Washington, D.C. / New York, NY - 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, 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.