Saturday, April 25, 2015

Port St. Lucie, FL - Local Alert: Ordinance would ban vaping where smoking is currently prohibited.

Port St. Lucie, FL

Ordinance 15-30 would prohibit vaping in the same locations where smoking is currently banned. This ordinance would also prohibit sales of vapor products to minors -- which is already covered by Florida state law. It also proposes a maximum fine of $500 and/or 60 days in jail for violations.
The first reading of this ordinance is scheduled for
Port St. Lucie City Hall

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Massachusetts Call to Action: Attorney General Hearing on proposed overreaching e-cigarette regulations

Summary

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has introduced 940 CMR which would impose significant restrictions on the independent vapor retail market in Massachusetts:

  1. Ban self-service displays and require that no product be accessible without an employee’s assistance unless no one under the age of 18 is permitted to enter the store.
  2. Basically require a “secret shopper” program for any retailer with 6 or more employees and mandatory training program for any retailers with 5 or fewer employees.
  3. Require nicotine-containing liquids to be packaged in accordance with federal standards.
  4. Prohibit online sales unless a legible photocopy of a valid government ID is provided
  5. Ban sampling (or offering giveaways)
  6. Allow cities, towns, and local boards of health to pass more restrictive rules.

Although CASAA is generally supportive of child-resistant packaging regulation tied to a federal standard and sensible regulation that supports age verification compliance (items 1- 3), we are opposed to any regulation that would restrict adult access to these products or a retailer’s ability to help customers make an informed decision about a vapor product purchase (items 4 and 5).  Additionally, we are concerned that allowing Massachusetts counties and municipalities to set stricter policies (item 6) will lead to a confusing patchwork of regulation that will negatively impact consumer access, choice, and awareness of these products.

Take Action:

  1. Between now and Friday, April 24th, 2015, please take a moment to send a message to the Attorney General.
 
We have provided a pre-written email for you to add your story to HERE.  Although we have pre-written our assessment of the objectionable portions of AG Healy’s proposal and it is a complete letter, we strongly urge you to provide your own story.  Our feelings will not be hurt if you delete our entire letter and substitute your own.  However, please be respectful.  Or you can simply send an email* to AGOregulations@state.ma.us .  

AG Healey needs to hear your story about how switching to vaping has benefitted you.  Please mention any health improvements you’ve experienced.  Although we do not recommend sending personal medical information via email to the AG, please specify if you would be available for follow-up questions or that you have evidence to support any claim of improved health.  The fact that you are smoke free for “X” months or years is a good start.

* If you are sending an email on your own, please include your name, Massachusetts address, and phone number so you can be verified as a resident (and voter).


(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.


  1. Make plans to attend the public hearing.

THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2015 10:00am

It has been suggested that testimony be organized and limited to a few “spokespeople.”  Even though we are not encouraging everyone to plan to testify, attending the hearing is important as it shows the large number of people affected by, and engaged in, this issue.  Rather than planning to speak, it is recommended that you send your testimony via email instead.  The deadline for submitting written testimony is Friday, April 24th.  Please remember to make yourself available for follow-up questions.

CASAA Podcast Update April 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.



Monday, April 20, 2015

Clark Co., WA - Local Alert: Oppose an indoor vaping ban (Ordinance to include "inhalant delivery devices" in county's smoking law)

Clark County, WA.

Public testimony on an ordinance that would deceptively redefine “smoking” to include the use of an “inhalant delivery device” (more commonly known as an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer) will be heard on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 9:00am.  If adopted, this ordinance will amend the county’s smoking law to prohibit the use of vapor products in the same places where smoking is currently banned.

Public Service Center, 6th Floor

For more information concerning this matter, please contact:
  • Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health: (360) 397-8412

Please plan to attend this hearing*. Please also send emails and make phone calls to board members urging them to oppose amending Title 24 of the Clark County Code that would make e-cigarettes subject to smoking laws.  Contact information and talking points are provided below.


