Open Letter

Submission to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Kids Online Health and Safety

Submission to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Kids Online Health and Safety

We hereby submit these comments to better inform and educate the Task Force on Kids Online Health & Safety on the pressing issues of keeping kids safe online while remaining steadfast to the open, innovative nature of digital technologies such as the Internet.

  1. The Role of Technological Solutions

As a consumer advocacy group that champions tech innovation and consumer choice, we believe wholeheartedly that, where necessary, technological solutions should be a principal alternative to restrictive regulation that will impose direct and indirect costs and create barriers to online information and connection.

With many social situations or platforms, we know that there exists much concern about young people, teens especially, and their behavior online. There has been a constant barrage of academic research, political proposals, and messaging campaigns that center on restricting parts of online life to young people for their safety.

While there is a definitive trend as to the framing of social media use as negative for young people, the existing research is much more nuanced and likely more balanced when we consider the benefits.

A 2022 study in Current Psychology found that in classifying users into 3 categories: active, passive, and average use of social media, each documented benefits that outweigh potential harms, even more so for the larger category of “average” users.

For every media outrage story about questionable online content or behavior, there are dozens more unreported of improved social well-being, more social connection, and genuine happiness, especially among young people. This is especially true because, for the most part, teens and young people have gravitated from purely physical social lives to a hybrid social life online as well, unlocking new opportunities to explore, learn, and expand their knowledge and understanding.

This was also admitted by the American Psychological Association, which this year published its own recommendations for parents of teens to monitor online safety.

The solutions offered by the APA and several partner organizations are important, and likely do have merit and efficacy with young people online. Contrasting with many proposals existing in legislation, these recommendations are to be overseen and executed by parents and communities, and would negate the need for punitive measures issued by governments. 

We believe this is an important factor for any remedy affecting online safety for teens and young adults. Voluntary measures, whether that be parental screening, communication, or oversight, when used in conjunction with technological tools, will have a more balanced and effective result than any government-imposed restriction.

Parental screening of application downloads, online profiles, and general education about behavior and content online has thus far proven to be the most measured approach to kid safety online, and it should continue to be.

  1. The Wrong Path of State Intervention

Proposals that lead to agency or government intervention into these efforts, we believe, would do more harm than good.

As we have seen in several state proposals in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, preemptively limiting youth access to online social media use not only elicits legal questions, but also severely restricts the ability for young people to explore the benefits of online platforms and networks.

These proposals have been akin to a labyrinth of weaponized policies that prevent teens from engaging with friends and family online, would burden future social media upstarts, and would lead to worse precedents that put free speech on the Internet at risk, as well as leading to significant hacker exploits.

Proposals such as the now enjoined SB396 in Arkansas make it more difficult for young people to begin to use the Internet and all the benefits it provides, but it also enshrined into law the idea that governments should pick which social media networks young people can or cannot use rather than parents.

We believe this is paternalistic, sets a terrible precedent for online speech and access, and amounts to nothing more than heavy-handed government control of who is allowed online and when.

It elicits the question of whether the final arbiter of whether young people access the Internet at all, and that parents should have diminished say in their kids’ digital lives. We believe that is fundamentally wrong. 

Unfortunately, we see in these legislative attempts few good-willed efforts at remedying online safety concerns, and instead legislative retribution against certain social media companies based on political persuasion.

What’s more, many of these proposed solutions would likely create more substantive harm from digital exploitation of information and data than current voluntary or technological tools available to parents.

These proposals, including federal proposals from the US Senate such as the Kids Online Safety Act, require social media websites to collect sensitive photos, IDs, and documentation of minors, mandating enormous privacy risks that will be a cyberhacker’s dream.

We believe that as a society, we should trust that parents have the ultimate right to decide whether or not their children access certain websites or services, and that those decisions are not overruled by legislative proposals.

  1. The answer is technology

As we have stated, and as the research demonstrates, there are immense benefits to social media that are practiced and explored each and every day for people of any age category.

Whether it be for creative purposes, democratic expression, social connection, commerce and business, or education, there are a myriad of benefits to social media that, when paired with responsible adult supervision and guidance, will continue to be a positive force for society as a whole.

