Gov. John Engler's Veto
of the 1992 Michigan
Smokers' Rights Employment Bill S 484

Vetoes by Michigan governors are published. This veto is published in the 1992 Report on pp 1628-1629.

Page 1628Vetoes 1992

December 16, 1992

Michigan Senate
State Capitol
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today, I vetoed and am returning to you, Enrolled Senate Bill 484.

Despite the fact that the word "tobacco" has been removed from the original bill, Enrolled Senate Bill 484 continues to be "smokers' rights" legislation. As I pointed

Page 1629Vetoes 1992

out in my March 11, 1992, "Special Message on Health Care," tobacco addiction kills more than 15,000 Michigan citizens every year (one fifth of all state deaths), and smoking-attributable disease saps over $2 billion each year from our state economy in medical expenses, lost work time, and lost productivity. To use the terminology of the bill, tobacco is the only "legal consumable product" that is harmful when used exactly as intended.

At a time when we must do everything we can to establish the norm of a drug-free society, Enrolled Senate Bill 484 would elevate the use of nicotine, one of the most addictive substances known, to a protected right. By putting tobacco use on the same level as our most cherished rights and liberties, Enrolled Senate Bill 484 would tend to trivialize fundamental rights like protection against discrimination based on race, gender, political ideology, or religious affiliation.

I am also concerned that Enrolled Senate Bill 484 would burden our courts and job providers with unsubstantiated claims of "smoker discrimination." By encouraging and exacerbating the litigation explosion, the bill would threaten our progress toward a healthy and productive business climate.

Finally, the bill is flawed not only in its promise, but also in its substance. The attempt to disguise the bill's intent to create a new class of rights for smokers through use of the term "legal consumable product" creates another problem concerning alcohol use. The bill creates and protects a right to use alcohol during working hours, as long as it is not consumed in the workplace. This is an unacceptable and dangerous flaw.

Enrolled Senate Bill 484 sends the wrong message at the wrong time. My actions today, which also include the signing of Enrolled House Bills 5017, 5226 and 5646— legislation designed to restrict access, especially children's access to tobacco products—sends a much better message, I commend the Legislature for their action on these proposals, and look forward to working with them in the upcoming legislative session to enact the remaining provisions I have outlined concerning tobacco use and its impact on the lives and livelihoods of our citizens.

Therefore, I am returning Enrolled Senate Bill 484 without signature.


Compiler's note: Enrolled Senate Bill No. 484, referred to above, is compiled in Michigan Senate Enrolled Bills (1992).

Other Sites You May Find Useful
On Not Hiring Smokers
Thomas Edison vs. Hiring Smokers
Overview of Smoking on the Job
How Tobacco Companies Treat Smokers
Real Smokers' Rights: Their
Lawsuits Against Tobacco Companies

Michigan has a safe-cigarettes consumer protection law, MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216. It applies both smokers and nonsmokers' rights to a safe product (the same concept that applies to ALL other products), to cigarettes. Michigan's law requires cigarettes to be ingredients-safe across-the-board, i.e., ingredients must not cause adverse health effects. It bans making, selling, and giving away cigarettes with deleterious ingredients--the only kind made.

For background on tobacco ingredients, click here.

For background on tobacco effects, click here.

For background on the devastating costs of tobacco to society, click here.

Gov. Engler on 22 August 1997 found a cigarette smuggling emergency.

Gov. Engler issued a subsequent 11 Jan 1999 message overview of the cigarette hazard in Michigan.

To see his Director of Community Health (DCH) 9 July 1997 analysis of the ingredients-safe cigarette law, click here.

To see the DCH's subsequent 11 Sep 1997 re-verification of the law, click here.

To see the DCH's 17 April 2003 letter on second-hand smoke, click here.

TCPG has prepared an analysis of the Michigan law, MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, in essence, a smokers'/nonsmokers' rights law as it protects both groups—an analysis with examples of

See also pertinent legal terms and their definitions.

See also Michigan's advertising ban law, MCL § 750.38, MSA § 28.227.

The bound edition of the 1992 veto message can be found at page 1 and page 2.

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