July 15, 2019

The National “Nanny” Park Service

SUMMARY: The National Park Service proposes to revise the regulation that defines smoking to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems. The National Park Service also proposes to allow a superintendent to close an area, building, structure, or facility to smoking when necessary to maintain public health and safety.<<<Read More>>>

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Impending Announcement by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy on E-Cigarettes

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Impending Announcement by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy on E-Cigarettes Draws Statement by Jeff Stier of the National Center for Public Policy Research
New York, NY / Washington, DC – United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy is expected to make an announcement this morning regarding e-cigarettes.


Jeff Stier, director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nationally-recognized authority on e-cigarette policy, is available to comment on today’s news.

As a leading conservative expert on public health policies, Stier’s views on the topic should be of particular interest as the Trump transition team considers key appointments at the Food and Drug Administration, as well as when the time comes to appoint a new Surgeon General.

In anticipation of these developments, Stier says, “If Surgeon General Murthy only addresses the serious risks of e-cigarette use by minors, something we all agree on, but fails to provide much-needed education about their benefits to adult smokers who would like to quit, he’ll have missed an important opportunity.”

Further, says Stier, “If the Surgeon General goes on to make policy recommendations based only on the risk part of the equation, without considering the benefits, he will have failed his fundamental obligation of improving public health. Without a deep and thorough analysis of the issue, the Surgeon General’s approach becomes little more than platitudes.”

Stier says, “The Surgeon General would have been wise to adopt the clear approach used by the Royal College of Physicians in its landmark report last year, by saying, ‘It’s very simple: adult cigarette smokers who switch to e-cigarettes dramatically reduce their risk, by using “nicotine without smoke.”‘”

Stier has applauded the Food and Drug Administration, as well as almost every state, for banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors. “Kids should not use any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, or even zero-nicotine e-cigarettes,” he says.

But Stier believes that our public health authorities “have the capacity to distinguish between keeping these products out of the hands of minors, while at the same time making sure adult smokers recognize that e-cigarettes present a dramatically lower risk than cigarettes.”

“In fact,” says Stier, “Public Health England did just that, when it recommended e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative to smoking when it published the most comprehensive government report on the topic to date.”

Stier is concerned that “if, in the name of public health, federal regulations inhibit much-needed innovation in the e-cigarette market, if those regulations limit marketing to adults, or prevent companies from selling flavored e-cigarettes which appeal to adult smokers, public health will actually suffer, as fewer adult smokers will be likely to switch from smoking.”

Stier has written frequently and widely about e-cigarettes for major publications, including USA Today (here and here), National Review and elsewhere.

Stier also has appeared on numerous television news outlets on the topic, on one calling e-cigarettes “a boon to public health.”

Stier has also testified on the topic before numerous state and city legislative and regulatory bodies, as well as at Food and Drug Administration meetings and the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter or @JeffAStier.

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FDA E-Cig Regulations Harm Innovation, Public Health

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

*Editor’s Note* – Having a discussion about whether or not e-cigarettes are more healthy than real tobacco product cigarettes, is akin to deciding which crook, Hillary or Donald, should get your vote. Would you rather die from e-cigarettes or from tobacco? Would you rather get screwed and further forced into slavery by Hillary or Donald?
Groups File in Support of Challenge to Deeming Rule
Washington, D.C. – Today, TechFreedom and the National Center for Public Policy Research filed an amicus brief in support of the challenge to the FDA’s new regulation of e-cigs being brought by Nicopure Labs, a manufacturer of e-cigarette liquid.

In May, the FDA finalized its Deeming Rule regulations, which would force e-cig manufacturers to undergo an expensive and time-consuming premarket tobacco application process unless their products were on the market — or substantially equivalent to a product on the market — prior to the predicate date of February 15, 2007, long before modern e-cigs were introduced. The high cost of the application process means most e-cig businesses will be forced to shut down, eliminating choices of dramatically safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes, which will leave smokers with fewer options to compete against the most harmful form of nicotine consumption, combustible tobacco.

The brief concludes:

The FDA’s Deeming Rule fails to consider the scientific evidence readily available to the agency regarding the safety and the public health benefits of e-cigarettes. The Deeming Rule is improper under the APA not merely because it fails any manner of scientific analysis, and is therefore arbitrary and capricious, but also because it is in direct conflict with Congress’s intent to prevent smoking and aid cessation through the [Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control] Act.

