Climate Deniers Just Can’t Kick Tobacco Addiction

February 13, 2016


Yeah, that doesn’t look obnoxious at all.

I’ve pointed out in the past that climate deniers seem hopelessly addicted to supporting the tobacco industry. We saw  in the records revealed during the tobacco lawsuits of the 90s, that some of the very same “think” tanks and even the very same individuals who loyally parroted that tobacco was perfectly fine for you, moved on to insist that there’s no such thing as climate change.

The pattern continues.  Chances are, if you’re getting money from Big Fossil, you’re also a willing tool of Big Tobacco. Witness climate denier Duncan Hunter.


Rep. Duncan Hunter wasn’t blowing “smoke” when he made his case against an amendment to ban vaping on planes.

Actually, it was something more like water vapor.

A vocal supporter of e-cigarettes, the California Republican proudly declared, “Yes, I vape,” in an op-ed last year.

On Thursday, he opened his argument to allow the practice on flights by inhaling a load of e-juices.

“So this is called a vaporizer,” Hunter said as his neighbor tried (literally) to clear the air. “There’s no combustion, there are no carcinogens … there is no burning, there is nothing noxious about this whatsoever.”


The gesture drew some snickers from the gallery, but failed to win the support of Hunter’s colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which was marking up its Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act.

Vaping, which is currently forbidden by most major airlines anyway, looks set for a federal restriction.

Heartland Institute:

If you missed The Five today, you missed an EPIC rant by the great Greg Gutfeld. His segment was about New York City banning the use of electronic cigarettes in public places this week — Nurse Bloomberg’s last hurrah before ceding the mayor’s office to an even more dedicated leftist.

Why ban e-cigs, which deliver nicotine to the user and results in the harmless exhale of water vapor? Because it looks like one isreally smoking cigarettes … and that would send a bad message to anyone who happens to observe it. Seriously. That’s the mayor’s and city council’s justificaiton. That fact sent Gutfeld off the edge, prompting what is undoubtedly a righteous and hilarious Top 5 Greatest Rant from a master of the genre.

Joe Bast, CEO of the climate denying Heartland Institute, of course, is a prime example of the Tobacco/Climate nexus.



Heartland CEO Joe Bast is a long time climate denier and tobacco promoter.

The  Independent:

The level of chemicals used to flavour e-cigarettes could be harmful and lead to respiratory problems, researchers have warned.

The chemicals used to add an array of tastes to e-cigarettes – ranging from coffee to bubble gum – are often the same as those used in food and confectionery, and are therefore marketed as safe by manufacturers.

However, this safety corresponds to eating, not inhalation, researchers from Portland State University, in Oregon, claimed.

The team set out to determine the type and level of chemicals used in both disposable and refill bottles, examining 30 different products.

Six of the 24 compounds identified were aldehydes, which are recognised to be primary respiratory irritants.

When consumed at a rate of around 5ml per day, a commonly used volume, vapers are exposed to twice the recommended limit of benzaldehyde and vanillin.

The researchers added that “toxic degradation products may be produced by reaction of the flavour chemicals at the high temperatures present during vaping”.

Speaking in the journal Tobacco Control, which published the report, researchers admitted their sample “represents a fraction of the e-cigarette products on the market”, but added: “The results obtained are likely to be similar to what a broad survey would have revealed, and in any case, suggest that very high levels of some flavour chemicals are undoubtedly present in a great number of the thousands of products currently available.”

The e-cigarette market is rapidly expanding, both in the UK and the US, although little is known about the possible long-term health consequences of vaping.

“Regulations are needed,” researchers added. “These should include compulsory ingredient listing, limiting the levels of certain flavourings, and limiting total permissible levels of flavourings, particularly as there is some concern that flavoured products might make e-cigarettes more attractive to young people.”

As far as Rep. Hunter, the toboacco shill’s deep thoughts on climate summarized here at KPBS:

Nobody really knows the cause … It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2 … Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives … We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.

18 Responses to “Climate Deniers Just Can’t Kick Tobacco Addiction”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see how supporting vaping is support of Big Tobacco. AFAIK, tobacco companies are not involved with that market at all.

    Nicotine is a wonderful drug which offers quite a few therapeutic benefits. Vaping allows a person to access these benefits without a delivery system that kills you. Its use should be encouraged, especially for smokers.

    And I feel Hunter had the correct position on allowing vaping on planes. There is zero tobacco in an e-cigarette. If you think vaping should be banned in airplanes, imo you should first be banning people with colds, bad breath, smelly foods, perfumes, bad hygiene, alcoholic beverages.

    And you just might want to mandate how much fresh air and O2 content the airline provides – let alone how much physical discomfort their ridiculous cramped seating causes – before you get concerned about any theoretical and far-fetched ill effects from second-hand vapor. Unless you don’t mind being a gigantic hypocrite, of course.

