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.

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