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• The New York Times has a story about how, while e-cigarette company Juul has been assuring federal regulators that it will do everything possible to keep its product away from teens, its actions at the state level demonstrate a different set of priorities.

According to the story, “a new army of Juul lobbyists is aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge.

“The company’s 80-plus lobbyists in 50 states are fighting proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette pods, which are big draws for teenagers; pushing legislation that includes provisions denying local governments the right to adopt strict vaping controls; and working to make sure that bills to discourage youth vaping do not have stringent enforcement measures.”

Juul executives dispute this characterization, saying that its actions demonstrate its commitment to prevent youth vaping.

But, “as it faces serious regulatory threats from the Trump administration, as well as targeting by state and city lawmakers, the company has quickly built an enormous lobbying machine to protect its turf as best it can … Most of Juul’s state lobbyists work for well-connected firms run by ex-governors, former state lawmakers and big political donors, public records show. Some are in-house, based in the growing number of offices the company is opening around the country. The company’s latest star hire is Martha Coakley, the former attorney general of Massachusetts.”

What a shock. A company specializing in making a nicotine delivery system is lying about its methods, priorities, strategies and tactics. Of course they’re lying … their whole business premise is based on getting people addicted to their product, and it is a lot more effective to get them hooked while they’re young and stupid. The problem is that as a culture we’re stupid enough to believe these people, and stupid enough to allow former lawmakers who worked for us to take their money and then lobby their former associates.
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