Gov. Rick Snyder vetoes bills relating to 'e-cigarettes,' measures do not go far enough, threaten public health

Nicotine-delivery devices should be treated like tobacco products

Friday, Jan. 16, 2015
 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today vetoed three bills relating to electronic cigarettes, saying the measures do not go far enough to regulate the devices, which pose significant health risks.

House Bill 4997, Senate Bills 667 and 668 -- sponsored by state Rep. Rick Outman, former state Sen. Glenn Anderson and state Sen. Rick Jones, respectively -- would have excluded alternative nicotine products including e-cigarettes from the definition of tobacco products and prohibit them from being regulated as tobacco products under Michigan law.

The devices resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes and share a common ingredient, which is the highly addictive chemical nicotine that is derived from tobacco.

“We need to make sure that e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing devices are regulated in the best interest of public health,” Snyder said. “It’s important that these devices be treated like tobacco products and help people become aware of the dangers e-cigarettes pose.”

The legislation would have gone against the position taken by 40 state attorneys general, including Michigan’s Bill Schuette, who believe that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should regulate e-cigarettes pursuant to its tobacco product authority. 

Snyder, in his veto letter, said he believes the preferred way to ensure that e-cigarettes are regulated in the interest of public health is to revise the existing definition of a tobacco product to make clear that e-cigarettes -- and other novel nicotine-containing vapor products -- are tobacco products subject to any restrictions generally applied to tobacco products under the Youth Tobacco Act, including the minimum age law.

Medical community leaders said they support the governor’s actions.

“The medical science is clear: E-cigarettes are dangerous and threaten the health of children,” said Dr. James D. Grant, president of the Michigan State Medical Society.  “This action ensures that the state is putting the welfare of Michigan children and families first.”

Jennifer Hunt, vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said the vetoes will work toward preventing a new generation from being addicted to dangerous tobacco and nicotine products.

“Special treatment for electronic cigarettes may hook a new generation of tobacco users,” she said. “It is unclear why creation of a separate definition for ‘vapor product’ is necessary. We believe that Michigan can prohibit the sale of these products to minors without undermining existing tobacco-control laws.”

The governor has now considered all bills presented from the 2013-2014 legislative session. For more information on this and other legislation, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.

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Related Documents
HB 4997 SBs 667 668 Veto Letter PDF icon