Regulatory Action Center Review - October 7, 2019   


Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s nineteenth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: Unsurprisingly, the United States is not the first country to experience ballooning budgets and astronomical deficits. In the mid-1990’s, Canada’s debt grew to as high as 70% of GDP, similar to our current debt situation. In this weeks video, John Stossell sits down with Canadian economist David Henderson to discuss how Canada managed to tackle their debt problem by cutting government spending and reducing waste.

2) Why Is the CDC Still Fostering Potentially Deadly Confusion About Vaping and Lung Disease?: “Media outlets, following the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to blame recent cases of severe respiratory illnesses among vapers on "vaping" and "e-cigarettes" in general, falsely implying a link to legal nicotine products. This misinformation is fostering public confusion that may lead to more disease and death, both from smoking and from the black-market products that have been implicated in the lung disease cases.”

3) FBI using Facebook ads to gather Russian intelligence: report: “The FBI is reportedly using Facebook ads to gather intelligence on Russia, specifically targeting those who may be or know Russian spies. The FBI is running ads in the Washington, D.C., area, CNN reported on Wednesday, that direct to the FBI field office's website that describes its counterintelligence team and encourages visitors to meet "in person."

4) Federal Court Upholds FCC Decision to Roll Back Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules: “Today, by a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided largely with the FCC, upholding the primary regulatory rollback as a valid exercise of its authority. In the nearly 200 page opinion, which is heavy on technical detail, the court wrote that while the challengers raised "numerous objections" aiming to show that the FCC's reclassification is "unreasonable," the judges found them "unconvincing."

5) Trump to issue executive order ‘protecting’ Americans from ‘Medicare for All’ campaign proposals pushed by Democrats: “The executive order, which he is scheduled to discuss at a speech in Florida later Thursday, is intended to bolster Medicare Advantage, private Medicare insurance for seniors that currently covers 22 million people, senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. The plan would also offer more affordable plan options, increase use of telehealth services and bring payments in Medicare fee-for-service program in line with payments for Medicare Advantage, officials said.”

6) Treasury to create tool to help people redeem billions in unclaimed savings bonds: “Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) on Wednesday said that the Treasury Department will create an online tool to help people redeem billions of dollars in savings bonds. About $26 billion in matured savings bonds are in the U.S. Treasury and have yet to be redeemed. Using the department's forthcoming tool, people will be able to verify against Treasury Department records if they have any savings bonds dated after 1974 that can be redeemed, Kennedy's office said in a news release.”

7) Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown: “The Trump administration is under fire from conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers, who are pushing back over its planned crackdown on e-cigarette flavors. They say the administration is overreaching, and the flavor ban will harm small businesses, a violation of core Republican free market principles.”


Chronicle AM: NV Gets First Pot Lounge, British Police Force to Provide Free Heroin to Hardcore Addicts, More... (10/7/19)   


Nevada sees its first "cannabis tasting room," a New York poll finds continuing support for marijuana legalization amidst the vaping scare, British drug policy upheavals, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Nevada's First Marijuana Lounge is Now Open. The state's first marijuana tasting room opened this weekend in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Pauite Tribe is operating the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on tribal land, which gives it a leg up on potential competitors. Under a state law signed in June, local governments are barred from licensing marijuana consumption lounges until 2021, but tribal lands are not subject to the law.

New York Sienna Poll Has Continuing Support for Legalization, Even as Vaping Fears Grow. A new Sienna poll has support for marijuana legalization in the Empire State at 56%, even as nearly as many respondents (52%) support banning all e-cigarettes and vaping devices from sale. An even higher number, 61%, support Gov. Andrew Cuomo's emergency executive order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Half, 52 percent, have used marijuana and 21 percent currently do.

Medical Marijuana

Missouri Patients Won't Lose Welfare Over Medical Marijuana Use. After patients complained that their medical marijuana use put them at odds with a state law that requires welfare recipients to be screened for drug use, the state has revamped its policy. Department of Social Services spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel said that the agency now exempts recipients with medical marijuana cards.


