Democrats Pull Out All The Stops

Grind for September 14th, 2018
“We never repent of having eaten too little.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Feeling Buzzed

The Headline

FDA considers banning flavored e-cigarette liquid

The Grind

As teen use of e-cigarettes or “vaping” reaches epidemic levels, the FDA is considering banning flavored e-cig liquids which are believed to attract adolescents.

Flavors other than menthol have been banned since 2009 in traditional cigarettes to reduce their appeal to teens. However, no flavors are currently restricted from e-cigarettes.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by National Youth Tobacco, nearly 12% of high school students and 3% of middle school students smoke e-cigarettes.

Such widespread usage puts hundreds of thousands of teens at an “exceedingly high” risk of developing nicotine addictions, says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

The Details

The FDA this week announced a massive vaping prevention campaign targeting 10 million adolescents who already vape or who are open to trying it.

On Wednesday, the agency sent a letter to leading e-cig manufacturer Juul demanding details on how it plans to curb sales to underage consumers. If it fails to do so, the agency will seriously consider banning flavored liquids.

Juul is currently facing a lawsuit from users claiming it markets to teens using flavors, trendy packaging, and social media.

“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger,” says Gottlieb. “We are very concerned that we could be addicting a whole generation of young people…We only have a narrow window of opportunity to address it.”

Meanwhile, the e-cig industry claims its products have helped millions of people quit smoking and insists that vaping is 95% safer than traditional smoking.

But as Gottlieb points out, the “youth risk” is more important than the potential decrease in adult smokers. “In closing the on-ramp to kids, we’re going to have to narrow the off-ramp for adults who want to migrate off combustible tobacco and onto e-cigs.”

Not only has vaping become more popular than tobacco among individuals under 20, but it came at a time when youth smoking rates were finally declining. And according to a 2017 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, teens and young adults who vape are more than 4x as likely as their peers to start smoking traditional cigarettes.

“I use the word epidemic with great care,” continues Gottlieb. “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous – and dangerous – trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”

Playing Dirty

The Headline

Unusual fundraising attempt seeks to dissuade Senator Collins from voting in favor of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

The Grind

Two left-leaning organizations in Maine have threatened to donate $1.3 million to Sen. Susan Collins’s next opponent if she votes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Trump’s pick for Supreme Court).

The crowdsource fundraising campaign, hosted by San Francisco-based website, has already raised $893,600. Those asking Collins to vote “no” see Kavanaugh as a threat to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and Obamacare.

The Implication

Senator Collins, who has not yet announced whether she intends to vote for Kavanaugh, said the threat would have no effect on her decision.

The fundraising campaign is “the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh,” said Collins. “If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors. If I vote for him, the money is given to my opponent for the 2020 race.”

Leading elections lawyer Cleta Mitchell has called on the FEC and the Department of Justice to investigate whether the campaign represents a violation of campaign finance law.

“Federal law prohibits anyone from offering a member of Congress anything of value in exchange for a member’s vote,” explains Mitchell. “These people have conspired to do just that…in exchange for her vote on a specific matter before the Congress.”

Crowdpac insists it has been thoroughly vetted by the FEC and that its business model has been approved. Crowdpac is “fundamentally different from a political action committee,” insists company spokesman TJ Adams-Falconer. “Crowdpac does not make contributions, process contributions, deposit contributions into a merchant or bank account in its name, or forward contributions to candidate committees…We always have been, and remain today, a for-profit corporation operating exclusively on a commercial basis.

Did you know… One cubic mile of seawater contains about 50 pounds of gold.