Thursday, July 30, 2015

Howard Co., MD - Local Alert! Oppose and indoor vaping ban!

Howard County, MD


Indoor Vaping Ban




The County Council will be considering a bill (Council Bill 26-2015) that would deceptively redefine smoking to include the use of an electronic cigarette. Although this regulation would allow for certain exemptions -- the same exemptions allowed for smoking -- vaping would be prohibited in thousands of workplaces and other public spaces throughout the county.

Please make plans to attend this hearing:

Banneker Room, George Howard Building
3430 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD

Please take a moment now to email the council members urging them to oppose this bill. We have provided contact information and talking points below.


Howard County, MD - County Council
Dist

Email
Phone
1
Jon Weinstein
jweinstein@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
1
Gary L.Smith
(Special Assistant)
glsmith@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-3110
2
Dr. Calvin Ball
cbball@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
2
Kim Pruim
(Special Assistant)
kpruim@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
3
Jen Terrasa
jterrasa@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
3
Kate McCleod
(Special Assistant)

410-313-3108
4
Mary Kay Sigaty
mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
4
Mary Clay
(Special Assistant)
mclay@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
5
Greg Fox
gfox@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001
5
Karen Knight
(Special Assistant)
kknight@howardcountymd.gov
410-313-2001

Comma delimited email list:
jweinstein@howardcountymd.gov, glsmith@howardcountymd.gov, cbball@howardcountymd.gov, kpruim@howardcountymd.gov, jterrasa@howardcountymd.gov, mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov, mclay@howardcountymd.gov, gfox@howardcountymd.gov, kknight@howardcountymd.gov


Indoor Vaping Ban




Suggested Talking Points - Indoor Use
  • (Please choose a few of the points below -- topics you are most comfortable discussing.)

  1. You are a resident and you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to a Call to Action or Local Alert for a city or state in which you are not a resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel there on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)

  1. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life. (Avoid using slang terms such as "juice.")

  1. Clarify that:
    1. Smoking bans are ostensibly enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been found to pose a risk to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless nicotine products.
    2. The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
    3. A comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found "no apparent concern" for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under "worst case" assumptions about exposure.
    4. Electronic cigarette use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is often practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor ("discreet vaping").  With so little evidence of use, enforcing use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
    5. The ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch and reduce their health risks by an estimated 99%.
    6. Losing the ability to test e-liquids before purchasing will have a significant and negative impact on your ability to purchase/sell e-liquids.
    7. Many smokers first try e-cigarettes because they can use them where they cannot smoke, however, they often become "accidental quitters." This is a documented phenomenon unique to e-cigarettes. It may take a few months or only a few days, but they inevitably stop smoking conventional cigarettes. This is why including e-cigarettes in smoking bans could have serious unintended consequences!
    8. By making e-cigarette users go outdoors, the City will also be sending a strong message to traditional smokers that e-cigarettes are no safer than smoking. This will actually maintain the number of smokers, rather than help reduce smoking. This is a far more realistic risk to public health than any unfounded concerns about possible youth or non-smoker use uptake. In fact, the most recent report by the CDC showed that the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use over that past 3 years has not led to an increase in youth smoking. Youth smoking of traditional cigarettes continues to decline to record low levels.
    9. The children of smoking parents are far more likely to become smokers than the children of non-smoking parents who see smoking behaviors in public. The children of smoking parents who quit aren't any more likely to smoke than those of non-smoking parents. Prohibiting vapor products in public does little to protect the children of non-smoking parents from becoming smokers, but significantly increases the likelihood that many smoking parents won't switch to e-cigarettes. This only serves to keep the highest-risk children at risk.
    10. E-cigarette use does not promote the smoking of traditional cigarettes, nor does it threaten the gains of tobacco control over the past few decades. In fact, by normalizing e-cigarette use over traditional smoking, the efforts of tobacco control are being supported. If anything, e-cigarette use denormalizes conventional smoking by setting the example of smokers choosing a far less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. The CDC surveys clearly show that there has been no "gateway effect" causing non-smokers to start smoking. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, all available evidence is showing that more and more smokers are quitting traditional cigarettes, including youth smokers.
    11. Important Note: A typical and frequent lawmaker response to e-cigarette users who object to public use bans is "We aren't banning all use or sales, just use where smoking is also prohibited." Don't give them the opportunity to counter you in that way! Make it very clear that you understand that this is not a ban of e-cigarette sales or a ban of e-cigarette use where smoking is allowed, but that what IS proposed is still a step backward in public health, not a step forward.

4) Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update July 27, 2015



CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update July 20, 2015

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.






Alabama Call to Action! Oppose new taxes on e-cigarettes and vapor products!

