Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update August 31, 2015

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


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

Chicago, IL


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, August 27, 2015

Call to Action! Support HR 2058 which would change the grandfather date for vapor products

The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015 (HR 2058), introduced by Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, would save the U.S. vapor industry from being decimated by improper regulations by the FDA. This bill would amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act to change the grandfather date for “deemed tobacco products.” This change would allow for all vapor products currently on the market to remain on the market without being subject to the burdensome (read: prohibitive) pre-market FDA approval application process.


While CASAA maintains the position that a separate regulatory scheme should be developed for vapor products*, we are proud to support HR 2058.


We are asking consumers to express strong support for HR 2058 and urge your representatives to co-sponsor this bill.




We are also asking members who are not residents in Representative Cole’s district to send a written letter by traditional means. You can print out our pre-written letter here. We have provided the mailing address to his Washington, DC office below. As usual, you are encouraged to write your own letter adding your personal story, but feel free to copy ours.


Rep. Tom Cole
2467 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6165
Fax: (202) 225-3512


Additionally, residents in Kentucky, North Carolina, California, and Florida living in a district represented by one of the sponsors of H.R. 2058 will be receiving a separate email that links to a message tailored to offering support for the effort of their congressmen.




(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.
--

*Although CASAA feels that moving the grandfather date to a point in time that will protect consumer access to the current variety of vapor products on the market is a step in the right direction, this is by no means an ideal solution. Consumers should keep in mind that if this Act is adopted by Congress, innovations in safety, quality, and variety of devices and liquids essentially will be frozen at the time the FDA deeming regulation is finalized. Moreover, this change in the grandfather date will not exempt manufacturers from registering their products with the FDA, a process that will still remove a large number of vapor products from the market. CASAA maintains the position that a separate regulatory scheme should be developed for this product category.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

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



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:


Roswell, GA - Local Alert! Outdoor Vaping Ban.

Roswell, GA

The Roswell City Council will be considering an amendment that would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in city owned parks.

This amendment is Item 5 on the regular agenda for

38 Hill Street
Roswell, GA 30075

Please make plans to attend this meeting.

Please take a moment now to send emails to Roswell City Council Members. We have provided contact information and talking points below. Although this list is directed at indoor use issues, it is easily adapted to present opposition to ridiculous outdoor use prohibitions as well.

Roswell, GA - City Council
Post
Member
Email
Mayor
Jere Wood
mayorwood@roswellgov.com
1
Rich Dippolito
rdippolito@roswellgov.com
2
Becky Wynn
bwynn@roswellgov.com
3
Vacant
Vacant
4
Kent Igleheart
kigleheart@roswellgov.com
5
Jerry Orlans
jorlans@roswellgov.com
6
Nancy Diamond
ndiamond@roswellgov.com
All
Mayor & Council
RoswellMayorandCouncil@roswellgov.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update August 17, 2015 and August 10, 2015



This is a double-header . . . August 10, 2015 (a discussion with CASAA's Jan Johnson and Julie Woessner about some of the history of the e-cigarette advocacy movement) and August 17, 2015 (a discussion with CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark regarding legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest).

August 17, 2015:




0:45 - California - Special Session, hearing on various e-cigarette related bills to be held Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 1:30 PM in Sacramento. Hearings will be open to public. Call to Action has been updated to provide information on the hearing. If you live in California and haven’t already participated in the Call to Action, please do so now. See also Vaping Daily Action Plan (thanks to NotBlowingSmoke for the Twitter handles) for those who would like to use Twitter to share their thoughts with legislators. Latest updates can be found via NorCal SFATA and NotBlowingSmoke.


5:45 - Pennsylvania - Governor Wolf is calling for a 40% tax on vapor products. CASAA has two active Calls to Action:  (1) a thank you to lawmakers and (2) a message to Governor Wolf.


7:00 - FDA - CASAA has issued a new Call to Action regarding commenting on FDA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding warning labels and child-resistant packaging. Generally speaking, warning labels can provide valuable information, but if the warnings overstate the risks, then it becomes less about honest information and more about an activist agenda to discourage use. The Call to Action provides information to help consumers make formal comments to FDA on this ANPRM. This is not a simple “click and send” Call to Action, but it is important to take some time to share your thoughts with FDA. If nothing else, let FDA know that accurate and honest information is important to you. Deadline is August 31, 2015.


14:20 - Survey - CASAA is encouraging people to participate in a survey entitled “Your Perceptions and Experiences of Using Electronic Cigarettes.” CASAA has vetted this survey and believes that it is seeking to elicit genuinely useful information. The survey will end in another week or two, so please take a moment to participate now.


15:26 HR 2058 (requesting U.S. representatives co-sponsor a bill designed to change the grandfather date) is still active. If you haven’t already done so, please participate now.


15:30 - Testimonials Project - This is an important advocacy tool both in connection with legislative advocacy as well as simply providing information to people who may be interested in low-risk alternatives to smoking. Please share your story.

As always:
Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project and Join CASAA so that you receive the most up-to-date information on issues affecting you.

Join the conversation:


__________________________________________________________________

August 10, 2015:




This podcast is an interesting discussion of some of the history of early advocacy and chronicles changes made by CASAA in connection with its legislative advocacy efforts over the years. 

Topeka, KS - Local Alert! City Council to take action on indoor vaping ban (TONIGHT, 8/18/15)!

Topeka, KS


Indoor Usage Ban





The Topeka City Council will likely be taking action on an ordinance TONIGHT (8/18/15) that would redefine “smoking” to include the use of electronic cigarettes. This, of course, is for the purpose of prohibiting vaping where smoking is currently banned.

Please make plans to attend this hearing:

City Council Chambers
214 SE 8th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603

Please also take action NOW by sending emails and making phone calls to City Council members urging them to oppose this ordinance. We have provided contact information and talking points below.


Topeka, KS - City Council
Dist
Councilmember
Email
Phone
1
Karen Hiller
khiller@topeka.org
785-232-2917
2
Sandra Clear
jclear@topeka.org
785-354-4566
3
Sylvia Ortiz
sortiz@topeka.org
785-357-0717
4
Jonathan Schumm
jschumm@topeka.org
785-207-5848
5
Michelle De La Isla
mdelaisla@topeka.org
785-368-3710
6
Brendan Jensen
bjensen@topeka.org
785-422-0018
7
Elaine Schwartz
eschwartz@topeka.org
785-273-0688
8
Jeffrey Coen
jcoen@topeka.org
785-230-9362
9
Richard Harmon
rharmon@topeka.org
785-271-6962

To send an email to the entire City Council, please send to Council@topeka.org


Indoor Usage 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.