British Drug Advisory Panel Member Quits, Cites Political Interference. Professor Alex Stevens, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has resigned over the alleged "political vetting" of panel members by the government. The move comes after then crime minister Victoria Atkins blocked the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of the drug policy nonprofit Release, after finding that she had previously criticized the Home Office and called for drug policy reform. Stevens said there was at least one other case of people being denied a place on the ACMD because of criticizing government drug policy. "I have resigned because of my concerns over the political vetting of potential members of the ACMD," Stevens said. "The political vetting fundamentally undermines the independence of the council," Stevens added. "It is supposed to be protected by the working protocol between the home secretary and the ACMD. This does not seem compatible if ministers exclude those who disagree with them."

British Government Replaces Minister Responsible for Drug Policy. Victoria Atkins, who had been responsible for drug policy for the Conservative Party, was quietly replaced in that position over the summer. She was replaced as minister of state for policing, crime, and fire services by Kit Malthouse, but it had been believed Atkins kept the drug portfolio. But on Monday, Malthouse's office confirmed he was now responsible for drug policy. He has recently been speaking for the government on drug policy issues and laying out a hard line against opening safe injection sites.

British Police Force to Begin Giving Free Heroin to Select Addicts. The police force in Cleveland, North Wales, will begin a program to provide free heroin to a small group of hardcore addicts. They will be provided with injectable pharmaceutical grade heroin at a National Health Service clinic three times a day. The idea is to reduce crimes committed by people seeking money to pay for their medications. Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said the program would be available for heroin users "for whom all other treatment has failed and who are known to be the most active criminals in the town as they look to finance their addiction."


Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Tops 1,000 Cases in US   

There are now more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related lung injuries across the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of last week, 1,080 cases of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vaping have been reported to the agency, CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said during a briefing with reporters on Thursday. Cases have been reported in 48 states and the US Virgin Islands. As of Monday, there have been […]

Kroger, Walgreens Will Stop Selling E-Cigarettes in US   

NEW YORK (AP) — Two major retailers say they will no longer sell e-cigarettes in the U.S. amid mounting health questions surrounding vaping. Supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreen announced Monday they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment. The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices. Walmart announced last month that it would stop selling […]

C&EN: Thickening agents other than vitamin E acetate causing vaping injuries?    

Great article from Chemical and Engineering News (by Britt Erickson) on the chemistry angle around the mysterious vaping illnesses, with this unusual tidbit about agents other than vitamin E acetate that may be responsible for the problem: 
Thickening agents are common in illicit THC cartridges, but they are rarely added to legal products where testing for potency is required, says Jeffrey Raber, cofounder and CEO of the Werc Shop, a California-based cannabis contract manufacturing and testing firm. 
“THC concentrates are known to be thick and viscous when they are high potency,” Raber says. So when street dealers dilute illicit products with various agents to maximize profits, those products are typically less viscous. Consumers can visually detect the viscosity of the product by turning the cartridge upside down. If a bubble goes from the top to the bottom quickly, it usually means that the product has been cut with something, Raber says. Dealers mask that visual test by adding a thickening agent, so the bubble doesn’t move from the top to bottom as fast, and consumers think they are getting a high-potency product. 
The illicit cannabis market “is out of control and concerning,” even in states like California where recreational cannabis is legal, Raber says. In California, the cannabis black market is estimated to be 3 to 4 times the size of the legal cannabis industry, he notes. 
One source of the black market problem is that California requires testing of final finished cannabis products, Wise says. If a product fails the test, more often than not, it doesn’t get thrown away. Instead, it enters California’s black market and is then distributed to states where cannabis is illegal, she says.
(Out-of-spec product being reworked for sale? Say it isn't so!)

In a similar news, I found the Mayo Clinic study (covered here by the New York Times) to be interesting, since they did not visually detect signs of lipoic pneumonia, as would be expected if it was vitamin E acetate causing the problem. Rather, the physicians explained it this way:
“All 17 of our cases show a pattern of injury in the lung that looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure, or a chemical burn injury,” said Dr. Brandon T. Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. “To be honest, they look like the kind of change you would expect to see in an unfortunate worker in an industrial accident where a big barrel of toxic chemicals spills, and that person is exposed to toxic fumes and there is a chemical burn in the airways.” 
The injuries also look like those seen in people exposed to poisons like mustard gas, a chemical weapon used in World War I, he said.
I find Dr. Larsen's speculation a little confusing, i.e. do pathologists have visual markers for the various types of chemical injuries to the lungs? (They must have, right? I mean, do acidic burns look different than basic (say, ammonia burns), etc., etc?) There can't be just one visual presentation of lung tissue damage from chemicals, can there?

