Thursday, October 1, 2015

CASAA FDA comment on UCSF FDA comment - How Public Health Policy May Be Hazardous to Your Health

To: U. S. Food and Drug Administration

From: Brian L. Carter, PhD and Carl V Phillips, PhD

30 September 2015

Comment Tracking Number: 1jz-8lf9-1nx4

Re: Comments on ANPRM “Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products” (Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514)

This is a comment on Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514 (advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products”). We are concerned scientists with expertise in fields related to the proposed rule making. Carter is a member of the Board of Advisors of CASAA (The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association) and an independent consultant. Phillips is Chief Scientific Officer of CASAA.

This comment should not be mistaken for CASAA’s direct comment on the ANPRM [posted at at!documentDetail;D=FDA-2015-N-1514-0385 and also appearing at] (hereafter referred to as “the CASAA comment”). That comment presented analysis that supported the inclusion of safety warning labels and the use of child-resistant packaging, so long as these were not inappropriately used to mislead consumers about the risks or to intentionally lower product quality. The present comment has been endorsed by the CASAA leadership, and thus should also be considered an second official comment by the organization.
In the first CASAA comment, we predicted that those who seek to discourage e-cigarette use and other tobacco products may use this as an opportunity to misuse the legitimate process of creating valid and potentially beneficial safety warnings to deliver misleading claims with the intent of lowering the appeal of these products for consumers. The present comment is intended to make that concrete by observing exactly this behavior in one specific comment that has been filed. We reiterate the observation made in the CASAA comment that if FDA were to follow such advice, it would be scientifically misleading and grossly inappropriate public policy, would increase the risk of accidental poisonings by causing consumers to dismiss the warnings on these and other products as unreliable, and unnecessarily discourage smokers from seeking low-risk alternatives.
We are taking as an example for our response the comments submitted to the FDA under this docket number by the University of California, San Francisco, Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) and the California Poison Control System (CPCS) (hereafter: the TCORS/CPCS comment). This comment was previously published by Professor Stanton Glantz, PhD, on his UCSF website
and appears at at

We expect that this is but one example of many comments from commentators with similar ideology-based political goals willing to subvert the rulemaking process in support of those goals. This is not an attempt to identify every error or weakness in the particular comment, but to illustrate the attempts to misuse this process to inappropriately demonize the products. We expect that this pattern will continue with every proposed regulation in this space and point out that FDA should not mistake political advocacy for scientific analysis, even when it is coming from the NIH- or FDA-funded academics. We wish to emphasize the contrast between the tendentious TCORS/CPCS comment and the CASAA comment, which we believe makes appropriate, reasonable, and science-based recommendations concerning the labeling and packaging of e-cigarette components and dissolvable smokeless tobacco products. The authors of the TCORS/CPCS comment are on record as opposing the use of low-risk tobacco products and have supported campaigns to dissuade consumers, including smokers, from experimenting with them (e.g.,,

Text from the published TCORS/CPCS document is presented throughout, indented and in italics, followed by our comments in a point-by-point analysis. The TCORS/CPCS comments are reproduced verbatim; the grammar and typographical errors appear in the original.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CASAA Comment on FDA's Proposed Regulation of Safety Packaging and Labeling for E-Cigarettes and Dissolvable Smokeless Tobacco

To: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

From: Carl V Phillips, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association 

27 September 2015
Comment Tracking Number: 1jz-8ld2-jrka


Re: CASAA comments on ANPRM “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine- Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products” (Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514)

This comment on Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514 (advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products”) is submitted on behalf of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). CASAA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit public health and education NGO that is the leading representative of consumers who use or might in the future use smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products. It is a U.S. membership organization with over 70,000 members. CASAA is not an industry group and does not represent the interests of industry.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tacoma-Pierce Co., WA - Local Alert! Share your vaping success story with the Department of Health.

Tacoma-Pierce Co., WA

The County Health Department is asking for public input on developing e-cigarette regulations. As stated on their website, the regulations they are considering may include vapor products in the county’s existing smoke-free air law. A public hearing will be held on
6:30 - 8:00 PM

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Please also RSVP to an event created by the Pink Lung Brigade here.

