February 5, 2023

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.


Governor Brown Signs California Lead Ban

Late this afternoon, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a statewide ban on traditional lead ammunition for hunting—Assembly Bill 711, sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). The deadline for gubernatorial action was Sunday, October 13th

California is the first state in the nation to take such unnecessary action.

Click here to read Governor Browns signing statement.


Day 36 – No Executive Orders


As we have discovered, this president even argues against his own policies blaming others for them and the results that may come from them. Why then should Americans have any confidence President Obama will do anything he says he will.

36 days ago, he lied in a despicable manner, exemplifying an immoral act of self-indulgence, exploitation and downright fraud by telling the public he was signing 23 executive orders to limit ownership and access to guns. It has now been 36 days and the President has not shared with the public any part of those executive orders but the mere 23 general ideas he had at the time. Nothing is posted on the White House website about those executive orders.

In the meantime, the Washington Examiner is reporting that researchers from the Department of Justice’s National Institute for Justice, are stating that any ban on assault weapons will “unlikely have an effect on gun violence.”

Oddly though, even though President Obama’s own administration researchers made this determination he says that he’s not accepting the information and such claims are not the official position of his administration, including the Department of Justice.

Which brings me, one more time, back to my original contention of the intent of all of President Obama’s and other gun fascists rhetoric about guns, gun control, gun confiscation, etc.; that is to wreak chaos, distrust and to widen the divide among the people of this country, perhaps enough to force them into the streets in violent protests.

Also in an update on events in Maine about blocking personal information belonging to gun owners from being published for public scrutiny, Gov. Paul Lepage signed emergency legislation that will temporarily block access to this information while the Legislature and the people debate this issue.


Obama Calls For Ban on Assault Weapons

In case you missed last night’s debate.