Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Can Get Fired Up on This Subject

In my last blog I mentioned an inability to find a topic I can really get fired up about in a blog since G. W. is no longer around to kick. Since then I have had two hot topics fall in my lap. One of them I am still researching. I was Googling articles on the FDA when this gem popped up from a New York Times headline:

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to impose federal
regulation on cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, passing a landmark bill to empower the Food and Drug Administration to control products that eventually kill half their regular users.

I will suppress all urges to say, "What took you so long?" because I know the strong tobacco lobby pays for a lot of congressional seats and junkets and campaigns, etc. And even this historic bill has the hand of big tobacco in the framing: The FDA can regulate but not ban.

And let us put this in realistic perspective. The FDA does not have budget or manpower to regulate those substances they are already put in control of. This is the agency that cannot stop fake protein of a poisonous nature showing up in your baby and pet food made in China.

Hopefully they will pay some attention to the additives that go into your cigarette and other tobacco products; additives that do not have to be listed on the packaging because they are trade secrets. Most are flavorings like chocolate and cherry syrup to give a normally sage tasting leaf flavor. But the industry commonly uses ingredients like ammonia to rush the nicotine in tobacco to your blood stream (also used in freebasing crack cocaine I am told) to increase craving. Or a drying agent that stops the breathing of new workers on the assembly line or visitors as the wet tobacco passes through the ovens. Maybe they can pay attention to the fact that to increase usage of their product big tobacco ups the nicotine content by 14%. Nicotine, by the way, is a metabolic poison not unlike that fake protein used by China in baby formula only deadlier.

What other product that kills 50% of its users, not to mention their families from second hand smoke, would be allowed to stay on the market with or without regulation. Sorry, Congress, I think this is too little and too late.