By Nancy Thorner – 

Vaping: How Government Regulation Can Kill Innovation was the topic of The Heartland Institute’s continuing series of Wednesday evening events that are available free to the public. Featured speakers were Dr. Brad Rodu of the University of Louisville and Pamela Gorman of Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA). They discussed vaping from a scientific and industry perspective. 

Dr. Rodu is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, where he is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research.  He is also a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute.  For the past two decades Dr. Rodu has been in the forefront of research and policy development regarding tobacco harm reduction.

Pamela Gorman is executive director of SFATA, the largest trade group representing and protecting the interests of the vapor industry. She has worked in the vaping and tobacco industries for nearly a dozen years. As an elected official in Arizona, Ms. Gorman served terms in both the state House and Senate.

What are E-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes.  Many countries around the world (such as England) are recommending these vapor products as a tobacco harm reduction solution, while the United States government and local authorities have been trying to regulate these products out of existence. 

Health professionals have long known that the smoke created by combustible cigarettes, rather that the nicotine, is what makes smoking harmful.  Smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes provide a much safer and healthier alternative delivery system for nicotine.  

Dr. Brad Rodu introduced by Jim Lakely, Director of Communication at The Heartland Institute

A slide presentation was used to address the following issues:

1.  Poison reports by the American Association of Poison control Centers in 2015, showed that out of 547,286 reported exposures submitted, E-cigarettes came in very last at 0.5%.  At the high end were Cosmetics and personal care products (26%) and Household cleaners (21%).  

2.  Claims about E-cigarettes are exaggerated, such as, they are not loaded with toxins; they are not poisoning our children; they are not a gateway to teen smoking; they do help smokers quit; and indooteens.

  • Important to promote use as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.
  • Passive exposure:  no evidence of signifir bans are not necessary. 

    3.  E-cigarette vapor contain nicotine, at various levels or none; water; propylene glycol and /or vegetable glycerin (both are in many consumer products and are FDA approved).  Propylene glycol is used to create artificial fog in theaters, concerts.

    4.  Nicotine and Caffeine are both addictive, but they can be used safely.  Both enhance concentration, performance levels, provide a sense of well-being and elevate mood.  Neither cause intoxication, nor are they not linked to any major disease.  We consume caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks.  Nicotine is delivered through smoking cigarettes and E-cigarettes, but it is the smoke created by combustible cigarettes smoking, not the nicotine that is dangerous.

    5. Medication to rid addition to combustible cigarettes provides only a temporary bridge to abstinence; it’s expensive; the very low dose of the medication is unsatisfying for smokers; there is only a 5% success.

    6.  The British are more informed than Americans about the use of E-cigarettes, which has led to a differing treatment of E-Cigarettes in the US.   The FDA, CDC, and the NIH all claim:

  • No evidence that e-cigs help smokers quit.
  • No evidence that e-cigs are less hazardous than cigarettes.
  • E-cigs might renormalize smoking and make it e a gateway to smoking among teens.
  • Only safe, effective methods should be used or quitting smoking.
  • E-cigs to be regulated exactly as cigarettes.

7.  The Royal College of Physicians & Public Health in England in 2015 found the following: 

  • Effective as aid to quit smoking.
  • E-cigs are not renormalizing smoking or serving as a gateway to smoking among
  • cant harm to bystanders. 

Pamela Gorman kicked the smoking habit with E-cigs

Once a smoker herself, Ms. Gorman’s used E-cigarettes to quit smoking.  She is now fighting for the free market principles in the vaping industry.  Like Pamela Gorman, nine million individuals have chosen to put down combustible cigarettes and instead use E-cigarettes.  Gorman put aside cigarettes in 2013, never picked one up again, and would find turning back distasteful.  

It was on June 22, 2009 when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) was signed into law.  It granted the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, as a way to protect the public and create a healthier future for all Americans. 

