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On April 15th, according to USA vape industry media reports, a congressional caucus dedicated to encouraging the reduction of tobacco hazards is being established with the support of Philip Morris International (PMI). The congressional caucus is an informal group that gathers to pursue common legislative goals.
The existence of the core group was first reported by Politico earlier this week, stating that PMI hired lobbyists in January to lobby for reducing tobacco hazards, FDA supervision, and the establishment of a core group for reducing hazards. The lobbyist is a former congressional staff member related to health issues, one of whom has also worked in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Yesterday, STAT News reported that the core group will be co chaired by Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler from Pennsylvania and Democratic Party of North Carolina Don Davis. Reschenthaler served as the chief vice whip of the Republican controlled House of Representatives during his third term. Davis was the first member of the House of Representatives and also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
What will the Tobacco Harm Reduction Core Group do?
The core group will provide a forum to discuss all aspects of this public health debate, including preventing underage use, risk-based taxation, methods to increase public understanding of less harmful alternative products, and regulatory procedures for managing these products.
Tobacco harm reduction, commonly referred to as THR, is a strategy to reduce tobacco risks by encouraging smokers to switch to less harmful tobacco or non burning nicotine products. Examples of THR products include vape, smokeless tobacco, nicotine bags, and heated tobacco products (HTP). The tobacco industry did not invent the concept or name of THR.
In recent years, Congress has debated and voted on many bills related to vape, nicotine, and tobacco – most of which have not received effective input from pro THR voices. Moreover, although PMI may be the driving force behind the formation of core groups, independent vaping industry and consumers can also seek to participate and influence discussions.
Establishing a core group dedicated to protecting consumers and industry interests in vape and nicotine may be a valuable tool for overturning the dominant position of Congress, which was formed by anti vape and tobacco organizations such as the smokeless children’s movement and its allies These groups have spent millions of dollars to influence debates and promote policy directions that lean towards prohibition.
The THR core group is a positive step and we look forward to seeing its development. Gregory Conley, legislative and foreign affairs director of the American Vapor Manufacturers Association (AVM) said. Adult vape users and small business owners should contact their congressmen and explain why they are considering joining so important.
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