Tim Andrews

NIH Commissioned Research Shows BBB Tax On Quitting Smoking Will Lead To 2.5 Million Additional Smokers, Over 1.5 Million Preventable Deaths

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Thursday, November 18th, 2021, 4:44 PM PERMALINK

Americans For Tax Reform today called on House Democrats to accept the science as detailed in extensive reports commissioned by the U.S. Government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and vote AGAINST the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) due to its disastrous impact on public health. H.R. 5376 is expected to be voted on later this evening.

NIH commissioned research has found that the tax increases on people trying to quit smoking through electronic nicotine delivery systems contained in H.R. 5376 would lead to 2.5 million additional smokers in the United States,  including an additional half a million teen smokers.. The new tax proposal includes products that have been approved by the FDA as “appropriate for the protection of public health” and have been conclusively proven to be 95% safer than traditional combustible tobacco”.  

“It is mind-boggling that in the midst of a global pandemic, Nancy Pelosi is pushing a tax hike on people trying to save their lives, just to pay for a tax-cut for the ultra rich” said Tim Andrews, Director of Consumer Issues at Americans for Tax Reform. “The science is crystal clear: This bill is a public health disaster. The tax hikes on people trying to quit smoking contained in H.R. 5376 would lead to more people millions more Americans smoking – and dying as a result. “With millions of lives on the line, it’s time for Congressional Democrats to listen to the science – and reject Nancy Pelosi’s desperate SALT pay-for cash grab which seeks to raise revenue at the expense of human lives“

Andrews continued: “To increase taxes on poor Americans trying to quit smoking just to pay for tax cuts for multi-millionaires is morally reprehensible. Not only is this a blatant violation of President Biden’s Pledge not to increase taxes on Americans under earning $400,000, not only is it a Reverse Robin Hood which robs from the poor to give to the rich, it is a tax the evidence clearly shows will lead to an extra 2.5 million Americans smoking, and dying as a result. To condemn so many lives to pay for tax breaks for multi-millionaires is one of the most morally bankrupt actions ever undertaken by a government.’

HR 5376 includes a new tax of $50.33 per 1,810 mg of nicotine contained in next generation electronic nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes. These funds would be used to help pay for SALT provisions for the ultra-wealthy, which the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation has stated would give two-thirds of people making more than a million dollars a tax cut.” Of the 2.5 million additional smokers this Act would create, it is estimated that two thirds – or over 1.6 million -would die as a result.

Andrews concluded: “Nancy Pelosi’s Build Back Better Act  places a small amount of revenue as more important than saving over 1.5 million lives. We call upon all Democrats to follow their conscience, and do the right thing by their constituents, and vote against this deeply unethical and immoral blood tax."

Photo Credit: Vaping 360

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Bloomberg, the World Health Organisation & the Vaping Misinfodemic

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021, 12:32 PM PERMALINK

As the delegates are meeting for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control behind closed doors this week, public health experts across the globe expressed their disappointment as to what is on the agenda, but rather what is missing.

Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, multiple times more effective than any other smoking cessation method, and has been shown to have the power to save over 200 million lives in the next decade, any talk of tobacco harm reduction is strictly off the agenda. Yes that’s right, the first meeting of delegates to the world’s major tobacco control conference since 2018, are refusing to discuss… the most successful tobacco control product in history.

In addition to the vested interests of large national WHO donors in preventing smokers from making the switch, such as China, whose government owns one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, a significant reason for this is the hundreds of millions of dollars that US Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has used to combat harm reduction at the WHO, and attempt to deny smoking cessation alternatives to persons in developing countries.

Now, a new report entitled “Bloomberg, WHO and the Vaping Misinfodemic,” and compiled under the leadership of former World Health Organisation Senior Adviser Charles Gardner, PHD, examines in detail the corrupting influence of Michael Bloomberg on the World Health Organization, and how science has been distorted. Offering a clear, albeit shocking, portrait of how the World Health Organization, at the behest of Blooomberg, goes against its core mission of tobacco control, the report also offers concrete options for reform to improve transparency, accountability, as well as a return to science based policy.

At a time when Bloomberg has been under investigation by the Philippines Government for attempting to subvert their regulatory process, and leaked documents have revealed how extensive and pervasive Bloomberg’s Philanthropies attempts to manipulate governments are, this report is a wake up call to governments who care about the health of their populace, and to use it to achieve genuine change.  

