Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller gives outstanding speech on smoking, vaping and public health – listen

Quite simply the best speech I have ever heard on tobacco and nicotine policy, science and ethics. From Tom Miller […]

Quite simply the best speech I have ever heard on tobacco and nicotine policy, science and ethics. From Tom Miller one of the architects or the United States Master Settlement Agreement and Chair of the Truth Initiative.  A model of decency, humility and rigorous scientific reflection, in my opinion.

The speech was given over lunch at the Food and Drug Law Institute Tobacco Conference, 27 October 2016 in Washington DC.

General Miller’s speaking notes are available here (check against delivery).

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22 thoughts on “Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller gives outstanding speech on smoking, vaping and public health – listen”

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  2. Pingback: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller gives outstanding speech on smoking, vaping and public health – listen | The counterfactual – Vaping With Tina

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  4. I’m bewildered.

    This is an excellent, thoughtful speech. Yet this man is associated with The Truth Initiative.

    Have you seen the rubbish “facts” on their website about e-cigarettes???? (Which claims to reflect the most recent research on this topic.)

    These two things do not compute.

    Still, it IS an excellent speech from a man who sounds sincere. And I loved the virtual smack on the wrist for those spreading false information about vaping. Now, I wonder who that might be?

    1. Yes – this is perplexing. It is probably down to a clear split between executive responsibility (the CEO) and corporate governance (the board of trustees) – between what it does (CEO) and how it does it (Board). But I don’t know for sure. That is quite a common model. But it is encouraging that someone with Miller’s views should occupy that position.

    2. He did mention though his views on vaping had changed or words to that effect and that does happen, unless your name is Glantz of course.

  5. I do suspect that he has altered his views on e-cigs, which has come about because he has taken the time and effort to finally study all the evidence. It’s all too common for people in all walks of life to take a view based on what they are told as opposed to what they have clearly identified for themselves. The vaping rhetoric and misinformation has been rampant, but it now sounds like Tom Miller has seemingly undertaken his own research and identified that the misinformation and scaremongering about e-cigs simply does not logically or “numerically” stack up. Look how many UK Local authorities have adopted policy to treat vaping the same as smoking despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, because organisations such as the BMA told them they should. Perhaps Tom Miller’s own “seeing the light” experience will manifest with others hopefully undertaking a similar scientific and logical harm reduction route with regard to vaping and ecig use.

    1. Indeed – he made a virtue of changing his mind. In saying that, I think he was exhorting Matthew Myers and others currently resisting the data with all they can muster to do the same.

  6. I’m astonished he supports reducing the nicotine in cigarettes. If he really wants to save lives, that is not the way to go. We have been there, done that. Smokers will simply smoke more to get the nicotine that isn’t there. I KNOW. It happened to me on arriving in the UK having smoked “real” cigarettes in Africa, I could NOT figure out why British cigarettes of the same brand were so unsatifying that I had to smoke two, instead of my normal one. It’s not the nicotine that kills. Its the burning. If that is a Tobacco Control plan, they are bigger idiots than I already think they are. In fact the talk is excellent for that is what he is saying. Only he hasn’t the freedom to say it my way.

    Thanks for posting, Clive. I wouldn’t have heard it otherwise. I have shared.

    1. I completely agree with you about that. The reduced nicotine concept is one of the dumbest ideas ever conceived. I spoke to him afterwards about that side of his speech, and I don’t think he is especially wedded to the idea. To be fair, there isn’t that much public awareness of the concept and even less public criticisms of it – something I hope to address later this year.

      The important thing about this speech is: the AG’s stature, where he was giving it, the current regulatory context and who was in the audience to take the pain.

      1. Tobacco controllers have become so divorced from reality that they gleefully promote actual smoking (e.g. zero-nic cigarettes) over smoke-free alternatives.

        You really couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

  7. Oh, I’m so glad to hear that – you have risen in my estimation! Years ago, during the “Light” cigarette malarky, it occured to me, that to make smoking totally satisfying, the nicotine in them should be increased. Then one cigarette would last you a good time. My sister and I were both heavy smokers, but a doctor once told me never to smoke “Lights” because I would smoke more. So after my disappointing switch to British cigarettes, I always rolled my own. My sister stuck to her “Lights”. Same brand for many many years. Unfortunately SHE’S the one with problems. She fell for the lie that less nicotine is better. I could not get her to vape, because e liquid has nicotine in it! Tobacco Control has a lot to answer for actually. My sister is an academic, and not a stupid person. She belives “Scientists”. The scientists said “Nicotine kills”. Doctors in the UK still believe that.It is shameful that people are fed lies by those who say they are wanting to save lives.

    Thank you for replying to my comment.

  8. I have not read this speech. I cannot believe anyone who 1)abetted state attorneys general and trial predators like Ronald Motley,Dickey Scruggs,or Hugh Rodham in machinating the Master Settlement Agreement; 2)associates with the libelous and deceptive “Truth Campaign”; and 3)would advocate for reduced nicotine cigarettes, is naïve, a health Nazi, or without integrity.

