Democrats link up with Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to dampen vaping industries’ economic success
06/21/2016 / By Greg White / Comments
Democrats link up with Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to dampen vaping industries’ economic success

Drug and tobacco companies, health advocates and Democratic lawmakers are teaming up in a fight against e-cigarettes.

In recent year, Democrats in Congress have been trying to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes. In doing so, they have made a rather odd bed fellow – Big Pharma. Drug manufacturers have been struggling to sell Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, such as gum and patches, because of e-cigarettes. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared e-cigarettes would be as heavily regulated as tobacco starting in August.

Vaping supporters purport the FDA approvals will bankrupt an industry that could significantly improve public health. According to a major study from the Royal College of Physicians, e-cigarettes are approximately 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

E-cigarette industry could go up in smoke

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and its related carcinogens. Instead, they vaporize a liquid harboring nicotine, which is derived from tobacco. Democrats in Congress oppose unregulated vaping devices on the grounds that e-cigarettes could serve as a “gateway” to tobacco.

Drug companies were in favor of the FDA ruling because they have large sums of money invested in prescription smoking-cessation drugs, which are largely covered by the Democrat-passed Affordable Care Act that they helped produce. As should come as no surprise, tobacco companies also supported the FDA ruling, which has suffered economic setbacks because of vaping as well.

The alliance puts Democrats against others in their political base and smokers who are trying to break the habit. “As someone who, thanks to vaping, was able to quit the deadly habit after decades of smoking myself, this is a very disturbing development,” wrote Brad Friedman on the Daily Kos. “It’s made even more disturbing by the particular big-name Democrats … who support the new regulations.”


In 2009, the FDA secured the ability to regulate tobacco after Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Before then, tobacco was regulated by state and congressional measures, particularly the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, which enabled states to settle lawsuits against the tobacco industry over health-care costs spurred by tobacco use.

An unlikely alliance

The 2009 law enabled the FDA to force expensive marketing and advertising restrictions on the tobacco industry. The legislation was backed by Rep. Henry Waxman and introduced into the Senate by Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Although the legislation was resisted by tobacco businesses at the time, it gained public support by Altria, the parent of the country’s biggest tobacco company, Phillip Morris, in an effort to build a constructive relationship with the FDA, according to Altria spokesman, Brian May.

There were reports that Altria negotiated the legislation with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group dedicated towards reducing tobacco use that publicly supported the regime. In addition, Altria negotiated with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

Once the law was put into effect, it was used to target e-cigarettes once they made there way onto the market in 2007. Previous attempts to regulate e-cigarettes by the FDA under the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act failed. The new law provided the FDA with the authority it required to classify e-cigarettes as a tobacco product and heavily regulate them.

“In terms of what they’re trying to do, (tobacco companies) want to limit competition and encourage the cartelization of their markets,” wrote Jonathan Adler, the author of the “Baptists, Bootleggers” article, in an email to American Institute. “They want regulation of e-cigarettes because it lessens the competitive threat to traditional cigarettes and because it makes the remaining e-cigarette market something that’s easier for them to dominate.”

As is typical in politics, the driving force behind regulating e-cigarettes has everything to do with money and nothing to do with legitimate concerns over public health.



American Institute
American Thinker

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