Restrictions created by the Tobacco Control Act:

The Tobacco Control Act does not:

The law makes clear that FDA’s role is to regulate and protect the public health, but it places a few restrictions on FDA’s powers. FDA cannot:

  • Require prescriptions to purchase tobacco products.
  • Require the reduction of nicotine yields to zero.
  • Ban face-to-face sales in a particular category of retail outlets.
  • Ban certain classes of tobacco products.

The Deeming Rule 

A big blow came to the vaping industry when almost overnight action taken by the Food and Drug Administration on 04/25/2014, to be made effective August 8, 2016, classified E-cigarettes in the same category as cigarettes (a combustible product) to be regulated like a tobacco product.  Called the Deeming Rule”, overnight E-cigarettes became tobacco rolled in paper.  The Facts on the FDA’s New Tobacco Rule.

According to Ms. Gorman, the vaping industry has a lease on life until August 8, 2018, when the FDA will prohibit 99.9%+ of vapor products on the market,” then all will go dark unless something is done. The new regulations are of concern for the e-cigarette industry, as approval of products offered will cost small companies millions of dollars that they cannot afford. 

If the FDA’s current approach is implemented, producers would be required to remove every single product from the market and submit expensive and burdensome applications for the chance to allow their products to stay on the market after the August 8, 2018 date.  There are 3,200 separate products and each one must go through separate testing that could cost $300,000 per application.  Then too, some of the studies required could take as long as 8 years. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association says the average vape shop makes $26,000 in monthly sales, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for new costs to be incurred.

As to the effectiveness of E-cigarettes, a report published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website showed that vaping has helped decreased the smoking rates among 21 to 35 year-olds. 

Help solicited from public

Federal level: A new bill (HR 1136) has been introduced by Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) that would change the predicate date in the FDA’s deeming regulations. The legislation is called the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017.  Changing the predicate date will not prevent the FDA from having approval authority over products introduced after the new predicate date, but it allows all current products to remain on the market without applying for marketing approval. Existing products will still have to meet safety and marketing standards imposed by the agency.  Co-sponsors are needed

Join (Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association).

Heartland publicationVaping, E-Cigarettes, and Public Policy Toward Alternatives to Smoking by Brad Rodu, DDS; Matthew Glans, and Lindsey Stroud.  Pdf download available. 

The Smoking Status quo is unacceptable.  Although the American anti-smoking campaign is 51 years old, according to the CDC there are 39 million smokers in the U.S., with 480,000 deaths every year in the U.S.

If the status quo continues, in the next 20 years 9.6 million Americans will die from smoking.  All will be adults over 35 years of age.  None of them are now children. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold –  

The liberals are incensed over Trump’s visit to President Andrew Jackson’s house in Tennessee, The Hermitage, on Wednesday, March 16, and his apparent veneration of Jackson before his Nashville rally later that same day

Jackson followed the presidency of John Quincy Adams as the seventh President of the United States.  He further founded the Democratic Party, serving from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson served in Congress and gained fame as a general in the United States Army.  As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the “common man” against what he saw as a “corrupt aristocracy” and to preserve the Union.

Trump was the first sitting president to visit since Ronald Reagan.  Trump toured Jackson’s mansion, walked to his tomb saluting and laid a wreath as taps played in the background — all marking the 250th anniversary on Wednesday of Jackson’s birth.  Jackson’s populist politics have resonated with Trump. Upon moving into the White House last month, the new president hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office. 

Trump gave a 10-minute speech to as many as 400 people from the steps of the mansion, saying he was a “big fan” of Jackson. Among those attending were nearly 100 Tennessee lawmakers. Trump noted the portrait in the Oval Office and the magnolia tree outside the White House that came from Tennessee.

“Andrew Jackson was the people’s president and his election came at a time when the vote was finally being extended to those who did not own property,” Trump said.

