Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oregon Call to Action: Multiple bills threaten access, awareness, and availability of vapor products

Oregon’s legislative session begins on Monday, February 2nd, and already a handful of damaging e-cigarette related bills have been pre-filed.  This year, Oregon vapers are facing flavor bans, taxes, use bans, packaging restrictions, and the introduction of a new and exciting derogatory term (“Inhalant Delivery System”) used to define the vapor product category.  We are anticipating updating this call to action several times.

HB 2546 has been scheduled for a hearing on Monday, February 9th, 1:00 pm
at the Oregon State Capitol (900 Court Street NE, Room 453, Salem, Oregon 97301).  Please plan to attend this hearing.

Although CASAA generally supports banning sales to minors, HB 2546 would include provisions that ban indoor use in public places (which includes privately-owned businesses) as well as in personal vehicles where a minor is present.  Please take action now to oppose this bill.


Other bills we are following in Oregon:

    • Prohibits online sales of electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
  • SB 340 (same as HB 2546)
    • Prohibits sales to minors
    • Adds use of e-cigarettes to Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act
    • And prohibits use of e-cigarettes in a motor vehicle where a minor is present.
    • Flavor Ban.
    • Requires vapor retailers to acquire a license from the OR Liquor Control Commission
    • Stipulates distances from schools (1000ft, no grandfather clause) as well as allocating funds collected from licensing fees to the state’s tobacco control fund.
    • Prohibits free giveaways, discounts, and coupons.
  • HB 2074 (same as HB 2134)
    • Imposes 65% wholesale tax on vapor products (including devices)
    • Would classify nicotine as a schedule III controlled substance

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1-26-15 CASAA Podcast

CASAA Podcast Update January 26, 2015:




Montana: Some possible good news coming out of Montana, where it sounds as if our concerns have been heard and an amendment will be offered to SB 66. We will update the Call to Action as soon as an amended bill has been offered.

New York: (Discussion begins at 2:45.) CASAA has updated the Call to Action to include AB 2595, which is an indoor use ban).

Oregon: (Discussion begins at 6:07.) Call to Action coming soon. (Session begins February 2, 2015.)

Vermont and Connecticut: (Discussion begins at 6:45.) Both have introduced some troubling bills, including proposed legislation in Connecticut that would ban all flavors and proposed legislation in Vermont that would ban all flavors other than menthol. There is also the possibility for legislation to be introduced regarding taxes. Calls to Action will be issued within the next week or so after the legislative situation has clarified a bit more.

Testimonials Project:  (Discussion begins at 12:55.) In order to make the testimonials more accessible, we've created a WordPress site, and we are relaunching the testimonials project. Links in the blog post below (originally published more than a year ago) have been updated with the new link for participation in this program:

CASAA launches tobacco harm reduction success stories collection

Update 1/26/15: In order to make the testimonials more accessible, we've created a WordPress site, and we are relaunching the testimonials project. Links in the blog post below (originally published more than a year ago) have been updated with the new link for participation in this program. 

Take a moment. Share your story. We are not anecdotes.

---


Are you fed up with the claim that “there is no evidence” that e-cigarettes, snus, or other low-risk tobacco/nicotine products help people quit smoking?  We are, too.  It is obviously wrong, since every individual story of how e-cigarettes helped someone quit smoking (especially after many failed attempts using other methods) is such evidence! When CASAA fights against restrictions on e-cigarettes at the state and local level, we almost always win. The main reason for that is because CASAA members turn out and tell the lawmakers about how e-cigarettes were the reason they quit smoking.  Most people understand evidence like that!


Did you quit using one of these safer alternatives?
Tell us about your success story!
With this in mind, CASAA is compiling these individual stories so that we can back that individual testimony with a large collection and make it impossible for anyone to keep pretending that there is "no evidence."  We know that there are hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of you who have succeeded with tobacco harm reduction (THR) using e-cigarettes, snus, or other products and have already written your stories for testimony, letters to the editor or web posts.  Thousands more have their own success stories that have never been reported.  We want to collect those stories!


If you are someone who quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes or any other smoke-free tobacco/nicotine product, please go to our testimonials collection page (click here) and tell us your story in your own words.


If you have already written your story, you can copy and paste it and this will only take a few minutes.  (There is just one page of quick, simple questions followed by a box to paste your story into.)  If you have not already written your story, this is a good opportunity to do so; it will take a bit more time than some of the check box surveys you may have already done, but it is worth it:  These personal stories have proven to be the most powerful means of convincing doubters!


For those who are interested in receiving updates about this project or joining CASAA, you will also find information about those in the survey.


Thank you for your contribution to this project.  We are confident that it will really make a difference! 

Please forward and repost/share this anywhere that seems appropriate.  


Be sure to leave your story by clicking the link above. Comments left on this blog post will not be included in the official testimonial collection!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Alaska Call to Action: Two bills have been introduced that threaten to ban vaping wherever smoking is banned!