I confess to be very confused as to what exactly is causing the vaping illnesses, and I would really like chemists to get involved to determine what exactly the bad actor (or actors) is/are.


Kroger, Walgreens to top selling e-cigarettes in U.S.   

The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices.

First Lady Melania Trump Delivers Anti-Vaping Remarks Wearing Prada   

The first lady wore the same Prada dress that she wore two weeks ago to visit the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 18, illnesses surpass 1,000, say officials   

WASHINGTON(TIP): U.S. health officials on Thursday, October 3,  reported 18 deaths due to a mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarettes and other vaping products and said the number of confirmed and probable cases of the [...]

Vaping lung injuries resemble chemical burns, expert calls it the 'tip of the iceberg' - Yahoo Lifestyle   

  1. Vaping lung injuries resemble chemical burns, expert calls it the 'tip of the iceberg'  Yahoo Lifestyle
  2. THC products associated with American lung injury crisis  Health Europa
  3. FDA advises people not to use THC vapes, black market vaping products  TechSpot
  4. Vaping bans like Massachusetts’ will not stop illness outbreak | Opinion  The Philadelphia Inquirer
  5. View full coverage on Google News


Number of vaping-related lung disease cases in Utah increases to 76   

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health offered an update on vaping-related cases of lung disease Monday, saying there are now 76 such cases in Utah. The 76 cases are an increase of five from the 71 reported as of September 30, and in addition to the 76 confirmed cases there are 14 other potential cases being investigated. “Given the evidence, vaping unregulated THC cartridges or “carts” is likely the driver of this outbreak of severe lung injury,” […]

Kroger, Walgreens to stop selling e-cigarettes in US   


NEW YORK (AP) — Two major retailers say they will no longer sell e-cigarettes in the U.S. amid mounting health questions surrounding vaping.

Supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreen announced Monday they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment.

The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices.

Walmart announced last month that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores nationwide.

Kroger said it would stop selling e-cigarettes as soon at its current inventory runs out at its more than 2,700 stores and 1,500 fuel centers. The Cincinnati-based company operates the Ralphs, Harris Teeter and other stores.

Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Illinois, operates more than 9,500 stores in the U.S.


Vaping Danger: E-Cigarette Smoke Causes Lung Cancer in Mice   


Bearded Man with E-Cigarette

Exposure to electronic-cigarette (E-cig) smoke caused mice to develop lung cancer, a new study finds. Published online today, October 7, 2019, in Proceedings of National...

The post Vaping Danger: E-Cigarette Smoke Causes Lung Cancer in Mice appeared first on SciTechDaily.


Scientists think they know why vaping is killing people   


The vaping epidemic is like a PSA come to life. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and illnesses has affected people from across 46 states. More than 800 people fell ill, and at least 17 people died from vaping. In Illinois and Wisconsin, 87% of the people who got sick said they used THC, and 71% of people also said they used products that contained nicotine. Symptoms of the illness included coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. We finally might now why.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic believe toxic chemical fumes, not the actual chemicals in the vape liquid, might be the culprit. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents," Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in release.

Initially, researchers thought lung damage was caused by accumulation of vape oils. However, when they looked at samples of lung tissues from 17 people who had vaped, they couldn't find evidence of lipoid pneumonia, a rare form of pneumonia caused by inhaling oils. Two of the patients studied had died from vaping, and 70% of the patients studied had used marijuana or cannabis oils. "Based on what we have seen in our study, we suspect that most cases involve chemical contaminants, toxic byproducts or other noxious agents within vape liquids," Larsen said. Scientists have confirmed what common sense should have already told us – inhaling toxic chemicals is bad for you.