    Disclosure – I am a tobacco pipe smoker – happily though brutally addicted.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      You should have begun with your disclosure that you are a “happily addicted” pipe smoker, GB. That would have made the cognitive dissonance so evident in your comment easier to understand.

      Yes, nicotine is such a wonderful DRUG that we should be adding it to all kinds of foods like peanut butter and Cheerios, and maybe even impregnating pacifiers and baby bottle nipples with the stuff—-can’t start ’em too young.

      Your comment is riddled with logic fails, but my favorite is “tobacco companies are not involved with that market at all”. Let’s see if I’ve got this right—-companies that have for many decades been involved in peddling a delivery system for getting people addicted to nicotine are in no way connected with this new delivery system for getting people addicted to nicotine? And people sucking on e-cigs is in no way going to contribute to keeping alive the practice of sucking unnatural crap into our lungs? Have you been paying any attention to what’s going on with the tobacco companies in the third world?

      In second place on my favorites list is “Vaping allows a person to access these benefits without a delivery system that kills you”. Did you read in this piece the concern about the CHEMICALS other than nicotine that are spread in the air by vaping? This IS a delivery system that can kill you, as well as others exposed to it.

      Why do you insist on setting up so many straw men? Of course the air in planes is less than pure, but that’s no reason to add more far-from-normal junk to the mix—it’s not the burning of that non-existent tobacco that worries everyone, it’s the chemicals in the e-smoke. (And I will not comment on “gigantic moron” out of respect for our friendship).

      My “disclosure”—I was a cigarette smoker for decades—pipes are for effete snobs who drink maple syrup vodka and like to burn holes in their clothes (although they’re far better than cigars). Like a fool, I made it through HS without smoking, and only tried it late in college because some hot chicks offered me cigarettes and it was something we could “share” until I could convince them to “share” other things. BAM! Became addicted to nicotine quite quickly, and smoked through my time in the USMC (where nearly everybody smoked) and for the next 40+ years or so until heart issues caused me to quit. Did switch to low tar and nicotine cigs and cut back on consumption, but failed in several attempts to quit. When I taught biology in the 1960’s, I would hurry to the faculty lounge between classes to grab a cigarette and then run back to talk to the kids about the surgeon general’s report and the evils of smoking. I held myself out as Exhibit #1 on how addictive smoking was and how difficult it was to quit even when you knew how bad it was, and the kids accepted that as powerful evidence.

      You are blinded by your “happy addiction”. Addiction of any kind, physiological or psychological, is a big worry for mankind in this modern world, and we don’t need to be crapping up the environment with more chemicals just to feed addictions.

      • GB says: “AFAIK, tobacco companies are not involved with that market at all.”
        revealing that As far is not very deep into this topic.
        See Familiar Think Tanks Fight For E-cigarettes.

        E-cigs got going outside Big Tobacco, and think tanks didn’t care.
        Then, Big Tobacco started buying up e-cig vendors or creating their own (not hard, since they are generally manufactured in China anyway) …
        and in the space of a year, think tanks that had long supported tobacco suddenly discovered smoking was bad, so e-cigs were OK.

        Nicotine companies only stay in business by addicting people during adolescent brain development, as for almost everyone, it only works then, say ages 10-24, with much variability, but peaking around 15-19. Put another way, the biz model = kill teenagers slowly.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        You are not making any sense at all today, dog. Big tobacco sells tobacco and cigarettes all over the place. That is not vaping.

        There is zero tobacco in vaping products – which is why it is likely that big tobacco hates them – it makes a perfect transition away from tobacco products, and allows the user to taper the nicotine dosage precisely if they want. All your innuendo about a Big Tobacco conspiracy afoot re vaping is nonsense.

        As far a dangerous products in vape systems, you are just blowing smoke. There is very little to nothing in there that can hurt the person who inhales the stuff, let alone someone a few feet away from them. If all you can do is jump up and down shouting “Kemikalz!!” you have lost the argument.

        And I said gigantic hypocrite, not moron, btw. Directed at no one.

        AFAICT, your comment is a whole lot of hot air and gaseous wind – but I see little substance to it. About all one can say negatively about vaping is that some mixtures leave an aroma in the air which dissipates pretty quickly. A lot less objectionable than many perfumes or garlic eaters or guys with B.O. on a plane.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          You say that I am the one not making any sense at all today? Lord love a duck! You’re right that I substituted “moron” for “hypocrite” in my reply, GB, because I was trying to tell you that you are FOS with this ridiculous argument (and remember that only your friends will tell you that—your enemies will let you continue to embarrass yourself—just as you have done with this new comment in which you doubled down on a bad bet—you’re your own worst enemy).