E-cig technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the FDA’s arbitrary predicate date in 2007,” said Evan Swarztrauber, Communications Director at TechFreedom. “Setting a standard using technology from nearly a decade ago is absurd and highly stifling to innovation. The FDA should issue evidence-based regulations that address legitimate safety concerns without hindering products that improve consumer health by providing a less harmful alternative, rather than implementing a ‘Mother, may I innovate?’ approach that’s become all too common among regulatory agencies.”

Instead of developing science-based standards which would reduce harm, the FDA directly admitted it didn’t understand or evaluate the potential benefits or harms of e-cigarettes,” said Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Without that science, it relied on the ‘precautionary principle’ standard, in direct conflict with the evidence-based standard required by Congress.”

Regulations should be promulgated within the constraints of the rule of law, sound policy, and proportionality,” said Daniel Suraci, an attorney working pro bonoon behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “The FDA’s heavy-handed approach to e-cigarettes is an affront to smart governance as the regulations are in direct contradiction of the scientific evidence showing the public health benefits of vaping, and push the public back to cancer causing tobacco products.”

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Congress Must Act, or E-Cigarettes May Soon Be Banned by FDA

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Congress Must Act Quickly To Halt FDA’s Upcoming Regulation To Kill E-Cigarettes

FDA Release of E-Cigarette Rules “Imminent”

House Appropriations Committee Can Take Step to Deter FDA

FY2017 Agriculture Appropriations Bill To Be Debated in Committee Next Wednesday

 

Washington, DC/New York, NY – The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products will soon publish its so-called “Deeming Regulations,” the framework for regulating e-cigarettes at the federal level.

The Hill reports the rule’s release may be “imminent.”

According to National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier, “the regulation could require all e-cigarettes that came to market after February 15, 2007, which is essentially all of them, to be removed from the market unless they win onerous pre-market approval.”

“This,” Stier warns, “would give deadly old-school combustible cigarettes an almost insurmountable competitive advantage.”

“The regulation would have the effect, intended or not, of taking e-cigarettes away from former smokers who quit smoking by using these less harmful alternatives,” Stier added.

“This,” says Stier, “is exactly the opposite of what government should be doing, which is to create a regulatory environment that encourages smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, the dramatically less harmful way to get nicotine.”

Stier explains that the 2007 date, known as the “predicate date,” was established by Congress with cigarettes and other tobacco products in mind. “E-cigarettes were in their infancy when Congress gave FDA authority to regulate tobacco. There’s just no public health way of making sense of applying a 2007 predicate date to e-cigarettes, as the FDA stubbornly insists it must.”

According to Stier, “the most immediate thing Congress can do to stop the FDA from killing off the most viable alternative to cigarettes for smokers is to change the predicate date to the effective date of the new FDA rule, likely later this year.”

Stier says “the House Appropriations Committee can change the predicate date, literally giving everyone more breathing room, but it wouldn’t completely reign in the FDA, because the FDA would still seek to hold e-cigarettes that go on the market after that date to innovation-stifling pre-market rules.”

“E-cigarettes are innovative products. Health regulators should put reasonable safety standards in place, rather than put e-cigarettes at a disadvantage to deadly cigarettes, already entrenched in the market,” Stier insists.

Stier met with White House and FDA officials twice as the Obama Administration was considering the Deeming Regulations. He has also given talks at leading conferences around the world on the role of tobacco harm reduction. Stier has also offered his expertise on the matter at the United Nations, as well as in city, state and federal regulatory and legislative hearings around the country. Video of Stier testifying to the Los Angeles City Council is available here and at the United Nations, here.

As Mr. Stier told WCBS TV in New York City last year, “E-cigarettes are a free-market solution to the problem of smoking because people are willfully switching from a very harmful product to dramatically less harmful products.”

Stier is concerned that “if, in the name of public health, federal regulations inhibit much-needed innovation in the e-cigarette market, public health will actually suffer, as fewer adult smokers will be likely to switch from smoking.”

In an op-ed for USA Today, Stier argued, “E-cigarettes aren’t threatening the progress of continued smoking reduction. They are helping even hard-core cigarette smokers quit.”

