Reminder: For a comment to be considered it must be accompanied by your full name: first name only or a pseudonym is not normally accepted. Please limit your comment to 1,000 characters (including spaces), and also avoid epithets and personal attacks.
I’m delighted that my Letter to the Editor, prompted by the OpEd by Ron Leone published the previous day, appeared in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s reproduced below:Don’t let industry set e-cigarette laws
Ronald Leone, Executive Director of the Jefferson City-based Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, is a master at sleight of hand. If he’s opposed to something, you can guarantee it’s in the public interest to support it, and vice-versa.
This has been the case with his consistent opposition to repeated ballot initiatives to increase the lowest-in-the-nation Missouri cigarette tax, which is 17 cents per pack.
What he never admits is that it’s in his members’ interests to oppose a tax hike; that it would be beneficial for public health; that it would help to deter youth smoking and reduce adult smoking and, horrors! incentivize them to quit.
Mr. Leone’s June 25th OpEd (“Protecting kids from e-cigarettes: A common-sense approach”) in favor of Senate Bill 841 picked out the only potential carrot in the bill — prohibiting youth access to e-cigarettes — to justify what is overall a bad bill. Leone’s support confirms it should be vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Reasons include the need for federal definition and regulation of e-cigarettes, as well as local clean air regulation, which this bill preempts.
The health groups opposing the bill, apart from Missouri GASP, include the Greene County Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Tobacco Free Missouri Coalition.
The public health and welfare is ill-served when we allow Mr. Leone to set the agenda.
Martin Pion • Ferguson
President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.