Blast from the past: Tobacco lobby ramming through deceptive bill that endangers kids

E-cigYou’ve got to hand it to the tobacco corporations and their high-priced lobbyists; when it comes to deceptive messaging and tactics, no one does it better than the merchants of death.  Apparently, nearly a century of practice really does make perfect in developing lies and half-truths and massaging them into feel-good media messages and legislation.

Consider the latest case in point in North Carolina. Big tobacco is currently ramming through legislation in both houses of the General Assembly that sounds as if it is all about motherhood and apple pie. The bill (which as been introduced and advanced in both the Senate and the House at the behest of the industry) operates under the title: “Prohibit E-Cigarette Sales to Minors.” 

“Electronic cigarettes” of “E-Cigarettes,”  as you probably have heard, are just the latest  tool for delivering life-threatening poison (i.e. addictive nicotine) to humans. E-cigs are already being advertised throughout the country as a hip and semi-safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. They’re already finding their way into schools and other places young people look for ways to be cool.   

Prohibiting their sale to kids sounds like a good idea, huh?

Unfortunately, while the bill in question has some good aspects, the tobacco industry has, as is their wont, skillfully inserted provisions that will make it harder for public health officials to rein in the little poison sticks going forward.

You see, rather than defining E-cigs and other tobacco derived “vapor products” as “tobacco products” as they should be, the bill would establish a whole new, separate definition.  According to the experts at the N.C. Alliance for Health, this is a terrible idea:

“As it is currently written, SB 530/HB 864 will confuse and complicate the enforcement of existing and future tobacco control laws by excluding electronic-cigarettes, vapor products and other tobacco-derived products from the existing universal definition of “tobacco products” in North Carolina law.

 E-cigarettes should not be defined differently from other tobacco products because they are, after all, just another in a long list of “tobacco products” developed by the industry. The best way to protect public health is to simply include them in the existing definition of “tobacco products” and allow our existing tobacco regulations to protect the public’s health, just as existing regulations protect the public’s health from all the other tobacco products on the market.

 Creating a separate definition for e-cigarettes and vapor products will call into question all of NC’s existing laws and whether they apply to these new emerging products.”

For instance, state law currently bans “tobacco products” on public school campuses. By exempting E-cigs from this definition, sponsors of the bill may actually facilitate their introduction into these and other inappropriate venues.

Of course, the tobacco lobby — led in part by powerful Republican politico and Reynolds American lobbyist Tom Fetzer — is deftly deflecting these criticisms and avoiding any kind of meaningful dialogue with health advocates. This week, Fetzer and his crew slipped the bill through the Senate with scarcely a peep of opposition. The House version of the bill is already scheduled for a hearing in a Judiciary subcommittee next Monday afternoon.  

The bottom line: As in just about every other area this year in the General Assembly, the forces of corporate greed are triumphing over the common good and the well-being of our kids. Let’s hope lawmakers and Governor McCrory wake up to this cynical scam ASAP.


  1. Rob Schofield

    May 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Since this post went up, I received word that the House version of the bill is unlikely to be heard in committee next week. This could be a hopeful sign, but probably just indicates that the House plans to wait until after next week’s legislative “cross-over” deadline to take up the Senate bill.

  2. Doug

    May 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I would be surprised if the kids thought these things look cool. I know a couple of people who use them instead of cigs. and they look even stupider using the E-cig than than the real thing. Only benefit is that I don’t have to smell like smoke after visiting.

  3. Linda Reid

    May 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    “Electronic cigarettes” of “E-Cigarettes,” as you probably have heard, are just the latest tool for delivering life-threatening poison (i.e. addictive nicotine) to humans. E-cigs are already being advertised throughout the country as a hip and semi-safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. They’re already finding their way into schools and other places young people look for ways to be cool.

    I’d like to quote on the above especially ” are just the latest tool for delivering life-threatening poison (i.e. addictive nicotine) to humans. – really, that life threatening poison nicotine, which is in everyones’ system and if it isn’t in yours, get to A&E asap, whether you’ve never touched a cigarette in your life or not, our bodies need nicotine, it is a naturally occurring chemical – it’s not just in our system, it’s in exceptionally high quantities of our every day foods, especially high in aubergines (egg plant), potatoes, tomatoes, mushroom, cauliflower, peppers, cappsicums – so what on earth next, stop the kids eating…try getting them off MacDonald’s first, you’ll have a battle on your hands there and your Country worries that e-cigs might be “cool”, dream on! The electronic cigarette is the best thing that could ever have been introduced to people who like to smoke, this is not a cessation device, it is not for anyone who doesn’t smoke already and if kids want to be cool, it’s the tobacco cigarette they’ll be after not the plastic Electronic Nicotine Delivery System!!!