“Jackson didn’t want government corruption. He expanded benefits for veterans and battled financial powers that bought influence at the expense of citizens,” Trump said.  “And the current president,” said Jackson “imposed tariffs on foreign countries to protect American workers.”

There is good reason why Democrats looked upon Trump’s visit to Heritage in such hatred.

Jackson’s career was marked by many “interesting” incidents.  He fought a duel with a man who insulted his wife. He was spared because his thin frame was concealed in a heavy coat. The bullet passed through the coat but missed him. His adversary, Charles Dickinson, was not so fortunate.

Jackson was viciously attacked during his campaign, impugning his character and that of his wife, Rachel. Political slander is nothing new, and was particularly rampant during the early 1800’s. The press was continually dogging Jackson during his tenure as President. On leaving office, he bought his own newspaper in order to bring his case to the public. Called a “jackass” by his opponents, the animal became the symbol of Jackson’s party – the Democrats.- late in the 19th century.

At the request of his predecessor, President James Monroe, Jackson invaded Spanish held Florida to suppress Cree and Seminole tribes who were raiding the U.S. He negotiated with the Spanish, at bayonet point, to cede Florida to the U.S.

When gold was discovered in Georgia, settlers rushed to claim their share of the riches, overrunning land held by the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee, highly Westernized, sued Georgia, and eventually won their case in the Supreme Court. Jackson disagreed, and famously said, “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” The Cherokee were forcibly removed from their land, and marched to Oklahoma, an event known as “The Trail of Tears.” 

This was not his only confrontation with the judicial system. After defeating the British in New Orleans in 1814, Jackson kept the militia in his service and established martial law in Louisiana. Among his solders was a judge named Dominic Hall. Another state judge, Joshua Lewis, ordered Hall’s release from service with a writ of habeas corpus. Jackson had Lewis arrested. Before the affair was settled, Jackson also arrested a state legislator, a Federal judge and a lawyer.

In the election of 1829, no candidate received a majority of the Electoral vote. Subsequently Jackson was elected

President by the House and the Senate elected John C. Calhoun, as Vice president. A political enemy, Calhoun worked tirelessly against Jackson and his appointees. 

Instead of political operatives, Jackson chose a cabinet composed of businessmen. Most of his other appointments followed the same line, establishing Jackson as a “man of the people.” Infighting and gossip led Jackson to fire his entire Cabinet. As Vice President and President of the Senate, Calhoun was able to block their replacements. Jackson gathered associates he trusted, forming a defacto government, known as the “Kitchen Cabinet.” On reelection, Jackson chose Martin van Buren as his running mate. Van Buren proved to be an interesting if not particularly effective successor. That’s another story.

Trump stood at Jackson and Rachel’s tomb at The Hermitage, and saluted, as shown in a widely distributed photograph.

Any thoughts why?


Ed Ingold said…

Thanks for posting this, Nancy. Many would find it humiliating to be scammed in this manner, and keep to themselves. the 855-811-6366 virus is targeted at unsuspecting adults, frequently the elderly, who haven’t grown up with computers. It preys on Windows computers, but Mac computers are not immune to attacks of this sort, just more resistant.

Thorner: Follow the money behind effort to revise the U.S. Constitution

Conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch are heavily invested in criminal justice reform