          Do you work as a propagandist for a tobacco company or Heartland?, because it sure sounds like you’re “doing a Russell Cook” here. You say that vaping “makes a perfect transition away from tobacco products, and allows the user to taper the nicotine dosage precisely if they want”. Do a web search on smoking cessation and find ONE link for us that recommends vaping—-you will find dozens on NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) and they talk about patches and pills, NOT sucking chemicals into delicate lungs.

          BTW, congratulations on your new medical degree, which you must now have, or you wouldn’t be saying “There is very little to nothing in there that can hurt the person who inhales the stuff, let alone someone a few feet away from them”. Which med school did you attend?

          And I have not lost THE argument, GB, because THE “argument” here is really about what morons and scumbags the Merchant of Doubt Republicans and Heartland folks are, and that’s an argument you were never really in (because of the cognitive blindness caused by your “happy addiction”).

          YOUR comment is “a whole lot of hot air and gaseous wind”, a “brain fart”, actually. (PS Don’t women on planes ever have B.O.?—are you a sexist too?)

          • Fascinating. Anonymous commenter Gingerbaker, who thinks quite ill of me, earns thumbs up votes from me today. Meanwhile, notice what happens here: stray one fraction of an inch off the orthodoxy of tobacco/fossil fuels and you get vilified as a shill of Heartland. Imagine what would happen to Gingerbaker if he/she said “Russell is right about Gelbspan swapping Fred Singer’s for Sherwood Idso’s without explanation between the hardcover & paperback versions of The Heat is On”.

            Meanwhile, still living rent-free in “d.o.g.”‘s mind I am – did another Google search of my name and “climate change” to see if I landed someone’s radar elsewhere, and again I find another out-of-the-blue result at ClimateCrocks.

            Funniest thing of all, if I was king, lord, dictator of the country, I would ban cigarettes outright. I detest tobacco smoke and second hand smoke and there is no love lost between me and tobacco companies with their laughable shill expert desperation tactic from years ago. Only doofuses ever believed that ‘smoking is not harmful’ line, and you can readily find hundred year-old or so newspaper articles where the things were called “coffin nails”. But neither Heartland nor Dr S Fred Singer ever said smoking was “perfectly fine for you” and of course they’ve never said “there’s no such thing as climate change”. Anybody who has taken the time to read either one’s material in depth on the latter can readily find what they actually say. As for smoking, notice the caveat about “in moderation”, essentially a true but worthless statement. I had a great aunt who smoked in moderation – probably never inhaled, only holding smoke in her mouth – who lived to be over 90 years old, but she would be a one percenter among the smoking population. Cigarettes are legal products and Heartland is a free market bunch, thus their defense of a product which in my opinion has literally no redeeming value whatsoever. It’s harmful, the manufacturers knew it was harmful, but ‘big tobacco’ buried that information.

            But you characters have yet to prove the parallel with what the fossil fuel industry / skeptic climate scientists supposedly knew about global warming from 20 years back, and this eats you alive. Y’all claim corruption because you can’t / won’t dispute skeptic climate scientists on a pure science debate level, the best you can offer is material which contradicts ’em. As Stephen Schneider pointed out long ago, this appearance of unsettled science will never do, thus the need to distract the public away from the problem by calling skeptics crooks. And, my challenge to you still stands from the moment I first showed up here: where’s the actual physical evidence (full context document scans, undercover video/audio transcripts, leaked emails, money-transfer receipts, etc.) proving skeptic scientists were paid to fabricate demonstratively false science papers, reports, assessments or viewpoints? Take a few days to rummage through John Mashey’s virtual mountain of Desmog material, you won’t find it there, either.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Go away, Russell. We are tired of your endlessly repeated and always meaningless bullshit. It may not be obvious to you because you’re so clueless, but EVERY argument you have ever made here has been debunked, rejected, or simply mocked by all who frequent Crock. You ARE simply a whore for Heartland, as you prove with every comment you post, and it’s laughable that you are now defending that moron Singer—-you know, the guy who gives you pins for your ball caps and mysteriously CC’s you on his dirty tricks emails?—did he send you a (secret this time) email telling to do so?—-LMAO! You are as transparent as a window with no glass.

            Go back and post your bullshit on GobspitFlies (that irrelevant site that no one visits) and leave us in peace. And I will again say that I will visit GobspitFlies and help you up your hit count once you find the integrity (and balls) to open it to outside commenters.

          • @”D.o.g.” — Indulge us: where precisely within any Crock comment have you provided actual physical evidence (full context document scans, undercover video/audio transcripts, leaked emails, money-transfer receipts, etc.) proving skeptic scientists were paid to fabricate demonstratively false science papers, reports, assessments or viewpoints?