Please also take this opportunity to submit your comments via email to Anthony L-T Chen, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department:

We have provided talking points below to help you develop your comments. Please also add your personal story (about a paragraph or so).

Suggested Talking Points -Public 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 website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Matanuska-Susitna, AK - Oppose Vapor Taxes

Matanuska-Susitna, AK

An ordinance (Ordinance Serial No. 15-098) that would expand the borough’s tobacco tax to electronic cigarettes and vapor products will he heard tonight, September 15th, 2015 in the Borough Assembly.

Assembly Chambers

Please make plans to attend this hearing.

For those unable to attend, please take a moment NOW to send an email and make phone calls to borough assembly members. We have provided talking points and contact information below.

Matanuska-Susitna - Borough Assembly
Assembly Member
Jim Sykes
(907) 354-6962
Matthew Beck
(907) 355-3223
Ron Arvin
(907) 373-6685
Steve Colligan
(907) 373-1502
Dan Mayfield
(907) 892-7406
Barbara Doty
(907) 746-0460
Vern Halter
(907) 495-1197
Public Opinion Form
Also available here -->

Comma delimited email list:,,,,,,


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 98 - 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.

2).  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.

3). Imposing a tax on these products will drive consumers to shop in neighboring cities that do not have a similar tax. Concurrently, consumers will be encouraged 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 City and will result in less revenue, not more.

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

5).  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 that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.

Chicago, IL - Local Alert! Oppose extra taxes on e-cigarettes and other smoke-free nicotine products.

Chicago, IL
Update - 09.15.15

Although no date has been set to hear an ordinance that would impose a $1.25 tax on e-cigarette cartridges and a $0.25/milliliter tax on e-liquid, now is the time to begin contacting Chicago Aldermen and urging them to oppose this dangerous proposal. It is important to point out that Alderman Moreno, the author of the bill, will be pushing for an increased tax on smokeless tobacco products as well.

Please use this tool provided by the city to find your Alderman:

We have provided talking points and contact information below. Please take this time to call and write your Aldermen.

Original Post - 09.01.15

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Chicago City Council followed in the footsteps of New York City by prohibiting vaping in the same places where smoking is banned, now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promoting a tax on vapor products and other tobacco products (OTP) not currently subject to city taxes or fees.

The Mayor has announced three town hall meetings that are open to the public. These are excellent opportunities for vapor and tobacco harm reduction advocates to voice opposition to extra taxes on vapor products and smokeless tobacco.

  • All meetings start at 6:30 PM
  • Monday, August 31st: Malcolm X College
  • Wednesday, September 2nd: South Shore Cultural Center
  • Thursday, September 3rd: Wright College

Please make plans to attend these meetings. Although these are not city council meetings, please observe city council chamber decorum.

For those that are unable to attend these meetings, we have provided contact information for city council members and talking points below. You can find your ward and Alder Member HERE. Please take a moment now to contact your city council member and tell them you are opposed to imposing any extra taxes or fees on vapor products and smokeless tobacco.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update September 7, 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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

California "special session" bills threaten consumer access, choice, and use of smoke-free vapor products.

Update - 09.09.15

With just a couple of days left in California’s “Second Extraordinary Session on Public Health,” the pressure is on both advocates and lawmakers to make their voices heard.

If you have already participated in out call to action by making a phone call or sending emails to lawmakers, please take a moment now to print out this flyer and post it at your local/favorite brick and mortar store.

If you have not already participated, NOW IS THE TIME!

Update - 09.01.15

The California legislative session will officially come to a close on September 11th. Although we are only 10 days away, there is an awful lot that is happening in this short span of time. We are very concerned about several bills that are making their way through the special session on public health. It is imperative that every vaping and tobacco harm reduction advocate in California contact their lawmakers NOW!

At the time of this post, we have not received details on when these bills will be heard in committees. We do, however, expect that notice will be short. It is vitally important that you take action NOW by contacting your lawmakers by phone, email, and in person and urge them to oppose AB 6, AB 16, SB 13, and SB 5.

Please share these links on social media: