STANLEY D. STEINBORN ........................................................P. O. BOX 30212
Deputy Attorney General ........................................................ LANSING, MICHIGAN 48909

Frank J. Kelley



January 2, 1997

Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
8401 18 Mile Road #29
Sterling Heights, Michigan 48913-3042

Dear Dr. Pletten:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your recent letter to Governor Engler concerning the possibility of using the [MCL § 750.27] statutory prohibition against distribution of adulterated cigarettes against the manufacturers of cigarettes on the ground that cigarettes in fact contain many deleterious ingredients.

I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this important subject. Lawsuits against the tobacco industry should not be necessary. The Merchants of Death have known for years that they are selling a product that is addictive and kills thousands of people. Every year, their response has been an advertising campaign designed to increase the use of their product, especially by our youth. Their actions have harmed the public, and they should pay for that harm

Your analysis is intriguing, and creative. The statutory history, however, may well indicate that the legislative intention was to use this misdemeanor statute against those who adulterate a manufactured product, and not against those who actually manufacture the product. I have asked the lawyers assigned to my Environmental Protection Division to review your letter, study the legislative history, and then discuss it with me.

                                                                           Very truly yours,
                                                                           /s/Frank J. Kelley
                                                                           FRANK J. KELLEY
                                                                           Attorney General

c: James K. Haveman, Jr., Director,

Michigan Department of Community Health
Stewart H. Freeman, Assistant Attorney General


          To see the letter by the Director of Community Health of 9 July 1997 letter, click here.

          To see Governor Engler's 22 August 1997 finding of a cigarette smuggling emergency, click here.

To see the 11 Sep 1997 letter by the Director of Community Health, click here.

For analysis of the Michigan law, click here. For examples of cigarettes' deleterious ingredients, emissions, and adulterants, click here. For information on cigarettes' resultant adverse effects, click here.

To learn about your right to pure air, click here.

For pertinent legal terms and their definitions, click here.

For background information, see, e.g., the books by
  • Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., A Smoking Gun—How the Tobacco Industry Gets Away With Murder (Philadelphia: George F. Stickley, People's Health Library, 1984)

  • Larry C. White, Merchants of Death (New York: William Morrow Beech Tree Books, 1988).
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