  9. What a challenge Mitch has been issued! It’s a nice speech, very exciting!

    However, the problem anyone pro-vaping faces in the US extends beyond the misrepresentation of population smoking studies and junk science.

    The core belief amongst US tobacco control is that the tobacco industry perpetuates itself through marketing (to adolescents) and is therefore uniquely protected in the United States because of the 1st amendment.

    Unfortunately, this has led to the scenario where the rather bonkers denicotinisation plan is viewed as a panacea (i.e. in the absence of “effective tobacco control”); it also explains the protection of misleading statements on existing lessened-harm tobacco products: There must be no quarter given to those who market any tobacco product, absent of the closest scientific scrutiny (er…).

    The only really problematic statement Tom makes is with respect to the effect of the Truth campaign. How can one possibly credit the campaign with this level of success? Where’s the data for that? No, it won’t do.

    There are obviously multiple factors responsible for adolescent non-experimentation and uptake of cigarettes. Vaping must, of course, play some role, but so must many other things. Are we really going to entertain a “it’s the Truth Initiative” versus “It’s vaping” debate? Please.

    Why not start with the most radical change amongst adolescents since, ooh, I dunno, the Walkman? – The rise of the smartphone and social media!

    After all, a smartphone provides one of the great social functions cigarettes provide: company. I don’t mean of the interpersonal kind, by the way (although often it does). I mean of the demonstrative variety: “You’re never alone with a Strand”….”you’re never alone with a mobile phone”. Actually, often you WERE alone with a mobile phone. But not with a smartphone…. Damn, there’s a Pikachu – one sec… OK, I’m back now…

    No? OK, let’s say it’s vaping and “disruptive denormalisation” (my phrase, which I’m abandoning, because it’s dogmatically reifying – even though it’s a nice phrase to describe a hypothetical process first outlined by Prof Dautzenberg), let’s say it’s price hikes, let’s say it’s education, let’s say it’s some mysterious post-millennials’ mass-development of self-efficacy and future-orientation, let’s say it’s Truth Initiative’s campaign, let’s say it’s all sorts of things, but absolutely let’s not fall into the trap of oversimplifying the issue. That way lies dogma and more and more entrenchment and lessened curiosity.

    Instead, now’s the time for those who understand what’s at stake to aggressively, publicly and truthfully examine the adolescent data. Warts and all. I’m not convinced any more needs gathering to make the point: there’s ample studies which show now that Freiden’s “new epidemic of nicotine addiction” is non-existent. The only thing a new study would do (and perhaps this is a political necessity) is act as a sort of threat to those who are not looking dispassionately at existing data to get a move on, reorientate, and realise that eventually this is going to come out.

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  11. I’m unconvinced that the decline in general and maternal smoking rates as well as SHS exposure over the last 40 years has had any positive effect. During this period rates of the following have increased: 1)asthma, 2)obesity, 3)type 2 diabetes, 3)autism, 4)ADHD, 5)food allergies (children), 6)psycho-active medication use (adults and children), 7)illicit drug use and overdoses. Some say cancer rates have not increased and although anti-smokers said reducing smoking rates would decrease medical spending that too has risen during the entire time smoking rates were declining.

  12. Bill Godshall

    While very pleased with Tom Miller’s presentation of the scientific and empirical evidence on vaping, I was/am bewildered by his repeated praise for Mitch Zeller (who GSK funded from 2002-2013 to negotiate and lobby Congress to enact the TCA, and who in 2014 proposed and in 2016 finalized FDA’s vapor sales ban that goes into effect August 8, 2018), and Miller’s failure to disclose or to criticize Legacy’s lobbying FDA to ban vapor products since 2009 by repeating many fear mongering claims about vaping.

    I also think my presentations on e-cigs and FDA’s vapor deeming ban at FDLI conferences in 2013 and 2014 were far better than this one, as my presentations delineated the many disastrous public health ramifications of the TCA and of FDA’s Deeming ban.

    If Miller truly believes what he said about vapor products, why has he allowed Legacy (whose board he chairs, and is full of vapor prohibitionists) to lie about vaping and lobby FDA to ban the products, and why is he praising the former GSK lobbyist who authored and imposed FDA’s vapor sales ban?

    Strikes me as cognitive dissonance.

  13. Wonderful words indeed, Clive.

    Much like Mitch Zeller’s, in fact. Almost a carbon copy.

    Hope that gives you a clue what comes next.

    Hint: they are all inveterate liars, and are paid extremely well to lie. They hold their job because of their skill in lying. Sorry if this is a difficult concept, but hey, that’s politics.

  14. I’ve smoked most of my adult life.Tbacco has been a reliable friend. It eases anxiety, boredom, and loneliness. It’s great for concentration and it’s always a pleasure. The modern tobacco industry has supplied its customers a consistantly highy-quality product at a reasonable price (apart from the predatory taxes) for over 100 years. End the war on smoking! (Cambridge Citizens For Smokers’ Rights)

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