GOP Congressman Challenges Pelosi To End Dems’ Push To Regulate E-Cigarettes

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

GOP Rep. [crscore]Duncan Hunter[/crscore] of California urged House Minority Leader [crscore]Nancy Pelosi[/crscore] to reconsider her party’s anti-e-cigarette stance and support changes to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that could save 99 percent of the e-cigarette industry.

After the passage of the spending bill Friday, Pelosi circulated a document to colleagues claiming a host of victories for Democrats. One such victory was killing a rider that would have changed the FDA’s rules requiring all e-cigarette products released after Feb. 15, 2007 undergo the costly Pre-Market Tobacco Applications process.

The vast bulk of vaping products came onto the market after 2007, meaning small vaping businesses — which typically sell dozens if not hundreds of these products — will face astronomical and unaffordable costs to get goods approved. As a result, 99 percent of the industry would be wiped out.

But Pelosi claimed the rider represented a “gift to the tobacco industry,” driven by Republican ideology. Hunter, along with many e-cigarette advocates, strongly disputes this point. In a letter sent Dec. 21, and seen by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Hunter wrote:

Ironically, by not supporting the commercial availability of e-cigarettes, with all their advancements in recent years, you are giving your support – whether intended or not- to traditional cigarettes and other products.

Pro-vaping groups argue the FDA regulations will stifle one of the main challenges to traditional cigarettes and prop up the profits of big tobacco companies. Hunter continued in the letter:

Although you may not want to acknowledge it, e-cigarettes are a suitable alternative to cigarettes, and they could very well save my life, as well as the lives of so many Americans who are making their best effort to quit cigarettes. It is unfortunate that you are willing to deny these potentially life-saving products, and then boast about doing so.

The congressman recounted his own struggles quitting smoking and said he had turned to vaping “because it prevents me from smoking the real thing.”

A veteran of three combat deployments, Hunter drew Pelosi’s attention to the words of United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron recently told Parliament e-cigarettes are a “legitimate” pathway to quitting cigarettes and urged lawmakers to review a study by Public Health England that showed e-cigarettes were 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes.

The study, published in August, concluded that while e-cigarettes may not be totally safe, they contain almost none of the chemicals in cigarettes associated with serious diseases like lung cancer and emphysema.

The report added that there is a substantial body of high-quality evidence that e-cigarettes are an effective tool for getting smokers to kick their habit.

Hunter ended his letter with a plea to the minority leader to reconsider the life-changing impact e-cigarettes could have:

I encourage you to revisit this important issue – specifically changing the predicate date within the FDA’s proposed rule – with the understanding that e-cigarettes save lives.

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Tags : david cameron duncan hunter food and drug administration nancy pelosi
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