Speech to White House OMB

Speech to White House OMB
President Obama and staff at the Office of Management & Budget,
The World Health Organization projects that a billion people will die this century from smoking-related illness. In the United States alone, more people die each year from smoking than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drugs, murders, suicides, and car accidents combined.
Smoking is deadly.
Unfortunately, so are poor regulations.
Throughout history, powerful people have used fear mongering and regulations to further their own interests and moral agendas. For nearly 50 years, condoms were illegal in our country. A black market formed. People were even arrested. It was not until World War I that we fully realized how foolish these anti-condom regulations were. Instead of allowing condoms, the US government issued ineffective prophylactic soap. By the end of the war, the US military had diagnosed nearly 400,000 cases of syphilis and gonorrhea.
Here today, I watch history repeating itself.
It’s no secret that many of our current troops and nearly 40 million Americans are facing a deadly addiction to cigarette smoking. 70% of them want to quit, half try each year. Only 6% of them succeed. Telling people to quit smoking is nearly as effective as telling people to quit having sex. We must help them.
Much like the prophylactic soap from WWI, it is clear that recommended quitting methods such as nicotine gums, patches, and prescription pharmaceuticals are ineffective. On top of that, FDA approved drugs even list depressed mood and suicidal behavior as side effects. People are killing themselves to quit smoking.
In the meantime, a new industry comprised of mostly small independent business owners has developed to help smokers quit cigarettes by switching from lighting tobacco on fire to vaporizing a nicotine solution using methods similar to fog machines and FDA-approved nicotine inhalers. Many consider the invention an important milestone in medical history and millions of users credit vaping with saving their life. Smoking among young people is now at a record low.
After years with no decline in smoking prevalence, things are finally headed in the right direction.
The proposed deeming regulations by the FDA would ban 99% of these vaping products and hand the remainder of the market share to big tobacco companies who would prefer to sell cigarettes. Smokers need more options to quit, not fewer. The expected harm caused by these regulations is so large, our production company decided to make a film about it.
Our investigation has found alarming and concrete evidence of:
  • Illegal activities by the CDC in funding lobbying
  • Conflicts of interest among FDA leadership
  • Significant conflicts of interest among leading health charities such as American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Heart Association
  • Pharmaceutical companies aggressively lobbying and funding organizations to fight against vaping
Cigarette taxes and smoking-related medical spending are tremendous sources of funding for many powerful industries and trusted health brands. Without smoking, they will face significant funding shortages.
To learn more about the technology and health effects of vaping, we interviewed the former president of the World Medical Association, former executive director at the World Health Organization, and many more doctors, scientists, and health experts. We have yet to find one expert in the field that doesn’t believe vaping is significantly safer than smoking. Most say that demonizing and over-regulating vaping products will lead people back to smoking.
The United Kingdom government’s Public Health England committee recently declared that “E-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking.”
Key findings of the review include:
  • The current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking
  • Nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realize e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking
  • There is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers
Rather than bowing to fear mongering and launching into regulations before there’s scientific evidence to support them, we urge caution and a measured approach. There’s no credible evidence that vaping is causing harm to the public, but millions of people say that it’s helped them quit smoking.
Nobody is saying that vaping is perfect. Just like condoms, there are moral and risk issues still being debated. Just like condoms, a common sense approach will save lives.
It’s time to return the deeming regulations to the FDA and begin a collaborative approach to rulemaking that doesn’t condemn millions of people to addiction and death.
Aaron Biebert
SpeechOMB

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