Saturday, July 26, 2014

STREAMLINED VERSION of Fourth Call to to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations - Submit Comment



Fourth Call to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations
Streamlined Version

CASAA has been producing and posting FDA Alerts and Calls to Action since before the proposed regulations were released. For a full background on this issue, please go here:


However, we realize there are recent adopters of these products who may not have had time to familiarize themselves with the politics and what is at stake.  In an effort to engage you and provide a means to have your voice heard, the following is a simplified version of our 4th FDA Call to Action. (For those who have thought about this before and want to maximize the impact of their comments, we urge you to instead send the more detailed letter described in the 4th FDA Call to Action: http://blog.casaa.org/2014/07/fourth-call-to-to-action-for-fda.html)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fourth Call to to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations - Submit Comment


On Thursday, May 8th, 2014, CASAA released the Overview of its Action Plan Regarding Proposed FDA Regulations.  
As noted in CASAA's Action plan, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are attacking this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness, and extending beyond comments to the FDA docket.
  • On May 11, 2014, CASAA released the first of several Calls to Action anticipated in CASAA's Action Plan.  
  • On May 21st, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Action.  
  • On June 13, 2014,  CASAA released the third Call to Action.
  • On July 17, 2014, CASAA released the first Call to Prepare.
  • On July 23, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Prepare.
This is the Fourth Call to Action in CASAA's Action Plan.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Second Call to Prepare for FDA Proposed Regulations - Prepare/Refine Draft Comment

On Thursday, May 8th, 2014, CASAA released the Overview of its Action Plan Regarding Proposed FDA Regulations.  
As noted in CASAA's Action plan, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are attacking this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness, and extending beyond comments to the FDA docket.

  • On May 11, 2014, CASAA released the first of several Calls to Action anticipated in CASAA's Action Plan.  
  • On May 21st, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Action.  
  • On June 13, 2014,  CASAA released the third Call to Action.
  • On July 17, 2014, CASAA released the first Call to Prepare.
This is the second Call to Prepare in CASAA's Action Plan.  


In the first Call to Prepare, you created some comments that addressed several substantive points. This second Call to Prepare is your opportunity to add to that content. Instructions on actually filing your comment to the FDA will be contained in the Fourth Call to Action that will be issued tomorrow, July 24, 2014.  


These guidelines are written for people who have used e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction. Obviously, we encourage comments from other CASAA members or other consumers, but much of this (it is obvious which parts) will not apply, and you will need to write more in third-person than first-person.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

First Call to Prepare for FDA Proposed Regulations - Prepare Draft Comment

On Thursday, May 8th, CASAA released the Overview of its Action Plan Regarding Proposed FDA Regulations.  
As noted in CASAA's Action plan, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are attacking this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness, and extending beyond comments to the FDA docket.
  • On May 11, 2014, CASAA released the first of several Calls to Action anticipated in CASAA's Action Plan.  
  • On May 21st, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Action.  
  • On June 13, 2014,  CASAA released the third Call to Action.
This is the first Call to Prepare in CASAA's Action Plan.  This Call to Prepare is your opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for your formal, substantive comment to the FDA.  Consistent with our earlier instructions, we are asking consumers to continue to wait to file substantive comments for a few more days, but now is the time to prepare part of your comments in earnest.  For now, write up a few paragraphs on each of these three points so it is ready to assemble into your final comments.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CASAA's Second request for extension of FDA's comment deadline

To:   U.S. Food and Drug Administration
From:  Carl V Phillips, PhD
        Scientific Director
        The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association 
(CASAA)
        cphillips@casaa.org
8 July 2014
VIA REGULATIONS.GOV AND COURIER
Second request for extension of comment deadline for CASAA
Previously CASAA requested an extension of the comment period for the Food and Drug Administration's ("FDA") Proposed Rule Deeming Tobacco Products to be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Family Smoking and Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the "Proposed Rule") published at 79 Fed. Reg. 23,142 and Federal Register No. 2014-09491.  The text of that request is included below as an appendix, and its substance is incorporated here by reference.  Subsequently, FDA granted a 30-day extension of the comment period.  This is grossly inadequate for the reasons we already noted.  We repeat the request that the comment period be extended to a more appropriate 180 days.
Failing that, we additionally request that CASAA be granted an extension of that length to file comments that specifically respond to the questions posed by FDA in the draft regulations.
The proposed regulations posed approximately 100 separate questions about e-cigarettes and other products that are part of CASAA’s mission.  Even with the existing extension, the comment period is approximately one day per explicitly posed question.  CASAA is in a unique position to be able to provide empirical answers to many of these questions.  However, under the current deadline, we will only be able to comment on the affirmative content of the regulation itself and analyze its implications.  While the length of the comment period is grossly inadequate even for that, we expect to file such comments according to the existing deadline.  However, it will be physically impossible to respond to the requests for information that FDA claims to be interested in obtaining.
A failure to further extend the comment period would be a clear indication that FDA is not genuinely interested in obtaining scientific answers to the questions it posed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Call to Action! Pennsylvania Legislators Are Considering an Excise Tax on E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco

UPDATE 7/23/14:  Call to Action successfully concluded.  