In an interview with Al Jazeera America’s Ali Velshi, Stier called e-cigarettes “a boon to public health” and a threat to the old way tobacco companies did business.

According to Stier, “It is appropriate for the federal government to regulate e-cigarettes, but as even the FDA’s own chief tobacco regulator has repeatedly acknowledged, the law requires the agency to use science to weigh the potential benefits of e-cigarettes against any potential health risk for both the individual user, as well as the population as a whole.”

When the FDA initially issued the proposed Deeming Regulation in 2014, Stier warned, “If the regulations are too heavy-handed, they’ll have the deadly effect of preventing smokers from quitting by switching to these dramatically less harmful alternatives.”

Stier predicts, “If the Deeming Regulations apply overly-burdensome rules, the industry, consumer groups, and health advocates will come together to challenge the rules in court, as well as in the legislature.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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Jeff Stier to Speak at Smoke-Free Alternatives Conference

Goal: Reduce Harm from Tobacco Use

Jeff Stier to Speak at Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association 2015 Annual Conference

Washington, DC – Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, will give a talk on “Making Policy Decisions” at the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association’s (SFATA) 2015 annual conference, “Revolution to Evolution: Next Steps for the Vapor Industry,” being held at the Hilton Orrington Evanston in Evanston, IL from May 4-5, 2015.

Stier, who directs the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division, also will moderate a panel on strategies and goals for advancing harm reduction after the FDA announces its new regulations on e-cigarettes, which is expected sometime next month.

“Reducing the harm associated with tobacco use is a legitimate aim for health agencies, policymakers, regulators, and the tobacco industry alike,” said Stier. “What is needed to determine how best to achieve this is good quality science, designed, conducted and analyzed using well-established scientific standards, as well as the discipline to distinguish between association and causation. Poorly-executed studies run the risk of misinforming both the public and governments about how best to reduce the harm from tobacco use. They can undermine regulatory aims and do more harm than good.”

“Poor science,” Stier added, “undermines the public health community’s most valuable asset: its reputation for adherence to strong scientific principles.”

The headline speaker for the conference is Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

A complete list of scheduled panels and presentations over the two-day conference, as well as registration information can be found by visiting http://sfata.org/may2015/.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier has addressed health policy on CNBC, CNN, the Fox News Channel and MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. Stier also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

On the topic of e-cigarettes, Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and submitted testimony to state legislative hearings. He has testified about e-cigarette regulation before state legislatures and city councils in California, New York, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and elsewhere, and been published about the topic in the New York Post, Detroit News, Huffington Post, Des Moines Register and elsewhere.

Founded in 2012 and with more than 420 members, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association is the largest trade association in the vapor products industry. For more information, visit SFATA.org or follow @SFATA on Twitter.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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Michigan Governor Snyder’s Veto of Bill to Ban Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors

Press Release from National Center for Public Policy Research:

National Center Risk Analysis Division Director Comments on Michigan Governor Snyder’s Veto of Bill to Ban Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors

New York NY/Washington, DC – Jeff Stier, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Risk Analysis Division, has the following comments about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of legislation to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Michigan:

The National Center for Public Policy Research is deeply disappointed that Governor Rick Snyder vetoed Michigan House Bill 4997, Senate Bills 667 and 668 today, which would have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and treated e-cigarettes differently than cigarettes.

The governor’s veto leaves Michigan as one of approximately ten states where the sale of e-cigarettes to minors remains legal. But worse, the governor went out of his way to suggest that cigarettes and e-cigarettes pose similar risks, a claim that will have deadly consequences.

In his veto statement, the governor parroted arguments of activist public health groups like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network that complain the legislation does not regulate e-cigarettes exactly the same as deadly cigarettes.

The governor’s twisted logic is a fascinating exercise in political sleight of hand.

The governor (at best) misconstrues how the Federal Food and Drug Administration plans to regulate e-cigarettes, and argues that if Michigan doesn’t treat e-cigarettes the same as deadly cigarettes, the state will ‘unnecessarily sow confusion, send [sic] a mixed health message to the public.”

However, as I wrote in a letter to the governor last week, treating e-cigarettes like cigarettes would undermine a central tenet of the U.S. FDA’s approach to securing the potentials benefit of e-cigarettes, while minimizing any potential harm.

