Thursday, February 11, 2016

VT - Take Action to oppose an indoor vaping ban (H.171)!

Update - 02.11.16

After the second hearing on Wednesday, February 10th, there is still, reportedly, interest in moving H.171 forward.

If you have not already, please take a moment now to send a message to members of the House Committee on Human Services.
Update - 02.09.16


H. 171, which would include vaping in Vermont’s workplace smoking prohibition, is on the agenda again in the Human Services Committee for Wednesday, February 10th, 2016. This time, the committee will hear presentations and testimony from various supporters of the bill. There are a couple of industry stakeholders who will likely provide some opposition to an indoor vaping ban scheduled for the afternoon.


Unfortunately, there is currently no testimony on record from consumers or harm reduction advocates. It appears that the committee is content to perpetuate the narrative that this issue is simply a matter of big business vs. public health.


If you have not already, please take a moment now to send a message to members of the House Committee on Human Services.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GA - Oppose HB 907 which would destroy the Georgia vapor industry.

A bill -- HB 907 -- has been introduced which would impose devastating licensing and manufacturing requirements on the entire Georgia vapor industry, from producers of e-liquid to retailers. In no uncertain terms, passage of this bill would mean the end of consumer access to the diverse vapor market in Georgia and beyond. It is fair to say that this is likely the most destructive, most poorly written piece of legislation we will see this year.

If this bill passes in Georgia,
We will likely see this toxic legislation spread to other states!

To make matters worse, it is suspected that proponents of this bill have been working behind the scenes for months shopping this bill around to lawmakers and supporters. They are also likely taking advantage of the short 2016 legislative session which means this bill could move lightning fast through the legislative process which ends on March 31st!

If you have benefitted from the wide variety of vapor products
Produced in and outside of Georgia,
You must TAKE ACTION NOW to defend your access.


This bill is practically a carbon-copy of legislation that was passed in Indiana in 2015 which threatens to all but completely wipe out the diverse vapor industry in the state. If it is not defeated, it is likely that vapor industry stakeholders will have no choice but to initiate a costly legal battle just to remain open.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Alameda Co., CA - Local Alert!: Oppose Indoor use bans and Licensing requirements

Alameda Co., CA

Update - 02.09.16

Discussion and voting on the “Tobacco Retailers License Ordinance” was postponed once again at Tuesday’s County Supervisors hearing. Thanks to emails and other communications from Alameda Co. residents, this ordinance will held until September, 2016.

In the meantime, Supervisor Nate Miley will be working with stakeholders to develop a standalone vapor retailer licensing bill.

We will update this alert as things develop, but in the meantime, thank you, Alameda Co. vapers for being engaged and taking action!

CASAA Podcast Update - February 8th, 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.





0:50 - Hawaii Call to Action: SB 2961 was voted on in committee (CPH) on Saturday, February 6th, 2016. We are still waiting on an update to the bill which will likely include specifics on the amount of the tax proposed.

2:57 - Oregon Call to Action: HB 4062 -- 50% tax on the retail price of e-liquids and devices --  was in a work session on February 5th, 2016 and is moving on to the House Committee on Revenue. No hearing date has been set at this time. We will update as details become available.

4:27 - Alex had the opportunity to visit with Chris Hughes, PA SFATA Chapter President, and some other PA retailers on Saturday, February 6th, in Williamsport, PA. Some discussion included how negative stories in the media may be impacting sales (more than the typical after-Christmas lull).

8:26 - Alameda Co., CA - Local Alert: On Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, the County Supervisors will discuss and likely vote on an ordinance to require tobacco retailers -- including vapor shops -- in unincorporated areas of the county to acquire tobacco retail licenses. There is an alternate ordinance that is specifically tailored to vapor shops that Supervisor Miley is working to advance. [Update - The tobacco retail license ordinance has been postponed until September, 2016]

10:36 / 19:54 - Albany Co., NY - Local Alert: On Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, the County Legislature will set a public hearing date for a bill (item #73 on the agenda) that would raise the minimum purchase age for tobacco products including vapor products to 21. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016.

14:06 - Government websites are notoriously difficult to navigate -- some would argue intentionally so. Please see Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy for more perspective on this topic.

21:32 - New Jersey Call to Action: S 298, which would prohibit the sale of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco, menthol, and clove has passed out of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. This bill will now move on to the full senate for consideration.

23:36 - Support HR 2058: Thanks, in large part, to the efforts of SFATA and their annual fly-in to Washington, DC, four (possibly more) new co-sponsors have signed onto HR 2058. CASAA will update our “thank you” campaign as soon as the official roster is updated.

25:26 - Georgia Call to Action: HB 907, which is practically a carbon copy of Indiana’s SB.539/HB.1432 from 2015, would impose unnecessary and prohibitive licensing and manufacturing requirements on Georgia retailers and manufacturers. Hopefully, lessons learned in Indiana will aid in defeating this bill. If passed, it is suspected that proposals like HB 907 may be introduced in other states.

