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Senator Richard Blumenthal was in Hartford this week to highlight his efforts to snuff out “kid-friendly” flavored electronic cigarettes that he says are leading to a “new generation of nicotine addicts.”

Blumenthal wants the Food and Drug Administration to go after JUUL vape products for marketing their products to young consumers with flavors that include “cotton candy, mango and cookies and cream.”

The FDA has issued 40 warning letters to stores regarding sales of JUUL e-cigarettes to minors and announced a targeted “blitz” crackdown aimed at stopping sales to minors. But, the company refuses to cease its marketing to children through candy flavors and youth-oriented accessories and the FDA has yet to ban the practice, Blumenthal said.

JUULpods are as small as a flash drive and produce no detectable plume, making it possible for youth to vape undetected in classrooms and bedrooms. Manufacturers have even created youth-oriented hoodies and t-shirts designed to conceal the addictive nicotine delivery devices.

“These kind of devices threaten to hook a new generation of nicotine addicts,” Blumenthal said. “I’m calling on the FDA to stop the sale of kid-friendly flavored vaping products.”

Blumenthal wants to FDA to reverse a decision it made last July to delay for four years a pre-market approval procedure for vaping products. Several anti-tobacco groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, have filed a lawsuit seeking FDA to restore the original August 2018 deadline.

Himes Not Ready to Impeach Trump

Representative Jim Himes played down calls for impeaching President Donald Trump during an appearance this week on CNN’s The Situation Room.

CNN Host Wolf Blitzer asked Himes if the public would want to move forward with impeachment of the president if special counsel Robert Mueller did not find that Trump committed a crime. Himes said bluntly that “without a crime there is no impeachment.”

“The president has obviously behaved in ways that have caused a great deal of consternation for a lot of us, but it is really important, particularly as we go into election season, to remember that we cannot let impeachment go the way of the appointment of Supreme Court justices,” Himes said.

Himes may already be too late in hoping that impeachment isn’t a campaign issue.

Last month, Jonathan Martin wrote in the New York Times of an emerging strategy for Republicans this mid-term election is to warn that Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump if take the majority in the House. The issue, Martin says, is not only a way to raise money but to energize conservatives and drive a wedge between the anti-Trump left and moderate voters.

“Party strategists also believe that floating the possibility of impeachment can also act as a sort of scared-straight motivational tool for turnout. Last week, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas used his re-election kickoff rally to introduce a video featuring a faux news anchor reading would-be headlines were conservatives not to vote in November,” Martin wrote.

In one of the faux clips the anchor says that “Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced the impeachment trial of President Trump.”

Courtney Lauds Rail Upgrades

Representative Joe Courtney was in Norwich this week for the ceremonial unloading of steel rails that will be used to upgrade a nine-mile stretch of freight rail running through Willimantic.

The track upgrade, costing an estimated $12.8 million, was funded in part by an $8.3 million federal transportation grant. The work will allow for today’s heavier freight rail cars to travel between New London and Stafford.

“These upgrades will allow the Port of New London to expand the amount of freight cargo that can be shipped in and sent out by rail across the region. This development is bound to expand industry and create new jobs across eastern Connecticut as shipping continues to grow,” Courtney said.

Courtney posted a photograph of the event on Twitter:

Today

Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal will participate in the grand opening of the VA Connecticut Fisher House at 11 a.m. at 950 Campbell Ave. in West Haven. The 16-suite house on the West Haven VA campus will be used by families of veterans and military service members receiving care at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System.