The R Street Institution is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. Their mission is to support limited but effective government and free market economy. They accomplish this goal by performing in depth research into policy at the state and federal levels. In January 2017, R Street performed a policy study on the FDA Deeming Regulations from 2016. In addition to challenging the policy contained in the Final Deeming Regulations of 2016, they dissect the stigma placed on the vaping industry through propaganda, media, and public health campaigns.
R Street Policy Study No. 81 is an extensive examination performed by Clive Bates, Eli Lehrer, and David Sweaner. The study assertively proposes reasonable and compromising amendments to anti-vaping policy to date. This is a stance that may have been lacking in previous litigious efforts and one that needed to be taken. I have yet to read a collection of undeniable facts so deeply rooted in evidence and research. The pages of the study contain dozens of citations adding credibility to each claim they make.
R Street barrels out of the starting gate with some heavy statistics. They say, "In 2015, 36.5 Million Americans, or 15 percent of U.S. adults, combined to smoke 264 billion cigarettes. Cigarette smoking caused more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States - more than HIV, illicit drugs, alcohol, motor vehicles and guns combined. Smoking related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion annually." These numbers are referenced from a Center for Disease Control fact sheet. That should be enough to grab someone by the neck tie.
Next, they take a stand stating, "perverse tobacco policy is failing the American public." These papers written by R Street are formulated to influence change among these policy makers. The best part is that they didn't just demand change they elaborately drew out the changes that need to happen and why. They also point out the flaws associated in an abstinence only approach. R Street states that, "this intolerant approach rarely works well in any branch of public health. There is an opportunity to move to a market-based "harm reduction" approach."
The investigation into these topics developed well established proposals to a flawed policy. R Street suggests eight strong proposals to adapt goals for a "harm reduction" focus that could help the 36.5 million smokers in the United States.
- Seize the huge opportunity presented by low-risk nicotine products
- Cancel the FDA deeming rule before it destroys the U.S. Vaping Market
- Establish a standards-based regime for low-risk nicotine product
- Use new labels to inform consumers about relative risk
- Stop using the public health test to protect the cigarette trade
- Restore honesty and candor to public-health campaigns
- Refocus tobacco science on the public interest, not bureaucratic expansion
- Challenge vapor and smokeless prohibitions under World Trade Organization rules
These proposals are not unreasonable by any means, and again, are backed up by solid evidence. Each topic is heavily elaborated throughout the study. We, as vapers and industry members, want standardized regulations to ensure public safety. Although, these regulations should be proportional to the risk presented by our products. R Street does a fantastic job to convey a rational and justifiable proposal for change.