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Rule #1: Know the Opposition

Posted By Jonathan Noel, Tuesday, April 29, 2014
CPHA advocates for many different bills, on many different causes.  Sometimes, if we are really lucky, all parties involved agree that the bill is good for everyone and there is no opposition.  Most of the time though, there is some opposition.  And some of the time, there is a lot of opposition, particularly when the subject is controversial.

Among the most controversial topics is the use of e-cigarettes.  Some people like them, some people hate them, and other just pretend they don't exist.  But there is general agreement that they need to be regulated, and CPHA was fortunate enough to be there when Rep. Esty and Sen. Blumnethal unveiled legislation restricting e-cigarette marketing.  Recently, the FDA has released a proposal to regulated e-cigarettes under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, of which I personally support.

But remember, I said e-cigarettes are controversial, and with controversy comes opponents.  In addition to the standard corporate interests who will oppose nearly all regulations, there is also a "grassroots" organization called the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.  CASAA, as they call themselves, really did start out as a grassroots organization with little money and maybe too much time on their hands, and they genuinely believed that e-cigarettes were the greatest invention since they started smoking.  

That has sinced changed.  Not their belief that e-cigarettes are great, but that they are a grassroots organization, hence the quotation marks.

How do I know this? Carl V. Phillips, PhD.

Carl Phillips was once an associate professor at the University of Alberta, although never in public health, and has consistently taken tobacco industry money over the years.  He has been a paid consultant and testified in court in favor of tobacco industry interests.  He has received unrestricted grant money from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, which has since be bought out by Marlboro maker Altria (formerly Philip Morris), and was forced to leave the University of Alberta due to his tobacco industry ties.

He is now the scientific director of CASAA.

CASAA is not a grassroots organization anymore.  They have ties to the tobacco industry, the smokeless tobacco industry, and the e-cigarette industry. 

So please, if you have an interest in tobacco control, public health, local health, national health, or anything to do with health, look over the FDA proposal, and submit your comments.  I know CASAA and the other tobacco industry lobbyists will be submitting theirs.

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