Correspondence via
Governor Jennifer Granholm on
Michigan's 1909 Cigarette Ban Law

Michigan law MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, says,

"Any person within the state who manufactures, sells or gives to anyone,
any cigarette containing any ingredient deleterious to health or foreign to tobacco, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

The writer contacted Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm about having the law enforced.

8401 18 Mile Road #29
Sterling Heights, MI 48313-3042
(586) 739-8343

21 April 2003

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Re Aiding in Michigan Budget Situation

Dear Governor Granholm:

Please instruct the Michigan State Police to enforce MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216. Copies of verification letters received via contact with your predecessor are attached, and those from during your administration (Enclosures 1-4). Also enclosed is a cost analysis summary (Enclosure 5).

Note that the costs of non-enforcement in terms of harm to Michigan, range from a low estimate of .8 billion dollars per year, up to over two tens of billions of dollars per year.

Whatever number is deemed valid, savings via enforcing MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, can thus be expected sufficient to help balance the budget.

The law (MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216) has been on the books since 1909. About time it is enforced, we hope you agree.

Please instruct the Michigan State Police to enforce that law, starting immediately. Instruct the MSP to interdict, and confiscate, the contraband being smuggled into Michigan on a daily basis.

/s/Leroy J. Pletten
Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
Medicine and Law History
Substance Abuse Issues
Counselor and Lecturer

1. Verification Letter of July 1997
2. Verification Letter of [Sep] 1997
3. Verification Letter of March 2003
4. Support Letter of April 2003
5. Cost Analysis Summary of Data

State of Michigan

John Engler, Governor
Department of Community Health
Lewis Cass Building
Lansing, Michigan 48313
James K. Haveman, Jr., Director

July 9, 1997

Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
The Crime Prevention Group
8401 18 Mile Road #29
Sterling Heights, Michigan 48313-3042

Dear Dr. Pletten:

Thank you for taking the time to write Governor Engler. Since the Department of Community Health is responsible for health concerns, he has asked me to respond to your suggestion to begin enforcing [MCL § 750.27] the law that prohibits the sale of adulterated cigarettes.

Interesting, the law does appear to prohibit the sale of cigarettes with any ingredient foreign to tobacco or any ingredient deleterious to health. Although we are not privy to the list of ingredients that are added to cigarettes, we do know that a number of additives are used. A bill has been introduced in our legislature (House Bill 4778) that would require tobacco companies to list the ingredients that have been added. The department is presently doing an analysis of the bill. Additionally, we are closely monitoring and involved in national discussions concerning tobacco settlements.

Again, thank you for your interest and for sharing your suggestion. I will share a copy of your letter with the office of the Attorney General.


/s/ James K. Haveman, Jr.
James K. Haveman, Jr.


State of Michigan

John Engler, Governor
Department of Community Health
Lewis Cass Building
Lansing, Michigan 48313
James K. Haveman, Jr., Director


September 11, 1997

Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
The Crime Prevention Group
8401 18 Mile Road #29
Sterling Heights, Michigan 48313-3042

Dear Dr. Pletten:

Thank you for your letter of July 18. Research by my staff indicates that there is no case law resulting from the statute you cite, MCL 750.27.

There has been no opinion by the Attorney General on this statute, and the Michigan State Police are not aware of any particular reason why this specific law may not be routinely enforced at the local level, as you suggest.

Because this is an issue of whether or not local law enforcement agencies find this law credible enough to enforce, I suggest that you pursue this matter with local law enforcement officials.


/s/ James K. Haveman, Jr.
James K. Haveman, Jr.


State of Michigan

March 4, 2003

Mr. Leroy Pleten
8401 18 Mile No. 29
Sterling Hgts, Ml 48303

Dear Mr. Pleten:

Thank you for taking the opportunity to become engaged in your state government. I appreciate you sharing your concerns and ideas with me on smoking in the state of Michigan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Michigan currently ranks 50th out of 50 states in terms of spending tobacco settlement funds on cessation and prevention efforts. In addition, Michigan has the 38th highest rate of tobacco-related deaths annually. These facts are not acceptable to me, and I am deeply committed to smoking prevention. Our state's new Surgeon General, Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, will focus on preventing teen smoking and on smoking cessation. The best way to accomplish our goal is to replicate practices in successful programs found in other states. Your concerns are clearly heard, and rest assured we are working to find the best way to make these changes a reality in Michigan.

