In April of this year Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin and 13 of his cronies sent a letter to Scott Gottlieb the Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, trying to bully him into a back door ban on electronic cigarettes. But the most disturbing part of the letter was the closing statement.
However, the horse is already out of the barn and considerably more must be done to address this looming wave of youth tobacco addiction aided, in part, by FDA inaction. If companies want to use ﬂavors in their tobacco products, they should be required to demonstrate to the FDA that use of ﬂavors will beneﬁt public health—today, not four years from now. We look forward to receiving your responses. Thank you for your immediate attention to this.
This is the mindset of the modern “progressive” politician regardless of party. If you’re a corporation you have no rights. Guilty until proven innocent but OK the proof is in the facts. Millions of adult smokers have quit with the aid of these devices. And anyone who vapes will tell you that most of the tobacco flavors taste like crap. I didn’t catch on to vaping until I finally got a stronger device and experimented with flavors. Am I alone in this. No the largest survey ever done on flavors used was submitted to the FDA the results submitted can be found here.
The bottom line of the study was that flavors are very important to vapers. While almost 21% started vaping tobacco flavors (like me) they found others more acceptable. Less then 8% stayed with Tobacco flavors. Most moved to fruit followed by Desert/pastry/bakery.
Here’s an interview with one of the authors of the survey.
Sadly the political class uses children as political pawns and lie in the process. From the letter.
As we have raised with you many times, there has been an alarming increase in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among middle and high school students nationwide over the past few years. While we have successfully reduced youth cigarette smoking rates through public health policies, the failure of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take swift and decisive action against tobacco products that clearly appeal to children . . . . .
Between 2011 and 2015, the use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased more than ten-fold—from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. While e-cigarette use by high school students dipped to 11.7 percent in 2017, e-cigarettes remain the most popular form of tobacco use among youth. According to the US. Surgeon General’s Report on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults, much of the popularity associated with youth use of e-cigarettes can be attributed to the appealing candy and fruit ﬂavorings that accompany these devices.
Note the massive drop in 2017. From an article in Forbes.
Yet senators claim that a pause for reconsideration will have “dangerous consequences” for the teens “deliberately targeted” by an industry that plies them with flavors such as “cookies and cream” and “cotton candy.” This sentiment mirrors familiar activist talking points in which a predatory industry uses child-like flavors to hook kids on vaping and ultimately to get them to smoke. It’s a compelling story, but it just isn’t true.
In adolescents, daily or regular vaping is highly concentrated among those who smoke – this explains the ‘strong association’ between vaping and smoking that the senators draw attention to. But it arises because the same things that incline young people to smoke also incline them to vape. It does not mean the vaping causes the smoking. In reality it means that vaping is likely functioning as an alternative to smoking, and is partly responsible for the rapid decline in smoking among teenagers since 2010 when e-cigarettes first started becoming popular.
According to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future survey, cigarette smoking among 12th graders fell from 19.2 percent in 2010 to 10.5 percent in 2016, a rate of decline four times as rapid as the average over the previous 35 years. It is more likely than not that the surge in vaping has a beneficial impact on teenage health by reducing smoking.
There is no evidence that particular flavors exert such a large pull on teenagers that they cause them to start vaping when they otherwise would not. It is true that once they use these products teenagers say they like the flavors, but that is what we should expect – we would be more alarmed if they were vaping while disliking the flavors!
A 2015 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association publicized the obvious finding that teenagers who already vape like the flavor. But there was little reporting of the less obvious but more interesting finding: that teens are using e-cigarettes to reduce harm to themselves, to quit smoking and to protect those around them (see Table 2), and that taken together, these protective motivations are the main reason teens vape.
Finally, the vast majority of American vapers are adults and their health matters. Many have been smoking for decades and it is their health that is in the greatest peril. By 2015, 2.5 million vapers were former smokers – a very encouraging sign.
