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Letters: Why is FDA favoring real cigarettes over fake ones?

The author is a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health

In his op-ed (“Congress, don’t help Big Tobacco peddle candy-flavored wares to kids,” March 26), Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids argues that the current FDA regulations regarding electronic cigarettes do not impede the ability of companies to put truly safer products on the market to compete with conventional tobacco cigarettes.

But the opposite is true. By requiring every new product to submit burdensome and expensive applications, the regulations make it nearly impossible for companies to introduce new and safer vaping products into the market.

{mosads}Each individual application is estimated to cost no less than a half-million dollars, and businesses must submit a separate application for every one of the flavors they manufacture. Thus, a company that makes 50 flavors would have to spend $25 million just to keep its products on the market. The only companies that can afford this are the tobacco companies and a small number of large electronic cigarette companies. The regulations as they now stand would decimate the electronic cigarette market. This would undoubtedly lead many vapers to return to smoking.

It is difficult to understand why an anti-smoking organization like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids would want to help keep the cigarette market alive and well, protected from competition by what is a much safer product. But this is exactly what the FDA regulations currently do. Unlike e-cigarettes, real cigarettes do not have to submit any application to continue marketing disease and death.

Congress needs to act now to create a new and more sensible framework that regulates nicotine-containing products according to the degree of risk that they pose to the public. 

H.R. 1156 is a step in the right direction because it at least equalizes the playing field between tobacco and electronic cigarettes. It also requires the FDA to set standards for battery safety. Nothing in the legislation inhibits the ability of FDA to promulgate regulations to protect the safety of consumers who use e-cigarettes. In fact, this bill forces the FDA to actually protect the public by setting safety standards, something it has failed to do in the seven years that e-cigarettes have been on the market.



Taxpayers should not pay the price of sanctuary city policies

From A.J. Castilla

As a combat veteran and taxpayer, I have never been encouraged to cast my vote for any candidate for elected office promising to violate federal immigrations laws. No mayor or city council member has ever run with this as one of their platforms issues and promises.

That said, we law-abiding taxpayers shouldn’t be punished when the officials who designate places as sanctuary cities should face any federal punishment alone.

My hope is that President Trump and his party won’t use the sanctuary city issue to help them balance the national budget. Neighborhoods like mine badly need the billions of dollars that we ourselves generated by paying our taxes. It is unfair that a few elected people at City Hall can make their unsupported political decision such a costly one for the rest of us.

To Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Justice and Homeland Security departments, I say single them out. Arrest, jail and charge them, since federal laws do allow for such.


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