Given the number of responses noting interest in my ConCon article published at Illinois Review on March 2, 2017, One state after another reject Convention of States’ efforts, another Con Con update seemed timely and appropriate. 
A national convention will only happen if 34 states, a two-thirds majority, sign onto the idea.  So far in 2017, 10 out of the 10 states targeted have rejected ConCon (Convention of States), the latest state being Idaho:  Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. 
In state after state, real conservatives have rejected the big money pushing the Convention of States, as real conservatives defend the Constitution instead.  Consider this:  The U.S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times since it was ratified in 1788.
The latest state, Idaho, on Wednesday, March 1, after nearly three hours of debate that stretched through the lunch hour where turns were taken taking either pushing the need to rein in the growing federal debt or warning that a convention could veer off into hot-button social issues, the Senate voted against SCR 108 by a resounding rejection of 11-24, effectively killing the bill that called for Idaho to petition for an Article V Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to add a balanced budget amendment.  
Although the sponsor of Idaho’s SCR 108, Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, argued, “We are either going to control our addiction or it will be controlled for us”, Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett countered with, “The founding fathers did phenomenal work in creating this lasting governing document and I don’t consider it a wise move to cut it up, especially considering the polarized political climate we are living in.”  
As to the status of ConCon in Texas, even though the Texas Senate on Tuesday, February 28 voted in favor of measures calling for a convention of states, which was adopted on a party-line vote, 20-11, the issue is not yet settled.  The vote, however, did officially advanced one of Texas Gov. one of the emergency items for Texas Governor Greg Abbott in this legislative session.  Abbott applauded the Senate’s passing of Senate Bill 21, saying that he looked forward to the House’s approval, which seeks amendments that place restraints on the federal budget and check power and enact term limits for U.S. officials.    In the recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, only 27 percent of those surveyed said a convention of states was needed to amend the U.S. Constitution, while 53 percent said the document has held up well.    
It is no secret that mega-donors, probably including the Koch brothers, are involved in pushing for a ConCon in Texas, which attests to its unconditional support by both Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick, even though Texas senators were informed before their vote on February 28 that a vote for SJR2 (Convention of States) would amount to a black mark on any conservative politician’s careers, and, most importantly, that a duty exists for each to defend the Constitution against all its enemies, foreign and domestic And that meant to reject SJR21.
Texas senators were enlightened further how the Republican national platform committee voted nearly unanimously against an Article V convention last July in Cleveland; Justice Scalia called an Article V convention a “horrible idea” in the last year of his life; Phyllis Schlafly said it is playing Russian roulette with the Constitution; the legendary Solicitor General under Reagan, Rex Lee, explained that constitutional conventions cannot be limited; and Chief Justice Warren Burger likewise expressed the same sentiment. 
A lengthy article in the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, connects this recent action by the Texas Senate in passing the Convention of States to massive donations by Tim Dunn, a wealthy oilman from Midland, Texas, and the Koch brothers.  Unlike most states, Texas has no limits on donations to the campaigns of state officials.  The Dallas newspaper explains:
Contributions to lawmakers from Tim Dunn and Empower Texans (which is primarily funded by Tim Dunn), 2010-2016:
Gov. Greg Abbott – $30,000 (Abbott put the Con Con/COS on the emergency calendar)
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – $649,546 (Patrick pushed the Con Con/COS through the Texas Senate)
Sen. Brian Birdwell – $25,234 (Birdwell was its primary sponsor)
Total Dunn contributions – $946,898 (other Texas Republican Senators fell in line on the Con Con/COS)
Total Empower Texans contributions- $3,965,725 (other Texas Republican Senators fell in line)
The Dallas Morning News explains further:
Lawmakers are also acutely aware of the agenda of the Koch brothers, billionaire conservatives who have spent heavily to support Republican candidates nationwide. Eric O’Keefe is a Citizens for Self-Governance board member who lives in Wisconsin and has a long history of political and financial ties to the wealthy brothers. The Koch brothers and related groups have given Texas lawmakers more than $900,000 since 2010. Abbott received $132,000 from the Koch brothers in 2013 and 2014. …
Donations to Dunn and O’Keefe’s Citizens for Self-Governance group indicate that its Constitution amending project is gathering steam, both politically and financially. According to tax records, contributions to CSG have grown from $1.8 million in 2011 to $5.7 million in 2015. …
CSG also operates at least two “dark money” groups, the Alliance for Self-Governance and Convention of the States Action. Those groups are not required to disclose the sources of their funding.
Charles Koch, of the notorious multi-billionaire Koch brothers — who heads Koch Industries and basically funds Republican candidates who are willing to advance globalist goals — has let it be known that he is eager to reform the criminal justice system.  
With deep money pocket behind passing ConCon in Texas, it won’t be easy to keep ConCon from passing the Texas House.  Fortunately, Texas has the U.S. Constitution and grassroots conservatives on its side, if they are not too intimidated to speak out and make their voices heard.
As a warning to legislators who are so disposed to vote for a Constitution Convention in their state, having been persuaded through the presentation of glowing ConCon rhetoric and/or the promise of contributions, they will be guilty of playing games with the Constitution.  It would open the door to repealing the Second Amendment, requiring taxpayer-funded abortion, repealing the Electoral College, and even changing our system of government into a European-style parliamentary system.  It means giving the media influence over changing the Constitution.


