Think-Tanks Join to Urge New York State Legislature to Hold Fair Hearings
National Center for Public Policy Research, Heartland Institute Urge New York Legislature to Hear Witnesses from BOTH Sides at e-Cigarette Hearing
e-Cigarettes are a Gateway Out of Tobacco Smoking for Many Adults, Groups Say
Washington, D.C. / Chicago, IL - Today, the Health Committee of the New York Senate will hold what it is calling a "public hearing" on a number of bills related to electronic cigarettes. Among the bills to be heard are a ban on electronic cigarette use wherever combustible cigarettes are prohibited and a ban on the sale of the liquid used in many electronic cigarette products.
While the public is welcome to watch the hearing, New York citizens and public health experts who support electronic cigarettes as alternatives to smoking are not welcome to actually speak.
"I would have liked to have traveled to Albany to give testimony, as I've done in Los Angeles and New York City," said Jeff A. Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and a longtime New York State resident. "Unfortunately, the hearing notice on the New York legislature's website makes clear that oral testimony was 'by invitation only.'"
Added Stier, "Predictably, New York Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon only invited one side of the public health debate on e-cigarettes -- those who believe nanny state laws are always the solution to health issues."
Stier's isn't the only voice that New York senators won't get to hear at the "public hearing."
Gregory Conley, Research Fellow at the Heartland Institute and an ex-smoker who quit with the aid of electronic cigarettes, said, "It is disheartening that the New York Senate Health Committee will not hear from a single public health advocate who believes that electronic cigarettes are and will continue to be a gateway out of smoking for millions of adults."
It wasn't that Stier or Conley weren't seeking to testify: "I made multiple attempts to be added to the agenda, but was denied by Senator Hannon's office," Conley said.
Especially irking to the pair is the fact that lobbyists from the American Lung Association and American Heart Association were among those fortunate enough to be invited to speak. "From 2009 to 2011, the American Lung Association and American Heart Association both campaigned in the New York state legislature for a total ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to adults. They should have no credibility on this issue," said Conley.
The National Center for Public Policy Research and the Heartland Institute are jointly calling on the New York state legislature to hold genuine public hearings on these bills so that legislators can consider the matter based on more than just one pre-determined perspective.