April 17, 2014

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Big Tobacco trying to block progress on controlling e-cigs in Florida with Trojan Horse youth access bill

While the Obama White House sits on the FDA, communities all over the country are moving forward to control e-cigarettes in two important ways (1) including them in clean indoor air laws, and (2) regulating sales to youth.
The tobacco companies (and make no mistake, it is the big tobacco companies) are mounting a nationwide push to preempt (take away the rights of) local communities to enact this sensible legislation.  And, as they did in the 1980s, the tobacco companies are using legislation that nominally protects kids from e-cigarettes as "Trojan Horse" legislation to enact preemption and other bad policies (such as making it harder to tax e-cigarettes).
This issue is very hot right now in Florida, where the industry is pushing House Bill 169 that would do just that. 
Flordia was the first state, back in the 1980s, to pass a state law preempting clean indoor air after communities started passing strong, for the time, local laws.  Unfortunately, Big Tobacco won that victory with the help of the health organizations who were unwilling to cross powerful legislators aligned with the cigarette companies.  It took decades to get a strong state clean indoor air law and bars remain preempted.
Fortunately, the American Cancer Society and other health groups learned their lesson and have been vigorously fighting this bad bill.  (Here is their action alert.)
This is an important effort that we should all support and work to generate media coverage to expose Big Tobacco and defend the health groups against baseless charges that they want kids to get e-cigarettes.
The real way to protect kids (and the rest of us) from e-cigarettes is to kill the Florida bill -- and its closes elsewhere -- and let local governments continue to make progress.

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