Where necessary, when parents and communities can implement technological solutions that help improve the benefits of social media use – whether it be in voluntary parental filters, download authorization, or educational materials – this will be the best and most effective method for protecting young people online. Keeping the Internet as an open ecosystem for exploration, learning, and connection will bring many more benefits to the next generation than restrictive bans or limits imposed by law. 

We hope your commission will take these points to heart, and will continue to advocate for responsible use of technology and the Internet for young people and their parents.

Link to the PDF

CCC Joins 31 Group Coalition Letter Against New CFPB Regulatory Assault

Washington, D.C.: In response to President Biden promoting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new credit card late fee price cap at the White House last week, the Consumer Choice Center signed a coalition letter to the president and the CFPB urging them to reconsider the rule. The letter is signed by 31 groups and advocacy organizations dedicated to promoting pro-growth, pro-consumer policies.

“History indicates that consumers are the ones who bear the brunt of regulations like this one because, to offset the resulting costs, financial institutions ultimately impose new fees and higher interest rates while reducing Main Street’s credit access,” the letter stated, “For instance, the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act capping interchange fees on debit cards led to the elimination of free checking accounts, raised minimum balance requirements, and increased maintenance fees. Your new late fee cap will similarly increase financial institutions’ operational costs, which American consumers will again inevitably bear.”

The letter also highlighted how the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy noted the CFPB refused to “properly consider the impact this rule will have on small entities” despite courts holding that agencies must do so before certifying a rulemaking. 

CC’ed on the letter were Sens. Sherrod Brown and Tim Scott (Chair/Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs); Reps. Patrick McHenry and Maxine Waters (Chair/Ranking Member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee), and Reps. Roger Williams/Nydia Velázquez (Chair/Ranking Member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee).
The letter’s signatories include Ed Martin, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles; Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform; John Berlau, Competitive Enterprise Institute; Cameron Shelby, Heartland Impact; Brent M. Gardner, Americans for Prosperity; Karen Kerrigan, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council; Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste; Gerard Scimeca, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy; Brian Garst, Center for Freedom & Prosperity; Isaac Schick, American Consumer Institute; Stephen Kent, Consumer Choice Center; Patrick Brennen, Southwest Policy Institute; Hadley Heath Manning, Independent Women’s Voice; Terry Schilling, American Principles Project; George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom; Saul Anuzis, 60 Plus Association; David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance; Paul Gessig, Rio Grande Foundation; Jeff Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom; Ryan Ellis, Center for a Free Economy; Phil Kerpen, American Commitment; Seton Motley, Less Government; Dan Perrin, HSA Coalition; Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach; Wendy Darmon, Palmetto Promise Institute; Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation; Richard Manning, Americans for Limited Government; Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute; Marcos Lopez, Nevada Policy Institute; Mike Stenhouse, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity; and Sal Nuzzo, James Madison Institute. 

You can view the letter HERE.

Hold The Line on FDA Appropriations In Defense of Consumers

Dear House Appropriations Committee Members,

As an advocacy group engaged in work to protect and defend consumer choice, we urge you to keep in place Sections 768-769 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. These sections refer to limiting the funding of several rules issued by the Food & Drug Administration to ban entire flavored categories of various tobacco and nicotine products without any reference to safer alternatives that save lives.

Over the past year, the FDA held exhaustive hearings and consultations on these provisions, which we did participate in and opposed at the time. Despite protests from consumers and civil society groups, they were implemented regardless.

By keeping these funding restrictions in the bill, you can support consumers making their own product choices, while preserving safer nicotine alternatives and avoiding the negative repercussions that would follow from product prohibition.

It is vitally important that the House Appropriations Committee pursue an actionable plan for incorporating harm reduction and reduced-risk nicotine alternatives in policy and at the FDA, rather than shortsighted bans that threaten to boost illicit markets.

If the agency  is serious about reducing smoking in our country, then the answer must center on harm reduction in all aspects, rather than ratcheting up bans and restrictions that will cause more harm.

Please keep these provisions in place and continue to stand tall in defense of consumer choice for your constituents. 

