As Donald Trump finally tapped Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his Vice Presidential running mate, many vaping advocacy groups were surprised to learn of the Hoosier’s sleazy history with Big Tobacco. Before Pence was elected the state’s 50th Governor, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 where he has accepted more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the tobacco industry. Furthermore, he never passed a single piece of legislation during those thirteen years in Congress.
But Pence did so much more than just accept tens of thousands of dollars from companies like R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson, and US Tobacco. He was also one of the most vocal advocates of smoking that Congress has ever seen in the modern era. In fact, in one published editorial entitled, The Great American Smoke Out, Pence even claimed that “smoking doesn’t kill.”
“Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer. This is not to say that smoking is good for you.... news flash: smoking is not good for you. If you are reading this article through the blue haze of cigarette smoke, you should quit. The relevant question is, what is more harmful to the nation, second hand smoke or back handed big government disguised in do-gooder healthcare rhetoric.”
Mike Pence is so pro-tobacco that when the wildly popular Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act came up for approval in April of 2009, he was one of only 112 House representatives to vote against it. On the other hand, it is this single piece of legislation that paved the way for the new FDA e-cig regulations that threaten to wipe out the entire vaping industry.
Mike Pence, Big Tobacco, and the FDA e-cig regulations
Even though Mike Pence has a long and sorted history with Big Tobacco, his reasons wanting to deregulate the tobacco industry usually involve his preference for “small government.” When The Indianapolis Star pressed him further about his controversial stance on smoking back in May of 2000, Pence warned of the slippery-slope of possible future government oversight that could easily slide into regulating other “harmful” products, such as SUVs, caffeine, and fatty foods. Strangely, he is also on record for being one of the very few congressmen strongly opposed to the FDA e-cig regulations, as well.
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