31:40 - Brief comparison between proposed regulations in Georgia and current regulations in Utah. Although the Utah regulations are at least workable, they are a good example of what happens when non-experts who are unfamiliar with the vapor industry develop rules that govern the sale and manufacture of vapor products.

36:00 - Events CASAA will be attending: February 20 - 21, Phoenix, AZ - Julie Woessner, Alex Clark, and, possibly, Brian Carter will be attending Vapin the Sun which benefits the Vape a Vet Project.

Chicago, IL - Fight Back against misinformation!

Chicago, IL

If you live in, work, or visit the city of Chicago, you may have noticed billboards and posters around town that make wildly inaccurate statements about vapor products. After being visible for more than a month now, CASAA is hearing accounts that the “Vaping Truth” campaign is causing confusion among consumers and has discouraged some smokers from trying vaping as an alternative.

Although Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health have sold this campaign to the taxpayers as a means of discouraging youth use of vapor products, the half-truths and misinformation may actually be pressuring some adult vapers back to smoking.

CH_Fight_Back.jpg

If you believe that Chicago’s #VapingTruth campaign is deceptive, if you know of a smoker who has decided not to try vapor products because of the misinformation in this campaign, you can take action by filing complaints through the proper channels:

  1. Contact the Chicago Department of Public Health
(this is the first step if you plan to file a complaint with the AG):
    1. By Phone: 312.747.9884
      1. Be sure to explain why you believe this campaign is deceptive.
      2. Mention that spreading misinformation erodes the public’s trust in the department of health and in public health organizations in general.
    2. By Phone: Call 311 and report this campaign as a public health issue.
      1. Be sure to mention where you observed the billboard, poster, or advertisement.
    3. By Mail: 333 S. State Street, Room 200, Chicago, IL 60604

  1. File a Consumer Complaint:
    1. Chicago Consumer Fraud Hotline: (800) 386-5438
    2. AG Lisa Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division
    3. Click here for the online consumer complaint form

  1. Social Media:
      1. You won’t be able to post anything on their main feed, but you can leave a message as a review. Please be thoughtful and articulate. You can also rate them at whatever “star level” you feel is appropriate.



Please remember that you are filing an official complaint through official channels. Please be thoughtful and respectful of anyone you might speak to. We should also point out that since Chicago is the third largest city in America and is, by most accounts, an international destination, it is fair to say that participation in this call to action is not limited to Chicago or even Illinois residents. If you or someone you know has been affected by the CDPH’s campaign, please feel free to file a complaint with the agencies and authorities listed above.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Albany Co., NY - Local Alert! Take action to oppose Tobacco 21 law!

Albany County, NY




[Update - Correction to specifics of Tuesday’s hearing]


Local Law “C” for 2016, which would prohibit the sale of all tobacco products and vapor products to anyone under the age of 21, is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 (item 73 on the agenda). This hearing is simply to set a date and provide notice to the public that the hearing for public comment will be on:


(Page 88 in the agenda)
7:15 PM
Albany County Courthouse
16 Eagle St
Albany, NY 12207

Please make plans to attend this hearing.


If you would like to speak, please locate the sign a sheet at the public hearing. You will be asked to list your name, address, and phone number.
  • Speakers are called in the order their names appear on the sign-up sheets.
  • Speakers are permitted five minutes to express their views.
  • Speakers may not ask questions of legislators, and legislators may not ask questions of speakers, except for clarification.


Even if you do not plan to speak, your attendance is vital as it demonstrates the large numbers of people affected by this issue.


CASAA takes no position with regards to laws and regulations affecting traditional cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products. However, we believe that including low-risk alternatives like vapor products and smokeless tobacco in laws that raise the minimum purchase age is inappropriate. CASAA believes that access to reduced harm products is vital to reducing the harm caused by smoking.


Proposals like Tobacco 21, which treat smoke-free products just like smoking, send a confusing and inaccurate message to consumers that vaping and smokeless tobacco use are just as harmful as smoking. We believe that the potential harm of this law outweighs the marginal public health gain its supporters hope to achieve.


Please take a moment now to send an email and make phone calls to Albany County Legislators urging them to oppose Local Law “C” for 2016.


We have provided contact information and talking points below. To find your district representative, please check the list provided by the county here.