Sincerely Yours,

Yaël Ossowski

Deputy Director

Consumer Choice Center

(PDF version available here)

Arkansas Youth Deserve Better Than Gatekeeping of Social Apps

Dear State Representatives and Senators,

As a consumer advocacy group engaged on digital issues, privacy, and defending technological innovation, representing both our members and consumers, we implore you to consider another path when it comes to protecting Arkansas youth online, specifically SB396, which Gov. Sanders signed into law this month after passing both of your respective chambers.

In its current form, once it comes into force in September, the law would be the most draconian age-verification process for online platforms in the nation, requiring all users under 18 who want to use specific social media platforms to provide exhaustive proof of their age and to seek parental consent. 

It would also require select social media apps to collect sensitive pesonal information that we do not believe should not ever be in the possession of any private entities by government mandate. This is ripe for future abuse or data security issues that could have real harm for young people beginning their life online. It will be a pandora’s box of epic proportion.

What’s more, the law makes line-item exceptions to popular social apps like YouTube, Truth Social, and others, which have all the same features as other apps, demonstrating the unequal regulatory position sought by the State of Arkansas, choosing winners and loses, which we would not tolerate in any other industry. 

A solution respecting parental rights, defending American innovation, and allowing online consumers and their parents to choose their apps would not only be more adequate, but would allow the best private sector solutions to emerge, rather than by state decree.

Parents should not have their own authority and decision-making usurped by state law or institutions, no matter how noble the cause. Rather than risk gatekeeping an entire generation from enjoying social connections online, we implore you to provide another solution that works for parents, young online consumers, and the American tech innovators who provide value for each and every one of us in our own lives.

In a free country with a vibrant competitive marketplace, we will not have a competitive global edge if an entire generation is kept from the keyboard and online global village.

Oklahoma patients deserve competitive and affordable insurance

Dear Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives,

As a consumer advocacy organization with a vested interest in promoting consumer access and patient choice, we write to you today to urge you to vote YES on HB1694.

This bill would require dental insurance companies to spend a set percentage of their premiums on patient care rather than administrative bloat.

Known as a medical loss ratio, HB1694 would standardize dental health benefit spending ratios that already exist for traditional healthcare insurance. This would give Oklahoma dental patients lower premiums, increase competition among insurers, and reduce overall bureaucracy and administrative costs to pass savings on to consumers.

Similar bills have passed in other states, empowering dental patients, and ensuring that consumers have a vibrant market of choice in dental care and coverage. 

Every patient has suffered the gnawing experience of trying to scrap back healthcare reimbursements. Passing HB1694 would bring equity in how patients across healthcare sectors are treated and have their premiums used, leading to lower costs and better treatments for dental patients.

The fact that dental insurers aren’t subject to the same rules as every other health insurance industry should be enough reason to pass this bill, with the added benefit of how it will make insurance premiums more transparent and competitive.

Unlocking more funds for dental patients would help save families thousands of dollars a year, and grant them more consumer and patient choice. It’s a fix all Oklahomans deserve. On behalf of consumers, we urge you to vote for HB1694.

Thank you,

Yaël Ossowski

Deputy Director

Consumer Choice Center

CCC joins coalition opposing Credit Card Competition Act

Dear Member of Congress: 

We, the undersigned organizations, oppose the inaccurately named Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 (S. 4674). The bill is a backdoor  price control, and extension and expansion of the Durbin amendment as  enacted in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203).  

As written, the bill directs the Federal Reserve to draft rules requiring credit cards issued in the United States to offer at least two unaffiliated  payment network options for point-of-sale and online transactions.  

According to the bill, the two networks may not both be Visa and  Mastercard, because they “hold the 2 largest market shares with respect  to the number of credit cards issued in the United States.” However,  should market share switch hands to new firms, the routing mandates  will no longer apply. The bill also mandates that the proprietary security of the credit cards function so that all networks are available for retailers  to pick and choose—consumers get no say whatsoever. In fact, the bill  never mentions consumers, nor how they will benefit.  

It is abundantly clear that special interest groups are using the  federal government to alter the credit card market to benefit  themselves and not consumers. This is textbook rent seeking behavior, anathema to free market principles, and should be  staunchly opposed by Republican lawmakers.  

