Monday, 01 June 2009 16:02

ACT NOW: Kennedy Tobacco Bill Begins Debate June 2nd 2009!

Written by Bill Godshall with an introduction by Larry Waters
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Mr. UNZ aka Larry Waters; defender of Snus and Reduced Harm TobaccoPolitics and rationality sometimes make strange bedfellows.  Bill Godshall is a decades-long Anti-Cigarette Lobbyist and Activist.  We met in dueling comments on TobaccoToday.  Make no mistake about it, Bill is anti-cigarette and anti-second hand smoke.  We are also not of like mind when it comes to what he calls "progressive taxation" and I call "social engineering" or "punitive taxation".

While Bill Godshall is anti-cigarette, he is not anti-cigarette smoker.  He does not subscribe to the "ban all tobacco products" mantra of the anti-tobacco extremists.  About five years ago, Bill Godshall began touting the value of Reduced Harm Tobacco Products like snus, snuff and oral products like Camel Orbs and Sticks.  He saw no value in forcing American smokers to "just quit"...nicotine addiction is real and so is the black market once a  commodity desired by over 40 million American smokers is suddenly banned.  Remember Prohibition and alcohol?

Bill and I had a marathon phone conversation and exchanged many emails since first meeting.  SnusCENTRAL.org has always been about

Reduced Harm tobacco products enabling cigarettes smokers to save themselves without suffering.  Swedish Snus was my savior from cigarettes.  There are others though.

The SnusCENTRAL.org website is locked down right now as version two is being made ready for launch.  Bill Godshall will join the site with his own section on version 2.  I can guarantee you will not agree with everything he says.  He's happy to respond to comments, so don't be shy.  But keep in mind when it comes to Reduced Harm Tobacco products, Bill Godshall and SnusCentral do share some common ground.  Funny how things work out sometimes....

I received this from Bill Godshall this morning and encourage you all to read and support his call to ensure Reduced Harm alternatives to cigarettes be available and affordable to current American cigarette smokers.

LARRY WATERS
Activist Snus Guru
Shining the Light of Truth from SnusCENTRAL.org

..............................................

Tomorrow (June 2) the US Senate is set to consider Philip Morris drafted and backed FDA tobacco regulatory legislation (S. 982).  Please contact your Senators (202-224-3121) and let them know your concerns about the legislation.  Smokefree Pennsylvania wrote the following letter to Senators. 
- - -

Smokefree Pennsylvania
1926 Monongahela Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
412-351-5880
FAX 351-5881
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

June 1, 2009

Dear Senator

Unless Sen. Kennedy's tobacco bill (S. 982) is amended with harm reduction provisions, Smokefree Pennsylvania urges you to OPPOSE this privately negotiated deal (in 2004) between Philip Morris and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to protect the deadliest tobacco product (Marlboro
cigarettes) from market competition by the least hazardous tobacco/nicotine products (smokefree).

S. 982 poses an enormous threat to public health and the health of 45 million smokers because it:
- bans all new and recently introduced smokefree products while keeping cigarettes on the market,
- misleads consumers to believe that smokefree tobacco products are just as hazardous as cigarettes,
- bans companies from informing smokers that smokefree products are less harmful than cigarettes,
- requires the FDA to perpetuate the safer cigarette fraud by regulating cigarette smoke constituents,
- prohibits the FDA from ending tobacco marketing to 12th graders in high school (age 18), and
- authorizes an agency (FDA) to regulate tobacco that cannot reasonably regulate nicotine products.

Sound product regulations truthfully inform consumers about risks of different products and encourage industry to make lower risk products.

Although cigarettes are 100 times deadlier than smokefree tobacco products, S. 982 requires misleading warnings on smokefree tobacco products that confuse consumers to believe they are as hazardous as cigarettes, bans new and recently introduced smokefree tobacco products (unless approved by FDA), and violates the Constitutional rights of tobacco companies to truthfully inform consumers that cigarettes are more hazardous.

By switching to smokefree tobacco/nicotine products, smokers reduce their health risks by nearly as much as by quitting all tobacco/nicotine, and millions have already done so.  The percentage of nicotine obtained from smokefree tobacco/nicotine products in the US has doubled (from 10% to 20%) during the past decade, but S. 982 will curtail that public health progress.  Smokers have a human right to truthful information about, and legal access to, far less hazardous alternatives.  And public health agencies have an ethical duty to inform smokers about reduced risk alternatives.

S. 982 also requires the FDA to establish regulatory guidelines for cigarette companies to make claims that some cigarettes are "reduced exposure" compared to other cigarettes, and encourages the FDA to establish limits for different constituents in tobacco smoke.  This would be a disaster for public health because it perpetuates the safer cigarette myth/fraud that began with cigarette filters in the 1950's and continues to this day with low tar, light and ultralight cigarettes, which is why 85% of smokers inaccurately believe that the latter cigarettes are less hazardous than others. 

S. 982 would do very little to reduce smoking or protect youth (as promoters of the bill continue to falsely assert).  The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that H.R. 1256 (Rep. Waxman's nearly identical bill) would reduce youth smoking by only 11%, and adult smoking by just 2% over the next DECADE.  In contrast, youth tobacco use declined by 50% to 65% (depending upon product and age group) in the past decade, while overall cigarette consumption declined by 26% in the past decade.  A key reason S. 982 does little to reduce youth tobacco use is because it prohibits the FDA from banning the sale and marketing of tobacco products to virtually all 12th graders, ensuring easy access to all high school students.

Finally, the FDA should not be given authority to regulate tobacco products unless and until the agency can reasonably regulate the least hazardous nicotine products (e.g. NRT products including gums/lozenges/skin patches, and electronic cigarettes).

The FDA still hasn't acted on a petition filed by the New York State Health Commissioner more than 14 months ago to require the FDA to allow the sale of NRT in daily dose packages, allow their sale at all stores that sell cigarettes, and to improve the misleading and scary warning labels on NRT.  And during the past several months, the FDA has blocked imports of electronic cigarettes and proposed banning the products, which would result in tens of thousands of product users going back to smoking lethal cigarettes.

Once again, please support harm reduction amendments to S. 982, and reject the legislation unless harm reduction amendments are approved.  Smokefree Pennsylvania supports the following list of amendments that have been filed to S. 982.

Since 1990, Smokefree Pennsylvania has advocated policies to reduce indoor tobacco smoke pollution, increase cigarette taxes, reduce tobacco marketing to youth, preserve civil justice remedies for tobacco victims, expand smoking cessation services, and inform smokers that smokefree tobacco/nicotine products are less hazardous alternatives to cigarettes.

Sincerely,


William T. Godshall, MPH
Executive Director

- - -

Amendments to S. 982 endorsed by Smokefree Pennsylvania.

Amendment Purpose
Burr #2 Change "public health" standard to "reduce youth tobacco use"
standard
Burr #3 Smokeless tobacco carveout
Burr #4 Require reductions in tobacco illness and death Coburn #1 Internet sales Coburn #3 Including Native American retailers and manufacturers Coburn #4 7 year hard sunset Coburn #7 GAO study on metrics Coburn #9 PACT Act Enzi #2 Higher civil penalties for tobacco companies Enzi #4 Imminent hazard authority Enzi #5 Strike adverse event reporting and require DSMB Enzi #8 Indexing user fees in outyears Hagan #1 To ensure that performance standards are based on achievable technology Hatch #7 Standard for reduced risk products Hatch #10 Performance and financial reports Hatch #11 Report on impact of program on SCHIP Murkowski #1 Track and trace for tobacco

 

 

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