Alaska Senator Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) has again introduced a bill (SB 1) that would ban vaping by including it within Alaska’s definition of “smoking.” This provision is tucked inside a larger bill that would significantly expand Alaska’s existing statewide smoking restrictions. If this bill passes, bars, restaurants and workplaces throughout Alaska will no longer be able to decide for themselves whether to allow or disallow vaping.  


Last year, a bill nearly identical to SB 1 was introduced and made its way through two Senate committees before stalling in the Senate Finance Committee.  Unlike last year’s bill, SB 1 includes an exemption for vape shops.  However, SB 1 still deceitfully redefines “smoking” to include the use of a smoke-free product and needlessly makes vaping in indoor and outdoor environments a fineable offense.


** SB 1 has been assigned to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee.  At this time, no hearing has been scheduled.  We will update this Call to Action as we learn more.


In the Alaska House, Representative Bob Herron (D-Bethel) has introduced a bill (HB 40) to add “using an e-cigarette” to Alaska’s definition of “smoking.”  In contrast to SB 1, HB 40 would not expand Alaska’s existing smoking ban. It is not only wrong to define the use of a smoke-free product as “smoking,” but any future changes to Alaska’s smoking ban would automatically also include vaping.


Please take action now to oppose both of these bills:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CASAA Launches Its Weekly Podcast: CASAA Podcast January 19, 2015

As part of CASAA's continuing commitment to share information with the community, we are producing weekly podcasts, typically 5-15 minutes in length. Hosted by CASAA's Jan Johnson, these podcasts will focus on current issues of interest to THR advocates and vapers, including legislative issues, current Calls to Action, and more. You can expect CASAA's Legislative Director, Alex Clark, to be a frequent guest.

Podcasts will be recorded each Monday evening, and we will make every effort to have podcasts posted the next morning. CASAA podcasts are free to use and share.

The first CASAA Podcast Update January 19, 2015:




Montgomery County, MD: (Discussion begins at 0:24) Indoor use ban, child-resistant packaging, and ban on sales to minors. Hearing scheduled for Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7:30 PM (must sign up to speak by 10:00 a.m. on the 22nd).

Montana: (Discussion begins at 1:19) Hearing on SB 66 (ban on sales to minors with language defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products) occurred January 19, 2015. Bill still in committee, and Call to Action will be updated as more information becomes available.

Indiana: (Discussion begins at 3:12) Call to Action updated to include indoor use ban.

Oregon: (Discussion begins at 4:00) Call to Action to be issued soon.

New Orleans, LA: (Discussion begins at 5:45) Includes a discussion about how everything being done to smokers is now being done to vapers and why it doesn't make sense to throw smokers under the bus.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Local Call to Action: Two Florida Cities, Delray Beach and Vero Beach, are moving to prohibit indoor use of e-cigarettes.




Delray Beach:


Tomorrow, TUESDAY, January 20th, at 6:00 PM, the City Council will meet and hear public comments regarding Ordinance 0-15 which would amend the city code to include indoor use regulations for e-cigarettes.  Although the current ordinance exempts vapor retail shops and a few other indoor places as stipulated in the Florida’s indoor clean air law, thousands of other workplaces will be forced to prohibit vaping possibly against the will of business owners.


If you are a Delray Beach resident please attend this meeting and voice your opposition to this ordinance:  
100 Northwest 1st Avenue
Delray Beach, FL
(561) 243-7000


If you are unable to attend or live outside of Delray Beach, please see the talking points below and send an email to the entire city council:


glickstein@mydelraybeach.com, petrolia@mydelraybeach.com, jarjura@mydelraybeach.com, frankel@mydelraybeach.com, jacquet@mydelraybeach.com






Vero Beach:


Last year, residents successfully defeated an ordinance that would have limited adult access to flavored vapor products in Vero Beach.  This year, the city is considering an indoor use ban on these products.  Tomorrow, TUESDAY, January 20th, at 6:00 PM, the City Council will hold a “first reading” of a proposed ordinance that would limit where e-cigarettes can be used.  Although there may not be an opportunity for public comment, Vero Beach residents are encouraged to attend:
1053 20th Place 
Vero Beach, FL 32960


In the interim, please see the talking points below and contact the city council urging them to oppose this ordinance:
Phone:  772-978-4700 




SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS


  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 in the city, 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 cigarttes 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.


CASAA Logo.jpg

CASAA Call to Action: Montgomery Co., Maryland - Indoor Use Ban




(Update - 1/23/15) - There was no vote taken on this ordinance during Thursday night's meeting. At this time, we are gathering information and will provide an update as details emerge. A Health and Human Services Committee work session is currently scheduled for 1/29/15.
-

On November 25th, 2014, Montgomery County Council Vice President Leventhal and Council members Floreen, Branson, and Navarro introduced Bill 56-14.  A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 before Montgomery County Council at 7:30 PM. *If you plan to testify, you must sign up by 10:00 AM on the 22nd.  The location is Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850.


If enacted, this bill would:
  • Prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in most public places (vape shops are exempted)
    • In general, and given the lack of evidence that would suggest e-cigarette use may be harmful to bystanders, CASAA feels that business owners should have the right to set their own “vaping policy.”  **Please see the talking points below.


  • Require child-resistant packaging of liquid nicotine containers
    • Although CASAA is generally supportive of child-resistant packaging, this issue would be more appropriate for federal lawmakers.  Enacting packaging laws at the county level, let alone at the state level, presents a potential hurdle for interstate commerce and may impact consumer choice.  If Montgomery Co. Council must pursue this measure, it should clearly be in line with federal standards.


  • Prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes by minors
    • It should be noted that legislation (SB 7) has been introduced at the state level to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors.  CASAA supports prohibiting sales to minors.


This bill can be salvaged.  Maryland residents have already defeated similar indoor use bans at the State level in both 2010 and 2014 (bills died in committee), as well as at the municipal levels in Prince Georges County in 2013 (in the form of tabling the bill) and in Baltimore City in 2014 (in the form of a compromise).






**What to say:


1.  You are a Montgomery County- DC  metro-area or Maryland resident and while you support bans on sales to minors, you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to this Local Alert and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Montgomery County on business, vacation or have friends/family in the area.)
2.  Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.  
3.  Clarify that:


a.  Smoking bans are 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.


b.  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.


c.  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.


d.  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 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.


e.  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%.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Indiana Call to Action: Multiple Indiana bills would threaten access to and use of e-cigarettes.

(Update - 01/30/2015)

Yesterday, the Senate Commerce & Technology Committee met and heard testimony regarding SB 539.  The video of the hearing is not available yet, but when it is, it will be published here.

SB 539 was passed out of committee with assurances from Senator Yoder, the bill’s author, that it will be amended to achieve the stated goals without dismantling the vapor industry in Indiana.  Between now and the next time this bill will be heard, consumers have an opportunity to help Senator Yoder make the necessary changes to this bill or, ideally, withdraw the bill entirely.

Our email campaign for this bill (and an identical version in the House) is still active.  If you have not participated yet, please do so now.



(Update - 01/27/2015)

Re: SB 539 - A hearing in the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee is scheduled for this THURSDAY, the 29th, at 9:00 AM in Room 233 of the Indiana State Capitol Building (115 West Washington St in Indianapolis).  Please take a moment to make a call to the Chair of the committee, Senator James Buck.  You can reach his office at: 1-800-382-9467

We have also put together a phone call campaign here - Make A Call


(Updated 1/21/2015)
Two identical bills, SB 539 and HB 1432, have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature that threaten to overregulate the manufacturing of e-liquid products.  These bills would prohibit the sale of any e-liquid product -- including those manufactured outside the state -- unless it is produced by a company that has procured a manufacturer’s license from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ACT). Not only does this license cost $5,000, but the conditions that must be met to receive the license are unrealistic and present a substantial barrier for small- and medium-sized businesses throughout Indiana. Ultimately, these bills will severely limit consumer access to the variety of e-liquid manufactured outside the state and potentially shut down retailers and manufacturers in Indiana.


Please take action now to oppose these bills:



Indiana Senator Brandt Hershman has introduced a bill (SB 384) that would impose a tax on nicotine contained in e-cigarette liquid.  Although the tax rate, $0.0083 per mg of nicotine, may seem modest, the imposition of any taxes on vapor products beyond state sales tax sends the dangerous and false message to smokers that use of these products is risky or harmful.  Adoption of this bill will also set a dangerous precedent, as it is always easier for politicians to raise a preexisting tax than it is to pass a new tax.  




Representative Clyde Kersey has introduced a bill (HB 1169) that alters the state’s definition of “smoking” to include “...inhalation or exhalation of vapors from an electronic cigarette.”  Despite the long list of exemptions to Indiana’s smoking law, HB 1169 does not amend any of them to account for local brick and mortar shops.  Regardless of any language along these lines that may develop, CASAA opposes this bill on the grounds that defining “vaping” as “smoking” is a deliberate misrepresentation that harms public awareness of the benefits these products offer to adult smokers.






**Please note: We are currently monitoring additional legislation in Indiana.  A punitive and destructive 24% wholesale tax has been proposed.  However, no bill has been introduced nor has draft language been made available.  As soon as we have details we will issue an update to this Call to Action.

(Update 1/21/15) We are also aware of HB 1235, which is another attempt to prohibit indoor use, impose punitive taxes, and limit consumer access by not allowing businesses to sell tobacco (including e-cigarettes) if there is a pharmacy on the premises.  Our assessment is that the scope of this bill is so unreasonable (some provisions include allowing employers to discriminate against nicotine users) that it will not pose a credible threat.  However, we will continue to monitor HB 1235 and update this Call to Action should the need arise.