Furthermore, we oppose S. 4674 for the following reasons: 

The bill does not promote competition, instead it dramatically expands the role of the federal government to  overregulate the market for credit cards. Today, requiring multiple dual-message networks to function over one card is  technologically infeasible. The cost of overhauling our current  credit system to comply with the mandates in the bill could cost  up to $5 billion.  

The mandates in the bill are so costly that more than $60  billion in rewards that consumers receive every year would  largely disappear. According to the International Center for Law & Economics, “86% of credit cardholders have active  rewards cards, including 77% of cardholders with a household income of less than $50,000.”

The bill authorizes the federal government to intervene in  contracts between private parties. The federal government  should not be interfering in private contractual agreements. This  encroachment will force small banks and credit unions to  severely limit or cease providing co-branded cards that millions  of consumers use every day. This is similar to how Biden’s  Securities and Exchange Commission is attempting to dictate provisions of contracts between private fund advisers and  investors.  

There is no evidence that this bill will pass savings down to  consumers. A report from the Government Accountability  Office stated that if the regulations in the Durbin amendment  “had not been implemented, 65 percent of noninterest checking  accounts offered by covered banks would have been free.” Since  the enactment of the Durbin amendment, about 22% of retailers have raised prices on consumers while only 1% lowered prices.  Additional regulation on credit interchange will affect fees and  interest in the credit market, thus increasing costs for consumers. 

Because the bill forces credit cards to allow access to all  networks, proprietary technology will be exposed to  competing networks, destroying incentives to create new and  innovative fraud protection and cybersecurity. As one paper points out, the routing mandates “largely undermine the  economics of networks and issuers.” 

The bill is a perfect example of Congress ceding its Article I  authority to the Federal Reserve. All the provisions of this bill  require the Federal Reserve to draft rules to carry out its  mandates.  

Based on the points made above, we believe this bill is diametrically  opposed to free market principles. We encourage all lawmakers to  oppose this bill. 


Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center

CCC joins coalition urging republicans to reject Klobuchar antitrust bill

Dear Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy,

We write in opposition to S. 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” legislation that would massively expand the size and scope of the federal government.

Despite what some politicians may claim, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust bill gives the Biden Administration vast new regulatory authority over American businesses, fails to address conservative censorship concerns and would make inflation worse for American families.

Conservatives have legitimate concerns over Big Tech’s targeting of conservative speech and the creeping influence of non-economic issues in the business decisions of America’s largest companies. In reaction to this problem, a few Republicans have co-sponsored the Klobuchar bill with the hope that it will help reduce discrimination against conservative voices online.

In reality, the bill would worsen these issues by forcing targeted companies into a “mother-may-I” relationship with the federal government. The institutional Left is in universal agreement about the effects the bill will have. The Center for American Progress endorsed the bill on the grounds that it will spur “much needed improvements in content moderation and technologies.”

Whatever so-called “improvements” that the left has in mind for content moderation will certainly not work out in favor of conservatives’ free speech. If conservatives are unhappy with the status quo, just imagine Big Tech targeting conservative speech on behalf of Biden bureaucrats.

S. 2992 outlaws a slew of routine business activity for companies with over $550 billion in market cap and 50 million monthly users. If a business runs afoul of these new government mandates, the government can levy a fine of up to 10 percent of the business’ revenue.

Supporters promise the bill will only apply to four or five American companies…for now. This bill opens the door for future government regulation based on the size of a company, a government cap on innovation and a permanent dial that
Democrats can use to trap more companies under the heavy hand of government control.

While supporters claim this is the first serious antitrust bill in nearly a century, S. 2992 hardly resembles antitrust law as traditionally understood. For almost 50 years, the consumer welfare standard has anchored American antitrust law. Antitrust enforcers generally do not act unless consumers are being harmed via tangible effects like higher prices, reduced innovation, or lower quality.

S. 2992 would push the U.S. towards a European-style approach, where the government picks economic winners and losers and targets politically disfavored companies with frivolous lawsuits. Bureaucrats win, consumers lose.

For policy and political reasons alike, it seems foolish for Republicans to help Democrats ram through such a sweeping regulatory bill as the midterms approach. Pocketbook issues like generation-high inflation and skyrocketing gas prices are top of mind for American families.