Photo Credit: Seth Anderson

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Build Back Better Act Protects Big Tobacco & Robs From The Poor To Give To The Rich

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Friday, November 5th, 2021, 11:40 AM PERMALINK

Press Release: Build Back Better Act Protects Big Tobacco & Robs From The Poor To Give To The Rich

Americans for Tax Reform today called on House Democrats to match their rhetoric with their votes and vote NO on new taxes on people quitting smoking.  H.R. 5376, The Build Back Better Act, includes new taxes on lifesaving alternative nicotine delivery systems which would see some prices double and could make them more expensive than deadly combustible cigarettes. Democrat leadership plan to use these funds to pay for the SALT Deduction tax break for the super-wealthy.  

“If House Democrats truly cared about social justice and poorer Americans, they would oppose the immoral new taxes in the Build Back Better Act designed to protect cigarette companies, discourage smokers from quitting, and redistribute funds from low-income earners to the wealthy elite” said Tim Andrews, Director of Consumer Issues.

“Millions of Americans have successfully quit smoking through reduced risk tobacco alternatives, which the FDA has ruled appropriate for the protection of public health. To tax products these products higher than deadly combustible cigarettes is simply outrageous, and will lead to more Americans smoking – with tragic consequences.  Academic research estimates these taxes would lead to 2.75 million more American smokers, and security analysts are already urging investors  to purchase shares in tobacco companies as the Build Back Better Act would “would effectively protect U.S. cigarette sales

Andrews also noted how the nicotine tax is being used to pay for SALT deductions, almost all of which will be used to benefit persons earning over $1 million annually, while users of these products overwhelmingly come from the poorest segments of society:

“With the vast majority of users of reduced risk tobacco alternatives low-income earners, this highly regressive tax not only blatantly violates Joe Biden’s pledge to not increase taxes on persons earning under $400,000, by using it to fund the SALT deduction for the wealthy elite, it is quite literally a tax on the poor to give to the rich. It beggars belief that so-called “progressives” could ever support this reverse Robin Hood.”

Andrews concluded: “Small increases in revenue must never come at the expense of human lives. We call on all Democrats to stand up for their constituents, and vote against this immoral new tax. Millions of lives quite literally depend on it.”

Photo Credit: Centophobia

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Anti-Vape Activists Cause First Increase In Cigarette Sales In 20 Years

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021, 10:57 AM PERMALINK

Newly released data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shown that annual cigarette sales in 2020 increased for the first time in two decades, despite numerous tax increase in multiple states on the product. The increase in cigarette sales follows a concerted effort by well funded anti-vaping activists to distort the science and data regarding vaping to pass laws restricting consumer access, causing a significant drop in the number of smokers quitting, as well as leading smokers who had previously made the switch returning to combustible tobacco.

Vaping, a proven harm reduction technology which is 95% safer than deadly combustible tobacco, is endorsed by over 60 of the world’s leading medical bodies, and according to studies conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center has the potential to save 6.6 million American lives in the next 10 years. Despite the science, activists, primarily funded by Michael Bloomberg to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, throughout 2020 lobbied lawmakers to restrict access to this vital quit-smoking aid, leading to multiple states and local governments banning the majority of vaping products. These bans, such as those instituted in San Francisco, have already been shown by Yale University to increase youth smoking rates and this latest data demonstrates that these restrictions have contributed to smoking increasing across the board.

In addition, misinformation regarding “EVALI”, a 2019 outbreak of lung illnesses caused by illicit, black market THC products laced with Vitamin E acetate which has nothing to do with nicotine vaping products, has also been shown to have increased the smoking rate. According to previously published research conducted by Boston University, anti-vaping activists “messaging that questioned the safety of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes” and falsely attributed EVALI to nicotine vaping “led to an increase in combustible cigarette use

This trend of increased smoking is set to continue if Congressional Democrats get their way, and impose staggering new Federal Taxes on e-cigarettes. Academic modelling has shown that Democrat proposals, which would see e-cigarettes taxed even higher than combustible tobacco, would lead to 2.75 million additional smokers in the United States.

The increase in smoking rates has proven the devastating public health consequences of the Bloomberg-driven anti-vaping campaign in the United States. It’s time that lawmakers accept the science, and follow other governments such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, who are actively promoting smokers making the switch to vaping. Millions of lives quite literally depend on it.

Photo Credit: Centophobia

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Support Our Right To A Fast Dishwasher!

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Tuesday, October 12th, 2021, 2:14 PM PERMALINK

All Americans know just how terrible dishwashers have become in recent years, with cycles taking two and a half hours, and still not getting the job done! 

Just 20 years ago, dishwashers were able to wash dishes in under an hour. So what happened? Like with most things, government got in the way and created "standards" which lead to consumers being worse off, and the environment being worse off as many Americans simply hand wash their dishes, wasting double the energy and water in the process. 

