(KCPW News) A statewide ban on flavored nicotine candy failed in the House Business and Labor Committee on Friday. Representative Paul Ray’s bill would have banned stores from selling gum, dissolving strips and other candy-like products that have not been approved by the FDA for helping someone quit smoking. A frustrated Ray addressed his supporters in the hallway after his bill was voted down.
“What they’re telling us is their profits, tobacco companies’ profits are a lot more important than the health of Utah children and Utah families, and that is not to be tolerated,” he said. “I say we come out there, we work the legislature, we do not let this issue die. Do not feel like you’ve been beaten. You got duped.”
Lawmakers on the committee argued they would support restrictions on nicotine candies, but an outright ban that would impact the rights of responsible adults goes too far. And advocates said nicotine products like flavored e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking.
Bonneville High School’s Nick Porter, who came to the hearing to support the measure, was in tears outside the committee room when it was voted down.
“I’m just disappointed that our state officials can’t make a decision to serve the families and to protect the kids,” he told KCPW. “This is something I feel passionately about that we should keep out of Utah something that’s so deadly.”
The bill was rejected on a 4-to-10 vote. But Ray said he still has a chance to bring it back to committee, which he plans to do.
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Isn’t Rep. Ray overlooking something? True, the FDA regulate products to help people quit using nicotine under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. The U.S. Congress recognized that there are millions who want to stop inhaling smoke, but nicotine abstinence does not work for them. Why else would the FDA-approved nicotine candies called “Nicorette” have a success rate that ranges from 2% to 7%. The other nicotine reduction therapy products such as patches, gum, and prescription inhalers are equally ineffective. Would any other medication be considered a “success” with rates like that?
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“Tobacco Act”) passed in 2009 gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. The Tobacco Act directed the FDA to establish requirements for identifying “reduced exposure” and “modified risk” tobacco products. Any tobacco product that is not combusted reduces exposure to the tar, carbon monoxide, particulates, and thousands of chemicals found in smoke. “Modified risk” products will need to demonstrate that they reduce harm or the risk of tobacco-related disease.
There is one tobacco product that has been on the market for decades that has demonstrated it reduces the risk of tobacco-related disease. Snus, a moist powder tobacco product, was developed in Sweden for the express purpose of reducing the health risks faced by smokers. Snus is processed to deliver lower concentrations of Tobacco-specific Nitrosamines (TSNAs) than traditional smokeless tobacco products. Peter Lee’s most recent review of the evidence concludes: “Using snus is clearly much safer than smoking. While smoking substantially increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, any increase from snus use is undemonstrated, and if it exists is probably about 1% of that from smoking.”
The newer electronic cigarettes (which, by the way are not manufactured by tobacco companies) and the dissolvable tobacco products without question reduce exposure to toxicants associated with smoking. First, none of these products are burned, so the risk of lung disease associated with smoking is eliminated. Second, the potentially cancer-causing nitrosamines have been reduced to the harmless levels found in Nicorette, Nicotrol, and Nicoderm products.
In Sweden, where citizens are given truthful information about the relative risks of smoking compared with other tobacco products, the adult smoking rates are the lowest in the world. A major factor in this low rate is the fact that 66% of Swedish men who were smokers switched to snus. It is time that the government and health professionals stop lying to smokers. “There is no safe form of tobacco” is technically true, because it is impossible to prove that anything is absolutely safe. However it is grossly misleading because over 80% of people who read that message believe it means, “No form of tobacco is any safer than smoking,” which is demonstrably untrue.
Electronic cigarettes have proven to be acceptable as a replacement for smoking. Success rates range as high as 80%. Over 90% of users report their health has improved–largely due to the eliminating of the harmful elements in smoke.
To protect children from smoking-related disease, it is necessary to reduce the smoking rates so that eventually there is no market for cigarettes. You don’t do that by removing options that have success rates of 66% to 80% in helping adults to stop smoking. You don’t do that by insisting smokers are only allowed to use the products with a 2% to 7% success rate.
By all means, protect the children. Ban the sale of these products to children — Oh, wait! That has already been done.
Then here is a novel 2-part idea. 1) Enforce the laws on the books against sales to those under age 19. 2) Educate adults to keep all products that contain nicotine (including the FDA products which caused 1,307 poisonings in 2009) out of reach of children and pets.
Why do you report only one side of the story?
Nick Porter is a teenager who has been misled. Rep. Ray is either severly misled or a liar. These smokeless products are NOT “deadly!” In fact, the availability of these new products have the ability to save millions of lives in the U.S!
Representaive Ray apparently doesn’t know that SMOKING is what causes nearly all of the disease and illness related to tobacco use. If smokers would switch to smokeless products such as these, they would practically eliminate any health risks! If Ray gets these banned, all he would be protecting is CIGARTTE USE.
If your kid or your kid’s friend ate potato chips, would you rather they choose high-fat chips or a low-fat alternative? Would you want your elderly parent with heart disease to use lard or a low-chloesterol margerine? If they decided to try tobacco or if they smoke, would you rather they SMOKE a proven deadly cigarette or use a low-risk, smoke-free alternative? If you ban smokeless products, all you are doing is guaranteeing that they’ll SMOKE instead.