Ed. Note: We already have constitutional and common laws to pure air and put out fires (including those causing smoke), and a statutory law to do prevention and cessation. The latter institutionalizes the former, by preventing smoking starting in the first place.
The issue is not to devise a new program, nor to pass a new law, but to enforce the already existing common and constitutional laws, and the statute, MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216.

I am grateful to you for sharing your concerns. It is the involvement and genuine concern of individuals like you that will help chart the course for a brighter future for our entire Michigan family.


Jennifer M. Granholm
Jennifer M. Granholm

Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor
Lewis Cass Building
Lansing, Michigan 48313
Janet Olszewski, Director

April 17, 2003

Mr. Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
8401 18 Mile Road #29
Sterling Heights, Ml 48313

Dear Mr. Pletten:

I have been asked to respond to your recent letter to Governor Granholm dated March 11, 2003 concerning smoke-free work environments. Your comments regarding the health risk of secondhand smoke are valid and understood. Please be assured that we also share your concerns about exposure to secondhand smoke and use every opportunity to inform the public that everyone is at risk whenever they are exposed to tobacco smoke.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has developed and continues to implement a comprehensive strategy to educate and engage the public on the health risk of secondhand smoke. The components of this plan include:
  • a statewide communications campaign to inform the public of the dangers of secondhand smoke;

  • local community coalition projects to educate and encourage local businesses and municipal officials to implement smoke-free policies in worksites, businesses and public places;

  • the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project that promotes and assists individuals, businesses and local units of government with smoke-free policy development;

  • and the Smoke-Free Homes campaign that engages parents to take a pledge to make their homes smoke-free for the sake of their chiidren.
  • We believe that these efforts have resulted in thed public being much more aware and interested in the health risks associated with secondhand smoke. They have also played a role in strong smoke-free worksite regulations being passed by the city of Marquette, and Ingham and Washtenaw counties. California's clean indoor air campaign began in the same manner. It is our belief that these local policies reflect the will of the population and are fundamentally important steps toward saving lives in Michigan.

    Mr. Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
    Page Two

    If you would like more information about Michigan's strategy to promote and establish smoke-free environments, please feel free to contact our clean indoor air specialist, Orlando Todd, at (517) 335-9377.

    Thank you for your concern about the public's exposure to secondhand smoke.


    /s/ Janet Olszewski
    Janet Olszewski

    8401 18 Mile Road #29
    Sterling Heights, MI 48313-3042
    (586) 739-8343


    The common estimate of tobacco-health-care-costs to Michigan is $800 million per year. Over 25 years (the term of the Attorney General deal), that is $20 billion.

    The so-called "tobacco money" deal only recovers about $8 billion of those $20 billion. In essence, the taxpayers are getting nothing for current and future costs. There is NO "tobacco settlement money" for current expenses, only for a fraction of the past's, 40 cents on the dollar. Michigan gets ZERO for the current $800 million damages per year. Each year is a net loss, cutting into the budget.

    Using the accepted cost figure, we'd be $800 million ahead every year it we enforced the optimum "smoking cessation" law, the consumer protection act deleterious cigarette manufacturing and selling ban law, MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216. Enforcing the ban law would be doing the "smoking cessation" when it counts, 'cessating,' preventing the smoking starting in the first place.

    But is the $800 million figure correct? Or is it itself a low-ball figure? Do cigarettes actually costs Michigan much more than $800 million per?

    Calculate the damages yourself. Don't use the tobacco settlement figures. Use the ones announced by impartial analysts. You'll see that the received figure UNDERSTATES the damages to Michigan.

    Smoking as of 2002, costs Americans $157.4 billion per year. The annual amount is about $3,391 per person. Each pack leads to medical costs. Each pack reduces productivity. The total per-pack cost is calculated at $7.18.—U.S. Centers for Disease Control, That means, dividing equally by 50, over $ three billion per year! from Michigan taxpayers and residents.

    In addition, tobacco is the starter drug, leading to other drugs. Those drugs drain an additional $160 billion a year from America's economy, says (23 January 2002). Again dividing by 50, that means another $ three billion per year from Michigan taxpayers and residents.

