thirty years ago. Can you imagine such a product for kids today? If a ten-year-old were found with candy cigarettes in 2015, family services would pick him up faster than if his parents allowed him to use a plastic swastika as a Frisbee.

Smokers seem to fill this weird niche for the government, both as a tax revenue milk cow and as a villain whipping-boy in ongoing state sponsored research. I enjoy going out to eat without having to get my jacket dry-cleaned afterwards as much as the next guy, but I’m concerned about how quickly tobacco went from being an accepted societal norm to becoming a heavily state-regulated evil vice. It also seems a bit contradictory to me that laws around other drugs are loosening while the rules around tobacco continue to tighten. The militant stigmatization of smokers has an uncomfortable Orwellian quality to it.

The War on Vaping: Dumb, Lethal, and European Too

 

The war on ecigarettes has been a useful reminder that the anti-tobacco jihad has long since evolved to a point where it is as much (or more) about control as it is about health, even at the cost of people’s lives.

The EU, needless to say, has form in this area, banning ‘snus’ (a Swedish tobacco product, typically placed under the upper lip for a prolonged period) within its territory except in Sweden and (partly: it’s complicated, and it’s being litigated) in Denmark. Snus is certainly not 100 percent safe (what is?), but it is not carcinogenic. For actual and potential smokers to switch to snus, as they have in large numbers in Sweden and (non-EU) Norway, across the EU would save tens of thousands of lives. Too bad.

How ISIS Will Finally Push Obama Over the Edge

 

Maraud through the Middle East capturing territory at a breakneck pace? The President’s going to throw some shade at you in interviews. Behead American citizens? We’ll bomb the hideouts you stopped using four months ago back to the stone age. But this, ISIS… this is how you get President Obama into King Hussein “I’ll fly the damn jet myself” mode. From Nabih Bulos, writing in the L.A. Times:

Beheadings have become commonplace in the territories held by the militant Islamic State, but the severed head reportedly found last month in the eastern Syrian city of Al-Mayadeen was nevertheless unusual — It had a cigarette placed between its lips.“This is not permissible, Sheikh,” someone had scrawled in Arabic on the decapitated corpse lying nearby, according to an account from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group. The body and head belonged to an Islamic State official, a deputy police chief.

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I second Mustangman’s recommendation: “I am pro-vaccine and you should be as well. Vaccines save lives and they prevent suffering. They prevent your child from suffering, they prevent your family from suffering, and they prevent you from suffering.” I get my shots, and you should, too, barring a few, rare contraindications. But, “I’m fine with […]

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