A lobbyist's job is to advocate for their product or industry or interests with the government and the public.
Truth and transparency have often been casualties of that cause.
But Fox News host Shepard Smith was not willing to play along when a lobbyist for the vaping industry was a guest in a breaking news segment.
In an at times heated exchange, Smith asked guest Tony Abboud, executive director of lobbying organization Vapor Tech Association:
"Do you have a problem representing an industry that's addicting kids to nicotine?"
The exchange is reminiscent of congressional hearings with the tobacco industry decades ago regarding cigarette advertising directed at children.
Watch it here.
Shepard Smith destroys vaping lobbyist youtu.be
The vaping industry marketed themselves as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.
But a recent spate of vaping related lung diseases across the country—including six deaths in six different states—has the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control advising people to stop use of e-cigarettes immediately until the cause of the illness is determined.
When Abboud claimed the vaping industry didn't know if their product was harmful, Smith replied:
"It doesn't feel like your industry is being completely safe with us when you say, 'We don't know'."
"We do know! It definitely pumps carcinogens into our bodies. That is undeniable."
Smith then made the comparison between the vaping lobby and the tobacco lobby of the past.
"For decades, there was an industry that hooked generations of people on a substance that kills us. And people didn't know, oh this is going to kill me.
"Like my mom didn't know, I'm going to smoke for 50 years and then I'm going to die with bad COPD, because nobody told her back at the beginning."
One difference between most tobacco products—which are heavily restricted by federal and state laws regarding sales to minors—and vaping products are the flavors.
While some tobaccos are flavored with mint or spice, some vaping product flavors include:
And these flavors have people crying foul.
Vaping liquid—which can be inhaled with an e-cigarette or other device—includes as much nicotine or more than a regular cigarette. But the lack of "smoke" and the flavors have vaping use in middle and high school aged children soaring.
Some people online seemed to imply children had only two options: vape or smoke cigarettes.
Just watched @ShepNewsTeam on @FoxNews talking about vaping. Apparently he would rather have children get addicted… https://t.co/UndwwRkSyp— Frank Valentine (@Frank Valentine) 1568230062.0
@shepnewsteam You are absolutely wrong about vaping. People WILL return to smoking without flavors!!! Flavors let s… https://t.co/9VIbh6VEUX— NYSVaporAssociation (@NYSVaporAssociation) 1568231681.0
@ShepNewsTeam an idiotic snarky interrupting arrogant ahole - Shepherd Smith! How about alcohol? Is it marketed to… https://t.co/QGLNbQZoho— Linda Marley (@Linda Marley) 1568229361.0
Meet the new Scientist, Doctor, Shepard Smith, who just learned about vaping 20 minutes before he went on air. Almo… https://t.co/Wst875Kau7— IrishTea1 (@IrishTea1) 1568249291.0
But not everyone was such a staunch advocate of giving children the choice between tobacco and vaping.
@ShepNewsTeam I am watching you interview the Vapor Technology Association spokesperson. My Mother also smoked cig… https://t.co/B5LNrlrzYN— trurogirl (@trurogirl) 1568229351.0
Fox News Shepard Smith HARD HITTING interview with the Director of the Vaping Technology Association. #NoWiggleRoom!— Frank Austin (@Frank Austin) 1568229591.0
@ShepNewsTeam is on Fire! “We do know, vaping pumps carcinogens in our body. They were marketing to children.” Than… https://t.co/XzhPalVkp9— Tom Dallessio (@Tom Dallessio) 1568229282.0
President Donald Trump announced his administration would look at banning vaping products aimed at children. And while many of Smith's critics online pointed out they quit smoking cigarettes due to vaping products, none of their cigarettes were bubblegum or cotton candy flavored.
They should still be able to quit with the less kid-friendly flavors.
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