The FDA’s chief tobacco regulator, Mitch Zeller, told the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Public Health, “The other example is if at the end of the day people are smoking for the nicotine, but dying from the tar, then there’s an opportunity for FDA to come up with what I’ve been calling a comprehensive nicotine regulatory policy that is agency-wide and that is keyed to something that we call the continuum of risk: that there are different nicotine containing and nicotine delivering products that pose different levels of risk to the individual.”

It is ironic that Governor Snyder would argue that a Michigan bill to do just what the FDA’s Zeller calls for is “not consistent” with FDA policy.

To say that treating e-cigarettes differently than combustible cigarettes would send a “mixed health message” is the kind of deadly double-talk I’d have expected from the tobacco industry in the 1970s. In fact, by insinuating that cigarettes and e-cigarettes carry the same risks and should be regulated the same, Governor Snyder sends a mixed message to Michigan smokers seeking a dramatically less harmful alternative to cigarettes. The consequences of the governor’s statement will be deadly because smokers who may have switched to e-cigarettes may be misled into thinking that e-cigarettes are just as harmful as smoking.

Why would the governor veto a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors just because the bill doesn’t give him everything he wants, such as a high tax on e-cigarettes?

If the governor wants to insist on an e-cigarette excise tax, he’s welcome to introduce a bill to do it, even had the legislation he vetoed today been law. If he wants an e-cigarette sin tax, he should make his best case. And we will explain to the public why it would be a bad idea for public health. Let’s have an airing of the issue through the democratic legislative process. However, the only logical reason he would have vetoed the ban on sales to minors was to use widespread support for this approach to gain support for the ideas he knows he shouldn’t win on the facts, if they were up for consideration independently.

As I warned the governor in a letter last week, “Those approaches do not deserve any halo from the consensus of banning sales to minors. Conversely, a ban on sales to minors should not be delayed because some groups seek to advance approaches that aren’t supported by science and may undermine public health.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research calls on Governor Snyder to immediately remind smokers that there is widespread agreement in the public health community that smokers who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes reduce their risks dramatically.
New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and submitted testimony to state legislative hearings. He has testified about e-cigarette regulation before state legislatures and city councils in California, New York, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and elsewhere, and written about the topic for the Detroit News, New York Post , the Huffington Post, the Des Moines Register and elsewhere.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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NY Legislature Urged to Hear from BOTH Sides at e-Cigarette Hearing

Think-Tanks Join to Urge New York State Legislature to Hold Fair Hearings

National Center for Public Policy Research, Heartland Institute Urge New York Legislature to Hear Witnesses from BOTH Sides at e-Cigarette Hearing

e-Cigarettes are a Gateway Out of Tobacco Smoking for Many Adults, Groups Say

Washington DC/Chicago, IL – Today, the Health Committee of the New York Senate will hold what it is calling a “public hearing” on a number of bills relating to electronic cigarettes. Among the bills to be heard are a ban on electronic cigarette use wherever combustible cigarettes are prohibited and a ban on the sale of the liquid used in many electronic cigarette products.

While the public is welcome to watch the hearing, New York citizens and public health experts who support electronic cigarettes as alternatives to smoking are not welcome to actually speak.

“I would have liked to have traveled to Albany to give testimony, as I’ve done in Los Angeles and New York City,” said Jeff A. Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Unfortunately, the hearing notice on the New York legislature’s website makes clear that oral testimony was ‘by invitation only.'”

Added Stier, “Predictably, New York Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon only invited one side of the public health debate on e-cigarettes — those who believe nanny state laws are always the solution to health issues.”

Stier’s isn’t the only voice that New York Senators won’t get to hear at the “public hearing.”

Gregory Conley, Research Fellow at the Heartland Institute and an ex-smoker who quit with the aid of electronic cigarettes, said, “It is disheartening that the New York Senate Health Committee will not hear from a single public health advocate who believes that electronic cigarettes are and will continue to be a gateway out of smoking for millions of adults.”

It wasn’t that Stier or Conley weren’t seeking to testify: “I made multiple attempts to be added to the agenda, but was denied by Senator Hannon’s office,” Conley said.