    There does need to be some regulation to discourage anyone who doesn’t already smoke and of course anyone who is under the age of 18, from buying the electronic cigarette. It’s not a case that they are being advertised all over the world as a “hip” thing to have, get used to it, they are here to stay, we vapers make a life choice and ours is to get our flavoured nicotine through an electronic cigarette device and not one which has 66 known carcinogens, formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide…just to mention a few of the 4000 chemicals, ingredients, toxins and poisons from a conventional tobacco cigarette. We aren’t ill, we don’t need therapy, we LIKE VAPING!

  4. sue Jasmin

    May 14, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I am now addicted to the e-cig. These can be dangerous. One of them exploded on me and caught on fire.

  5. Chris

    May 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    “ie, addictive nicotine.” Yes, it is known to be addictive but it is also known to be no worse than caffeine. The flavorings, propylene and vegetable glycol used in e-cigs, is all an FDA approved food additive. Start reading labels, people use it daily without knowledge ( ignorance perhaps ) Studies have not proven e-cigs unhealthy. USDA has only found a trace of carcinogens in Chinese made e-cigs, amounts 1000’s of times less than traditional cigarettes. I switched to e-cigs and was able to quit smoking. 28 years of smoking a known killer thanks to the e-cig. I could care less if I look silly do so.
    Author should do some research.

  6. Chris

    May 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Propylene Glycol 1 Quart (32 Oz.) – USP – Food Grade Safety Sealed HDPE Resealable Lid Finest Quality Propylene Glycol for use as moisturizer in medicines, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, shampoo, mouth wash and hair care.

    Uses: Antifreeze Solutions, Solvent for fats, oils, waxes, resins. Hygroscopic agent. Coolant in refrigeration systems, plasticizers, hydraulic fluids, textile conditioners

    Propylene glycol can be used for the following: As an emulsification agent in Angostura and orange bitters; As a moisturizer in medicines, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, shampoo, mouth wash, hair care and tobacco products; As a carrier in fragrance oils; As an ingredient in massage oils; In hand sanitizers, antibacterial lotions, and saline solutions; As a solvent for food colors and flavorings; As a moisture stabilizer (humectant) for snus (Swedish Style Snuff); As a cooling agent for beer and wine glycol jacketed fermentation tanks; As a non-toxic antifreeze for winterizing drinking water systems; As a less-toxic antifreeze in solar water heating systems; As a coolant in liquid cooling systems; To regulate humidity in a cigar humidor; As an additive to pipe tobacco to prevent dehydration; To treat livestock ketosis; To de-ice aircraft

  7. Ray

    May 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Doug obviously has self esteem issues.

    Sue Jasmin invokes the ever popular, but intellectually silly, “Slippery Slope” fallacy: assuming that “A” causes “B” in and generalizing all E-cig/vapor products as dangerous due to One isolated incident involving One poorly manufactured product… blaming said manufacturer never crossed her mind though, funny that.

    After trying a few brands and different types of vapor methods, I settled on a G-pen and juice. I smoked 2 + packs a day, for 30+ yrs… but from the very first toke of the G-pen I was done with ciggs.
    It’s been 5 months and my lips haven’t touched a cigarette. The smell doesn’t even set off a craving anymore, I’ve lost my ‘morning weeze’ and ‘smoker’s cough’, my sense of taste and smell have become noticeably more acute, my peak flow has improved; and I can now toke ANYWHERE I want.

    It may not be for every smoker, but it’s certainly worth it to give yourself a chance at better health.

  8. Charles johnson

    May 18, 2013 at 12:26 am

    What a dumbass? Are you sure you don’t work for the tobacco industry? You people criticize the smokers, tax the hell out of us in the process. And when something comes along that might help thousands you criticize it what a hypocrite. May I make a suggestion, before you write a article do your research. I knew right away that you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. My wife and I have both quit smoking, and feel much better.

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