Moonshine Vaping Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood | Citizens Against Government Waste

Moonshine Vaping Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood

The WasteWatcher

Using the hysteria created by the increased use of e-cigarettes by teenage youth and recent deaths and lung illnesses caused by illicit tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with Vitamin E acetate vaping products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress are moving fast to ban all flavors used in vaping devices.  If they succeed, they will drive millions of former smokers back to using deadly combustible cigarettes and create a black market for e-cigarettes.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) admits as of January 28, 2020, that the outbreak of e-cigarette product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) that occurred last fall has declined.  The data shows “tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers, are linked to most EVALI cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”  In other words, the cause is the sale and use of illicit or black market vaping products.

The United Nations (UN) World Health Organization (WHO) is also using the U.S. crisis to pump up its knee-jerk animosity toward Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which includes legitimate vaping products and non-combustible cigarettes, like Philip Morris’s IQOS, which the FDA authorized to be sold in the U.S. in April 2019.

WHO published a January 20, 2020 Question and Answer section on its website, “E-Cigarettes: How Risky Are They?,” which was heavily promoted.  The agency then produced another version on January 29 without notifying anyone that the information had been drastically edited.  Former Welsh Director General Clive Bates, an expert on ENDS who runs the blog The Counterfactual, wrote a January 30 expose on the agency’s shenanigans, “World Health Organisation fails at science and fails at propaganda - the sad case of WHO's anti-vaping Q&A” and took the U.N. agency to task pointing out false and misleading information.  The Brits did not like it either and Professor Peter Hajeck, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London pointed out that, “The WHO has a history of anti-vaping activism that is damaging their reputation. This document is particularly malign.”

The FDA already has a ban in effect for the sale of refillable e-cigarettes in mint or fruity flavors and on Wednesday, February 5, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing, "Vaping in America: E-Cigarette Manufacturers' Impact on Public Health," with four ENDS manufacturers.  This hearing was nothing more than an effort to take the manufacturers to task and prepare for House passage of H.R. 2339, which would criminalize all flavored tobacco products.  The prohibition of flavors, particularly in tobacco harm reduction products, including ENDS, that are used by adults to quit smoking will create havoc, encourage illicit behavior, and increase death from smoking.

England has taken a different course with ENDS.  In July 2017, England’s Department of Health released “Towards a Smokefree Generation,” a plan to reduce regularly smoking adults from 15 percent to 12 percent or less and regularly smoking 15 year-olds from 8 percent to 3 percent or less by 2022.  Public Health England has maintained that vaping is 95 percent less harmful and is trying to assure smokers that it would be better to switch to vaping in spite of all the background noise around “false fears about safety.” 

Much of this current U.S. effort to stop vaping got its start because of preliminary numbers in the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NTYS) that showed 27.5 percent of high schoolers, an increase of 32.2 percent from 2018, had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calling it an epidemic.

Yet, England’s Action on Smoking and Health reported in June 2019 that currently 72.4  percent of their high schoolers had never tried an e-cigarette, 15.8 percent had tried vaping once or twice, 6.5 percent vape less than weekly, and 2.5 percent vape more than once a week.  This is a huge difference in youth vaping between the two countries.

ENDS expert Clive Bates looked at all the numbers that eventually became available in the 2018 NYTS.  The data showed that 5.7 percent of high schoolers vaped 20 days or more and 3.8 percent vaped daily in 2018.  While 5.7 percent may be concerning to parents and health officials, calling it an epidemic is extreme.

The CDC and the FDA prefer combining and reporting on all the teens that may have simply tried an e-cigarette once, perhaps at a party or a football game in the past 30 days as well as those that may be vaping a few times a week or every day because it pushes an agenda.  The public will not see the complete breakdown of 2019 numbers for months.

An October 3, 2029 letter signed by 15 free-market conservative groups demanded that then acting-FDA Commissioner Norman Sharpless release all the data from the 2019 NYTS before any ban of flavors in e-cigarettes is considered by the agency or Congress.  The groups are still waiting for an answer.

Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of disease and death in the United States.  It is the burning of tobacco that creates the thousands of chemicals that cause death and illnesses, like cancer and heart disease.  Using an ENDS product is not smoking.  An e-cigarette usually contains a combination of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and varying levels of nicotine that is heated, not burned.

Tobacco is a legal product in the U.S. and even if Congress could ban it, there is little doubt that China, which grows the most in the world, and other sources would immediately create a black market.  The same result will occur if vaping flavors are banned.  Current adult users, who also like sweet and fruity flavors, will either go back to combustible cigarettes or take the chance and purchase products illegally, which will create a real crisis and endanger the health of millions of Americans.

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