As Pennsylvania legislators scramble to fill a budget deficit of over $1 billion, a tax on electronic cigarettes is being considered.  Rumors are that the State may seek to impose a punitive tax of up to 60% of wholesale price on all e-cigarette products, possibly including devices.  Legislators are also considering taxing low-risk smokeless tobacco products at the same amount.  

Pennsylvania is supposed to have its budget passed by June 30th, but the situation is so difficult that negotiations may push on past that date.  Legislators need to immediately begin hearing from vapers and users of reduced harm products so that we can stop this tax from becoming law.

CASAA has issued two new CQ Roll Call Campaigns for Pennsylvania to express consumer opposition to a sin tax on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco:



If you have a Pennsylvania address, please take five minutes of your time to participate and share your views with your elected officials.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Call to Action! We need Michigan vapers to immediately contact Governor Rick Snyder's office and ask him to sign Senate Bill 668.

We need Michigan vapers to immediately contact Governor Rick Snyder’s office and ask him to sign Senate Bill 668. 

After the Michigan Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 668, we need your help in contacting Governor Rick Snyder to encourage him to sign this important legislation that will prohibit minors from purchasing vapor products (e-cigarettes). 

CASAA supports Senate Bill 668 and has worked to achieve passage of this common-sense regulation in the Michigan House and Senate.  Senate Bill 668 passed the Senate by a vote of 38-0, and passed the House by a vote of 96-14.

Your story must be heard so that Governor Snyder supports this important legislation that was passed by your democratically elected representatives.  

Governor Snyder has publicly stated he is considering vetoing this bill.  This is undoubtedly the result of pressure from “public health” organizations that inexplicably oppose these potentially lifesaving products. But we cannot allow this misinformation campaign to overshadow our true success stories and the work of our Legislature. 

We need your support to make sure that Governor Snyder understands the importance of supporting this legislation. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Call to Action! California Ban on Internet Sales (AB 1500) and Ban on E-Cigarette Usage (SB 648)

Last updated 6/25/14



 


UPDATE 6/25/14:  SB 648 has been favorably amended in committee.  We were successful in getting the bill amended so that e-cigarettes are separately defined (and not defined as "cigarettes").  We will continue to monitor the progress of SB 648 to ensure that no unfavorable amendments are made, but for now, the Call to Action for SB 648 is on hold and CASAA supports the bill as currently amended.

UPDATE 6/23/14:  SB 648 has been amended!  What was once a bill that would have banned e-cigarette usage wherever smoking is banned in California has now become a bill to place the same restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes in vending machines as are placed on traditional tobacco products.  CASAA does not object to restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes in vending machines, but we do object to defining e-cigarettes as "cigarettes" for purposes of this legislation. 

We urge our California members to strongly OPPOSE this bill.  Defining all e-cigarette products as “cigarettes” sets a terrible precedent.  We also have reason to fear that Senator Corbett may propose further amendments before Wednesday’s hearing that would make the bill even worse.

CASAA encourages all concerned parties in California to attend the meeting of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization on Wednesday, June 25th at 1:30 PM in Room 4202 of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento. Vapers will be meeting up at 1:00 PM on the State House steps to strategize.

Additionally, CASAA has issued two new CQ Roll Call Campaigns for California to express consumer opposition to defining e-cigarettes as “cigarettes” under any section of California law:

SEND AN EMAIL to your state assembly member

MAKE A CALL to your state assembly member on the Committee on Governmental Organization.  (Please note that if your state assembly member is not on the Committee on Governmental Organization, the program will report that no match has been found.) 

If you have a California address, please take five minutes of your time to participate and share your views with your elected officials.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Call to Action! New Jersey's Governor Christie is Proposing a Tax on E-Cigarettes at the Same Rate as Combustible Cigarettes (Significantly UPDATED 6-19-14)

(last updated 6/25/2014)

UPDATE 6/25/14: Assembly Bill 1080 (A1080) would fine vapers $250 to $1000 for using their e-cigarette anywhere on a beach or public park. This bill has passed the Assembly and must now move through the Senate. It is has passed the NJ General Assembly and is now in the Senate. Link to bill information.  

CASAA has implemented a new CQ Roll Call campaign for New Jersey to help you express opposition to A1080:  SEND AN EMAIL RE A1080


The email is completely editable by you, and we encourage you to make changes to the email to reflect your views and to share your story.  If you plan to substantially edit the email, you may wish to copy the text into a word processing program and make the edits there, then copy and paste back into the CQ Roll Call email.  We have had two reports over the last several months that CQ Roll Call might "reset" when you keep the window open for a long time or when you open a separate browser window, causing you to lose any unique text you've added (and reverting back to the original).   

