WASHINGTON — There’s a new caucus brewing on Capitol Hill focused on the potential health benefits of e-cigarettes and other smokeless products. But already, there’s a major liability hanging over its head: the involvement of one of the most notorious global tobacco companies, Philip Morris International.
The caucus could be a major win for proponents of e-cigarettes who have argued for years that these products should be used as public health tools to help adult smokers, rather than vilified like cigarettes. There are hundreds of similar informal caucuses on Capitol Hill, many of which lawmakers join to support or promote a niche cause or effort — though not all are bipartisan.
The so-called tobacco harm reduction caucus will be co-chaired by Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), who is chief deputy whip in the House, an influential position in charge of organizing other Republicans around key votes, and Rep. Don Davis (D-N.C.), STAT has learned. Reschenthaler and Davis both are largely unknown in the health care policy space; neither sits on either of the House’s main health care committees.
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