The Washington Times’ Cheryl K. Chumley reported today,
President Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in China raised some eyebrows Tuesday morning, at least among members of the attending press pool and an observant Chinese blogger — for chewing gum at inappropriate times.
Mentioned in the middle of the press pool report, right after the reference that Mr. Obama “took his seat” and chatted with Marvin Nicholson — who “made him smile” — was this line: “[He] leaned back in his chair for the opening remarks. He was chewing his Nicorette, it seemed, but mostly hiding it.”
Before the president’s trip, I had been preparing a cover letter to send along with a sample of e-cigarettes that the Risk Analysis Division of the National Center for Public Policy Research will send to President Obama. As a longtime smoker, and while his Food and Drug Administration is preparing rules to regulate e-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS, as well as cigars, and other tobacco products, we think it is essential that the president, who appears to still use nicotine, understands the range of less harmful products available to him and countless smokers in the U.S., China, and around the world.
As the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller told the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
Right now the overwhelming majority of people seeking nicotine are getting it from the deadliest and most toxic delivery system, and that’s the conventional cigarette. But if there is a continuum of risk and there are less harmful ways to get nicotine, and FDA is in the business of regulating virtually all of those products, then I think there’s an extraordinary public health opportunity for the agency to embrace some of these principles and to figure out how to incorporate it into regulatory policies.
So I shared or plan with the Ms. Chumley of The Washington Times, who promptly reported on our plan,
Who says politics is boring? A D.C. conservative think tank with a stake in the feds’ push to regulate e-cigarettes has stumbled on a creative way to get its message out, thanks to President Obama’s gum-chewing gaffe in China.
“We’re getting together a variety of e-cigarettes to send Obama, to give him some choices,” said Jeff Stier, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, in a brief telephone call.
His announcement comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s widely reported gum-chewing incidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in China, which drew fire from several native observers who found his actions uncouth. One, for example, wrote of seeing Obama “stepping out of his carchewing gum like an idler,” USA Today reported.
But Mr. Stier’s group thinks it’s found a way to defuse the public relations tensions — with a humorous mailing that nonetheless carries a message.
Had Obama taken along a couple of e-cigs with him, he wouldn’t have felt the need to chomp on nicotine gum, thus he wouldn’t have offended his Chinese hosts in the process.
The organization has been pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to back off regulations of e-cigarettes, saying an over-regulated approach will actually prevent tobacco smokers from quitting and using the vapor product as a substitute.
Gregory Conley, research fellow at the Heartland Institute applauded both President Obama and our gift to him, noting,
President Obama is a great example of harm reduction in action. Once a daily smoker, he is now living a smoke-free life thanks to long-term nicotine use. We are hopeful that the National Center’s care package will cause President Obama and his staff to carefully examine the negative impact that the FDA’s proposed regulation of e-cigarettes would have on public health.
We are going to send a select variety of products including flavors, open systems, closed systems, cigalikes, products from independent companies, from “Big Tobacco”, made in the USA, and even products from… well, China.