URGENT UPDATE 6/19/14:  A sin tax on e-cigarettes in New Jersey remains a serious threat.  CASAA has issued two new CQ Roll Call Campaigns for New Jersey to express consumer opposition to a sin tax on e-cigarettes contained in Governor Christie's proposed budget:

SEND AN EMAIL


MAKE A CALL 

If you have a New Jersey address, please take five minutes of your time to participate and share your views with your elected officials.


____________________________________


UPDATE 5/16/14:  The Senate Committee on Health has scheduled a hearing for this coming MONDAY, May 19th at 1:00 PM for SB 1867 (outrageous 75% wholesale tax on all e-cigarette liquids, devices, components, etc.) and AB 1080 (banning e-cigarette use on parks and beaches).  The hearing will take place in Committee Room 1 on the 1st Floor of the State House Annex (125 W. State St in Trenton, NJ 08608).  There is free parking behind the State House. It is CRITICAL that advocates attend this hearing and speak out against the negative effects of a tax of this sort as well as express opposition to banning smoke-free e-cigarette use in parks and beaches.

Members of the Senate Committee on Health are denoted with an asterisk in the list below.  Please call and email members of the Committee to express your opposition to these bills.

UPDATE 5/10/14:  This Call to Action is still active . . . please continue to contact Senate and Assembly members to express your opposition to these bills.

New Jersey vapers are now facing four significant threats, including two major tax bills, an outdoor usage ban, and a bizarre proposal to tax e-cigarette advertising:

(1) Governor Christie has proposed taxing e-cigarettes at the same rate as combustible cigarettes.  While details have not yet been released, reports are that this tax could easily double the cost of purchasing e-cigarette liquid, cartridges, and devices in the state.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some legislators, like Assemblyman Dan Benson, worry that taxing e-cigarettes less than traditional cigarettes would be “sending a message out there that they’re somehow safer.” Link to full article. There have been 5 hearings on the matter in Trenton.  At every hearing e-cigarette users, vendors, and/or harm reduction advocates spoke out against the tax. We need to continue working to stop Gov. Christie's tax hike from becoming law.

(2) Senate Bill 1867 (SB1867) has been introduced by Senators Joseph F. Vitale (D) and Richard J. Codey (D). This bill would tax all components of an electronic cigarette, including devices, at 75% of wholesale price. SB1867 would also require e-cigarette retailers to obtain a tobacco license, and it would also greatly increase the cost of acquiring such a license. This bill is currently pending before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Link to bill information.

(3) Assembly Bill 1080 (A1080) would fine vapers $250 to $1000 for using their e-cigarette anywhere on a beach or public park. This bill has passed the Assembly and must now move through the Senate. It is currently pending before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Link to bill information.  

(4) Assembly Bill 2980 (A2980) & Senate Bill 1818 (SB1818) would tax e-cigarette and smokeless tobacco *advertising* at 25% of the amount companies spend on promoting their products in New Jersey. This is an unprecedented measure that is almost guaranteed to be found to violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. These bills are currently pending before the Assembly and Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committees.  Link to bill information.

Due to the number of bills pending, CASAA has produced a full list of Assembly and Senate members below so you can express your opposition to all the pending bills. We strongly encourage New Jersey vapers to make phone calls to Assembly and Senate members opposing these bills. 

The most important step you can take is to make personal contact, including phone calls and in-person meetings, with your New Jersey Senator and General Assembly representatives (a total of three contacts). Find out who they are using your city here.  Let them know that you are in their district and want them to oppose taxes on electronic cigarettes and outdoor usage bans. Educate them about how e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products are so different. 

Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts  regarding this and other legislation in New Jersey and across the United States. We will alert you when there are other opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the New Jersey State Legislature.   

Please take action against the above bills. See the New Jersey Vapers Advocacy Network page for more details on stopping these bills. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Call to Action! Senate Commerce Committee Hearing June 18, 2014 regarding E-Cigarettes

Last month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss e-cigarettes.  The only two presenters were Mitch Zeller (FDA) and Tim McAfee (CDC). Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 18th, 2014), the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will meet to discuss e-cigarettes and, once again, consumers have been excluded, as well as the small businesses that provide the diversity in the marketplace that benefits consumers. 

As we did for the Senate hearing last month, CASAA has created a CQ Roll Call campaign for our members to let their senators know how important it is for consumers and small businesses to be involved in these discussions. (CASAA is a consumer organization, not an industry representative. We firmly believe that consumers are best served by a diverse marketplace, and it is therefore imperative that the small businesses that provide the high-quality, advanced products that the vast majority of our members use also be included in discussions designed to inform responsible legislative policy.) 

If you live in one of the below-listed states, you have a senator on the Senate Commerce Committee, and we are asking that you take a moment to participate in the CQ Roll Call Campaign to send a letter and call your senator:
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin



If you plan to substantially edit the email, you may wish to copy the text into a word processing program and make the edits there, then copy and paste back into the CQ Roll Call email.  We have had two reports over the last several months that CQ Roll Call might "reset" when you keep the window open for a long time or when you open a separate browser window, causing you to lose any unique text you've added (and reverting back to the original).