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Ban on Tobacco Lozenges Killed in Idaho

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Flip-flopping by an Idaho state lawmaker who is married to a tobacco-industry lobbyist is being blamed for the defeat of a bill that would have banned the sale of dissolvable tobacco products.

The Associated Press reported Feb. 23 that the proposed ban was defeated in the state Senate Health and Welfare Committee after initially being approved 5-4. Sen. Melinda Smyser changed her vote in order to kill the bill; her husband, Skip, is a lobbyist for Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris.

Smyser did not offer an explanation for her last-minute switch. Some big tobacco companies — but not Altria — have marketed dissolvable tobacco lozenges, strips and sticks as alternatives to smoking, especially in light of prohibitions on indoor smoking.

Ban supporters said the dissolvable products look like candy and could appeal to children.

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