A recent Gallup poll shows 52 percent of Americans name inflation as their top issue – antitrust does not even rank. The last thing families and consumers need is a law that would restrict access to the generic products that they reach for in order to make ends meet.

Even some Democrats admit that S. 2992 will increase inflationary pressure on American families. One Democrat
aide blasted the bill as Sen. Klobuchar’s “pet project” with little political payoff, saying “We should be focused on items that will help consumers deal with rising costs…[and] nobody can figure

out why it would be a priority.” Another aide was quoted asking, “Does the Klobuchar bill reduce rising costs in the short term for consumers? No. So why would it be a focus between now and the election?”

The Klobuchar bill would grow the size and scope of government, worsen conservative censorship, and increase inflationary pressure on American families. Instead of addressing pocketbook issues, Sen. Klobuchar’s top priority is empowering Biden bureaucrats before Democrats lose control of Congress. Republicans should not throw Sen. Klobuchar a lifeline.


Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Robert H. Bork, Jr.

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer

Richard Rahn

Stephen Moore 

Marty Connors
Chair, Alabama Center-Right Coalition

Dick Patten
President, American Business Defense Council

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Steve Pociask
President/CEO, American Consumer Institute

Richard Manning
President, Americans for Limited Government

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Kevin Waterman
Chair, Annapolis Center Right Coalition Meeting

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis 
President, 60 Plus Association

Hannah Cox
Co-founder, BASEDPolitics

Ralph Benko
Chairman, The Capitalist League

Daniel J. Mitchell
Chairman, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeff Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Ashley Baker
Director of Policy, Committee for Justice

Curt Levey
President, Committee for Justice

James Edwards
Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Christopher Butler
Interim Director, Digital Liberty

John Tamny
Vice President, FreedomWorks

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Sal Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy, James Madison Institute

Caden Rosenbaum
Tech & Innovation Policy Analyst, Libertas Institute

Charles Sauer
President, Market Institute

Rodolfo E. Milani 
Miami Freedom Forum

Stephen Stepanek
Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party
President, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting

William O’Brien
Former Speaker, NH House of Representatives
Chairman, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting

Eric Peterson
Director, Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

Doug Kellogg
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform

Jonathan Small
President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Tom Hebert
Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Bryan Bashur
Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum

Karen Kerrigan
President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Maureen Blum
President, Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives LLC

Patrick Hedger
Executive Director, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Rusty Cannon
President, Utah Taxpayers Association

Casey Given
Executive Director, Young Voices

Cc: House Republican Conference 
Senate Republican Conference

CCC joins coalition opposing Sohn’s federal communications commission nomination

A coalition of 18 center-right organizations sent a letter to the Senate opposing Gigi Sohn’s nomination to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission.

Sohn has spent decades as a hyper-partisan activist, launching attacks against regulators and elected officials who do not share her views. All of which has been well documented on social media. The letter outlines her past positions and how, if confirmed, Sohn would work to instill policies that would crush innovation, silence conservative speech, and eviscerate intellectual property protections.  

December 1, 2021  

Dear Senators:  

We, the undersigned, represent a broad coalition of organizations who oppose the nomination of Gigi Sohn to serve as Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. If confirmed, Sohn would work to instill policies that would crush innovation, silence conservative speech, and eviscerate intellectual property protections.  

The FCC was created by Congress to be an independent regulator and it has broad power over the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors. The agency has been characterized by bipartisan cooperation and accountability to Congress.  

Sohn has spent decades as a hyper-partisan activist, launching attacks against regulators and elected officials who do not share her views. She implied that the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee is an industry puppet. She suggested that Republican senators are a threat to the country. She credits center-right news outlets with “destroying democracy” and “electing autocrats.” And she joined the board of an organization after it was sued by major broadcasters for violating the Copyright Act—a case that recently resulted in a $32 million judgment against her organization. Given these views, it is hard to believe that Sohn would give regulated entities a fair shake or operate in a bipartisan manner at the FCC.  

The FCC plays a critical role in protecting and upholding free speech and the First Amendment rights of regulated entities. Sohn’s willingness to use the FCC’s power to silence her opponents is disqualifying on its own.  Sohn has expressed interest in the FCC revoking hundreds of broadcast licenses from a particular broadcaster due in part to the editorial decisions that company has made. She supported a campaign by elected officials to pressure cable and streaming services to drop conservative news outlets. And she closely aligns with an organization who petitioned the FCC to investigate broadcasters whose COVID-19 coverage they disagreed with.

