August 23, 2019

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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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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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.
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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Expert to Testify that Banning E-Cigarettes Harms Public Health

National Center’s Jeff Stier, Though Caught in Snowstorm, Will Testify Before Special Committee of Oklahoma Legislature on Tobacco Harm Reduction Measures and E-Cigarette Regulation

Testimony Comes as Major U.S. Cities Consider Banning Public Use of E-Cigarettes Despite Their Proven Ability to Help Tobacco Smokers Quit

Washington, D.C. – National Center Risk Analysis Division head Jeff Stier will testify Wednesday before a joint study committee of the Oklahoma State Senate and Oklahoma House of Representatives on e-cigarette regulation and tobacco harm reduction methods.

Stier’s testimony comes as various states and localities are considering policies regarding the public use of e-cigarettes, the smoke-free nicotine-delivery device that has helped many quit smoking cancer-causing tobacco cigarettes.

New York and Chicago recently banned the use of e-cigarettes in public, and the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the State of California, also are expected to soon consider e-cigarette legislation.

Stier’s testimony will be presented in writing, as the northeastern snowstorm stranded him in Connecticut Tuesday after he sought in vain to fly to Oklahoma from Hartford after his New York City flight was cancelled.

Stier says:

New York and Chicago were wrong for banning e-cigarettes wherever cigarette smoking is banned. I’m hopeful that this week’s hearing in Oklahoma will shed additional light on why that’s the case, and that Oklahoma will begin turning the tide towards more rational public health policy with regard to E-cigarettes.

At the hearing in Oklahoma, via my written testimony, I’m explaining why e-cigarettes don’t normalize smoking, they, in fact, normalize not smoking. I’ll also present information on the state of the science on second-hand exposure to e-cigarettes.

In addition, I’m presenting evidence why banning e-cigarette flavors undermines the public health goal of having fewer people smoke cigarettes. The flavors in e-cigarettes do not make the products dangerous. Flavors make e-cigarettes a more appealing and more palatable alternative to the dramatically more dangerous cigarettes. Anything that is done to make e-cigarettes less appealing, harder to get, or more expensive is bad for public health. Critics argue, as they often do when left with no other rationale, “it’s for the children.” They suggest that flavors such as bubble gum or cotton candy are meant to appeal to children. But many adults enjoy these flavors too, and have quit smoking as a result of having access to enjoyable flavored e-cigarettes. So what about the children? We don’t believe children should use e-cigarettes and we support a complete ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. We believe the ban on sales to minors should be passed immediately and enforced strictly. No other bans are necessary or justified by public health considerations.

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 smoking of e-cigarettes.

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.

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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The Nanny State Can Get You Killed

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago Move to Restrict Devices that Help Smokers Quit

New York, NY – On the same day the Los Angeles City Council moved to regulate e-cigarettes, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Jeff Stier testified at a New York City Council Health Committee hearing on a similar measure being rushed through the New York City Council.

In his testimony, the New York-based Stier, who heads the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division, encouraged council members to think twice about whether it is in fact “prudent” to extend New York City’s ban on smoking in public places to include e-cigarettes:

“I would caution you that this is not the prudent thing to do. The prudent thing to do here is to help cigarette smokers quit. Rushing to judgment here could have serious, unintended consequences that you need to be aware of. It will stop people from quitting smoking. E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. The data does not show that. E-cigarettes are a gateway to quitting smoking.”

E-cigarettes, which do not produce smoke, have been a boon to those who have tried to quit smoking but have failed.

“Nicotine,” Stier explains, “is addictive, but not particularly harmful, especially at the levels consumed by smokers or users of e-cigarettes, who are called ‘vapers’ for the vapor, rather than smoke, emitted by e-cigarettes.”

“Nicotine’s bad reputation should be attributed to its most common delivery device, cigarettes,” says Stier. “Nicotine itself is about as dangerous as the caffeine in soda. Along the same lines, while too much soda can cause weight gain, nobody seriously suggests that caffeine causes obesity. Similarly, e-cigarettes provide the nicotine and the habitual activity of smoking, without the danger of burning tobacco.”

“Mayor Bloomberg and his nanny state allies in New York City and Los Angeles have steam coming out of their ears about e-cigarettes. Here is a product created by 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 regulation have been unable to do: help cigarette smokers quit happily. ”

“Regulators understand that in order to maintain not only their huge budgets, but their basis for authority to control both private-sector businesses as well as personal decisions, they must demonize, delegitimize, and defeat e-cigarettes every step of the way,” Stier says.

“Some, without any basis in science, allege that e-cigarettes are a ‘gateway’ to smoking. But initial studies, as well as empirical evidence, show that e-cigarettes are a major gateway away from, not toward, smoking. For all the heated rhetoric, there’s little dispute in the scientific community: those who quit smoking cigarettes and switch to e-cigarettes reap immediate as well as long-term health benefits. And those improvements are dramatic.”

Stier concludes: “Regulations that treat e-cigarettes the same as their deadly predecessor will have the unintended consequence of keeping smokers smoking. Quitting nicotine use altogether is the best choice. But for those who chose not to, or find it too difficult, e-cigarettes are a potentially life-saving alternative.”

Outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, nicknamed “Nanny Bloomberg” by many for his use of government tools to influence what private citizens eat and drink, supports the New York proposal. Bloomberg’s administration imposed New York City’s ban on public smoking in 2003.

Like Los Angeles and New York, Chicago is considering banning the use of smokeless e-cigarettes anywhere in the city tobacco smoking is banned. The proposed ban is supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The sale of e-cigarettes to minors is already appropriately illegal under Illinois state law.

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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