Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed Senate Bill 841, legislation favored by the tobacco industry and sellers of electronic cigarettes, which would have jeopardized public health by exempting these new products from existing laws and taxes on traditional tobacco cigarettes.
"This bill appears to be nothing more than a thinly disguised and cynical attempt to exempt e-cigarettes from taxes and regulations protecting public health," Gov. Nixon said. "The FDA is already moving forward to ban the sale of these products to minors. Until more is known about the health effects of these products, letting tobacco companies off the hook with special loopholes would pose a real threat to Missourians' health now and in the future."
This past April, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed new regulations to place e-cigarettes under the same restrictions as traditional tobacco products, including prohibiting the sale or marketing of e-cigarettes to minors, or advertising e-cigarettes on television.
Last month, the R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., whose parent company is Reynolds American Inc., released its e-cigarette product, Vuse. Reynolds American Inc. also produces Camel, Kool and American Spirit cigarettes which are all subject to Missouri's tobacco laws. Meanwhile, the Altria Group which owns Philip Morris USA, the largest tobacco company in America, now owns two e-cigarette brands as well. Similarly, Lorillard, the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States, now produces the e-cigarette BluCigs and has cornered about 40 percent of the e-cigarette market.
The American Cancer Society; the American Lung Association; the American Heart Association; the Missouri State Medical Association; the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians; the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians; the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; and Tobacco Free Missouri have all previously called on Gov. Nixon to veto Senate Bill 841.
The Governor also signed two health-related bills, which will provide Missourians in specific situations with additional options for medical treatment of illness and disease. House Bill 1685 allows drug manufacturers to make available investigational drugs, biological products, or devices to certain eligible terminally ill patients. House Bill 2238 allows the use of hemp extract to treat some individuals with epilepsy and also allows the Department of Agriculture to issue licenses to grow industrial hemp strictly for research purposes. House Bill 2238 contains an emergency clause.