Her views on Title II are emblematic of her longstanding tendency to promote policies that over-regulate the industries in the FCC’s jurisdiction. Sohn was one the chief architects of the short-lived Title II common-carriage rules that she claimed were necessary to enforce net neutrality. The rules drove down broadband investment,  increased prices, and decreased the adoption of home Internet service. Sohn has made it clear that she not only wants to reinstate these rules, but wants to take them further, including a ban on “zero-rating,” the free wireless data services that are particularly popular among low-income users. She has also signaled a desire for the FCC to set the price of broadband service, a practice that would be more apt for the Soviet Union than the United States.

When the rules were being repealed by the prior administration’s FCC, Sohn encouraged the far-left activist campaigns that fueled hyperbolic and doomsday predictions about the destruction of the Internet. FCC commissioners received death threats and a bomb threat was called into the FCC moments before the vote to repeal the rules. Sohn works with and supports the organizations who engaged in the tactics and rhetoric that led to these ugly displays.

Throughout her career, Sohn has favored policies that undermine intellectual property rights protections. She spearheaded an FCC proceeding that would have enabled tech platforms to effectively steal and monetize television content without paying for usage rights. Sohn also served on the board of Locast, a “non-profit” that was determined to be illegally retransmitting broadcasters’ content without their consent in violation of the Copyright Act. The case resulted in a permanent injunction that required Locast to pay $32 million in statutory damages. Sohn cannot be an impartial regulator of the broadcast industry after joining the Board of an organization that openly violated that industry’s copyrights. 

As the decisive vote on controversial matters at the agency, Sohn would have the power and incentive to push the FCC towards government control of communications. Further, the Biden Administration has shown a willingness to mislead Senators when it comes to agency leadership, as demonstrated by the bait-and-switch the White House pulled with the Federal Trade Commission, when Chair Khan was elevated after being confirmed under false pretenses. The potential for Sohn to become chair of the FCC makes her nomination all the more concerning. 

Sohn’s confirmation would jeopardize investment and innovation, threaten free speech, and bring partisanship to the FCC. For these and other reasons, we urge Senators to reject Sohn’s confirmation. 

Consumer Choice Center Joins Coalition Calling on the Biden Administration’s WHO Delegation to Recognise the Value of Tobacco Harm Reduction

Dear President Biden:

In January, the White House issued a “Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking,” in which you state “[i]t is the policy of my Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data,” as opposed to personal ideology. The undersigned commend this declaration and write to ensure that this science-driven decision-making extends to all areas of policymaking, even politically challenging matters such as tobacco and nicotine containing products.

Next month, a U.S. delegation will participate in the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), commonly known as COP9. The U.S. is a signatory to the FCTC, but has never ratified the treaty, and therefore participates under Observer Status. Traditionally, the Conference of the Parties convenes every two years to discuss issues related to the implementation of the treaty and to promote strategies that allegedly advance tobacco control strategies.

Based on its own data, the WHO estimates there will be approximately 1.4 billion cigarette smokers around the world in 2025. This statistic is further illustrated by research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that less than one in 10 cigarette smokers will successfully quit smoking each year. Notwithstanding these sobering numbers, the WHO continues to rebuff innovative, science-driven advancements in nicotine delivery that could expedite its goal of eradicating cigarette smoking.

U.S. leadership is needed at the WHO now more than ever, and this includes oversight of its tobacco control strategies. Although the FCTC recognizes three pillars of tobacco control – prevention, cessation, and harm reduction – it has done nothing to recognize the technological innovation or promote policies that advance scientifically substantiated less harmful alternatives. In contrast, the comprehensive U.S. approach to tobacco control, rooted in the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and signed into law by President Obama, authorized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop pathways to bring less harmful noncombustible products to the market for adult consumers that will otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes. While not a perfect process, the FDA has demonstrated the viability of these processes and that adult smokers deserve information about and access to less harmful products. In short, by authorizing some novel products, the FDA has affirmed its commitment to harm reduction and based these determinations on sound science as opposed to political ideology.