            And ICYMI: there’s no mystery why Dr Singer cc’s me in light of all I’ve exposed on Oreskes’ enslavement to Gelbspan’s favorite accusation and myriad related problems, he told me in 2009 he’d sue for libel if only he could bankroll the suit …… and that ain’t no ballcap.

    • Abe Drayton Says:

      Are you saying the nicotine in e-cigs is synthesized, rather than being refined from tobacco?

      Could you cite me a source on that?

      Everything I can find says that pretty much all nicotine on the market in its various forms does come from tobacco plants, which would – unless I’m mistaken – link back to “big tobacco”.

  2. fredeliot Says:

    Before the introduction of anesthesia French army doctors found that nicotine could be used to relax abdominal muscles enough to perform surgery. Unfortunately the dose required was close to the fatal dose. They found that a way to get the dosage right was to use a cigar as a suppository. So for those who like cigars, now you know what you should be doing with it. This also suggests a competitor for e-cigs.

  3. Some useful facts are:
    Blu … acquired by Lorillard in 2012 (that’s the one with Jenny McCarthy commercial

    Green Smoke … acquired by Altria in 2013

    Logic … acquired by Japan tobacco

    VUSE … Reynolds own

    Then there’s BAT:

    and Imperial Tobacco

    Smoking tars are the main causes of COPD and lung cancer, but CVD (cardiovascular disease) is a bigger killer, and much of that comes from nicotine’s effects on blood vessels. Many people don’t realize that, because litigation often focused on lung cancer as the easiest to prove a result of smoking.

    Adolescents often make mistakes, sadly nicotine addiction is one of the hardest to fix, especially if started in teens. Those who start in early 20s have an easier time quitting. Almost no one starts after age 25.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    I can’t believe that Duncan Hunter is such a moron. His rating from other environmental groups like the Sierra Club is ZERO as well, and he is perhaps the most tattooed member of Congress (and proud of it). Certain areas in CA can sure pick ’em. (And does he resemble a young John Boner—is he a clone?)

    But a look at his campaign contributors shows that he is smart enough to know what quid pro quo means. Reynolds is tied for ninth on the list of his top 20 contributors, and is surely happy that Hunter advocates sucking chemical into one’s lungs. And Reynolds is hoping to break into selling cheap nicotine gum in gas stations and convenience stores, having recently bought Niconovum AB, the Swedish manufacturer of Zonnic gum. It can be displayed right next to their cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Marketing genius!

    PS Joe Bast is as big a scumbag and lying POS on tobacco as Ted Cruz is on climate change—-good job on the clip showing that.

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    I stand corrected. I was wrong on more than one point.

    Big tobacco HAS entered the e-cig marketplace, marketing e-vape products (with nicotine extracted from tobacco) and also with some strange e-cig that uses tobacco – it heats it up without actually burning it.

    Interestingly, in Europe it is big tobacco – which most e-cig users and vapers despise, btw – which is pushing for e-cigs to be treated as a medical device. Evidently only they can afford the huge money it takes to gain approval, a strategy aimed at eliminating any competition. The e-vape market is now ~ $5 billion – substantial but small potatoes to the nearly $1 trillion in cigarettes world-wide.

    There ARE harmful or potentially-harmful substances that can be measured in exhaled e-vapor – aldehydes, formaldehydes,etc and there are effects that can be measured on adult human nasal epithelial cells and on gene expression in fetal and neonatal mouse models.

    I would use caution before concluding that these results are damning in the evaluation of the dangers of vape use in adult humans. It is the dose that makes the poison. Finding various yucky chemicals in the exhalations of vapers is not surprising – try measuring the exhalations people who have not just brushed their teeth and you will find the same sort of compounds.

    Whether these are any significant health effects in actual vapers has not been determined

    There is evidence that e-cigs are used or have been tried by children, and may play a role in transitioning some of them to actual cigarettes. That would not be good, of course. OTOH, if e-cigs are banned, then only actual cigarettes would be available.

    • Abe Drayton Says:

      I haven’t seen anybody calling for a ban on e-cigs, just to have them banned in the same places where tobacco smoke is banned.

      • John Scanlon Says:

        e-cigs are illegal in some states of Australia, see

        I’d be very surprised if this wasn’t the case in other places also; innovation is not a strong feature of conservative state governments here.

        • Abe Drayton Says:

          Ah. I was mainly thinking of the U.S.

          My experience with the conservatives of this country has been that innovation is just fine, as long as it doesn’t interfere with political ideology and current money/power structures. There have been some exceptions (eg.”green tea party”), but for the most part, if “big business” wants something, conservative state legislatures are in favor of it because that’s what “pro business” means to them.

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