Under the previous administration, a new pro-consumer, pro-innovation rule was enacted by the Department of Energy allowing for the creation of fast, efficient, dishwashers, washing machines and driers which would make life easier for families. Despite overwhelming public support for the measure, the Biden Administration is considering revoking these common sense rules, and ensuring households will continue to struggling with poorly-operating household appliances for years to come.

ATR submitted the following letter to the Department of Energy urging them to oppose this anti-consumer, anti-innovation rule: 

October 12, 2021

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Department of Energy
Forrestal Building 
1000 Independence Avenue, SW 
Washington, DC 20585

RE: Docket Number EERE-2021-BT-STD-0002; Energy Conservation Standards Regarding the Product Classes for Residential Dishwashers, Residential Clothes Washers, and Consumer Clothes Dryers  

To whom it may concern,  

Americans for Tax Reform thanks the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the opportunity to submit comments regarding the proposal to revoke 85 FR 68723 (Oct. 30, 2020) (“October 2020 Final Rule”); 85 FR 81359 (Dec. 16, 2020) (“December 2020 Final Rule”) which created new classes of products for residential dishwashers, clothes washers, and clothes dryers. It is submitted that the decision to revoke both the October 2020 Final Rule and the December 2020 Final rule is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of both the statutory regime created under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as well as a failure to adequately consider statutory factors with regards to consumer utility. Despite the differing product classes under both the October and December Product rules, given the similar nature of these two rules, for the purposes of these comments they shall be considered in tandem. 

It is fundamentally critical to note that under the EPCA, the Department of Energy (DOE) is required to access standards based on a number of set statutory factors. These include the economic impact of the standard on manufacturers and consumers, as well as “the utility or the performance of the covered product”. As such, it is the statutory obligation of the DOE to access the impact on consumer welfare. Unfortunately, the proposed rule fails to appropriately access these factors. The evidence demonstrates that faster classes of consumer appliances are of significant benefit to members of the public. This is demonstrated through publicly available polling data which shows in excess of 80% of consumers would find such projects useful, as well as public comments on the original bill, where of the individuals who submitted comments 98% were in favor. It is furthermore evident that shorter cycles of these appliances are particularly beneficial to larger families, and, with in lower income brackets tending to have higher birth rates across the board, denying low-income families access to such services – which may not be needed by higher income families, or those able to afford housekeeping services, indirectly penalizes the poor and helps exacerbate the problems associated with income inequalities. 

In addition to failing to adequately access consumer welfare, the proposed rulemaking follows an extremely superficial analysis of the environmental impact, neglecting to consider the abundance of evidence regarding the longer-term environmental benefits brought about through these new classes of products. While it is conceded that energy or water use may be slightly higher than under the older classes, relying purely on this metric fails to adequately capture the fullness of the scenario. Due to the length of time of the older product classes of dishwashers, significant numbers of Americans – up to 86% according to recent survey data - wash their dishes by hand, at least some or all of time. Washing dishes by hand is significantly more water and energy intensive than any form of dishwasher would be, and as such, this proposed rule may significantly increase water usage. Similarly, longer cycles for washing machines make it considerably more difficult to time their clothes washing around the weather, taking advantage of sunshine to dry their clothes. As a result, energy use would increase as people are forced to use tumble dryers when the new rules would allow for greater use of clotheslines. 

It is furthermore noted that the proposed rulemaking appears to be based on a form of statutory construction which is in direct contrast to the plain reading of the EPCA in arguing that no new product classes could loosen requirements. This interpretation of anti-backsliding provisions is in direct contrast to the relevant part of the EPCA which discusses the “performance-related feature justifies the establishment of a higher or lower standard” clearly demonstrating that newer product standards can lower requirements if adequately justified. 

It is further worth mentioning that while no products under the new rules have been presently introduced to market, this is partially attributed to regulatory uncertainty, and as this rule would simply block innovation without accessing future technological innovation, this is not an adequate reason to propagate the new rule. In addition, we caution against engaging in anti-competitive regulatory policy which would benefit existing manufacturers, at the expense of newer ones trying to enter the market; benefiting vested interests to prevent consumer interest would be contrary to all guides of sound public policy.

In seeking to rescind the October and December public rules, with no cost benefit analysis, no adequate analysis of consumer welfare or the disproportionate harm this rule would cause low-income earners, and no genuine analysis of the environmental impact, the DOE has failed to fulfil the statutory requirements of the EPCA. As such, we strongly urge the proposed rulemaking to be withdrawn. 

Thank you for taking the time to consider the points raised in this submission, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions. 

