Something I posted in a comment last night:
Anti-Tobacco Groups Worried About Trump, Congress
Lawmakers considering efforts to weaken FDA’s regulatory power
…anti-tobacco advocates … say there is no question that regulatory and other actions taken at the state and federal level during the Obama administration’s 8-year tenure helped spur the record decline in tobacco use among adults and teens.
And they expressed concern that many of these hard-fought gains will be rolled back by the new administration and Congress.
“There is no question that what government does makes a big difference,” Matthew L. Myers of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids told MedPage Today.
“During the last eight years we have seen tobacco advertising restricted through the FDA, there have been sustained (anti-tobacco) mass media campaigns, tobacco taxes have increased and internet sales have been curtailed. All of these things contributed to the dramatic decline in tobacco consumption,” Myers asserted.
Speaking with a group of corporate leaders on Monday, President Trump vowed to do away with 75% or more of government regulations and he repeated his campaign promise of massive tax cuts.
Myers said Trump’s views on specific tobacco regulations and taxes are not known.
Well, if Tobacco Control is worried about what Trump might do, that can only be rather promising. But, as they say, Trump’s views on tobacco regulations are not known. And Trump is a highly ambiguous figure when it comes to tobacco. On the one hand he doesn’t smoke or drink, and he even made an antismoking video, and seems to believe that both smoking and drinking do a great deal of harm. On the other hand, he wants to slash government regulations, and has personal experience of what smoking bans can do to businesses. H/T Rose for this piece on his Atlantic City casinos in 2008:
Donald Trump called on 11 casinos Thursday to sue over a new smoking ban approved by the Atlantic City Council, arguing that it created a competitive disadvantage, according to a report in the Associated Press.
The real estate magnate, chairman of a company that owns three casinos in Atlantic City, said he would not file his own suit but wants the Casino Association of New Jersey to stop the ban from taking effect in October.
“I’m not a smoker, and I don’t personally like what smoking does to people,” Trump told The Associated Press in an interview in his Manhattan office. “But this puts us at a huge disadvantage.”
Perhaps it might help to know that Trump markets his own brand of wine:
The controversial guns-and-walls fan presented his range of Trump wines to press after former presidential candidate Mitt Romney tore into his apparent lack of business nous in a recent speech.
US Republican Party frontrunner Donald Trump took time out of his nomination campaign to show off his Trump wine brand at a press conference in Florida.
The range of wines includes red, white, rosé and sparkling varieties, all of which are emblazoned with the Trump moniker.
The wines, made at a 1,300 acre estate in Charlottesville, Virginia – the largest winery in the state – are priced at between $16 and $50.
So Trump doesn’t drink (elder brother died of alcoholism aged 42), but is quite happy to market his own wine. It’s quite likely that he doesn’t gamble either: hasn’t gambling been the ruin of a great many men? Yet he had three casinos in Atlantic City. Isn’t it quite likely that, while he doesn’t smoke, he would happily market his own Trump brand of cigarettes? He doesn’t do any of these things himself, but doesn’t mind if other people do.
Furthermore, he’s got a Vice-President in Mike Pence who doesn’t think that smoking kills, and a “friend for life” in smoking and drinking Nigel Farage, who also doubts whether smoking kills. (Nigel Farage said in a recent LBC radio show – probably this one – that after he’d made a speech at one of Trump’s rallies, Trump had told him he’d be a “friend for life.”)
Add it all up, and I’m beginning to think that antismoking regulations are almost certainly going to be among the 75% of government regulations that Trump wants to slash. And so Anti-Tobacco groups ought to be worried about Trump. For I think that Trump will want to deregulate smoking, because he knows from personal experience what smoking bans did to his casinos, and is probably well aware of the same stifling effects they have on other businesses (e.g. pubs, cafes, restaurants).
But what can he do about them? In the comments GaryK pointed out that:
Trump can undo the ban on smoking in govt buildings; but, the bans on smoking in restaurants, taverns, and parks are all either state or municipal bans and he can not change those.
I came across this paper yesterday:
Executive orders are important presidential tools for health policymaking that are subject to less public scrutiny than are legislation and regulatory rulemaking. President Bill Clinton banned smoking in federal government buildings by executive order in 1997, after the administration of George H. W. Bush had twice considered and abandoned a similar policy.
He may also be able to rescind antismoking rulings by the EPA, FDA, and other government agencies.
On the other hand, if he starts lifting smoking bans, he’ll have the media and the medical profession screaming that he’s Killing Children. Does he really want that? However, since he’s already said that he doesn’t believe in Global Warming, and had the media and the climate scientists screeching about that, perhaps he’s quite happy to take on all of them?
And what happens when federal regulations on smoking in government buildings (including the White House), and on airlines are lifted at the federal level, but remain in place at the state or municipal level? What happens when you have regulatory busybodies in the state and municipal government, and deregulators in federal government?
Here in the UK, we have what is in effect a federal ban on smoking, and a smattering of additional state or municipal bans. Theresa May, who was herself a smoker when this ban was introduced on 1 July 2007, is very likely well aware of the many adverse effects of that ‘federal’ ban (as, of course, am I). Smoking bans may be difficult to repeal in the USA, but in the UK it would be much, much easier, given a sufficiently strong political will in government.