MI Health Groups Call Tobacco Bill Package "Weak"
Friday, June 19, 2020
LANSING, Mich. - A package of tobacco regulation bills is headed to the Michigan House, and some health organizations are concerned that it doesn't go far enough to protect kids.
Senate Bills 781 and 786 passed the Senate on Wednesday, and include new regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes. Andrew Schepers, government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Michigan, says they're especially troubled by SB 781, which sets a tax rate for vaping products at 18%.
He contends all e-cigarettes should be defined as a tobacco product and taxed at the same 32% rate.
"When we do that, there's no winners and losers at the end of the day," says Schepers. "There's no cheaper product for somebody to buy. They're all going to have the same tax liability and so they're all going to have the same good public health effect in terms of driving people away from using tobacco."
The sponsors of the bills said they worked with industry members on the proposals, and noted establishing tax policy for vaping products is a gray area. Nationally, e-cigarette use rose 78% among high school students from 2017 to 2018, and Michigan has mirrored the same trend.
Schepers is urging House lawmakers to examine ways to make the package of bills stronger, and not rush it through hearings.
"If we don't do it right now, we're going to be at least a decade if not more before we have an opportunity to actually do something in this regulatory space again," says Schepers. "So it's critical that when we do this, we get it right the first time."
The package of bills raises the age for purchase of tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 years old; prohibits businesses from promoting the health effects of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco cigarettes; and sets up a licensing system for the sale of vaping products.
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …