Editorials and opinion pieces in mainstream media about the cigarette industry challenging the FDA on constitutional grounds regarding free speech and cigarette pack labeling suggest that the new FDA "tobacco control" act is a good, "tough" way to "regulate tobacco". Not quite.
That language is, absurdly, about "regulating" a natural plant. We may as well "regulate" mosquitoes, or rain on weekends. The mainstream media, and our privately subsidized "representatives", do not advocate regulating those who manufacture typical cigarettes with less public-government oversight than any other industry on the map.
What is not noted or examined is how much this FDA act would benefit the cigarette industry. Anti-smoking activists say that this act benefits cigarette makers by implying that cigarettes, by being "regulated", are therefore approved as safe by the government---but that is, at best, a side-issue; at worst, a distraction from the rest.
Though we read that the FDA has power to ban toxic substances in cigarettes, we are not told that the FDA is forbidden by our representatives in Congress to ban, study, or even address tobacco farm issues. The FDA is banned from even stepping foot on tobacco farms. No trespassing on the scene of the crime. Thus, the FDA will ignore residues of all of the 450 or so carbonate, chlorine, and organophosphate pesticides registered in the USA for tobacco use. It will ignore dioxins from the chlorine pesticides, and it will ignore certain phosphate fertilizers that contaminate typical cigarettes with cancer-causing levels of PO-210 radiation.
Those areas will be left to the Department of Agriculture, which has approved those things for decades. ("DOA" would be a much more appropriate acronym for this agency than "USDA".) The act has no words about chlorine-bleached cigarette paper, another source of dioxin in smoke from typical cigarettes. If paper is considered to be another "agricultural" product "from trees" nothing in the FDA act makes that clear.
No studies of health effects of typical cigarettes can possibly be valid without taking the combined effects of those industrial contaminants into consideration. It's like investigating a drive-by shooting and ignoring guns and bullets and the shooters. The dioxin alone (from chlorine pesticides and chlorine-bleached paper), being a notorious immune suppressor for starters, inescapably affects reactions to every other cigarette component, be it the untested or known harmful non-tobacco things, or the natural tobacco itself. Further, dioxins are promoters of cancer - meaning that they accelerate cell damage and cancer from other carcinogens, be they natural or industrial. If dioxins are in the neighborhood, it is impossible that they do not contribute to all diseases, including cancers, "smoking related" or otherwise.
So, by this "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act", Congress and the FDA give the cigarette industry protection from what ought be massive PR and profit loss disasters as well as immunity from criminal and civil suits related to secretly poisoning and experimenting on millions of people with industrial substances known even by the U.S. government to be deadly. This experimenting was and is done without a word of Informed Consent from the subjects. Third Reich leaders were executed for pretty much the same thing - though not on as widespread a scale as in the "smoking" arena. It's interesting to note that Bayer and BASF pharmaceuticals, spin-offs from the Reich's notorious IG Farben pharmaceutical giant, are part and parcel of the tobacco pesticide industry. Un-indicted, so far. Not even brought in for questioning. Neither afflicted smokers nor those concerned about smoking and health protest at their gates. Ignorance is bliss for these corporate entities as long as it is the people's ignorance.
The FDA may reduce nicotine levels in tobacco, the same trick long used by cigarette makers to prompt more smoking and deeper inhaling as smokers seek the nicotine benefits for stress relief, alertness, appetite suppression, digestive relief, etc. "Light" cigarettes are designed to increase sales and "sin" tax revenues. Requiring just naturally high levels of nicotine would work to reduce smoking rates, but the FDA will not do that.
This act reeks of being a patent violation of the law - a tool to help complicit cigarette makers, their ingredient suppliers (especially, perhaps, the pesticide and chlorine elements), and all of their insurers and investors, evade what ought be historic levels of penalties and liabilities. It's a misuse of public office and a fraud upon all taxpayers, smokers or not.
The act comes from Beyond the Looking Glass. Cigarettes will be permitted to retain the most damaging elements (with no warnings mandated about that), and the beneficial effects of nicotine will be reduced perhaps to ineffective levels. This greatly and undeservedly benefits cigarette makers, and continues the poisoning of, and experimentation upon, unprotected, un-informed, and un-compensated smokers. This is arguably the most backwards, deceptive, harmful, socially-disruptive, scientifically-fraudulent, corruption-ridden, cynical, and even psychopathic, piece of legislation ever devised - to be kind.
What to do? First, just search terms like " FDA tobacco" and "Federal Register FDA tobacco" to find the act and the addresses to send in public comments - before the September 29, 2009, deadline. Then, ask questions of representatives and journalists and pesticide activists and so forth. Include this in the big Health Care discussion in that top health insurers are multi-billion dollar owners of holdings in cigarette manufacturing and in tobacco pesticides and chlorine.
We need to ask whether or not we want for-profit health insurers, significant owners of the well-discredited cigarette cartel, administering health care for ourselves and our families. Both Obama and the Repugs, all "bi-partisan" in the Business Uber Alles party and all, would be happy with that. Do we trust pharmaceuticals that make tobacco pesticides providing medicine for us and our children?
Do we want public
officials funded by those interests to remain as our representatives?
Some relevant editorial cartoons below because "sometimes you gotta draw a picture."
1 | 2