By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil –  

Many parents are in the process of visiting schools with their college-bound children trying to decide which one is a good fit. It is an exciting time, but also can be quite discouraging. Parents quickly learn most every college and university have increased tuition costs, often not affordable to the average family. Also, in general, these schools are inundated with liberal teachers and administrators that believe it their responsibilities to preach political opinions to their students, and they make little attempt to hide this fact. They not only preach their doctrines, but unfortunately, it is not unusual that they also bully and even use grades to persuade students to their leftist political opinion.  

How do students respond to these often blatant efforts? Those who have not been interested in politics are easy targets for such persuasion. Others who come from conservative homes try to maintain their political views, but soon learn their grades are impacted by any assignments that allow the teacher’s judgment to determine the grade.  Considering the high cost of tuition, most of these students aren’t willing to stand their ground and risk retaliation. They want to graduate with grades that will attract high paying jobs.  Considering students and/or parents are often forced to borrow money for their tuition, students understand the need to secure a job quickly upon graduation to pay back the loan. Thus, their priority becomes pleasing teachers and working for good grades.

As recently as the early 1990s, most students did not take out college loans. Contrast that to today, when nearly 71% of students must borrow to pay for college. It is fitting to suggest this needs to be investigated and facts exposed. What caused the unreasonable tuition rate hike to happen in such a short period of time? Some speculate schools are providing free or near free educations to large numbers of low income students, thus the need to charge some students more. 

Dr. Richard Bishirjan in his book, The Coming Death and Future Resurrection of American Higher Education,  exposes and confirms the higher education establishments impose tuition costs that force parents and students into crippling debt. In Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, Ben Shapiro also addresses this subject.  There is a need for more investigations and suggestions for ways to reduce the costs so that all students have the ability to receive the education that seek. 

Another problem, equally disturbing, is that the administrations and teaching staff have become exceedingly, blatantly liberal. 

My co-writer, Bonnie O’Neil, was at first hesitant to relate a personal example of a college’s hypocrisy after her grandson, Caleb O’Neil, faced an unfortunate situation as a freshman at Orange Coast College in California. However, after Caleb’s story went viral on the Internet with articles receiving a huge number of hits, O’Neil relented. After all, there is something appealing about a student standing up to a radical Liberal teacher blatantly preaching her political views. If a college freshman is willing to stand up to liberal professors who use their position of authority to indoctrinate students, shouldn’t we all do our best to expose known problems?  

Burt Prelutsky, Southern California-based political commentator, offered his own unique take on the kangaroo court proceedings against Caleb at Orange Coast College:

We have all witnessed the signs of the anti-Trump virus that has run rampant across America. We have all seen the various elements of the biased media join forces to delegitimize his administration. We have all seen Chuck Schumer and his trained seals in the Senate slow-walk Trump’s cabinet choices through their hearings. We have all seen the Soros-financed rioters going through their paces in the streets and on college campuses.

But something that may have slipped under the radar is the anti-Trump kangaroo court that recently doled out injustice at Orange Coast College. Although most of us were privy to what initially led to the legal lynching, you may not have been aware of the unfortunate, but not too surprising, conclusion to the story. 

