ASH “Absolutely Worried”

Great! ASH is “absolutely worried” about the Trump administration. Yahoo News:

For much of the last eight years, Barack Obama has been struggling to keep a promise he made to his wife to quit smoking when he ran for president. As recently as last year, he was photographed in Germany holding something that looked suspiciously like a pack of cigarettes. (His spokesman denied it.) So public health advocates might be relieved that the White House will soon be occupied by a nonsmoker, president-elect Donald Trump.

Except that several key members of Trump’s transition team have ties to the tobacco industry — ties that have the anticigarette group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) “absolutely worried about the Trump administration,” a spokeswoman told Yahoo News. Of all the apocalyptic concerns that critics have raised about prospective members of the Trump administration, tobacco policy ranks far down the list. But it represents, in microcosm, the overlap between the transition team and the “swamp” of corporate lobbying and influence Trump had pledged to drain. And it will be one area to watch as the new administration sets in motion Trump’s announced plans for a wholesale dismantling of the modern regulatory state.

The worry for ASH began when Trump chose as his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who as a congressional candidate in 2000 wrote on his campaign website “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” His evidence — that “2 out of every 3 smokers does not die from a smoking related illness” — suggested he was stretching the limits of logic to make his case, although he pointedly stopped well short of saying “that smoking is good for you.” In his career as a congressman, Pence went on to collect tens of thousands of dollars in tobacco industry campaign contributions, according to the liberal watchdog group ThinkProgress, and to vote against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 — a bill that even most Republicans supported.

Pence is also the head of Trump’s transition team, which includes Cindy Hayden, a lobbyist for the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris. Hayden heads the Homeland Security team, an appointment presumably owing less to her tobacco industry experience than to her role in killing immigration reform bills as chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And then there is Myron Ebell of the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, who heads the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency, and who, according to this profile by Jeremy Symons of the Environmental Defense Fund, was part of a tobacco-industry-funded effort in the 1990s to make cigarette regulations “politically unpalatable.”

Cigarette smoking has been on the decline in the U.S. for decades; only around 15 percent of the adult population smokes (although the figure in Pence’s home state of Indiana is 20.6 percent). There’s no reason to conclude that a Trump administration would actively seek to reverse that trend, but ASH sees a risk that future progress could be endangered. “There are a number of public health measures at risk if this administration remains closely tied to the tobacco industry,” Chris Bostic, ASH policy director, wrote in an email. “They could defund the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA [which is working to strengthen warning labels on cigarette packages] or the Office on Smoking and Health which runs the very effective ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ campaign.” Bostic is also on the alert against any attempts to roll back federal tobacco taxes, “widely agreed to be the most cost effective way to cut smoking rates.”

It’s too early to say if the new administration would do any of this, but it would be consistent with promises made by Trump as recently as October to eliminate “70 percent of regulations” by the federal government. Do Americans think the federal government is doing too much to protect them from food poisoning? A fact sheet posted on the Trump campaign website — and later removed — denounced “inspection overkill” by the “FDA food police,” including rules on “farm and food production hygiene, food packaging [and] food temperatures.”

The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment on its regulatory agenda.

Good to know that Trump’s administration has links to the tobacco industry. It’s about time it got a hearing inside the White House.

Let’s hope that Trump defunds the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, and the Office on Smoking and Health, and rolls back federal tobacco taxes. Let’s also hope that he names ASH as a terrorist organisation spreading lies and fear and division.

I’m not counting on Trump doing anything at all for over-regulated and persecuted smokers. But if he really wants to get rid of 70% of federal government regulations, he’s going to be hard pressed not to.


About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to ASH “Absolutely Worried”

  1. Donald Trump of course owns casinos in New Jersey. They brought in a smoking ban that also included casinos, Trump spoke out in favo(u)r. As soon as he saw turnover go down by 20% he changed his tune demanding an exemption for his casinos.

  2. ASH john banzhafts home town at Washington college did a story from the school staff of the paper condemning the ban and Banzhaft posted on the story straight up……….When your own back yard starts screaming to repeal the ban you have good reason to fear your lifes work going to shreds.

  3. Audrey Silk‎ to NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)

    Yesterday at 3:11am · New York, NY

    Nothing’s confirmed but if Ben Carson steps in to be HUD Secretary we might be assured (even though he’s also a doctor) that the proposed rule to ban smoking in public housing apartments will not come to fruition:

    “The HUD position is at first blush a surprising fit for Carson. However, Carson has previously shown an interest in the department. In June 2015, Carson criticized HUD for ‘overreach’ for forcing the city of Dubuque, Iowa to weigh housing voucher applications from Chicago the same as it did applications from Dubuque residents.

    “’This is just an example of what happens when we allow the government to infiltrate every part of our lives,’ said Carson, then a Republican presidential primary contender and an adversary of Trump. ‘This is what you see in communist countries, where they have so many regulations encircling every aspect of your life that if you don’t agree with them, all they have to do is pull the noose.’”


    Anti-smoking education would be better than ban
    Issue: November 20, 2016 | Opinions

    The irony of the smoking ban on campus is obvious everywhere from Kogan Plaza to the entryways of residence halls where signs that read “Welcome to our smoke-free campus” become hazed in cigarette smoke.

    When officials first instituted the smoking ban in 2013, they had good intentions. But we knew that a ban on an integrated city campus – a campus built within the city with no defining gates or enclosures – would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Many people who are not students, faculty or staff pass through the Foggy Bottom campus every day, and we can’t keep them from smoking.

    The ban operates on a self-policing method and sends violators with multiple infractions to the Office of the Provost, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and University Human Resources. Enforcing the ban when there are no set policies for violating it in place is unrealistic.

