ORANGE CITY, Iowa | I don’t blame the Iowa House of Representatives for being duped into passing a bad bill last week that does Big Tobacco’s bidding. After all, Big Tobacco pretty much wrote the book on tricks and deception. I just hope the Senate catches on before it’s too late.

The bill I’m talking about creates a whole separate category under state law for electronic cigarettes. Basically the Iowa House just passed a bill that says a nicotine delivery device called a cigarette somehow isn’t a tobacco product and shouldn’t be regulated as such. Never mind the same companies that make regular cigarettes are now making electronic ones. Or that there’s no scientific evidence that says these new electronic cigarettes are safe.

No, instead of carefully weighing the risks and waiting for proper study of these products, Iowa lawmakers are on track to trust our public health to the same industry that sold us “light” cigarettes as a healthier alternative.

Of course Big Tobacco claims this bill would keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of minors, but the truth is the bill doesn’t prevent kids from buying all types of electronic cigarettes and if keeping kids off their products was really Big Tobacco’s goal, perhaps they’d stop marketing their electronic cigarettes with cartoons and fruity and candy flavoring.

Electronic cigarettes may be new but the tricks being used to market and sell them are old. Iowa senators would be wise to dodge this deception. - John Buntsma

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