On Monday, July 13th, 2015, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced that the state legislature would be heading back into special session to hash out the details of the state’s budget. One of the proposals to be discussed will be a revived version of an earlier e-cigarette tax bill.


The special session will reconvene on Monday, August 3rd, 2015. It is vital that Alabama vapers and harm reduction advocates take this opportunity NOW to reach out to lawmakers urging them to oppose ANY new tax on vapor products.

Although this new tax bill has not been published and is still under review by the Legislative Fiscal Office, the Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama has stated* that this bill is likely to impose a $0.25/milliliter tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquid containing nicotine. For a breakdown of what the added expense to consumers will be, please see the chart below.

Proposed tax per ML
$0.25
ml
5
$1.25
ml
10
$2.50
ml
15
$3.75
ml
30
$7.50

In addition to hiking the cost of vapor products for consumers -- and discouraging adult smokers from switching -- such an enormous tax would threaten to close many of Alabama’s independent vapor retailers. It is estimated that 2000 people might lose their jobs and, of course, hundreds of thousands more would see their access to vapor products dramatically reduced.  






“Here’s the text of Governor Bentley’s Special Session proclamation” http://yellowhammernews.com/politics-2/heres-the-text-of-governor-bentleys-special-session-proclamation/

*“Critics warn Bentley’s proposed tobacco and e-cig tax hike could cost 2,000 jobs” http://yellowhammernews.com/politics-2/critics-warn-bentleys-proposed-tobacco-and-e-cig-tax-hike-could-cost-2000-jobs/



(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update July 13, 2015

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.
 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Pennsylvania Call to Action: Oppose the Governor's unjustifiable 40% wholesale tax on Vapor Products and Smokeless Tobacco.

Update - 07.09.15

Although the PA State Assembly passed a budget bill in June that did not include a damaging tax on vapor products, the budget was promptly vetoed by Governor Wolf. As a result, the assembly will return to budget negotiations in order to hammer out an acceptable plan. These meetings could begin as soon as next week (week of 7/13).


Please take a moment now to send a fully editable, pre-written thank you letter to your Pennsylvania lawmakers. Please also include your personal story about how switching to low-risk, smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and snus has changed your life. If you need a little inspiration, please visit our testimonials project. And if you haven’t already submitted your story, please take a moment to add it to our collection. Personal stories are incredibly powerful and help legislators understand why we are so passionate about ensuring that vapor products remain accessible, affordable, and effective.


(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Massachusetts! Take action NOW to protect adult access to vapor products from multiple threats!

Several bills are scheduled to be heard in the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday, July 14th at 1:00 PM. We have provided a summary of the bills below. You will see that the proposed regulations range from obvious (prohibiting sales to minors), to predictable (public vaping ban), to dangerous (requiring burdensome testing by manufacturers that would result in all or most e-liquids being banned from sale in MA, raising the age to purchase ALL “tobacco products” to 21 -- even low-risk, smoke-free products like snus and e-cigarettes).


Legislative Summary:

HB 1954 (Same as SB 1137):
  • Redefines “tobacco products” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” in any retail establishment that “operates or has a health care institution within it, such as a pharmacy, optician/optometrist, or drug store…”

HB 2050 (Same as SB 1119):
  • Redefines “tobacco products” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products
  • Prohibits the use of “tobacco products” in schools
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” to any person under the age of 18
  • Redefines “smoking” or “smoke” to include the use of “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products.
  • Prohibits vaping in public places where smoking is currently banned.

  • Would require manufacturers to file annual reports with the MA Department of Health which identify the “concentration of any toxins contained in the vapor produced by an e-cigarette when used…”
  • Provides an outrageous fine -- $10,000 per day -- for understating the concentrations of toxins within a range to be determined by the DOH.

  • Directs the Department of Public Health to develop regulations “for restricting the marketing, labeling, and restricting youth access to so-called ‘Other Tobacco Products’.”

  • Redefines “tobacco product” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products.
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” to anyone under the age of 21.

  • Would require “tobacco retailers” to conspicuously post a sign directing customers to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program and The Smokers Helpline.


Despite the numerous bills that CASAA opposes, there are a few that can be considered thoughtful and appropriate:

  • HB 1943 would direct the Department of Public Health to conduct a study on the use of Tobacco Harm Reduction as a means to reducing smoking rates. While the Bill as currently written is seriously problematic, CASAA is attempting to engage with the sponsor to help it meet its positive goals.
  • HB 1951 would prohibit local Boards of Health from banning the sale of legal “tobacco products.” (You may remember an incident from 2014 when Westminster, MA attempted to implement a ban on all tobacco sales.)
  • HB 3466 would prohibit sales of vapor products to anyone under the age of 18 and manages to do so without confusing vapor products with combustible cigarettes.





(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.