    Media Credit: Cartoon by Grace Lee
    Cartoon by Grace LeeThe University wants community members to stop smoking, but the ban has proven ineffective in accomplishing that. Therefore, it’s time for officials to be more realistic and to slowly move away from the ban. While it isn’t necessary to make the transition away from the ban an official move, it just makes sense for the University to take down the signs around campus and reallocate those efforts and resources to educate people on quitting smoking. The University offers a wide array of educational tools on how to quit smoking, but the information isn’t well-advertised.

    If officials were serious about the ban, then they would send every student found smoking to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. But we know from walking through campus every day that it doesn’t happen. Other universities are more easily able to enforce smoking and tobacco bans because they are enclosed universities. For example, both Georgetown and American universities have smoking bans and designated smoking areas. However, GW is more integrated into a city with public streets. Not only is it inefficient to try and stop every person who smokes, it’s unrealistic.

    Furthermore, the ban always seemed to be more of a public relations move or a way for the University to lower health insurance costs for faculty and staff than a true attempt to make our campus healthier. While trying to curb the amount of smoke on campus is a good idea, an outright ban isn’t the right way to handle it.

    Currently, GW is partnered with the Quit For Life program, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Association Society. Quit For Life is available to all students, employees and their spouses for free. The program gives participants access to nicotine substitutes like the patch, gums and coaches who walk participants through the process. It’s great that the University gives the community access to these tools, but people likely don’t know much about them unless they search through the GW “smoke-free” website. And someone might not realize the program’s free until they read through paragraphs of information.

    If officials replaced every “no smoking” sign on campus with information on how to quit smoking and how to access the resources the University already offers, it’s likely that smokers would be more inclined to learn more. Of course, a sign on every corner about why and how to quit smoking isn’t going to yield huge changes. But an effort to make the ban an educational tool rather than a shaming system would be a step in the right direction. People who smoke often know it’s bad for them – shaming them for smoking in public is less likely to change their decision-making than free resources and education are.

    And there are areas where the University can expand resources it already offers to help students and employees stop smoking. Mental Health Services hosts support groups for students on topics like recovering from a loss, body image and LGBT support. While there are groups offered for addiction and drug use, it would be beneficial to add a support group specifically for smokers looking to quit. Quitting smoking, like any other addiction, is a medical, physical and emotional battle. Students searching for support, or who might not be ready to quit but want to be with people who understand their battle, should have a place to go. We should empower smokers with the resources they need to quit smoking for good, and a trip to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities isn’t going to do that.

    Smoking is a public health issue, and of course it is unfair for nonsmokers to have to deal with the side-effects of secondhand smoke. But as members of this community, we have to be realistic in combating this issue. Buying and smoking cigarettes is perfectly legal, and we don’t have gates that cut our campus off from the real world. It’s time to tackle addictions head-on through education.

    The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Melissa Holzberg and contributing opinions editor Irene Ly, based on discussions with managing director Eva Palmer, homepage editor Tyler Loveless and copy editor Melissa Schapiro.

  5. Frank Davis says:

    I collected the winnings today for my £10 4:1 bet on Donald Trump. I thought I’d only get £40, but they give you back your bet as well. That was a nice little extra bonus.

    • Great Frank! Nothing like winning what they called a LONGSHOT……….lmao these pollsters already knew hitlery was gonna lose they just ran a scam for the democrats trying to demoralize the voters. They learned a whoopin ass lesson that wont wear off for decades.

  6. Pingback: In the News November 24th | Convicted Vapour

  7. junican says:

    Going back to the subject of Frank’s post, what is important is ASH’s ‘absolutely worried’ about the election of Trump. I love that. It is the opposite of ‘absolutely worried’ about the lack of decrease in smoking prevalence, although they never admit to it. I say ‘the opposite of’ because their worry about the lack of decrease in smoking prevalence a manufactured worry, whereas their worry about Trump is real. Trump MAY cut off their funding by cutting off the funding of the UN and all its dependencies. That depends upon whether or not the USA controls the UN. But times have changed. Control of the UN might not be important any more. Certainly it was important for some years after WW2. When North Korea invades South Korea, the response was supposed to have originated from the UN. The fact is that the response was from the USA and the States of the UN just acquiesced – apart from Russia and China, one might suppose.
    ASH should be worried – very worried – because Trump might do something sensible, like inviting the Tobacco Industry to propose ‘harm reduction’ techniques while not putting small ecig businesses out of business, nor persecuting smokers. ‘Heat not burn’ is such a technique, which is apparently doing well in Japan.
    But, ultimately, we smokers wish to just be left alone, which is the highest attribute of all. Just leave us alone. Let us risk our health if we wish to. Leave us alone. Stop taxing us excessively.
    That is the message which might just get through.

  8. nisakiman says:

    Now this is interesting. I commented on a letter to the Daily Telegraph a couple of days ago about the smoking ban in mental hospitals because letters in support of smoking rarely get published in the current climate of anti-smoking. To my surprise, there was another letter published the following day along the same lines. And today, yet another:

    SIR – When my civil partner went from rude health to death from pancreatic cancer in just four weeks earlier this year, his only pleasure was being wheeled by friends and family to a quiet corner of the hospital grounds for a cigarette and a joke.

    By the end, he would just light one and toy with it for old times’ sake.

    A smoking ban in hospital grounds (Letters, November 23) would merely pile vindictiveness on top of suffering.

    Robert Easton
    London W1

    That’s three letters criticising smoking bans on hospital grounds published by a mainstream newspaper in one week.

    Is the worm turning? Perhaps ASH have good reason to be ‘absolutely worried’. From little acorns great oaks grow, and all that.

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