- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Smoked out

New rules to regulate the tobacco industry passed by Congress earlier this year will start to go into effect next month, starting with a ban on flavored cigarettes.

Beginning in October, cigarettes will no longer be able to contain candy, fruit or spices as their characterizing flavors, although menthol-flavored cigarettes will still be permitted.

More rules enacted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act are on the way in July 2010, when manufacturers will no longer be able to use the terms “light,” “low” and “mild” on tobacco products and the warning labels for smokeless tobacco products will be “revised and strengthened.” Similarly, cigarette warning labels will undergo revisions by October 2012.

Many industry watchers expect the new labels to become more graphic, following models adopted in other countries, possibly showing photos of gum disease and tooth decay.

The Food and Drug Administration says the process for selecting the new design has not been settled on yet, but the guidelines laid out by the law are strict. The law says the new health warnings must cover at least 30 percent of the upper front and rear of cigarette and smokeless tobacco product packages.

A ‘buycott’

“Tea party” protesters are showing their support for Whole Foods CEO John Mackey by organizing a “buycott” for his stores Tuesday to counter the backlash he’s received for opposing the Democrats’ health care expansion plans.

Mr. Mackey, who describes himself as a free-market libertarian and provides generous health care benefits for his employees, recently wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal outlining why he thought proposed health care reforms would not work and also offering his ideas for increasing access to health care.

The reaction from liberal groups was harsh: The Change to Win Investment Group, which works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with the powerful union coalition group Change to Win, called for him to be “removed” in a letter to the company. Others have called for a boycott.

Mr. Mackey’s supporters, on the other hand, want a “buycott” and are encouraging people to patronize the stores to boost sales.

Ken Emanuelson, a Dallas-based tea party activist is organizing a “buycott” out of solidarity with the CEO.

“John Mackey stood up and said he didn’t really think the administration’s health care reform plans were the right solutions for our health care needs, and the unions and their left-wing allies have said, ‘Don’t you dare speak up against the administration’s proposal,’ ” he said. “We can’t allow this to happen. If they win this round, it becomes the precedent. This tactic cannot succeed.”

Buycotts are planned Tuesday in St. Louis and Dallas by a coalition of activists working with the National Tea Party Coalition. They hope to have more events through the month of September at other locations.

Shower scene

Sound the alarm. Consumer Reports has alerted the environmental authorities about a law-breaking shower head.

Consumer Reports reviewed shower heads for their October 2009 magazine and wrote, “Our latest showerhead tests found that you don’t have to sacrifice satisfaction to save water. But the $500 Hudson Reed Theme Thermostatic AS333 shower tower’s forceful spray seemed too good to be true - or legal.”

The consumer advocate noted that federal standards enacted in 1994 forbid shower heads from spraying more than 2.5 gallons per minute and that the main showerhead on the Hudson Reed used a “whopping” 3.95 gallons per minute, on average. “We’ve contacted the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the regulations,” the review said.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which promotes limited government, accused Consumer Reports of becoming a “national snitch” for writing such a thing.

Consumer Reports “should not be acting as a nosy bathroom cop, trying to toss good products in the slammer just because they violate some intrusive federal regulation,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman in a statement. “Its duty is to consumers, not bureaucrats. More basically, people ought to be able to use whatever shower fixtures they want, just like they can decide how long a shower to take.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at Acarpenter @washingtontimes.com.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com.

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