December 9, 2019

Statement of Jeff Stier on FDA’s Announcement on E-Cigarette Regulations

New York NY/Washington DC – National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier has released the following statement regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement today on e-cigarettes:

I’m pleased that the FDA has finally released a blueprint for regulations of E-cigarettes, however I’m very concerned about how the FDA will implement these regulations.

Essentially what the FDA has done is tap e-cigs on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, we now regulate you.’

While the new rules reportedly have some reasonable rules, such as a ban on the sale to minors, the FDA is describing the new regulations as ‘foundational.’

The devil will be in the details of future regulatory decisions. 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.

I am also concerned that, like most regulatory schemes, the expensive and burdensome requirements will heavily favor big companies at the expense of smaller innovative ones, thus slowing product improvements that would make e-cigarettes a more appealing alternative to even the most addicted smokers.

One silver lining: some city and state legislatures have been using the lack of federal regulations as an excuse to institute their own draconian regulations, from public use bans to outright bans on flavored e-liquid. It will be harder to justify those bans now that the FDA is asserting federal oversight.

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 before states and localities in recent months about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. He has said, “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.

Stier has recently 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 and has met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue, among other activities.

Among many media appearances, Stier recently debated Dr. John Pierce of the University of California at San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center in a program moderated by Allison St. John on KPBS-TV in San Diego. That debate, available on YouTube here, illuminates many of the issues currently surrounding the regulation and safety of e-cigarettes, and their use as an aid for those who want to quit smoking tobacco.

Stier has written about the topic for the New York Post, the Huffington Post, the Des Moines Register, and in other publications.

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, three percent from foundations, and three 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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Is Food Political?

Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio and Left-Wing Interest Groups are Making It So with “Sham Consensus” Food Policy Scorecard

New York, NY – Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Risk Analysis Division, has issued a statement in response to the new “National Food Policy Scorecard” announced this week by the activist group Food Policy Action, supported by celebrity chief Tom Colicchio and consisting of organizations associated with the left:

“This scorecard is a sham. It does not, as Food Policy Action claims, “reflect the consensus of top food policy experts.” Rather, it represents the narrow views of a select group of some of the nation’s most ideologically-divisive activists.

“The Scorecard’s judges represent the far-left Environmental Working Group; the food police group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest; and even the “chief lobbyist” of a labor union. The one “expert” in the group who comes from the food industry is Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm, who regularly funds left-wing activist campaigns and stands to directly benefit from government programs that steer resources toward organic food.

“Members of Food Policy Action’s leadership advocate for policies that would increase the cost of foods and beverages through regressive taxes, eliminate certain food choices, and have the unintended consequence of causing people to eat fewer fruits and vegetables by unnecessarily scaring us about the safety of traditionally-grown agriculture.

“If I brought together my colleagues from other think-tanks who are aligned with my point of view, we’d market our scorecard as reflecting a consensus of top free-market food policy experts. We wouldn’t try to pass it off as a view that “reflects the consensus of top food policy experts” as Food Policy Action did – unless we brought in other folks and genuinely offered a bona fide consensus.”

Washington Post reporter Tim Carman described the “National Food Policy Scorecard” in a December 11 Post story beginning:

“On Tuesday, a national nonprofit group supported by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio announced that 87 members of Congress scored a perfect 100 on the 2013 National Food Policy Scorecard, which tracked lawmakers on 19 votes in the U.S. House and Senate during the most recent session.
“Of those 87 members of Congress, only one was a Republican, noted Ken Cook, board chairman for Food Policy Action, which tabulated the scores for the second year in a row…

“…All 38 House and Senate members with the lowest scores — zero — were Republicans, the Food Policy Action chairman noted. They included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Incidentally, as speaker, Boehner voted on only two of the 13 House bills or amendments that were considered for the scorecard; senators were scored on just six votes.

“Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, said there’s a good reason for Republican lawmakers’ performance on the scorecard. “It does not, as FPA claims, ‘reflect the consensus of top food policy experts,’?” he said. “Rather, it represents the narrow views of a select group of some of the nation’s most ideologically divisive activists.”

“Stier called the scorecard a “sham,” saying it has all the validity of an “NRA scorecard on gun ownership. But they’re playing it off as otherwise, which I think is misleading.””

The rest of the Washington Post story can be read here.

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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Nanny State Run Amuck: Bloomberg Bans Food Donations in New York City

Food Might Be Salty or Too High in Calories, City Explains

Washington, D.C. – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration is now banning all food being offered to the city’s homeless shelters. New York City’s bureaucrats have become so singularly focused on what people eat, says the National Center for Public Policy Research, that they’ve lost their common sense.

“So much for serving the homeless: The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term ‘food police’ to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless,” writes Jeff Stier, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Risk Analysis Division, in an op-ed in Monday’s New York Post.

“In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services has recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans,” writes Stier.

New York City DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond told the National Center’s Stier that the complete ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on “improving nutrition for all New Yorkers.”

As Stier writes, “A new inter-agency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.”

“Diamond insists that the institutional vendors hired by the shelters serve food that meets the rules but also tastes good; it just isn’t too salty, ” writes Stier. “So, according to the commissioner, the homeless really don’t need any donated food.”

Stier’s research reveals that there’s more to the story.

“For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife Lenore have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side orthodox congregation. They’ve brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood,” explains Stier. ” The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city,” he writes in the op-ed.

Mr. Richter’s experience suggests Commissioner Diamond and the Bloomberg administration are out of touch.

“[Glenn Richter] says the beneficiaries — many of them senior citizens recovering from drug and alcohol abuse — have always been appreciative of the treats he and other OZ members bring. It’s not just that the donations offer an enjoyable addition to the ‘official’ low-salt fare; knowing that the food comes from volunteers and from community members warms their hearts, not just their stomachs,” writes Stier.

“So you can imagine Richter’s consternation last month when employees at a local shelter turned away food he brought from a bar-mitzvah,” says Stier in the piece.

Richter, Stier writes, “is a former city Housing Authority employee, while his wife spent 35 years as a South Bronx public school teacher, so they’re no strangers to bureaucracy and poverty. But an exasperated Richter says, ‘this level of micromanagement is stunning.'”

Stier is an expert on how the nanny state is undermining the credibility of the public health community. Among his many articles: “The Happy Meal Ban Flops” for National Review Online, “Obama Healthcare: Government, Heal Thyself,” for the Los Angeles Times and “Regulating Junk Food Advertising” for Townhall.com.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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