Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller first made headlines with his pro-vaping rhetoric back in 2015 to the surprise of many in this largely conservative state. But when Miller was asked to address the FDA’s Tobacco Conference in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, his bold and gutsy move to speak to Mitch Zeller directly made everyone immediately sit up and take notice. Even the UK’s Clive Bates discussed Miller’s forceful speech during several media interviews and video broadcasts.
Tom Miller is no ordinary Attorney General. He has served nine consecutive terms for the wonderful state of Iowa and is also a former president of the National Association of Attorney Generals. That title means that all 50 AG’s from every state in the country elected Miller as their leader and spokesperson during his tenure.
Miller is also credited with being instrumental in the passage of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998 – legislation that forced Big Tobacco to pay a portion of their profits to every state in the nation for the expressed purpose of covering smoking-related healthcare costs. Today, Tom Miller is now the Chairman of the largest anti-tobacco non-profit in the United States, The Truth Initiative. That’s quite an impressive resume.
Mitch Zeller’s public thumping
So, when a pro-vaping State Attorney General like Tom Miller publicly admonishes during an FDA-sponsored event someone as powerful as Mitch Zeller - the man responsible for creating and implementing the crippling FDA deeming regulations - you really have to give Miller his props. It’s the equivalent of marching into enemy territory, standing in the middle of the battlefield, and giving the opposing General the middle finger. And Miller did just that is a speech that lasted nearly 30-minutes.
“There has been an effort to say that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful, that their companies are equally evil, and that they should be strongly regulated the same way. This view is incorrect, but it has gotten significant traction. Polling indicates that 32 percent of Americans believe that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful. This means that as many as 13 million adult smokers believe them to be equally harmful, and are very unlikely to switch when switching may save their lives. People making misstatements about e-cigarettes have the best of intentions—to keep kids from being addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. But adults misleading kids to get them to do what we want has always been a failed strategy…”
Almost immediately after Miller spoke at the FDA convention, Europe’s equally ballsy pro-vaping advocate Clive Bates called Miller’s rant, “Quite simply the best speech I have ever heard on tobacco and nicotine policy, science and ethics…A model of decency, humility and rigorous scientific reflection, in my opinion."
The vaping industry needs more politicians like Iowa’s Tom Miller. In this reporter’s humble opinion, the man ranks right up there with Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. A nearly 27-minute audio of the entire Tom Miller speech can be located on Soundcloud.