Especially irking to the pair is the fact that lobbyists from the American Lung Association and American Heart Association were among those fortunate enough to be invited to speak. “From 2009 to 2011, the American Lung Association and American Heart Association both campaigned in the New York state legislature for a total ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to adults. They should have no credibility on this issue,” said Conley.

The National Center for Public Policy Research and the Heartland Institute are jointly calling on the New York state legislature to hold genuine public hearings on these bills so that legislators can consider the matter based on more than just one pre-determined perspective.

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L.A. Votes to Treat Much Safer E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco

Los Angeles City Council Votes to Treat Much-Safer E-Cigarettes Just Like Dangerous Tobacco Cigarettes

Vote Closer than Expected; Public Health Advocates Hope Elected Officials are Becoming Aware of Relative Public Health Benefits of Tobacco-Free E-Cigarette “Vaping” Alternative

Los Angeles, CA/Washington DC – In a closer vote than expected, the Los Angeles City Council today voted not to carve-out an exception for bars in that city’s new ban on public vaping (the use of e-cigarettes, which emit smokeless vapor).

National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier testified at the hearing, encouraging the council members not to vote to ban all public vaping in Los Angeles, including in bars, where children are banned.

“The ‘precautionary principle’ should be applied to regulations… regulations should be narrowly-tailored to achieve a public health goal, and they shouldn’t do more harm than good… The science is very well developed on the dangers of smoking [tobacco cigarettes],” said Stier, who says e-cigarettes have helped many nicotine-addicted adults quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

“Let me tell you one very serious consequence of a regulation like this without having an exemption for bars,” said Stier, who went on to explain to the city council that smokers currently must leave bars to smoke outside. And if vapers, that is, e-cigarette users who are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, are forced by regulations to go outside with the tobacco smokers to appease their nicotine habit, they will be more tempted to resume smoking tobacco.

As a public health policy, said Stier, “That’s nonsense! If you put them outside, they’re going to go back to smoking.”

The Los Angeles City Council ultimately voted 8-6 to treat vaping just like smoking, and not to allow an exception for bars, but the vote was closer than anticipated.

“This ban will be directly responsible for some former smokers going back to smoking – all in the name of ‘public health,'” said Stier.

“E-cigarettes do not re-normalize smoking,” Stier concluded. “They normalize not smoking.”

A video of Stier’s testimony in Los Angeles today is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIGnT6LOX4o .

Stier has testified before states and localities in recent months about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. He says, “The vast majority of those who purchase e-cigarettes are adult smokers trying to quit. So discouraging the use of e-cigarettes actually incentivizes smokers to continue smoking.”

Stier is hopeful that as more elected officials realize the public health benefits of allowing the use of e-cigarettes, the more they will oppose policies, including e-cigarette bans and high excise taxes on e-cigarettes, that discourage people from using them to quit smoking tobacco.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified about e-cigarette regulation before the New York, Los Angeles and San Diego City Councils, submitted testimony to the Oklahoma and Rhode Island legislatures has met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue.

He’s written about the topic for the New York Post, the Huffington Post the Des Moines Register, and elsewhere.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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Revenue-Hungry Rhode Island Seeks 80% Tax on Lifesaving E-Cigarettes

Tobacco-Free E-Cigarettes Help Tobacco Smokers Quit; Taxing Them Like Tobacco Cigarettes Would Harm Smoking Cessation Efforts

As Rhode Island Goes, So Goes the Nation?

New York, NY/Washington DC – National Center Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier is submitting testimony today to the Rhode Island legislature in opposition to a plan by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee to impose an 80% tax on e-cigarettes.

Chaffee believes that “electronic cigarette laws should mirror tobacco product laws.”

Stier says Chaffee’s policy would lead to unnecessary deaths.

“The Governor’s budget includes an 80% tax on the manufacturer’s price of e-cigarettes. This would have the effect of making the most commonly purchased e-cigarettes more expensive than real cigarettes. If this tax is included in the final budget, it may have the unintended consequence of discouraging smokers from switching to dramatically less harmful e-cigarettes.

He adds: “The consequence of fewer e-cigarette sales is a deadly one. The vast majority of those who purchase e-cigarettes are adult smokers trying to quit. So discouraging the use of e-cigarettes, the stated purpose of the excise tax, would actually incentivize smokers to continue smoking.”

