"Vaping" is dangerous:
(Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) stepped up its war on "Big Tobacco" on Tuesday, calling for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.
In a long-awaited report that will be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the United Nations health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies.
The WHO launched a public health campaign against tobacco a decade ago, clinching the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Since entering into force in 2005, it has been ratified by 179 states but the United States has not joined it.It's no big surprise that the United States has refused to help control tobacco in other parts of the world. The Obama administration and those before it have been such a friend to Big Tobacco that there is even a clause in the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership that would supersede any anti-smoking legislation now in place in partner countries. The tobacco industry would be allowed to hook millions of children in Indonesia and other impoverished countries on their poisonous product.
Malaysia, for example, already has an epidemic of pediatric smokers on its hands. And, with an estimated 60% of the adult population already addicted to tobacco, the problem will only get worse. From Politico:
When Malaysia’s trade negotiators have pushed a carve-out for tobacco in a section of the deal that would otherwise allow businesses to challenge whether a country’s laws and regulations meet its international trade obligations before an independent panel, the United States has balked and instead called for an approach that Malaysian officials think would leave their country exposed.
“The U.S. government’s proposal on tobacco does not go far enough. It is insufficient to protect the government’s sovereignty to do their utmost to protect public health,” said Mary Assunta, a senior policy adviser for the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance. “Tobacco companies should not interfere with this, nor challenge governments using the free-trade platform.”Even after Obama visited Malaysia this spring and saw the smoking epidemic for himself, the clause favoring the unrestricted predation of the tobacco industry reportedly remains in the proposed treaty. One famous Indonesian toddler was able to kick his two pack a day habit, but there are plenty more potential addicts where he came from.
And why not? The White House has even adamantly refused to protect the migrant children who, cynically exempt from our own domestic child labor laws, slave away in the killing fields of Big Tobacco and thus are vulnerable to nicotine poisoning through their constant handling of the toxic leaves. If a scathing Human Rights Watch report against that child abuse didn't sway Obama, then why should WHO change his mind on vaping? Not even lobbying by Michael Bloomberg, one of the world's richest plutocrats, has been able to stop the stampede of this powerful industry of death.
|Children Laboring in Tobacco Field|
It really shouldn't shock anyone that preventing even precious American children from ordering bubblegum and chocolate-flavored nicotine poison on the Internet or being forced to watch the ads on TV is not on Obama's to-do list. It was his former budget director, Sylvia Mathews-Burwell, who relaxed the FDA's proposed e-cigarette rules to protect minors right before she was confirmed as this country's ironically-named Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The WHO reports that even second-hand "vapor" from e-cigarettes may pose a significant health risk, especially to pregnant women and their developing fetuses. So, it'll be interesting to see if the conservative right-to-lifers in Congress will Just Say No to their tobacco lobbyist pals clamoring for continuing deregulation. Even the sexy e-cig ads sound right-wing, agitating as they do for "freedom." In any event, the propagandists of poison sure have been keeping very busy, photo-shopping the Ayn Rand brand to market to a whole new generation of hip libertarians:
Although the number of teens experimenting with the candy-flavored e-cigarettes has doubled since 2008, the White House has said it wanted more detailed grisly evidence of harmful effects before it "revisits" imposing more stringent control. As in war, there are apparently acceptable levels of collateral damage (injury and death) before an artificial neoliberal red line is crossed. A finite number of emergency room and morgue visits may occur before profits are curtailed.
Here are just some of the dangers:
The vapors in electronic cigarettes contain nano-particles which trigger inflammation, potentially leading to asthma, heart disease and stroke. The vapors may render antibiotics less effective against pulmonary bacterial infections. The solvents in the sweetly-flavored concoctions contain known carcinogens, such as formaldehyde. The adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine, which immediately raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Symptoms of withdrawal from "vaping" are the same is from quitting cigarettes: depression and crankiness.
But of course, Big Tobacco has no shortage of "scientists" willing to obfuscate the issue through the construction of straw men. According to Reuters, one group of experts actually opposes an anti-vaping campaign because it might take attention and money away from other anti-smoking efforts. Banning e-cigarette advertising will bring the cancerous Marlboro Man back to life on every billboard in America if we don't let the kids vape at will and resurrect nicotine advertising as a force for good after a 43-year ban!
Another marketing ploy is to pimp out e-cigarettes as Nicorette gum-like "stop-smoking aids" which are actually beneficial to your health.
As one Internet sales site brags, they don't stink, they're relatively cheap, they won't set the house on fire if you fall asleep while sucking in bed, the list of health risks is not yet nearly as extensive as decades and decades of studies of the effects of actually lighting up have shown, and best of all: they are cool. Your friends will not shun you, even if you suck.
As usual, follow the money. Wells Fargo estimates that profits from e-cigarettes will exceed those of regular smokes by the year 2020. World-wide sales reached $3 billion last year.
The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. -- Ayn Rand, libertarian goddess, smoker, and lung cancer fatality.