An open letter to Mitch Zeller, J.D. Director
FDA Center for Tobacco Products
Take a good look at my face, Mr. Zeller. This is not the face of a teenager. This is not the face of a millionaire. Nor is it the face of a rebel, an out-of-control addict, or an outlaw. The face you are looking at belongs to a 48 year old, mother of 2, middle class, fully productive and contributing member of our Great American Society.
This is the face of a woman who pays her bills, pays her taxes, lives within the confines of the laws of the land, and asks for no monetary support from the Government she tithes a portion of her daily income to keep running.
This face is simply one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ faces, one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ lives. Unremarkable, and unapologetically ordinary.
This is the face of a woman you have just condemned to a horrible, hideous, long and tortuous death.
You’d better take a good, hard look at this face, Mr. Zeller. Because the mind behind this face is taking a good, hard look at you, and doesn’t quite care for what it sees.
And this face has a question for you.
Why do you want me dead, Mr. Zeller?
And, not just dead, but suffering for months and/or years as cancer eats me alive from the inside out.
Why do you wish me to suffer, Mr. Zeller?
I want you to pick up your office phone, dial my number, and tell me, through the miracle of wireless telecommunications, the answers to my questions. And I don’t want the sanitized ‘sound bytes’ that you sputter out when in front of a bank of cameras or microphones…I want the truth.
I want you to tell me that my life is not important to you. That on the great tally-sheet that is your branch of the FDA, the life of a single vaper means less than squat when judged against the billions in profits ($4.5 billion in 2011) generated by the Pharmacological Industry’s ineffective and dangerous (but fully FDA Approved!!!) smoking cessation products.
I want you to tell me that the billions in revenue gathered by State and Federal authorities in punitive ‘sin taxes’ (roughly $11 billion in Federal, $794 billion aggregate for the States) on traditional tobacco products vastly outweigh the life of a single member of this society.
I want to hear from your own lips that the millions of dollars flowing in donations to top cancer-fighting charities would dry up overnight if an acceptable substitute to smoking were openly embraced by those elected and appointed officials who’s job it’s supposed to be to watch out for the public.
I want to hear you say that exploiting that public for profit is far more lucrative than actually doing the job (as outlined to the American Public) you were hired to perform.
I want to hear the gross, unvarnished, ugly truth issue from your mouth. I want you to admit that my life doesn’t even begin to compare to the amount of money piled up on the other side of that scale.
I want your open admission that protecting the MONEY is the reason your job exists.
What I don’t want to hear are the platitudes, vacillating sound-bytes, and outright lies uttered to the press. I don’t want to hear you are doing this ‘for the children,’ ‘for my own good,’ or even ‘for the betterment of Public Health.’
I want you to admit, finally, that manipulating the public into believing your lies lines your own pockets with green dollar bills. Physically, they weigh less than silver, I suppose, but how do they feel on your conscience?
I want my answers, Mr. Zeller. And I’m not the only one who wants them.
On Thursday, May 5th, 2016, the FDA’s deeming for a regulatory framework for all ‘other’ tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, hookahs and premium cigars (there may be others…) was abruptly shoved into ‘accepted’ after a long and heated debate.
In 90 days, the e-cigarette market will be frozen in place. No new products will be allowed.
In 2-3 years, once the full impact of these regulations have emerged…the marketplace as we now know it will have been tossed in the dustbin of ‘The Good ‘Ole Days,’ with the shattered remains owned by Pharma, Tobacco, and a few select, Wall-Street backed companies. Their offerings will be watered down and ineffective versions of the free-marketplace’s innovative technology. They will be products guaranteed to keep every American Smoker on the quit-smoke-quit-smoke-quit-smoke-die rollercoaster we all know and loathe.
But at least the money will be protected.
For. Our. Own. Good.