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EXCLUSIVE: Twitter Censors Critic Of FDA’s E-Cigarette Crackdown

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Twitter suspended a spoof account of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products Wednesday after the account mocked the FDA’s e-cigarette policy.

Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) and one of the nation’s leading critics of the FDA’s e-cigarette crackdown, set up the account to mock the agency’s monotonous Twitter feed. (RELATED: FDA Announces Rule To Ban 99 Percent Of E-Cigarettes)

“I set up a spoof twitter account- clearly identified as such- called FDATobaccoBot to parody the FDA’s absurd bot-like twitter account,” Stier told The Daily Caller News Foundation via email.

“To avoid any confusion, I explained in the account’s bio:  This is the #FDA Tobacco Bot Spoof Account. Send me questions about your tobacco #Ecig products,” Stier added.

“The account is obviously a spoof,” said NCPPR. “But it is also incisive political parody. For instance, when someone asked the spoof account about the Royal College of Physicians report that recommends doctors widely publicize e-cigarettes to their smoking patients, the spoof account responded:

@FDATobaccoBot

RCP #Ecig report irrelevant rubbish to U.S. policy-making: English English differs from U.S. English significantly. https://twitter.com/abbasian/status/732642485831356416 …

And when the parody account was asked: ‘Does using an ecig cause neck-beards?’ the account parodied the real FDA Tobacco’s twitter feed by responding:

.@FreeTobaccoCA Ecig tobacco products have only been regulated for about a week, so we don’t know yet. More research is needed.

Canadian scientist and Ph.D. candidate Amelia Howard astutely observed:

The FDA’s attitude toward e-cigarettes has left many in the public health community baffled. The agency appears incapable of conceding e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.

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