Sincerely,


Tim Andrews
Director of Consumer Issues
Americans for Tax Reform 

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Tobacco Tax Grab a Disaster for Michigan Residents, Businesses, & State Budget

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Monday, October 4th, 2021, 4:56 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) strongly condemned plans by Congressional Democrats to increase tobacco taxes by $96 billion as devastating to Michigan, ahead of a visit by President Joe Biden to Howell tomorrow.  

ATR’s Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, stated “Any plans to double the federal tobacco tax and impose new taxes reduced risk tobacco alternatives are a blatant violation of President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning under $400,000. This tax hike will harm the poorest Americans and entrench income inequalities even further. 72% of smokers are low-income earners. It is unconscionable to increase taxes on the poor – who are still struggling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic - to pay for more subsidies for the rich. 
 
Andrews also noted the negative effects that this tax hike would have on the Michigan economy and on the State’s budget: “These new taxes will lead to disastrous economic consequences for retailers and family-owned convenience stores as more and more smokers will move to the black market. In addition to eliminating an estimated 400 jobs, estimates project that the tax hike will reduce wages by $19.6 million and significantly reduce state government revenue.  

Andrews concluded that “Democrats in other states like Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear have already condemned this proposal as bad for families and bad for their states. When President Biden visits Howell tomorrow, voters must hold him to his pledge and let him know that The Wolverine State just can’t afford more new taxes.” 

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CDC Data Debunks "Teen Vaping" Panic

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Friday, October 1st, 2021, 8:18 AM PERMALINK

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congressional Democrats are trying to tax and regulate the vaping industry out of existence based on claims of a "youth epidemic", newly released data from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA's 2019 and 2020 National Youth Tobacco Surveys conclusively demonstrates that this myth is not grounded in any factual bases. 

Current data shows that only 3.1% of High School Students and just 0.2% of Middle School students vape daily, and the number of students who had experimented with at least one puff of a e-cigarette in the last 30 days plummeted by 50% since 2018.  These numbers are expected to fall further, as policies such as Tobacco 21 and increased enforcement reduces the ability for young Americans to have access to these products.

While certainly it would be ideal if no high school students used these products, to claim 3.1% of high school and 0.2% of middle school students vaping is somehow an "epidemic" is laughable nonsense.

To cut off access for adults trying to quit smoking with a product proven 95% safer which has the potential to save millions of lives on the basis of a myth which government provided data easily disproves will be remembered as one of the worst public health decisions of a generation. 

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9 Facts About The Democrats $96 Billion Tobacco & Vaping Tax Grab

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Thursday, September 16th, 2021, 11:07 AM PERMALINK

  1. Congressional Democrats plan to double the Federal Tobacco Tax – a clear violation of President Biden’s pledge to not raise taxes on anyone earning under $400,000
     
  2. This will disproportionately harm the poorest Americans and increase income inequalities: 72% of smokers are low-income earners. In some states poorer smokers already spend one quarter of their income on tobacco
     
  3. Tobacco Tax hikes have been shown to do nothing to reduce smoking rates
     
  4. Tobacco tax hikes have been proven to lead to more smuggling by international criminal syndicates, often with terrorist links, which the State Department calls “a threat to national security”
     
  5. Democrats also plan to increases taxes on people trying to quit smoking though e-cigarettes,  smokeless tobacco, heated tobacco, or nicotine pouches by thousands of percent, in some cases by thousands of percent.
     
  6. New taxes will be imposed on products authorized by the FDA to be marketed as putting people “at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis”  and "help addicted adult smokers transition away from combusted cigarettes and reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals".
     
  7. A new vaping tax would make some e-cigarettes more expensive than combustible tobacco – despite them being 95% safer and recommended by over 50 of the world’s leading medical bodies.
     
  8. A large-scale analysis from the US’s top cancer researchers coordinated by Georgetown University Medical Center found that 6.6 million American lives can be saved if a majority of cigarette smokers switched to vaping.
     
  9. Academic modelling has shown that the vaping tax will lead to more than 2.75 million additional American smokers

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Democrats To Slug Poorest Americans WIth Tax Hikes & Create 2.75 Million Extra Smokers

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, 10:28 PM PERMALINK

In a shocking display of callousness towards low income Americans, it was revealed tonight that one of the many ways Congressional Democrats plan to pay for their overspending is to slug the poorest and most vulnerable members of society with a staggering $96 billion dollar tax hike. To make matters even worse, not only is this a clear and blatant breach of President Biden’s promise to not raise taxes on persons earning under $400,000, academic modeling has shown that this proposal would lead to an extra 2.75 million Americans continuing to smoke deadly combustible cigarettes - with deadly consequences.