Several weeks ago, a professor, Olga Perez Stable Cox, under the guise of conducting a class, said, among other things: ‘I will not tolerate any person in my life that voted for Trump,’ ‘I’m not going to Utah where my family lives because of their views on Trump,’ ‘President Trump is a white supremacist,’ ‘Vice-President Pence is one of the most anti-gay humans in the country,’ ‘I know you’re stuck in homes, you’re stuck in families, you’re stuck in places of employment where you’re surrounded,’ ‘It’s scary living in Orange County because so many people are hateful,’ ‘I hope that we can counter what this new administration is going to do.’

Because he was so outraged by the hatred spewing from the mouth of this self-identified lesbian, Caleb O’Neil taped her and made her screed a matter of public record.

You would have thought Ms. Cox would have been suspended or fired for wasting class time with her partisan bellyaching. But that would only prove that you were a visitor from a past era who had landed in 2017 thanks to your time travel machine. Instead, the administration decided that Mr. O’Neil was the one who needed to be disciplined. His crime?

‘Recording a class session without the permission of the instructor.’ 

His defense — although one shouldn’t be necessary because every teacher should be taped or recorded (what do they have to hide from the people who pay their salaries?) — was that he didn’t record the entire session, but only the 15 minutes or so after she went off the rails and abused her authority.

In the meantime, I have written the following letter to Dean Lugo: “I have read of the disciplinary action you have taken against young Mr. O’Neil. The part that grabbed my attention is that you asked him how he felt about his video having damaged the College’s students, faculty and staff. It seems to me that if a 15-minute video of Prof. Cox in action could be that damaging to your school’s reputation, the problem rests with her and not the student. How is it you don’t see it that way?

Evaluating the Outcome

Thanks to Burt and similar media sources, Caleb’s situation went viral.  Represented legally by a non-profit conservative group, Freedom X, and massive public support, School authorities decided to drop their suspension of Caleb. However, similar cases have not ended well for students who overtly express their Conservatives viewpoints.

Did the school and/or Ca. Teachers Union learn anything from the unfortunate problem that happened on the Orange Coast College campus in Costa Mesa, California?  Apparently not!  According to Teacher Union representative, Rob Schneiderman who stated: 

The Coast Federation of Educators is deeply disappointed that administrators have capitulated to individuals and groups who threatened and bullied students, faculty, and administration.”

Mr. Schneiderman chose to ignore the improper behavior of the teacher and instead accused the student and those who supported him. This Teachers Union Representative did not offer any evidence of bullying by supporters of Caleb, unless he is referring to the thousands of people who disagreed with the school’s decision to punish this student with a suspension and contacted the school to express those views.

No action was taken against the teacher in question, causing the public to believe the Teachers Union and O.C.C. school officials have no problem with a teacher who spends15 minutes, off-topic, to express her personal political views which included maligning our new President and all who voted for him.   

Perhaps this incident explains why schools have a rule prohibiting students from recording a teachers’ lecture without his/her permission.  This  secrecy rule is not acceptable!   Lectures should be recorded in every high school and college classroom that accepts government funding.  It is time to assure the public that schools are teaching and not indoctrinating our children.  

This is just one of the many blatant examples of Liberal bias in colleges/universities throughout America.  There are many more areas in need of revision. Teacher Unions have become way too powerful, as they protect bad teachers at our children’s expense. Investigations need to be initiated in order to analyze why the cost of a college education has skyrocketed. Fair hiring practices should be enacted, but they are not enforced.  Diversity is a positive, which most schools welcome. However, that does not seem to extend to teachers’ political positions.  Students deserve to know the differences among us as well as what unites us in order to be better prepared for the World they will encounter.  That simply is not happening today.

We now have a President who wants to hear from those of us who have not had a voice for quite some time.  Let’s use this gift to demand fairness of representing all political views, equality, and more reasonably priced tuition in our schools.