These products aren’t intended to “lure” kids into nicotine use and then smoking. They are intended to be a SMOKELESS (because smoke is hazardous) alternative for adult tobacco users.
Yes, some kids will try these – the same kids who would otherwise try smoking. And yes, a small portion of kids who try these will start using nicotine regularly. But the chances are much greater that they will continue use these products INSTEAD OF SMOKING. Smoking kills, NOT smokless nicotine. If you ban these, the kids who would have used them will just SMOKE instead! Trying to ban these smoke-free products makes as much sense of banning low-fat, sugar-free snacks and hoping kids won’t eat the high-fat, sugary stuff on the store shelf instead. IT’S COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC!
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association is a non-profit group who are NOT associated with tobacco companies. One of our members, Jacinda Ross, testified at the committee meeting. None of us are paid – we are ALL volunteers – so we have no financial stake in supporting these products. We are former smokers who did the research and found out that smokers who cannot or will not quit will reduce their health risks by nearly 99% and greatly improve their health by switching to these low-risk tobacco products. We have also discovered that teens who start using tobacco with smokeless products instead of cigarettes are much LESS likely to start smoking. Additionally, these products completely eliminate second-hand smoke in homes and cars!
Cigarettes are still legal to sell in Utah. Too many Utah children are still trying cigarettes and they always will so long as cigarettes are available – you simply aren’t going to stop it no matter what you do. Quit smoking rates have stalled and teen use is increasing, in spite of federal bans on flavored cigarettes, severe restrictions on advertising and sales prohibited to underage youth.
By attempting to ban safer alternatives, Rep. Ray is saying that only the most hazardous form of tobacco – cigarettes – should be available on the market. He is saying that kids with smoking relatives should continue to be exposed to second-hand smoke. How is that protecting public health??
He is basing this campaign on hysterics and assumptions and not on the FACTS. Instead of banning these products, they should be recommended to adult smokers as a much safer alternative to smoking. And they have to TASTE GOOD and be successful at replacing cigarettes in order for people to want to switch, so banning pleasant flavors is completely counter-productive. People need to educate themselves on the facts about smokeless vs. smoking and that is why CASAA was created!
The House Business and Labor Committee did more than just protect the “rights of responsible adults” in defeating this bill – they may have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of current smokers by giving them smokeless products to switch to and saved potential smokers by giving them something else to try besides cigarettes. They showed that they DO care about the health of Utah children and Utah families by stopping Rep. Ray’s misguided bill. Now we just need to get the message out to smokers to switch!
I am on the Board of Directors for CASAA. Whittney, please contact me and I will give you any information you need to prove to you that what I am saying is the TRUTH and backed with real, scientific research – not junk science.
I cannot surpass the educational facts provided by Ms. Keller and Ms. Noll-Marsh. I would like to add that if we as a society are sincerely interested in improving public health it will mean that we must abandon the hysteria and fear mongering that always rears its head when the topic of anything to do with tobacco or nicotine comes up. That will mean abandoning moralistic arguments that seek to punish people who one started smoking and instead looking at factual information that shows there are much, much safer alternatives to cigarettes. All tobacco products are not created equal. Some are, in fact, much less dangerous than others, and that includes benefits to non-tobacco users who will be exposed to far less second hand smoke the more cigarette smokers begin to use smokeless alternatives. This will also mean far fewer smoking related illnesses and deaths even for people who continue to use tobacco or nicotine in other forms. Our officials need to stop acting like the children they say they are trying to protect and cease from having these emotional temper tantrums that are too often based on inaccurate beliefs in the first place. The FDA and the anti-smoking groups have revealed themselves to be special interest groups, and public health doesn’t appear to be on their list of special intersts anymore.
Paul Ray is one of those people who just can’t admit when they’re wrong.
If he is really so concerned about the children, then why did he modify the bill to only include smokeless tobacco products? If you look at the statistics you know that tobacco products which are smoked are many MANY times more dangerous than smokeless products.
And the phrase “Big Tobacco” was certainly thrown around a lot at the hearing, although electronic cigarettes are in no way manufactured by these large corporations. In fact, we e-cigarette users are taking away profits of the tobacco companies when we stop buying their cigarettes, so I doubt they are even on our side in this situation.
I have the right to not smoke anymore. The method I have decided to use is effective and about a thousand times safer than smoking.
Would you tell a person using Nicorette Gum that they have to have tobacco-flavored gum? Why not? Do you think having the FDA put their seal of approval on something puts a magical force field around their products that will keep children from being able to get to them?
I know that if a parent who smokes decides to stop smoking and switch to a smoke-free nicotine alternative, part of the reason they are switching is because they care about their children’s welfare. That person is going to care enough to make sure that their children do not have access to their lozenges, strips, snus, e-cigarette, etc.
Let parents be parents, and let adults be adults.