As with teens, we have seen a rapid decline in adult smoking since 2010. The National Health Interview Survey shows a decline in adult smoking from 20.6 percent in 2010 to 15.8 percent in 2016, representing an acceleration of the previous rate of decline and despite a change of sampling methodology in 2016. In good news, the CDC just reported that e-cigarettes are the most popular device used for smoking cessation (35.3%), more popular than both the nicotine gum and patch combined (25.4%).
But sadly children are frequently used as political pawns. And the anti-smoking/vaping activist can’t show how the vaping industry is marketing to children. They can’t point to any TV ads promoting flavors to children. As a matter of fact it is the anti-vapers who are paying children to use these products in ads promoting the flavors as I pointed out in a previous blog. “The Big Lie (Vaping, children, flavors)”
And these ads are being paid with taxpayer dollars, why would they do this? Money of course. From the Daily Caller.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the federal excise tax on cigarettes (currently $1.01 per pack) brought in $15.5 billion in revenue. That money went to fund an expansion of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) program, which provides funding to states for health insurance for families that do not qualify for Medicare, but are still considered of modest means.
Cigarette sales are a boon to states as well. The tax imposed on cigarette packs varies by state, with Missouri having the lowest tax at 17¢ per pack and New York having the highest tax at $4.35 tax per pack. In 2009, states raked in more than $24 billion by taxing cigarettes and $8.8 billion in settlement payments from tobacco companies (under the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement).
“Smokers actually save the government money, both by dying earlier and thus reduce social security payments, and, to a lesser extent, by dying of relatively cheap ailments like lung cancer, a fairly quick killer, rather than more expensive, lingering ailments,” Bader told The Daily Caller.
In addition to folks extending their lives and adding additional burdens to the country’s already strained entitlement programs, John Nothdurft, director of government relations at The Heartland Institute, added that the government would likely raise taxes on other products if cigarettes were no longer available to tax in order to make up for the lost revenue. . . .
“It is hard to know if all of a sudden cigarettes were illegal or nobody smoked anymore, that justification would be gone, but they would still want the revenue, but how they would find it I don’t know,” Robyn told The DC. “Cigarette tax policy is interesting in that it has two competing goals. One is to raise revenue and one is to reduce smoking, so to the extent that it reduces smoking it doesn’t raise revenue.”
Nothdurft noted one of the main reasons the government hits smokers so hard with taxes is because it is easier than pushing through blanket tax increases.
“Politicians don’t want constituents and taxpayers to be mad at them so they try to find small percentages of the population to go after,” he said. ”They put non-users against users, it is very much a divide and conquer approach.”
So if the anti-tobacco campaigners get their way and turn American into a land without smokers, it is possible that after the fiscal pinch is felt by America’s elected officials, they may embrace their inner Joni Mitchell, admitting, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”
Since smokers die younger from cheaper ailments they actually save the taxpayer dollars and this bares repeating. “Politicians don’t want constituents and taxpayers to be mad at them so they try to find small percentages of the population to go after,” he said. ”They put non-users against users, it is very much a divide and conquer approach.” We see this all the time. Vote for us and we’ll give you free stuff and make those evil smokers, rich people, etc etc etc. Whatever minority group it is politically correct to go after. How big and intrusive do you think government would be if everyone were actually forced to pay their fair share.
An of course these same “progressive” types force smokers to pay for the lobby groups that lobby against them, and yet these groups are constantly complaining they aren’t getting a big enough cut. From CBS
(CDC/AP) Tobacco taxes and legal settlements have raked billions of dollars for states around the country according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but over the past decade, only about 3 percent of that money has been spent funding tobacco prevention programs . . . .
Between 1998 and 2010, states have collected nearly $244 billion in cigarette taxes and settlement money, compared with only $8.1 billion earmarked for state tobacco control efforts. The numbers are far less than the minimum of $29.2 billion the CDC said should have been spent over that same period.
While states on average have never spent as much the CDC would like, the total has declined dramatically in recent years as states grapple with budget deficits that have forced layoffs, furloughs and cuts for basic services. Many also have raised tobacco taxes in order to increase revenue and supplement funds provided by the tobacco industry.