Society has adopted harm reduction in various aspects of our everyday lives, particularly as it relates to public health. However, there is a strong hesitancy with the WHO to accept harm reduction for tobacco, favoring instead to pursue “quit or die” policies that maintain the status quo and keep people using cigarettes.

As stated in the January memorandum, policies should be based on sound science, not autocratic regimes, personal ideology, or politics. We respectfully encourage the U.S. delegation participating in COP9 to advocate tobacco harm reduction – as clearly stated in the FCTC – as a vital component of any tobacco control strategy. This position aligns with U.S. law, FDA’s comprehensive approach, and basic common sense. Anything less is bowing to undue political pressure and fails to serve the hundreds of millions of adult smokers around the world that deserve access to better choices beyond cigarettes.


Lindsey Stroud
Director, Consumer Center
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Steve Pociask
President / CEO
American Consumer Institute

Gregory Conley
American Vaping Association

Amanda Wheeler
American Vapor Manufacturers Association

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Dave Morris
Arizona Smoke-Free Business Alliance

Peter J. Pitts
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
Former FDA Associate Commissioner

Thomas Schatz
Citizens Against Government Waste

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center

Elizabeth Hicks
U.S. Affairs Analyst
Consumer Choice Center

Nick Orlando
Florida Smoke Free Association (FSFA)

Susan Stutzman
Georgia Vape Alliance (GVA)

Eric Curtis
Michigan Vape Shop Owners (MVSO)

Kim “Skip” Murray
Tobacco Harm Reduction Specialist MN Smoke-Free Alliance
Co-Founder, Safer Nicotine Wiki

Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

James Jarvis
Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA)

Mazen Saleh
Policy Director, Integrated Harm Reduction
R Street Institute

Tim Teml
Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois (SFACOIL)

Casey Given
Executive Director
Young Voices

Why We Launched the World Vapers’ Alliance

As a consumer advocacy group founded in 2017, we have been proud to lend our voice to different issue areas that impact ordinary people each and every day. Whether standing up for ride-sharing, smart cannabis regulation, Internet freedom, data privacy, and more, our guiding focus has been on elevating consumer choice wherever it is threatened. 

To that end, we write articles in popular media, conduct research on the matters at hand, provide testimony to governmental bodies, conduct social media campaigns online, engage with issue experts and legislators, and help propel ordinary consumer advocates to defend their freedom to choose.

One crucial area of importance is that of tobacco harm reduction: ensuring that close to one billion lives can be saved thanks to harm-reducing alternative nicotine technologies and products. Many countries have vibrant and competitive markets that give smokers an opportunity to switch to less harmful products as a gateway away from smoking. Others, however, do not. And increasingly, with tobacco control advocates guiding the conversation and policy on how to address the needs of smokers by promoting prohibitions and restrictions, that means that fewer people will have access to these life-saving alternatives.

And because promoting harm reduction is a key goal of our organization, and would help save the lives of so many more around the world, we saw it fit to launch our own single-issue initiative that would cater to vapers who care about this issue and want to see it continue.

That’s why in 2020, we launched the World Vapers’ Alliance. We want to connect passionate vapers around the world and empower them to make a difference for their communities. The goal of the World Vapers’ Alliance is to defend vaping by providing a unified platform that makes vapers’ voices heard by those in the corridors of power.

The vaper community is both diverse and heterogeneous. There are some who prefer open tank systems that allow them to mix their flavors and levels of nicotine with more power. There are those who prefer flavored pod systems available at corner stores.

Every person who decides to start vaping and stop smoking should be seen as an overall victory for public health. But those who want to see more laws, regulations, and restrictions — buoyed by multi-million dollar campaigns and international public health bureaucrats — don’t see it that way.

That’s why we need a global movement to represent the voice of vapers. These are the individuals who made a conscious decision to improve their own health, but now see this technology becoming more arbitrarily restricted every day by those who pretend to speak for them.

We need a citizen movement. A global movement. That’s why we created the World Vapers’ Alliance, and why we will continue to fight on behalf of vapers, no matter which country they live in.

UPDATE: The World Vapers’ Alliance is now an independently operating non-profit organization.

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