Clark County Board of Councilors
Dist
Name
Phone
Email
1
Tom Mielke
(360) 397-2232
tom.mielke@clark.wa.gov
2
David Madore
(360) 397-2232
david.madore@clark.wa.gov
3
Jeanne E. Stewart
(360) 397-2232
jeanne.stewart@clark.wa.gov


Comma Delimited Email List
tom.mielke@clark.wa.gov, david.madore@clark.wa.gov, jeanne.stewart@clark.wa.gov


*Even if you do not plan to testify, your attendance is important as it demonstrates the many people affected by and engaged in this issue.  Please dress appropriately and refrain from vaping in the building.

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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Minnesota Call to Action: Oppose an unjustifiable tax hike on vapor products (HF 848 Amendment)

The vapor tax* language from HF 2182 has been added to an amendment that will be offered in the House Taxes Committee for HF 848.  Public testimony will be heard.

This hearing is scheduled for
12:00 PM


If adopted, this amendment would:
  • Enact a 30 cent per milliliter tax on eliquid*
  • Include devices and hardware in the state’s definition of “tobacco products.”


Please take action NOW by sending a message** to your state representative urging them to oppose this amendment.




*Currently the tax on e-liquid in Minnesota is a 95% wholesale tax on nicotine.  By altering the statute to tax the “consumable product” instead of just the nicotine contained in e-liquid, makes this is a huge increase.


** If you are a member of MNVA or any other state THR Advocacy association, please include that in the closing of your email as well.


(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, April 16, 2015

Call to Action: Submit comments on FDA’s Second Workshop Regarding E-Cigarettes.



FDA Call to Action: Submit comments on FDA’s Second Workshop Regarding E-Cigarettes.


  1. The first of three FDA Workshop was held in December 2014, and you have until July 2nd, 2015 to submit comments.  Please see: CASAA Call to Action for First FDA Workshop for details and instructions.


  1. This Call to Action includes instructions for commenting on the Second Workshop Regarding E-Cigarettes held March 9th-10th, 2015.


  1. The third and final workshop will be held in June, 2015 and we will issue a new call to action shortly after it concludes.

Washington, DC Call to Action: Oppose a 70% Tax on Vapor Products

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has introduced the city’s budget for 2016.  The proposal includes the “Vapor Product Amendment Act of 2015” which would tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as other tobacco products which is an unjustifiable 70% of wholesale.

Please take action NOW by sending an email to city council members urging them to remove this harmful tax from the budget.



Please also make plans to attend this hearing*:

Council Chamber - Room 500

*Persons wishing to testify should email committee staff persons to ask that your name be added to the list.
  • Sarina Loy (sloy@dccouncil.us, 202-724-8058)
  • Brian McClure (bmcclure@dccouncil.us, 202-724-8112)

While a speaking position is not guaranteed, members of the public may be permitted to testify even if they do not sign up in advance.  (Even if you are not planning to testify, your presence is encouraged as it demonstrates the large number of people affected by and engaged in this issue.  As a sign of respect, please refrain from vaping in the capitol building.  Please also dress accordingly -- no sweatpants and t-shirts.)


(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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rhode Island: Oppose an Indoor Vaping Ban (SB 489) and misleading messaging (SB 482).

Senate Bill 482 would require all e-cigarette retailers in Rhode Island to post false and misleading signs warning consumers that vaping can cause cancer and lung disease.

Senate Bill 489 would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in ANY indoor public space in Rhode Island, including vapor retail shops.

Please take action NOW by sending a message to your lawmakers urging them to oppose these bills

These bills are both scheduled for public hearings on THURSDAY, April 16th, 2015 in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee:

5:00 PM
Rhode Island State House - Senate Lounge, 3rd Floor

Please make plans to attend this hearing.  Even if you are not planning to testify, your presence is encouraged as it demonstrates the large number of people affected by and engaged in this issue.  As a sign of respect, please refrain from vaping in the capitol building.  Please also dress accordingly -- no sweatpants and t-shirts.


(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.