My tobacco-hating daughter's FDA comment
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    Default My tobacco-hating daughter's FDA comment

    I am not a smoker. I never have been, and I never will be. I hate smoking and tobacco products with an intense passion.
    Nevertheless, I am HIGHLY IN FAVOR of SMALL-BATCH, INDEPENDENT VAPING PRODUCTS.
    Growing up, both of my parents were full-time smokers, and my step-mother smoked occasionally. I grew up breathing their second-hand smoke. My teachers would check on me periodically out of concern that my clothing smelled like smoke, and did that mean I was a teenage smoker? No, but many of my friends were. (I even refused to date a guy in high school just because he was a smoker. It made him want to quit, but years later he still hadn’t, because cigarettes were just too addicting.)
    As a result of all of this second-hand smoke exposure, I am highly sensitive to second-hand tobacco smoke. I am the only one of the 5 children in my family who has never smoked or done any other recreational drugs. I am the only one who managed to resist the results of pre-addicting second-hand smoke in my everyday environment. As far as we can tell, it’s only because I’m a singer, and the rest of the family is not. Doctors just automatically prescribe me asthma medication, because it is so well known that children of smokers usually develop asthma.
    Now none of my parents or siblings smoke anymore, and far fewer of my friends do. This is because most of them have switched to vaping. The vast majority of them have switched to the kind of vaping that uses these dorky-looking, personalized, re-useable vapers, and small-batch vaping solutions that contain a mix of nicotine and other secondary tobacco compounds (if they contain the nicotine at all – some don’t). Something that is especially important to me is that they buy the re-useable devices and small-batch vaping solutions from these little, personal, independent companies that care a lot more about whether their products are useful to their customers than their profit margin. We’re not beholden to Big Tobacco’s coercive deceptions that addicted most of my family anymore, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
    Even better, not a single one of these mixtures has ever caused so much as a twitch from my allergies. I can BREATHE now, no matter what the heck my friends and family are inhaling. And I've noticed - so can they! They're not breathing all that tar anymore. Neither are my nieces and nephews! The next generation isn’t being subjected to involuntary addiction.
    I never thought I'd be grateful for a tobacco product, but I have to say, now I am grateful for small-batch vaping.
    The reason small-batch, independent vaping is SO important is that it's not just nicotine my family and friends need from tobacco. They're self-medicating in a manner pharmaceutical companies and supplement suppliers have strangely yet to acknowledge. (I guess it’s a regulation problem, or something, but I think this method has huge potential and I wish more was being done with it.) Vaping gives the body access to compounds that are poorly absorbed or entirely unavailable via other methods.
    So, for example, my Mom needs to choose exactly which of the various compounds in tobacco she is actually going to inhale to counter the effects of severe depression and crippling anxiety, neither of which have been effectively treated with mainstream pharmaceuticals – and yes, she’s been trying my whole life. Tobacco compounds have proven to be a key part of her self-care regimen, which became very obvious when she tried quitting smoking with nicotine-only weaning methods, including vaping when it first came out, and failed miserably every time. It was a huge source of conflict between us for most of my childhood and early adult life. As a child I felt horribly, personally betrayed every time she tried to quit smoking cigarettes and failed again because the alternatives didn’t address her needs.
    Without access to small-batch tobacco, my Mom quickly ends up back on traditional cigarettes, breathing tar, emitting smoke into the surrounding air, and setting off my allergies, and I go back to mostly avoiding getting near her. This is because the nearly useless, mass-produced, fake-cigarette style vapers that the Big Tobacco companies put out (which I'd frankly prefer never to give money to ever again for any reason thank you) don't contain most of the necessary tobacco compounds. They only focus on nicotine, as though nobody who smokes could possibly have been drawn to any of the other hundreds of natural compounds in the tobacco plant.
    Well of COURSE they focus on Nicotine - it's what their business is grounded on. They've spent decades breeding tobacco plants that are artificially high in the compound they believed was the most addicting, in order to make sure their customers never stop smoking! They don’t want competition that actually pays attention to what is good for their customers; they want the government to make it so that they can have the customers do what THEY want. Big Tobacco’s only priority is to continue lining their wallets!
    And sure, for people who only smoke because they're addicted to nicotine, nicotine-only vaping (or sometimes gum or patches) can help wean them off. But that's not everyone - as far as I can tell, that's not even most smokers anymore. Maybe it was back when Big Tobacco had everyone convinced that smoking is cool, but nobody thinks that anymore. They certainly don’t think it about indie vaping, which is the most ridiculous looking self-care activity I’ve ever seen. Seriously, anybody who CAN quit with nicotine treatments alone already has quit, and nobody is in any danger of take up vaping for the sake of appearances.
    (Well, actually, those little disposable “e-cigs” the mainstream companies produce look almost exactly like regular smoking, with all the “cool” social connotations built up in the media in previous generations. Just without the benefit of being biodegradeable when you throw them carelessly on the ground like the rebel-without-a-clue that you’d have to be to still be giving them money after all the damage they’ve done, when you have real alternatives. But at least they’re less likely to start wildfires, I suppose…)
    So, I understand that the last question is of added flavors. I honestly don't understand what the big deal is here. Medicine has added flavors all the time, and we don't worry that this means our children will break into the medicine cabinet to drink all the cherry-flavored Ny-Quil (ewwww). That's because all the flavors do is moderately mask the nasty taste of medicinal chemicals, and as far as I can tell, that's all they're doing in vaping solutions, too.
    The people who vape aren't vaping because vaping is the next cool thing. They're vaping because they NEED what's in the vaping compounds to live happier, healthier lives – or in some cases, to live at all. The flavors just make it tolerable to taste.
    The rest of us really, really need them to be vaping instead of smoking, so we can BREATHE.
    Please don't take my Mom's medicine away. Please don't make her go back to smoking traditional cigarettes. Please don't make me go back to breathing second-hand smoke. If she has to choose between a slow death from lung disease that makes everyone around her sick too, or a faster death from depression, I'm afraid of which one she'll choose.
    There are no right answers for us if you take away small-batch vaping.
    Thank you for listening,
    “When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. When you desire a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

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    PV Master ECF Veteran DetraMental's Avatar
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    I feel this post wholeheartedly. I agree with your daughter and her point of view, well said.

    Have a sense of humor, keep a sense of humor, don't lose your sense of humor....

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    Ultra Member ECF Veteran DrMA's Avatar
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    I admire the sentiment, but vaping is neither medicine, nor tobacco product. That entire comment could easily be misinterpreted by FDA to support the deeming.
    The war against vaping continues: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/fda-regulations/
    Get involved: casaa.org

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    Senior Member Verified Member ClintS's Avatar
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    While I agree that the comments are not totally accurate and could be misrepresented by others after reading them - she still makes a point about Big tobacco and cigalikes. That is worthy by itself.

    It is too bad that a tactic like this, having family members of ex-smokers turn vapers make their own comments. With a wing and a prayer - maybe the FDA will have to take a look at this aspect as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrMA View Post
    I admire the sentiment, but vaping is neither medicine, nor tobacco product. That entire comment could easily be misinterpreted by FDA to support the deeming.
    I worried about that a little, but "self-medicating" is pretty much code for something legal for medicinal use which I don't use. (I vape because I don't WANT to end up on chemo!!!)

    I cringed but maybe this example would allow some of you to get family members to comment, only give them better feedback before they submit. BTW, when I reminded my daughter that I have never been suicidal she confessed that her portrait of me was actually a composite of all her family and friends. If she were a journalist, they'd take away her Pulitzer.
    “When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. When you desire a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

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    My sister's is more issue-aware than my daughter's, probably because we talk more:

    From: [your name]
    To: FDA Center for Tobacco Products
    RE: FDA, Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0189, Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 0910- AG38

    I am a person who uses ecigs to quit smoking. Ecigs are a very important bridge toward smoking cessation. To reduce the availability of ecigs and reduce the variety of flavors or eliminate the small manufacturers would have a terrible effect on the people who are using these products as an alternative to smoking.
    I have smoked for 40 years. I tried the patch which produced a severe and even life- threatening allergic response. I tried Wellbutrin which was ineffective entirely. I tried cold turkey which produced a weight gain of 60lbs.
    Ecigs have produced none of these side effects in me. My friends and a couple of family members who also use ecigs have quit smoking over the course of a few months . They also report very little weight gain. No digestive disorders as the ones I experienced in my attempts to quit, no depression or dramatically reduced metabolic rate. A very beneficial "side effect" is that we are less winded with physical activities have more energy and a greater sense of well being. We feel less ostracized as ecigs not produce second hand smoke and clothing doesn't retain any odor of smoke as it does with a smoker. The stains on hands and teeth are no longer there.There are no longer massive amounts of garbage being produced by cigarette butts as the tips are recycled and reused. My experience has been a need to use different flavors as well. This reduces both the craving for smoke as well as the tendency to replace cigarettes with food especially sweets. When researching how a product should be regulated, I would ask you to consider the benefit to both society in general, and to the consumer of this product. It would certainly be beneficial to require that no pesticides hormones steroids or antibiotics were infused into these products as they have been into our food supply. I would welcome the security of knowing that the FDA considers the safety of the product itself, and the safety of those who consume the product. A merely Evangelical stance against the product due to disapproval or aversion to the habit or to those who are in need of this solution, would unnecessarily discourage those who have found hope in the ideal of smoking cessation.
    I have tried many other ways to leave smoking behind me.I would ask that you consider not only the benefit to the smoker trying to quit, but the larger benefit for the public as well. Should the FDA decide to put these very draconian regulations on ecigs creating less access reduction of quality and the destruction of many self-reliant and honest small businesses, I would be very discouraged and probably feel resigned to smoking as there has been no alternative that has worked for me. It would be a crushing blow to so many of us who struggled with this and finally found a vastly improved effective alternative.
    “When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. When you desire a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

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    I've posted this elsewhere, but I thought it might fit in good here too...

    This is my wife's comment from a few days ago...
    I guess you are supposed to get comments from stakeholders. Stakeholders. Actually, they are sons, they are wives, they are grandparents, they are daughters, they are fathers, they are human beings. They have names and faces. In my case, the "stakeholder" is my husband. My husband has been using electronic cigarettes for five years now. He no longer stinks. He no longer coughs, or wheezes at night. A recent pulmonary function test showed that his lung functioning is now BETTER than normal. We started hiking, and recently even began to take up orienteering. Come to think of it, maybe I AM a stakeholder after all. Not only has my husband's quality of life improved because of electronic cigarettes, but so has mine!

    My husband says these regulations are going to eventually take flavors away. He says they are going to limit the market to nothing but tamper-proof prefilled cartridges. He says the reason for this is greed, and money, and protecting the interests of the rich. I don't know about all of that. All I know is that electronic cigarettes are life-savers and life-changers, and regulations that would reduce their effectiveness would be a crime against the true "stakeholders". The ones with names. The ones with faces.

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    Way cool , You did a great job

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    Fantastic!

    If more people heard first-hand experiences like this, they would be more supportive of the vaping revolution.

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    Mrs. DC said:

    All I know is that electronic cigarettes are life-savers and life-changers, and regulations that would reduce their effectiveness would be a crime against the true "stakeholders". The ones with names. The ones with faces.
    Oh, man. I'd like to blog that on Daily Kos, as "the wife of a friend of mine says."
    “When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. When you desire a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

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