    Last, crimes cost American over another one trillion dollars per year.—David A. Anderson, "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," 42 Journal of Law and Economics (#2) 611-642 (Oct 1999). Smokers typically commit 90% of the crimes in America, and constitute 90% of the prison population. This means, dividing equally by 50, $900 billion/50, another $18 billion from Michigan residents and taxpayers.

    Add this up, cigarettes are costing Michigan about $24 billion per year. Now do you see why Michigan has a budget ‘crisis'?

    Read more about this at TCPG's free educational site

    State of Michigan

    April 28, 2003

    Mr. Leroy Pletton
    8401 18 Mile #29
    Sterling Heights, Ml 48303

    Dear Mr. Pletton:

    Thank you for taking the opportunity to become engaged in your state government. I appreciate you sharing your perspective and concerns regarding law enforcement in the state of Michigan.

    I understand what a frustrating situation this must be for you. To help address your concerns I have taken the liberty of forwarding your information to the Director's Office of the Michigan Department of State Police (MSP) for their careful review and consideration. As you may know, the MSP has the responsibility of deterring criminal activities, arrest those who break the law, and assist local public safety agencies in their efforts to protect the public. I have asked MSP to look into your specific situation and to report their findings directly to you.

    The late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan once said, "The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport." I couldn't agree more. Government is a team sport - I'm so pleased that you've taken the initiative to get on the field. Your engagement truly steels the bonds of our democracy and fosters excellence in government.

    Thank you for contacting me personally. I urge you to stay connected as we move Michigan forward, together.


    Jennifer M. Granholm
    Jennifer M. Granholm


    May 29, 2003

    Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
    The Crime Prevention Group
    8401 18 Mile Road #29
    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48313-3042

    Dear Mr. Pletten:

    I am in receipt of your letter to Governor Granholm dated April 21, 2003, and have been asked to respond. In your letter you express concerns about tobacco tax enforcement and asked Governor Granholm to instruct the Michigan State Police to enforce MCL § 750.27 and MSA § 28.216. This section of law is a misdemeanor violation for the manufacture, sale, or giving away of adulterated cigarettes.

    I am pleased to advise that the Michigan Department of State Police - Tobacco Tax Fraud Team does enforce all laws pertaining to the Michigan Tobacco Product Tax Act (MCL 327 of 1993). We are cognizant of MCL § 750.27 (Act 328 of 1931) and can assure you that we most certainly keep this statute in mind when taking enforcement action. Tobacco Products Tax Fraud Team members consistently serve as a resource for other law enforcement agendes on the proper methods of detecting contraband tobacco and are in constant contact with out-state local and federal agencies, sharing investigative information and working on joint tobacco cases.

    In closing, please be assured that the Michigan State Police enforces the Tobacco Products Tax Fraud Act and seizes every opportunity to interdict and confiscate contraband or adulterated tobacco products being smuggled into the State of Michigan.

    I am hopeful your concerns have been adequately addressed. If you have further concerns related to Tobacco Tax enforcement please direct them to D/F/Lt. Theodore Monfette at (734) 525-4434.


    /s/Robert J. Bertee

    Deputy Director
    Investigative Services Bureau


    714 SOUTH HARRISON ROAD     EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN 48823   (517) 332-2521

    Emphasis was added above in red.

    Examples of Costs for
    Diseases and Tobacco Correlatives
    Abortion Accidents Addiction AIDS
    Alcoholism Alzheimers Birth Defects Brain Damage
    Breast Cancer Bronchitis (Chronic) Cancer Crime
    Deaths  Deforestation Divorce Drug Abuse
    Fires Hearing Loss Homelessness
    Heart Disease Jailing Minorities Disproportionately Lung Cancer Macular Degeneration
    Mental Disorders Pneumonia Seat Belt Disuse Sickness Rate Up
    SIDS Suicide Tuberculosis Ulcers

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

    To see Gov. Engler's 11 January 1999 message overview of the cigarette hazard to Michigan, click here.

    To see his Executive Order 1992-3 (18 March 1992) banning smoking in state buildings, prohibiting tobacco sales on state property, and ending production of cigarettes by state prisons, click here.

