The Star Tribune Editorial Board’s accolades for President Donald Trump’s pledge to push through regulatory measures banning flavored e-cigarettes are misplaced (“Credit Trump for response on vaping,” Sept. 12).

The assertion that the president “merits praise” for his overture — in the face of growing reports of vaping-caused fatalities — to prevent what he described as people getting sick overlooks the hypocrisy on health-related issues displayed by him and his administration. On the very next day after belatedly addressing vaping hazards, his administration announced a rollback of Obama-era regulations combating water pollution under the federal Clean Water Act, a regulatory measure put in place in 1972 by Congress under President Richard Nixon (“Administration to roll back clean water rules,” Sept. 13). That retreat is reflective of this administration’s disdain for myriad existing regulatory actions to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public in order to appease or benefit industrial polluters.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump wailed against governmental regulation. Within a month of taking office in 2017, he effectuated his anti-regulatory stance by announcing his “two for one” policy: For every new regulation adopted, two should be stricken.

Which two is he planning on repealing to clear the way for his anti-vaping initiative?

Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis

• • •

I am a Never-Trumper. I detest this sleazy, lying, unfit-for-the-job president. He seems to think he is still starring on “Celebrity Apprentice,” firing people for a living instead of leading the country. However, I am impressed with his response to flavored e-cigarettes. So far, six people have died and 450 have been hospitalized after vaping. President Donald Trump is taking executive action to ban the sale of these deadly products. Hurrah! Quick and decisive action on a crisis, which should help nip it in the bud!

Why the slow — or no — response to gun violence? According to CBS News, “as of Sept. 1, which was the 244th day of the year, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country.” Here, a mass shooting means any incident in which four or more people were shot, excluding the shooter. The organization says there have been 37,662 total shooting incidents, 9,932 gun deaths and 19,868 injuries as of Sept. 1. Why isn’t the president insisting on background checks for every gun purchase and “red flag” laws that prevent mentally ill and violent offenders from legally purchasing guns? Oh, yes! The National Rifle Association — they own his soul!

Why the slow — or no — response to the crisis of climate change, which, if not addressed, will end life the way we know it? Oh, yes! The president is a climate-change denier. Big oil, gas and coal own his soul!

Congratulations, Mr. President, on responding properly to a crisis that will affect the multitudes of people stupid enough to vape. Shame on you for doing nothing in the face of all the mass shootings that happen daily in this country and the climate change that is melting glaciers, contributing to more storms and more severe storms and untold deaths.

I hate to admit it, but at least you have done one thing right, but then even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.

Paul L. Larsen, Lakeville

• • •

The headline “State sees first vaping death” from Sept. 7, blaming a death resulting from use of illegal drugs on vaping, is irresponsible. Blaming a vaping device for this death is akin to blaming a coffeemaker for the death of someone who used it to brew a fatal drug cocktail.

Here are some facts pertaining to vaping that do not seem to make the news. The American Cancer Society reports “research has found that e-cigarette use is likely to be significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes. This is mostly because e-cigarettes do not contain or burn tobacco — a process that produces an estimated 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 chemicals that cause cancer.” The American Cancer Society also says that “about half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means each year smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the US. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined.” That’s a headline story.

Now consider that about 30% of current vapers are former cigarette smokers and about 60% are current cigarette smokers, and consider that the rise in vaping by teens is accompanied by the lowest teen cigarette smoking rates in history, with only 11% of high school students smoking in 2015, compared with 28% in 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This seems worth reporting.

“Fewer smokers, less death” would be an appropriate headline. Obviously, our lungs were not intended to vape or smoke, but vaping is clearly a lesser evil and undeserving of the one-sided, misleading coverage.

Ronald Hall, Prior Lake

TRUMP

A promise he might have to keep

“I alone can fix this.” So declared Donald Trump in the midst of his presidential campaign. With the firing of John Bolton as national security adviser, along with the loss of countless other top cabinet officials, it appears that Trump may be out to prove his point. He just may have to fix this alone, although it seems doubtful that he can.

Martha Wegner, St. Paul

DEATH

Medical aid in dying is not suicide

The article “Debating a ‘good death’ ” (front page, Sept. 12) raises the issue of “suicide” as it relates to medical aid in dying. A grim analogy to 9/11 clarifies for me that they are not the same. Would anyone say that the people who jumped from the burning towers committed suicide? They quite simply made a choice, albeit a horrible one, of how they wanted to die. They could remain in a smoke-filled burning building or jump. It was never a question of whether they would die but only how.

That is exactly what we as humans face at the end of our lives — not if we will die but how those final days will play out. I am totally baffled when I hear another person, group or government tell me I have to die their way and not have any options. Medical aid in dying is merely an option, one that I may want one day. It has nothing at all to do with suicide!

David L. Sturgeon, Tonka Bay

MINING

State rep fights for us, not money

In response to a recent letter to the editor regarding DFL state Rep. Dave Lislegard (“The money leads to the mine,” Sept. 6) we have a news flash. Contrary to what the writers say, Lislegard owes nothing to mining interests or any other campaign donor — the only people he is beholden to are the 40,000 constituents he represents in his district.

The writers forgot to mention the thousands of men and women belonging to our respective labor unions — both on the Iron Range and statewide — that supported Lislegard through endorsements and contributions.

Nobody has fought harder for the men and women of the working class than him.

He’s been a spirited fighter for Iron Range interests and a cherished way of life for decades. We want him to keep on doing it.

This is exactly why labor, along with businesses and communities, championed Lislegard’s campaign — he says what he believes and acts on those beliefs. We’re proud to have his back.

This letter was signed by the following labor leaders: Jason George, John Raines, Jamie McNamara, Jeff Heimerl, Don Smith, Dan Hendrickson, Chris Johnson, Steve Brown, Dan Hill, Dan Pierce, David Ybarra, Craig Olson and Mike Syversrud.

 

 

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