Albany Co., NY - County Legislators
Dist.
Member
Email
Phone
1
Lucille M. McKnight
lmcknight@nycap.rr.com
(518) 463-9883
2
Merton D. Simpson
merton.simspon@albanycounty.com
(518) 447-7117
3
Wanda F. Willingham
wanda.willingham@albanycounty.com
(518) 221-9785
4
Norma J. Chapman
normachapman64@yahoo.com
hm. (518) 434-6549
5
Christopher T. Higgins
cthiggins@gmail.com
(518) 635-3109
6
Samuel I. Fein
sam.fein@albanycounty.com
(518) 362-8380
7
Douglas A. Bullock
dbull4@verizon.net
(518) 426-0883
8
Lynne Lekakis
lynnelekakis@gmail.com
(518) 427-7386
9
Andrew Joyce
andrewcjoyce@gmail.com
(518) 447-7117
10
Gary W. Domalewicz
gdomalewicz@nycap.rr.com
(518) 466-7952
11
Frank J. Commisso
--
(518) 447-7117
12
William M. Clay
--
hm. (518) 456-6538
13
Raymond F. Joyce
raymond.joyce@albanycounty.com
hm. (518) 435-9161
14
Alison McLean Lane
alisonmcleanlane@gmail.com
(518) 935-3198
15
Robert J. Beston
--
hm. (518) 272-1038
16
Sean E. Ward
sean.ward@albanycounty.com
(518) 447-7117
17
Ralph V. Signoracci
ralph.signoracci@albanycounty.com
(518) 470-2905
18
Gilbert F. Ethier
--
hm. (518) 237-9530
19
Todd A. Drake
Todd.Drake@albanycounty.com
(518) 857-9755
20
David B. Mayo
dmayo58@hotmail.com
hm. (518) 783-7388
21
Brian Hogan
brianhogan215@aol.com
(518) 785-6843
22
Peter B. Tunny
ptunny198@gmail.com
(518) 869-7404
23
Paul J. Burgdorf
pburgdorf@aol.com
(518) 669-1234
24
Peter Crouse
peter.crouse@albanycounty.com
--
25
Joseph E. O'Brien
joe.obrien25@gmail.com
(518) 447-7117
26
Patrice Lockart
plockart@nycap.rr.com
(518) 456-3866
27
Frank A. Mauriello
Frank.Mauriello@albanycounty.com
(518) 461-0188
28
Dennis A. Feeney
dennis.feeney@albanycounty.com
(518) 447-7117
29
Mark E. Grimm
mark@markgrimm.com
(518) 650-5096
30
Bryan M. Clenahan
bryan.clenahan@albanycounty.com
(518) 464-7601
31
Travis Stevens
travis@travisstevens.com
(518) 447-7164
32
Paul Miller
paul12203@nycap.rr.com
c. (518) 320-4213
33
William Reinhardt
--
c. (518) 369-8573
34
Joanne Cunningham
joannecunningham4@gmail.com
(518) 447-7117
35
Charles S. Dawson, Jr.
cdawson@albanycounty.com
(518) 447-7117
36
Richard W. Mendick
rmendick@aol.com
(518) 767-0511
37
Richard N. Touchette
rick.touchette@gmail.com
(518) 858-6388
38
Michael Mackey
michael.mackey@albanycounty.com
(518) 447-7117
39
Christopher H. Smith
mapleinn@yahoo.com
(518) 447-7117


Comma delimited email list:
lmcknight@nycap.rr.com, merton.simspon@albanycounty.com, wanda.willingham@albanycounty.com, normachapman64@yahoo.com, cthiggins@gmail.com, sam.fein@albanycounty.com, dbull4@verizon.net, lynnelekakis@gmail.com, andrewcjoyce@gmail.com, gdomalewicz@nycap.rr.com, raymond.joyce@albanycounty.com, alisonmcleanlane@gmail.com, sean.ward@albanycounty.com, ralph.signoracci@albanycounty.com, Todd.Drake@albanycounty.com, dmayo58@hotmail.com, brianhogan215@aol.com, ptunny198@gmail.com, pburgdorf@aol.com, peter.crouse@albanycounty.com, joe.obrien25@gmail.com, plockart@nycap.rr.com, Frank.Mauriello@albanycounty.com, dennis.feeney@albanycounty.com, mark@markgrimm.com, bryan.clenahan@albanycounty.com, travis@travisstevens.com, paul12203@nycap.rr.com, joannecunningham4@gmail.com, cdawson@albanycounty.com, rmendick@aol.com, rick.touchette@gmail.com, michael.mackey@albanycounty.com, mapleinn@yahoo.com


Suggested Talking Points - Tobacco 21


  1. Raising the purchase age for tobacco products to 21 is supposedly about discouraging youth initiation and protecting them from developing a dependence on smoking that might last throughout their adult lives. However, enacting such policies without separating low-risk, smoke-free products from traditional cigarettes severely limits options for current adult smokers between the ages of 18 and 21 to find a pathway to quitting smoking.


  1. In a few sentences, tell your story about how low-risk, smoke-free vapor products or tobacco products have helped you.


  1. Including low-risk products like e-cigarettes in these types of laws sends a confusing and inaccurate message to adult smokers that smoke-free products are just as harmful as smoking.


  1. Tobacco 21 treats adults, who are capable enough to serve in the military, sign contracts, and elect decision-makers to public office, as incapable of making the distinction between risky and less risky behavior.


  1. While smoked tobacco products are alleged to be highly addictive, the opposite appears to be true for products like the nicotine gum, nicotine patch, and other smoke-free products like vapor products.