    For examples of cigarettes' deleterious ingredients, click here. The 1989 Surgeon General Report listed a number of them.

    acetaldehyde (1.4+ mg)arsenic (500+ ng)benzo(a)pyrene (.1+ ng)
    cadmium (1,300+ ng)crotonaldehyde (.2+ µg)chromium (1,000+ ng)
    ethylcarbamate 310+ ng)formaldehyde (1.6+ µg)hydrazine (14+ ng)
    lead (8+ µg)nickel (2,000+ ng)radioactive polonium (.2+ Pci)

    By federal law 15 § 1331, et seq., cigarettes have a warning label. The warning label itself establishes deleteriousness, said the Tenth Circuit court in Grusendorf v City of Oklahoma City, 816 F2d 539, 543; 2 IER Cases (BNA) 51 (CA 10, 1987):

    "We need look no further . . . than the Surgeon General's warning on the side of every box of cigarettes sold in this country that cigarette smoking is hazardous to health."

    "The normal use of cigarettes is known by ordinary consumers to present grave health risks . . .'tobacco has been used for over 400 years . . . [k]nowledge that cigarette smoking is harmful to health is widespread and can be considered part of the common knowledge,'" Roysdon v R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, 849 F2d 230, 236 (CA 6, 1988).

    "For almost four hundred years, European and American physicians have observed the toxic effects of tobacco . . . . physicians have known for centuries that smokers were daily taking into their bodies large quantities of one of the most poisonous substances known to man," says Frank L. Wood, M.D., What You Should Know About Tobacco (Wichita, KS: The Wichita Publishing Co, 1944), p 67. A person "who smokes forty cigarettes daily absorbs nearly a pound of nicotine annually. This is enough to kill at least eight thousand cats"—p 123.

    Judicial notice of cigarettes' "inherent" deleteriousness has long been taken, e.g., in Austin v State, 101 Tenn 563; 566-567; 48 SW 305, 306; 70 Am St Rep 703; 50 LRA 478 (1898) affirmed 179 US 343; 21 S Ct 132; 45 L Ed 224 (1900). Tennessee's Supreme Court said in Austin:

    "[C]igarettes . . . are . . . wholly noxious and deleterious to health. Their use is always harmful; never beneficial.

    "They possess no virtue, but are inherently bad, and bad only . . . widely condemned as pernicious altogether.

    "Beyond question, their every tendency is toward the impairment of physical health and mental vigor. . . .

    "Courts are authorized to take judicial cognizance of . . . those facts which, by human observation and experience, have become well and generally known to be true. . . . cigarettes are wholly noxious and deleterious and . . . an unmitigated evil."

    "The physician must recognize the fact that smoking is a universal affair . . . harmful . . . to normal people. . . . [changing them into injured category]."—Herbert F. Schwartz, M.D., "Smoking and Tuberculosis," 45 N Y St J Med (#14) 1539-1542 (15 July 1945).

    The case of Banzhaf v Federal Communications Commission, 132 US App DC 14, 29; 405 F2d 1082, 1097 (1968) cert den 396 US 842 (1969) upheld the concept of cigarettes' universal deleteriousness:

    "The danger cigarettes . . . pose to health is, among others, a danger to life itself . . . a danger inherent in the normal use of the product, not one merely associated with its abuse or dependent on intervening fortuitous events.

    "It threatens a substantial body of the population, not merely a peculiarly susceptible fringe group."

    In fact, cigarettes threaten everyone in America. To find “the purest nonsmoking population that can be obtained in the USA,” there was ONLY “the Amish population . . . in Lancaster County [Pennsylvania].”—G. H. Miller, Ph.D., “Lung Cancer: A Comparison of Incidence Between the Amish and Non-Amish in Lancaster County,” 76 J Indiana State Med Assn (#2) 121-123 (February 1983). Everyone else is being "smoked" to a greater or lesser extent.

    "Virtually everyone in the United States is at some risk of harm from exposure to secondhand smoke. The reason is that nearly everyone is exposed to tobacco smoke, and there is no evidence of a threshold level of exposure below which the exposure is safe."—Ronald M. Davis, M.D., "Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke," 280 J Am Med Assn (#22) 1947-1949 (9 Dec 1998).

    Wherefore, "the detrimental effects of cigarette smoking on health are beyond controversy." Larus and Bro Co v Fed Communications Commission, 447 F2d 876, 880 (CA 4, 1971).

    With all Michigan's writings and findings showing cigarette deleteriousness, Michigan is estopped from claiming to the contrary!

