The US Senate and the House of Representatives are pushing legislation that would empower the Food and Drug Administration to "regulate tobacco", a peculiar term that avoids the idea of regulating the manufacturers and ingredient suppliers of smoking products.
This legislation exposes its illegitimacy and idiocy in clear daylight. It allows the FDA to, among other things, require reduced levels of nicotine. That is the same trick cigarette makers have been allowed to get away with for decades with their "lite" cigarettes.
Lowered nicotine levels prompt smokers to smoke more, and more deeply, to get that "satisfaction". This has been a boon to both cigarette industry profits and to officials who crave regressive "sin tax" revenues to replace proper progressive income taxes.
What we have nowadays is, to illustrate, one smoker paying three or four or more times a proper cost for a pack of cigarettes---what would have been paid by the three or four or more smokers. Big Cig make and sells one pack of smokes but makes more than what it used to make selling three, four or more packs. This is Good Business. If remaining smokers send off the profits and "sin" taxes equivalent to what would have been paid by three, four or more smokers, the money angles from the perspective of Big Cig and the tax collectors are essentially unchanged, if not improved. Lower nicotine levels will expand on this scam.
Despite thousands of so-called "smoking related" (i.e., supposedly victim-caused) fires each year, the addition of burn accellerants has also been "legal" for decades for those same economic reasons. The faster cigarettes burn, the more money for both Big Cig and tax revenues...depending, of course, on the perpetrators not being held responsible.
An added problem with "lite" cigarettes is that manufacturers add even more untested and often toxic or carcinogenic substances to those varieties to crank up the flavors lost to lower nicotine levels. So, instead of smokers getting what they thought were safer cigarettes, they got hit with even more harms and threats to health.
Ah, but cigarette makers and complicit government officials never said the "lite" things were safer. To say that would open up liability suits on the less-safe brands. So, manufacturers and officials say nothing, letting the public believe what it will, no matter how wrong or health damaging.
The idea of lowering nicotine levels appeals to some who believe or contend that nicotine is some big bad health harm, even though it is not. Assorted pharmaceutical firms use it in their patented nicotine-delivery products which, they hope, will one day replace the public-domain natural unpatented tobacco plant. Interests involved in the synthetic nicotine delivry business dominate the "anti tobacco" crusade. Public domain plants, including organics, are simply not as profitable as the patented, corporate-owned versions. This "war on tobacco", whether one likes smoke or not, is part of the corporate war on public anything and everything. It's generally a corporate war on nature itself. Evidence abounds, of course.
This FDA "tobacco regulation", as reported, omits so many things that it opens itself to not just ridicule (for the point about low-nicotine and increased smoking, at least) but to charges of fraudulent legislation designed to help the cigarette cartel evade PR disaster and historic levels of penalties and liabilities.
We hear nothing in the legislation about "tobacco" products made, without tobacco, in patented ways with all sorts of industrial waste cellulose camouflaged as tobacco.
We haven't heard about the high levels of dioxin in smoke from typical cigarettes contaminated with chlorine pesticide residues and chlorine-bleached paper. This is especially crucial because many, if not most, so-called "smoking-related" diseases are identical to symptoms of dioxin exposures, and are impossible to be caused by smoke from any plant. Case closed against the chlorine parts of the cigarette cartel? Case not even opened.
Nothing in the legislation addresses the carcinogenic PO-210 radiation from the still-legal use of certain phosphate fertilizers.
The FDA seems to have no plans to study combination effects on smokers of residues of the 450 or so U.S. registered tobacco pesticides. Pesticides are only addressed regarding requiring import tobacco to meet the same standards as domestic. The domestic standards, however, constitute mass public endangerment.
So far, neither the FDA nor Congress has uttered a peep of complaint about how US Customs and the Department of Agriculture, astonishingly, stopped checking import tobacco for DDT or any illegal or legal pesticide contamination. As if ..."pesticides? What pesticides?" Those others, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, etc., who pretend to be concerned about smoking and health, haven't peeped either. Why? Could it be that the more health harms are caused by "smoking", the better the case is to create tobacco prohibition....thus leaving nicotine as a Controlled Substance in the exclusive hands of private pharmaceuticals? Heck, pharm CEOs would face shareholder suits, and be fired, for not doing just that.