“It is critical to note that e-cigarettes are attractive alternatives to cigarettes, in part because, like the FDA-approved gum and patch, they provide nicotine,” Stier continues. “Nicotine, while highly addictive, is not particularly harmful at the levels at which it is consumed. While nobody should initiate use of any nicotine products, be they pharmaceutical, e-cigarettes or certainly tobacco-burning cigarettes, legislators should know that it’s not the nicotine that makes cigarettes dangerous. It’s the burning tobacco that makes traditional cigarettes harmful to users and those exposed to the smoke. E-cigarettes contain no tobacco.”

Stier is suspicious of tax-supporters’ claims that taxing e-cigarettes is the best way to reduce their sale to minors. “If the Governor truly wanted to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, he would not have vetoed 2013 S 633 Substitute A last July,” Stier says. “That bill would have simply banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.”

Stier supports banning e-cigarette sales to minors.

Stier believes the proposed tax is a revenue-raising measure, but says the tax, if approved, is unlikely to raise revenue: “In Rhode Island, sin taxes are likely to lead to more out-of state sales, where there are no excise taxes on e-cigarettes. As such, the likely result of this e-cigarette tax would be lower revenue for the state, while yielding little or no impact on the use of e-cigarettes.”

A copy of Stier’s full written testimony is available here.

Stier’s testimony is being submitted in writing due to the weather-related cancellation of his formal testimony before the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee today.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and has submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Most recently, he testified before the science committee of the New York City Council about that city’s ban on public use of e-cigarettes and submitted testimony to the Oklahoma legislature on the same matter.

Stier has testified about e-cigarette regulation before the New York City Council, submitted testimony to a joint committee of the Oklahoma legislature and has met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue.

He’s written about the topic for the New York Post, the Huffington Post the Des Moines Register, and elsewhere.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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E-Cigarette Super Bowl Ad Could Save Lives Because They Help Smokers Quit Smoking Tobacco

But Despite the Health Benefits, Anti-Smoking Activists Want the Federal Government to Ban The Ads

Washington DC – The public health community should be celebrating the fact that e-cigarettes are being advertised during the Super Bowl — but anti-tobacco activist groups want the FDA to throw a yellow flag against the ads.

“These activists are committing a foul,” says Jeff Stier, director of the Risk Analysis Division of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “The private sector is paying for the most expensive commercials on television – and these ads will help smokers quit. Contrast these effective, privately funded stop-smoking ads with the government sponsored commercials which do little to help smokers.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that #2 e-cigarette maker NJOY is planning to spend over $30 million in marketing in 2014, with a “lion’s share” of it being for television.

“Activist groups like the American Lung Association, which are adamantly opposed to e-cigarettes, have called upon the FDA to ban the NJOY ad and similar ads,” says Stier. “Why would the American Lung Association, whose purpose, one would think, is to reduce smoking, be opposed to smoke-free e-cigarettes? Because, they argue, some e-cigarettes look like the real thing.”

“That’s nonsense. That some e-cigarettes look like cigarettes is actually what makes them so appealing to smokers. If it were up to activist groups, alternatives to cigarette smoking would be entirely unappealing. That means they’d be entirely ineffective,” Stier adds.

“Those who care about public health should be rejoicing that the private sector is not only placing anti-smoking advertising on the country’s largest stage, but that the ad actually offers smokers an appealing alternative to smoking. Many smokers complain that the gum and patch, which are promoted by government funded anti-smoking campaigns, are not satisfying. However e-cigarettes, which, like the gum and patch, deliver nicotine, also give those trying to quit a more similar experience to the habit of smoking. This may explain why so many former smokers failed to quit smoking with government-endorsed solutions, but are now succeeding with e-cigarettes,” says Stier.

“E-cigarettes are a product created by profit-driven private sector innovation that is doing what many hundreds of millions of dollars of government spending, costly litigation, addictive excise taxes, warning labels and punitive regulations have been unable to do: help cigarette smokers quit happily. And activists don’t want smokers to know about them,” Stier concludes.

Jeff Stier has written about the issue for papers around the country (the Des Moines Register here and New York Post here), testified in person and in writing before city and state legislative bodies (New York City Council here and Oklahoma legislature here) and has met with Administration officials about the health benefits of e-cigarettes. He also is a regular guest on radio and television talk shows.
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