Tobacco Defender in Congress Now Paid Lobbyist
Steve Buyer once compared it to lettuce
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2012 4:55 PM CDT
Then Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., asks a question during testimony on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(Newser) – It takes a man of strong conviction to stand up in Congress and compare tobacco to lettuce—he was talking about the smokeless variety, but still. Well, Steve Buyer is no longer a congressman, and, hey, what do you know, he just landed a job as consultant and lobbyist for RJ Reynolds, reports ProPublica. The Indiana Republican served 18 years and was a staunch advocate of Big Tobacco, leading the unsuccessful charge in 2008-09 against a bill to let the FDA regulate tobacco, followed by the unsuccessful charge to delay said bill for a decade.

Around the same time, Buyer got $80,000 in political donations from RJ Reynolds. “To be an agent of change you can do it from the outside and attack tobacco manufacturers like many anti-tobacco organizations do," says Buyer of the new job. "Or you can do it from the inside. I have chosen to be an agent of change from the inside.” As for the tobacco-lettuce comparison in 2009, here's the quote:

  • "You could have smoked that lettuce and you still end up with the same problems. You could cut the grass in your yard, dry it, and roll it up in a cigarette, and smoke it—and you're still going to have a lot of problems. It is the smoke that kills, not the nicotine.”
Read ProPublica's full story here. Or see an auto-tuned version of that lettuce speech here.

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Oct 4, 2012 6:35 AM CDT
Thank you. Understand, I am NOT defending tobacco. I just wanted more information for my own benefit. Personally, I totally favor banning all tobacco, and legalizing Cannabis. I've never seen any documented proof of it killing anyone. My wife & i quit smoking about 6years ago, when we discovered she had lung cancer. She had 1/2 of her right lung removed, had 3months of chemo,and 30 radiation treatments,plus still has follow up cat scans & checkups to be sure it has not recurred. We have estimated the total cost for all this to be around 1/2 million,and still going.That's a pretty high price to pay for a product that will kill you!
Oct 3, 2012 9:40 PM CDT
I just went to Google, typed "info on nicotine," & got so much, I can't even list it here. If this idiot would do the same instead of selling his soul, he would have to admit the truth. But of course that would require honesty on his part, and we certainly can't expect that from a career polititian, now can we? I'm not going to go off on a mindless rave like American100, but the simple fact is that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known, plus being a known poison. It has been used as an insecticide for years, and will kill a human in a large enough dose. If you don't believe that, please look it up yourself,
Oct 3, 2012 12:52 PM CDT
Steve Buyer should be sent to Saturn's Titan moon in the upcoming boat launch...The lake is 100% methane. That is where he deserves to be. Smoking his lettuce and breathing his methane his last fart. Steve Buyer should be tried and convicted for spreading his Lettuce filled with Mustard Gas. How can Congress let this fuckhead go around spreading his viruses. Sorry, I can't find the words to bury this asshole. Even Al Gore scorched his tobacco fields after knowing what ill effects are produced. Some people can be sensicle. But not this dirty rotten whore of the tabacco industry. Superman and Lois Lane where are you!!!!....I'll settle for American100, MaryJayne and Fez.