Monday, February 8, 2016

NJ - Take Action to oppose a ban on flavored vapor products (S.298)!

A bill -- S 298 -- which would ban the sale of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco, clove, and menthol, is on the move in New Jersey.

Predictably, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s author (Sen. Joseph Vitale [D-19]), passed S 298 with a “favorable” vote. The flavor ban proposal now moves on to the floor of the Senate for consideration.

Please send a message now to your state senator
Urging them to oppose this bill.

Take Action - Send a Message

Please share this link on social media:



(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 INCLUDE YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

Friday, February 5, 2016

OR - Take Action to oppose a dangerous tax on vapor products!


Update - 02.05.16

HB 4062 is moving to a work session today:

House Committee on Health Care
House Room E
Oregon State Capitol

Please take action NOW to oppose this damaging tax proposal!

Take Action - Send a Message



Original Post - 01.29.16

HB 4062 would enact a 50% tax on the retail price of vapor products, including liquids and devices.
(Please note: This engagement is limited to Oregon residents living in a district represented by a member of the House Health Care Committee.)


This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on:


House Committee on Health Care
House Room E
Oregon State Capitol


Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not wish to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people engaged in this issue.


If you do intend to present testimony, please see the full agenda, available here, for details on sending in materials and presentations 24 hours prior to the meeting.


Please take action NOW to oppose this damaging tax proposal!


Take Action - Send a Message




(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 INCLUDE YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

CASAA Podcast Update - February, 1st, 2016

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.



1:34 - New Mexico had a pair of tax bills -- SB 77, SB 4. It’s not likely that SB 4 will advance as it is proposing an outrageous $0.04 per milligram tax on nicotine, but SB 77 is a 66% excise tax on vapor products which may appear to some lawmakers as being more reasonable.

5:55 - Oregon HB 4062 has a first hearing on Wed., February 3rd. This bill proposes a 50% tax on the retail price of vapor products. This is just a first hearing, so CASAA has limited participation to people living in districts represented by members of the committee. If the bill advances and appears to be more of a threat, we will likely issue an updated call to action that will be open to the rest of the state.

7:27 - Vermont H.171 would include vaping in the state’s indoor workplace smoking prohibition. Hearing is scheduled for Wed., February 3rd. There is no guarantee that testimony will be heard from the public. Contact information for the committee hearing is available on CASAA’s call to action.

10:20 - Alameda Co., CA - Tues., February 2nd, Public Hearing for an ordinance that would require vapor shops in the unincorporated areas of the county to acquire tobacco retailer licenses (TRL). Supervisor Miley is proposing a separate licensing scheme for vapor shops as he agrees that TRL is inappropriate.

13:06 - Utah - Expect news about legislative threats on or around Friday, February 5th.

13:27 - CASAA Winter Newsletter coming out soon.

13:44 - Upcoming events that CASAA will be attending

16:40 - Rhode Island SB 2107 would require tobacco retailers to post deceptive and misleading signage that equates vaping with the harms linked to smoking.

As always, please make sure you are registered to vote.

Please share your story
About how low-risk tobacco and/or vapor products 
Have helped you or a loved one on our Testimonials Project.

Thank You!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hawaii - Call to Action! Take Action to oppose taxes on vapor products!


SB 2961 would enact a yet-to-be-determined excise tax on e-cigarette cartridges and a per-milliliter tax on e-liquids containing nicotine. Just as concerning, this tax would be tied to the rate imposed on traditional cigarettes, which means that any hike in the tax on cigarettes will automatically raise the tax on vapor products.


This bill is scheduled to be heard in committee on:


9:00am
Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, And Health (CPH)
Conference Room 229
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street


There are two ways to participate.


  1. Submit testimony through the legislature’s website here. We have provided talking points below to help you compose your message. You will need to create an account with the Hawaii legislature site before you submit your testimony. The process is simple and quick.
HI - SB2961 - Submit Testimony.jpg


  1. Send an email to members of the committee - Take Action!


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SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS (Pick a Few)


1) Ostensibly, taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. However, due to the fact that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.


2) Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).


3) Tell your story about how vaping has helped you.
4) Sin taxes are regressive. The smoking population, those switching to vaping, is disproportionately made up of poor and low-income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group.


5) Imposing an extra sin tax on these products will encourage consumers to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the state and will result in less revenue, not more.


6) It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.


7) Taxing e-cigarettes in a manner similar to how cigarettes are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks.  The result of this message is that more people, those who otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.




Monday, February 1, 2016

Ashland, OR - Local Alert! Oppose local expansion of Oregon's anti-vaping law.

Ashland, OR

An ordinance to add Chapter 9.30 to the Ashland Municipal Code would expand the scope of Oregon’s indoor clean air law as it applies to Ashland to include all of “downtown.” However, the proposal includes a process by which bars and restaurants that hold a liquor license to apply for an exemption to allow smoking and vaping in front of their establishments.

Although Oregon already prohibits vaping in the same places where smoking is banned, municipalities are not preempted by the law to enact stricter regulations on vaping.

Please make plans to attend this hearing:

7:00 PM
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street
Ashland, OR 97520

If you would like to speak, you must submit a “speaker request form” before the public hearing begins. Even if you are not inclined to address the council, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people engaged in and affected by this issue.

Please also take this opportunity to contact members of the council and urge them to oppose this ordinance. We have provided talking points and contact information below.


Ashland, OR - City Council
Member
Email
Phone
Mayor John Stromberg
john@council.ashland.or.us
541-552-2104
Councilor Carol Voisin
carol@council.ashland.or.us
541-482-3559
Councilor Michael Morris
mike@council.ashland.or.us
541-621-9406
Councilor Greg Lemhouse
greg@council.ashland.or.us
541-944-7185
Councilor Pam Marsh
pam@council.ashland.or.us
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Councilor Rich Rosenthal
rich@council.ashland.or.us
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Councilor Stefani Seffinger
stefani@council.ashland.or.us
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To contact the entire council all at once, you can use the form provided here or copy the list below into the address line of your email.
john@council.ashland.or.us, carol@council.ashland.or.us, mike@council.ashland.or.us, greg@council.ashland.or.us, pam@council.ashland.or.us, rich@council.ashland.or.us, stefani@council.ashland.or.us

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Suggested Talking Points - Place Ban
  • (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. Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).

  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 prohibiting vaping 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.

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