Ohio legislators to override DeWine’s veto of tobacco flavorings bill?

Posted on Nov 20, 2023

Readers will recall that earlier this year, Gov. Mike DeWine made one of his more stupid moves and vetoed a bill to stop localities in Ohio from banning tobacco flavorings.

One reason the veto was stupid is that flavoring bans– of vapor, in any event– actually result in increases in smoking of conventional cigarettes. Those are the things that kill people– so far as we know, vapor does not. Localities should be dissuaded from instituting dumb policy that will wind up with taxpayers paying more for health care, especially as smokers wind up costing plenty via lung cancer, emphysema, COPD and other treatment costs. Remember, in Ohio, we already were subjected to former Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion, which would up enrolling about 1/3 more people that Kasich, supposed numbers genius, anticipated. Keeping health care costs down is actually a concern here.

A second reason the veto was stupid was that DeWine should know full well that if, say, Cincinnati bans flavorings, people will just head across the river or outside the city limits to purchase their product. In addition, this will stimulate a black market– just what everyone wants to maintain robust tax revenue from selling flavored products (people who sell on the black market notoriously do not pay their taxes).

But DeWine did it anyway.

At the time, we did not understand how there was not a veto-proof majority ready to go, and override the Governor. The raw numbers in both chambers of the legislature would suggest a veto override should have been a piece of cake.

Now, it looks like supporters of an override might be approaching the number of votes needed to actually do it.

Here’s hoping. DeWine has a lot to commend him, but his misreading of the science on this one and his failure to think through the fiscal effects has been really disappointing.