    In brief, it is not necessary to re-litigate anew, in each separate case, the issue, "are cigarettes deleterious"? The fact of deleteriousness is already conclusively established for all cases. This is like the fact of the earth being round, no need to re-prove that fact anew in each and every case!!

    What Michigan has done on cigarettes, parallels what California has done on cars. Whatever may be the 'typical' car, 'typical' cigarette, as sold nationwide, that's not good enough for our state. In our state, they must meet our standards.

    Says Michigan, You want to make or sell cigarettes? Here? in our state?
  • Not with foreign ingredients (adulterants).
  • Not with deleterious ingredients.

    Of course, as everyone knows, ALL cigarettes have deleterious ingredients! The warning label makes that fact clear! by itself, without more evidence. And there is much more evidence! as standard cigarette ingredients data shows, as centuries of medical data show.

    For an analysis of the Michigan law—with some examples of cigarettes' deleterious ingredients, emissions, and adulterants, and resultant adverse effects, click here.

    The above-listed site includes a bibliography of pre-1909 writings and pre-1909 court precedents identifying deleterious effects of tobacco, by 1909 already LONG KNOWN in the medical profession, and of which, judicial notice had already long been taken.

    For a complete list of Michigan cases related to tobacco issues, click here.

    For the dual rights to 'put out fires' and to 'pure air,' that the Michigan law institutionalizes, click here. The Michigan law institutionalizes the right to pure air. No cigarettes = no cigarette smoke in the air!

    The rights to pure air and put out fires already long existed (in the common law and U.S. Constitution). However, those rights are more easily violated without institutionalization. It is harder to control millions of people, than a small number of manufacturers and sellers. So the Legislature wisely chose to institutionalize the already-existing rights, by focusing on manufacturers and sellers.

    Another benefit is that adults thus set the right example for youth, not manufacturing cigarettes, not selling cigarettes, not giving them away, not using them. For adults to set the right example, was a significant concern of that era, for details, click here.

    For the 1889 Michigan House of Representatives' Cigarette Hazards Report, click here.

    For the 1897 Iowa cigarette manufacturing and sales ban law that Michigan followed, click here.

    For the related 1897 Tennessee cigarette sales ban law, click here.

    Note Perkins v Ford Motor Co, et al., Civ No. 86-633018-CZ (Wayne Cty Cir Ct, 25 Nov 1986) (injunction for smoke-free workplace).

    Note Opinions of Attorney General 1987-1988, No. 6460, pp 167-171; 1987 Michigan Register 366 (25 Aug 1987) (placing nonsmokers "checkerboard style" does not achieve law compliance). Of course, the law must be obeyed state-wide, not just in scattered locations.

    For pertinent legal terms and their definitions, click here.

    For discussion of what cigarettes cost Michigan, click here. (Readers from other states can use that data, to calculate what cigarettes cost your state).

    Michigan should have tens of billions of dollars in its 'rainy day fund,' enough to offset a decade of lowered income. It would have that amount in savings, and should have it.

    Why doesn't Michigan have that amount of savings on hand? in the 'rainy day fund'? Because of the enormous cost each year, in damages from cigarettes, due to the deleterious cigarette ban law not being enforced. Tell your politicians; demand enforcement of the deleterious cigarette manufacturing and sales ban law! It's our money!

    See also Michigan's advertising ban law MCL § 750.38, MSA § 28.227, that in essence bans cigarette advertising.

            Note that due to Michigan's distinctive shape and borders, enforcement is easier than perhaps for other states. Michigan is bordered by large bodies of water on the East and West, and by Canada [with customs inspection] on the North amd East.

    Only on the South side, are cigarettes typically smuggled [imported] into our state.

    Enforcement of MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, can be as simple as
  • notifying the State Police to interdict and confiscate the arriving cigarette shipments (commonly trucked in via I-75 on Michigan's southern border)

  • having the State Attorney General obtain an injunction enjoining, banning, violations

  • And having your local police and sheriff department enforce it. They can do this when enforcing the ban against under-age sales, list that selling as "Count 1," and the violation of this law as "Count 2."
  • Enforcement = institutionalizing making Michigan cigarette-smoke free, state-wide. That is as our ancestors, the common and Constitutional law, and lawmakers intended.


    Copyright © 1997, 1999, 2003 The Crime Prevention Group