RELATED: A Smoke-Free Generation Is Within Reach — And Here's How

This is the first formal study of lung tissue from people who have fallen ill after vaping. Vaping is still a relatively new alternative to smoking. The first commercially successful e-cigarette was developed in 2003, and they were introduced into the U.S. in 2006. We're still learning about the consequences of vaping.

Just because researchers have narrowed down what might be causing the illnesses doesn't mean we're out of the water just yet. Researchers still have to discover what chemicals are causing the illnesses and deaths. For now, the American Lung Association warns against vaping as it can cause irreversible lung damage, and Dr. Larson concurs. "Everyone should recognize that vaping is not without potential risks, including life-threatening risks, and I think our research supports that," he said.

RELATED: Are Vaporizers Really Helping People Kick Smoking?

The FDA is considering banning non-tobacco vape liquids altogether, and Michigan has already banned sales of e-cigarettes. San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado have similar bans as well.

This recent epidemic is a reminder that no form of smoking, electronic or otherwise, is truly safe. If you're trying to kick the habit, it might just be better to cut the habit altogether, rather than replace it with alternative forms of smoking.


FDA advises people not to use THC vapes, black market vaping products   


There have now been more than 1,000 reports of lung injuries identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll from the mystery illness stood at seven last month. Now, it has risen to 18 deaths across 15 states.

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Vaping devices are causing fires on planes. The FAA is struggling to address the threat, safety experts say.   

Some advocates — and even some inside the airline industry — say federal regulators have not been aggressive enough in addressing the risks that accompany the billions of electronic devices travelers carry.

Up in smoke   

Vaping detection device manufacturer expanding in Ronkonkoma.

Hawaii Health Department Is Prepared To Ban E-Cigs If Needed   


If ongoing state and national investigations provide conclusive evidence that vaping is behind a recent trend of lung illness, the Hawaii Department of Health is prepared to pull certain e-cigarette products from the shelves, officials said. The health department Monday stopped short of placing an outright ban on e-cigarette products and paraphernalia, instead issuing a […]

The post Hawaii Health Department Is Prepared To Ban E-Cigs If Needed appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.


The Right Chemistry: Tobacco smoke was not always seen as unhealthy   

We know better now, just like it's become clear that vaping is not benign.

Juul blindsides its own campaign, extinguishes Prop. C. But, federally, will it be a big winner — or a big loser?   

Juul blindsides its own campaign, extinguishes Prop. C. But, federally, will it be a big winner — or a big loser?

When Francisco-based vaping giant Juul decided to suspend its Proposition C campaign, it came as a surprise to most everyone. And that includes the Proposition C campaign.  Workers on the ballot measure — which would undo City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton’s legislation demanding Juul receive FDA approval before its vaping devices can […]

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10/7/2019: NEWS: First Nations, forestry likely key topics for legislature return   

VICTORIA — First Nations rights, climate change targets, the forestry crisis, insurance rates and health concerns over teen vaping are expected to dominate the fall session of B.C.’s legislature, which begins Monday. But they may all be overshadowed...

Court Blocks Cuomo's Flavored Vaping Ban, For Now   


'They can take my flavored vapes, but they can never take my vape-related lung illness.' [ more › ]


Researchers find e-cigarettes cause lung cancer in mice in first study tying vaping to cancer   

How carcinogenic e-cigarette use is for humans "may not be known for a decade," but the study is the first to link vaping nicotine to cancer

Kroger, Walgreens to stop selling e-cigarettes, amid backlash and regulatory uncertainty   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified at least 18 confirmed deaths due to a mysterious vaping disease. Walmart and Rite Aid have taken similar steps.

US lawmaker introduces bill cutting nicotine in e-cigarettes amid teen vaping epidemic   

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., is introducing a bill that would cap the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes as lawmakers seek to stem an "epidemic" of teen vaping.

Juul accused by school districts of creating vaping 'nuisance'   

School districts in New York, Kansas and Missouri sued Juul Labs Inc. over the economic burden created by teen vaping, opening a new legal front as the U.S. grapples with a widening public-health crisis.
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