House District 48

Full Questionnaire text can be found here.  All answers are verbatim with the exception that explanations that started with a lower case letter were capitalized.

Question 1: Do you support legislation that would create a strong fully funded, comprehensive tobacco retail licensing system in Michigan that includes strong enforcement and penalties on violators? 

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. Protecting public health is one of the key functions of government, which is why I will make public health one of my top priorities in the State House. This includes regulating consumer products that are known to be harmful, such as tobacco products. The earlier one tries an addictive substance for the first time, the likelier they will use it problematically; so early intervention is key for saving lives and state healthcare dollars. Creating a statewide tobacco retail licensing system will help crack down on unscrupulous vendors and, more importantly, further reduce the rate of tobacco product use among teenagers.


Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond

Question 2- Do you support simplifying the taxation rate to a uniform rate of 32% that covers all tobacco products?

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. If certain tobacco products are taxed at a different rate than others, then we run the risk of certain tobacco products coming to be known as the “cheaper products” and younger people consequently using them more frequently. A better approach would be for every type of tobacco product to be unattractive from the standpoint of cost. This goal would be aided by taxing all tobacco products at equal rates.

Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond

Question 3- Do you support legislation that would reduce or eliminate ineffective Purchase, Use and Possession laws?

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. Many tobacco products are extremely addictive, and mental health professionals define addiction as the compulsive use of a substance, regardless of the negative consequences that it brings. In other words, most tobacco users, especially young ones whose brains are still developing, won’t be deterred by the threat of legal punishment. This is precisely why PUP laws do not and will never work. On the other hand, bills like HB 4427 are grounded in scientific research on smoking cessation, which shows that unconscious behavioral nudges are more effective at reducing tobacco consumption.

Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond.

Question 4- Do you support increasing Michigan's annual expenditures for cessation and prevention services to a minimum of $10 million annually to support the two-thirds (68%) of people who currently smoke and would like to quit?

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. This investment in our state’s health will more than pay for itself. By helping Michigan’s smokers quit, smoking cessation programs will lead to longer, healthier lives; increase productivity; reduce costly medical procedures. This is true of both the ex-smokers and their loved ones, who will be spared any more exposure to secondhand smoke. Big Tobacco fights hard to encourage destructive drug use, and Michigan should fight even harder to prevent it.

Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond.

Question 5- Do you support recognizing Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists as a profession for Medicaid billing?

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment. By allowing Medicaid to reimburse for CTTS services, we will help Michigan’s smokers quit before it’s too late. This will not only prolong lives, but it will save Medicaid money in the long run by reducing demand for the life-long courses of treatment that lung cancer and emphysema require.

Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond.

Question 6- Do you support giving pharmacists the authority to prescribe all seven tobacco cessation medications?

 

Jennifer Conlin: Yes. The state should get out of the way and let medical professionals do their job. Reducing barriers to prescribing these life-changing medications will help reduce complications associated with chronic tobacco use.

Jason Woolford: Did Not Respond.