And these lobby groups have a vested interest in keeping people smoking rather then vaping. You see they get their funding from two sources. The Master Settlement Agreement which is tied to cigarette sales and Big Pharma (whose smoking cessation products are a dismal failure) And yes the MSA payments are directly linked to cigarette sales. From Citizens Against Government Waste.
Under the agreement, the tobacco companies would make payments, forever, to state governments. These would cover the costs of smoking-related illnesses. The amount paid by the tobacco companies would directly correlate to the number of cigarettes sold—the more cigarettes sold, the more money the states would get. In exchange for their money, the tobacco companies would not be sued by state and local governments seeking recovery of costs associated with tobacco use. All such ongoing lawsuits were settled by, as its name suggests, this settlement. There were other parts of the agreement, too: restrictions on tobacco advertising, the closure of the tobacco industry’s trade association, increased funding for anti-smoking campaigns, and support for farmers whose tobacco profits were expected to decline as a result of the MSA, to name a few. But the most important components, by far, were the payments from the tobacco companies to state governments and the end of state and local lawsuits against the industry. . . . The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement simultaneously represents one of the most egregious examples of a government shakedown of private industry and offers a case study of the problems that stem from big government and big business scratching each other’s backs. It has turned the largest tobacco companies into an indispensable cash cow for politicians and bureaucrats, enabled irresponsible state spending, and, amazingly, has resulted in less money for public health and tobacco control while propping up a declining industry. As is the case with discriminatory tobacco taxes, the incentives of the MSA are perverse: the more people smoke, the more money the government gets to spend on whatever it wants. The biggest losers are those with tobacco-related diseases and smokers trying to quit.
E-cigarettes could stub out tobacco bonds sooner than thought
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The rapid growth of electronic cigarette sales poses a rising but under-appreciated risk to holders of as much as $96 billion of bonds tied to payments tobacco companies make to U.S. states from a sweeping legal settlement in 1998. . . .
But as smokers swap traditional cigarettes for tobacco-free e-cigarettes and other vaping products, the smoking rate is declining even faster and analysts now predict some bonds could go into default before the end of this decade.
“If the decline goes to 6 or 7 percent, it will be very quick,” said Tom Metzold, portfolio manager at Eaton Vance Investment Managers. “I think that the first ones are probably five years away,” he said in reference to defaults.
While still a small part of the cigarette market, sales of e-cigarettes and vaporizers have already grown to be worth more than $2.2 billion from next to nothing four years ago. By some estimates, they will capture more than half the smoking market within a decade, and tobacco companies are already jockeying for leading positions as that change unfolds.
“We believe consumption of e-vapor will eclipse consumption of combustible cigs over the next decade as technology improves,” wrote Bonnie Herzog, analyst at Wells Fargo, who has tracked the tobacco industry for years, in a recent report.
But remember, it’s for the children. From the Legacy Foundation/Truth initiatives own site.
We’ve helped bring teen cigarette use down from 23 percent in 2000 to less than 6 percent in 2018. We’re proud of that success, but our work won’t stop until we achieve a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. . . .
2016 Teen smoking in the U.S. falls to a record-low 5.9 percent, a full percentage point drop in just one year, underscoring the success of public education campaigns like the truth® campaign and programs from the CDC and the FDA.
But wait, remember the quote from Durbin’s letter?
Between 2011 and 2015, the use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased more than ten-fold—from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. While e-cigarette use by high school students dipped to 1.7 percent in 2017, e-cigarettes remain the most popular form of tobacco use among youth.
So the article in Forbes by tobacco control’s own admission is correct. Teens opted for a less hazardous alternative.
Can you imagine the public outcry if the vaping industry put out an ad like this?
I’m sure the kids today are laughing at this in much the same way you politicians sat in your college dorms sparking up a bong laughing at these PSA’s
Kids now days are no different then we were. They smoke and vape for the same reasons that we did. Our parents and the powers that be told us it was the forbidden fruit and we rebelled. We did exactly what we were told not to. So can the for the children BS. It’s all about power and money. Oh and can the gateway BS too.
American Legacy Foundation®/CASA* Report: Reducing Teen Smoking Can Cut Marijuana Use Significantly