Today, Feb. 28th, would have been my mother’s 68th birthday, but she died of cancer in Oct. of 2002 at the age of 59. She had tried dozens of times to quit smoking using all the different FDA approved pharmaceutical cessation products available, none of them worked for more than a week or two after completing the course outlined. She smoked until her final day on this earth, unable, even as she lay dying, to quit.
After her death, I made dozens of attempts to quit smoking myself, using all those FDA approved pharmaceutical products as well, none of them worked for me either. A year ago today, I was in the emergency room with what apparently was a mild heart attack, I knew I had to quit smoking cigarettes or I too would be dead before the age of 60 just like my mother. And so the search began to find something, anything that would allow me to give up smoking cigarettes and thus save me from an extremely early death.
In June of 2010, my husband and I saw an advertisement about electronic cigarettes and decided, after several weeks of researching all we could find, to give them a try. Our kits arrived on July 19, 2010 and that is the last day that I smoked a tobacco cigarette. During the following months my health began improving, my lung capacity increased, my blood pressure stabilized in the normal range and I was able to come off of the 2 blood pressure meds I had been put on. My family doctor has declared me a non-smoker now in my medical chart and is extremely happy that I made this life saving change in my life.
It’s because these smokeless tobacco products are available in flavors other than tobacco that I have been able to remain smoke-free now for almost 8 months. I have not given up my nicotine which actually keeps my mild depression under control, but I have given up all the toxins that are found in the smoke of cigarettes. I’m 50 yrs. young now, and I’m sorry, but I absolutely love my flavors that aren’t tobacco flavors.
These products are not marketed towards minors, they are marketed towards those of us who were or are smokers, the majority of us being over the age of 30. Kids could care less about these smokeless products, there’s no “cool” factor about them, no shock value to them in their eyes. As for the electronic cigarettes appealing to kids, I seriously doubt that one too. First off, they are expensive to start with and secondly they require a lot of maitenance to keep them working properly, I have yet to meet a kid who has that kind of money or patience.
If Representative Ray wants to keep fighting this fight, he needs to take any reference to electronic cigarettes out of his bills going forward. Because all of us that have SAVED OUR LIVES through the use of electronic cigarettes will fight until our last breath to keep people from killing us. And now that we no longer smoke, we will have a LOT of time until our last breath comes, thank God.
If Rep. Ray truly cares about the health of his constituents and their children, why on earth is he trying to remove the *least* harmful products while leaving the *most* harmful products on the shelves?
To quote David Sweanor: “The vast majority of the harm caused by smoking is from the method of nicotine delivery rather than from the nicotine itself. There would be a parallel problem if people got caffeine from smoking tea leaves rather than making an infusion of these leaves in hot water. It is clear to far-sighted researchers that there are huge gains to be made from dealing with the delivery system.”
Thankfully, the majority of the committee members saw what Rep. Ray stubbornly refuses to see, which is that to remove products that have the potential to save lives is unconscionable, that adults have a right to choose whether or not they want to use a legal product intended for adults, and that the way to prevent teenagers from using adult products is to forbid them to purchase those products (the same way we forbid them to purchase sweet-flavored drinks that contain alcohol).
The best thing voters in Utah could do is elect someone to replace Rep. Ray. There are too many agenda driven politicians in office that can’t see the truth and he is one of them. How a man can push for legislation without understanding the issues is beyond me.
I was a 43 year, 2-3 pack a day smoker until about 20 months ago. I tried every conceivable quit smoking product or behavioral modification program other than Chantix over the years, non-worked. I know I tried at least 2 dozen methods and there probably were more but 43 years is a long time. The longest I ever quit smoking was on Zyban for a period of three months but a funny thing happened along the way. My prescription ran out and then it was slowly, back to cigarettes. A pretty typical story among long term smokers. I gave up trying to quit about 10 years ago after my second attempt at hypnosis.
Then along came the E-Cigarette which my girlfriend talked me into buying. I only got one to appease her. I tried it and found that I liked it. I bought tobacco flavored liquid, but quickly found I liked the other flavors much more. My cigarette count dropped immediately to about six a day with use of my PV (personal vaporizer, my preferred name for E Cigs).
This worked well for six months, but by then I wanted to quit smoking altogether and the PV wasn’t getting me there. That’s when I found out about Swedish snus. I had my fears of smokeless tobacco due to the lies spread by our government over the last three decades, but they were quickly alleviated with a search for the truth on the net. So over a year ago I received my first order of Swedish snus and I haven’t smoked since. I was smoking something like 40 grams of tobacco a day before this journey started. Today, I use about 4 grams of snus that satisfies my needs.
Incidentally, much of my favorite snus is flavored also. It’s not “candy” and it’s not flavored to “indice children”. The Utah ban would have made both PVs and snus illegal in Utah. These other new products that have been introduced-Stonewalls, Ariva, Orbs, sticks, et al. are being brought to market to give people alternatives to smoking.
There are benefits to using tobacco products for some people and others just like it much as some people like coffee and caffeinated products. Without the smoke, there is really little difference. What this country ought to be doing is promoting these safer alternatives for those that smoke rather than attempting to ban them. It would be a benefit to the smoker and non-smoker alike.