Small increases in projected revenue should never come at the expense of human lives. 

According to leaked documents, Congressional Democrats plan to double the Federal tobacco tax. Not only has data from National Adult Tobacco Surveys consistently demonstrated that increasing tobacco taxes no longer has ANY impact on smoking rates, 72% of smokers are from low-income communities. To increase taxes on people unable to quit as they are struggling with the costs of the Covid-19 pandemic will put unnecessary hardship on families who are already struggling to make ends meet. Even former President Obama remarked when he was in office: "The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole." Yet this proposal flies in the face of that sage advice from the 44th President.

In fact, evidence shows that the only impact cigarette tax increases have is to lead to a boom for criminal syndicates selling illicit black market tobacco products.  Contrary to popular belief that tobacco smuggling is a victimless crime, most tobacco smuggling is run by multi-million-dollar organized crime syndicates. These networks, who also engage in human trafficking & money laundering, have also been used to fund terrorist and the US State Department has explicitly called tobacco smuggling a “threat to national security”.  As a result, tobacco tax increases almost never reach the projected revenue goals: Only three out of 32 state tobacco increases studied met tax revenue estimates.

But that’s only the start of it: To make matters worse, Congressional Democrats also plan to tax people who try to save their lives by quitting smoking through the use of reduced risk tobacco alternatives. Electronic cigarettes have been proven to be at least 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and between 3 and 7 times more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapies. For this reason they have been endorsed by over 50 of the world’s leading public health organizations as safer than smoking and an effective way to help smokers quit. A large-scale analysis from the US’s top cancer researches coordinated by Georgetown University Medical Center found that 6.6 million American lives can be saved if a majority of cigarette smokers switched to vaping.

Rather than follow international best practices and encourage smokers to quit through using these lifesaving alternatives to cigarettes, Congressional Democrats appear to want to instead penalize and tax them for doing so. It should be obvious that when something becomes more expensive, fewer people engage in that practice. This is why the National Bureau of Economic Research  studied Minnesota’s tax on vaping products and determined that the tax prevented 32,400 additional adult smokers from quitting smoking. Additionally, they found “consistent and robust evidence” that taxes on e-cigarettes increase smoking rates, decrease smoking cessation, and lead to more tobacco-related deaths. Researches then modeled the impact of the proposed e-cigarette tax if enacted nationally, determining it would deter some 2.75 million smokers from quitting. Yet that is what is currently been proposed.

If enacted, this proposal will not only hurt low income Americans, damage businesses already doing it tough, and be a boon to international criminal syndicates. As well as this, rather than reduce smoking rates, it would increase them and lead to a staggering 2.75 million more Americans smoking - and dying - as a result.

To condemn millions of Americans to death just to help pay for political pet projects is unconscionable. Everyone who believes in public health, sound public policy, and the fundamental rights of Americans to help save their own lives, should oppose this with every fiber of their being.

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FDA Devastates Lifesaving Vapor Industry

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 2:59 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, in a devastating blow to public health, President Biden's FDA bowed to radical anti-science political activists late yesterday and refused to grant PMTA authorizations to any life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternative vaping product. As a result, it is now illegal to sell any vaping product in the United States.

While the FDA has already rejected many applications hundreds of companies remain in limbo as the FDA refuses to finalize their applications, despite a September 9 deadline. It is now illegal to sell any vaping product without FDA authorization.

These outrageous now regulations were imposed even though these products are proven to be 95% safer than combustible tobacco, 3-7 times more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies, and, according to Georgetown University Medical Center, having the potential to save up to 6.6 million American lives. For this reason, they are endorsed by over 50 of the world’s leading medical organizations.  And it is now illegal to sell any of them.

While the FDA has stated it will use its discretion in enforcing the law while outstanding applications are pending, so far, it has rejected every application it has ruled upon. Moreover, in its rulings, it has demanded that individual vape manufacturers would have needed to supply a “randomized controlled trial or longitudinal cohort study,” costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, for every product, variety, or strength or e-liquid a manufacturer develops. Even the smallest of vape stores sell hundreds of different products. In order to have any chance of approval, they would have to spend over a hundred million dollars – something impossible.

As a result, it is now almost certain that thousands of independent vape shops will shut down. Millions of former smokers who rely on vaping devices will gradually return to smoking, with deadly consequences.

Smoking kills seven million Americans annually - twice as many as have been killed thus far by the Covid-29 Pandemic. For the FDA to rule that tens of millions of smokers will be unable to quit their deadly habit through a scientifically proven reduced risk alternative will leave a long-term death toll far higher than Covid ever would.

Photo Credit: Vaping 360

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