Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Call to Action: Ask Your Legislators to Support a Change to the Tobacco Control Act

As noted in our blog last week, Representatives Boehner, McCarthy, and Upton wrote a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services suggesting that the grandfather date of February 15, 2007 for "new tobacco products" under the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) be changed. Such a change would result in tens of thousands of e-cigarette products not being summarily removed from the market, so we believe this presents a huge opportunity for consumers.

FIRST, Click here to send an email to your federal representative and senator, asking them to support a change in the grandfather date as a short-term solution and then to work with their fellow legislators to consider a better regulatory system for technology-based e-cigarettes than the Tobacco Control Act.

SECOND, let Representatives Boehner, McCarthy, and Upton know that you appreciate their stance on this issue that is so very important to you. It seems as if people are quick to criticize and slow to compliment, and we want these representatives to know that we are grateful for their efforts.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Call to Action! Wauwatosa, Wisconsin E-cigarette Use Ban!

(Note: this is a reposting of a Call to Action created by the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition)

UPDATE 12/11/2014

Note from WSAC:
"Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin and Minnesota advocates and CASAA, the Wauwatosa City Council has decided not to include vapor products in the City's smoking ordinance at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert Wisconsin residents if there is any further action taken. If you are a Wisconsin vaper, smoke-free user or THR advocate, please consider joining WSAC to get involved in local advocacy efforts. You can find us on Facebook or at http://wsac4wi.wordpress.com"

Wauwatosa Health Officer Nancy Kreuser is urging the city to pass an ordinance that would prohibit smoking with electronic devices in public places, and also prohibit the sale of such devices to minors. The State of Wisconsin already prohibits the sale of nicotine products to minors, however, WSAC does not oppose also prohibiting the sale of devices to minors.

The Community Development Committee considered Kreuser's proposed ordinance Nov. 25, and voted 3-3 on a recommendation to approve it. That meant it got introduced to the Common Council Dec. 2, but it will go back to the committee, likely December 9, 2014.

Location:   City of Wauwatosa
                  7725 W. North Avenue
                  Wauwatosa, WI  53213
Where:   Committee Room #1  
When: Second and last Tuesday of each month
Time: 7:00 pm

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Step in the Right Direction: House Leadership Calls for a Change in the Grandfather Date for the Tobacco Control Act.

Just before Thanksgiving, Rep. John Boehner (House Speaker), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (House Majority Leader), and Rep. Fred Upton (Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee) cosigned a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell. The full text of this appears below. In this letter they asked the FDA to consider changing the February 15, 2007 grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products. They go on to suggest that the grandfather date be moved, perhaps to April 25, 2014, the day that FDA’s proposed regulations were submitted, or to a future date when the regulations are finalized.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CASAA Comment to FDA regarding Swedish Match's Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) Applications

To:       U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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

25 November 2014

VIA regulations.gov
Comment Tracking Number: 1jy-8fp5-yhfe

Re:     CASAA comments on Swedish Match MRTP application
           (Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051)

1.      Introduction

This comment on Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051, Swedish Match’s (SM’s) Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application is submitted on behalf of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). CASAA is a public health and education NGO. It is a 501(c)4 nonprofit membership organization that serves as the leading representative of consumers who use or might in the future use smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products. CASAA is not an industry group and does not represent the interests of industry. CASAA did not confer with Swedish Match or other industry representatives when creating this comment.

First, we wish to note that we heartily endorse the acceptance of SM’s application. It would benefit the public, who FDA and the rest of our government are charged with operating on behalf of, particularly by improving the public’s overall health. It would reduce a persistent problem of the government grossly misrepresenting risks to the public about this category of products. We can see no apparent downside for consumers or society as a whole in FDA granting SM’s application. The only apparent downsides are for two special interest groups: those who wish to keep consumers smoking because they have a financial interest in cigarette sales, or those who are pursuing tobacco prohibition and know that those goals will be unattainable if consumers have accurate information about low-risk products.

There is little chance we could add any research material to SM’s encyclopedic application, and so we will not attempt to do so. Instead we will highlight some key summary points and address some public-interest and ethical issues that fall outside of what SM emphasized in their application.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Call to Action! Madison Wisconsin E-cigarette Use Ban

This Call to Action will be updated as we receive more information about upcoming meetings and public hearings.

UPDATE 12/11/2014
The Board of Health is recomending the ordinance to the city council. The Board of Park Commissioners declined the changes.

The ordinance now goes back to the city council for a final vote, most likely at the next meeting on January 6, 2015 at 6:30 PM.

Please check back frequently for updates and join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition on Facebook!

URGENT UPDATE 12/10/2014
Next Madison-Dane County Board of Health meeting has been pushed up to December 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM at Madison Water Utility 119 E. Olin Ave., Conf. Rm. A and B.

The agenda has been posted here: Board of Health Meeting Agenda and e-cigarettes are agenda item #9, but public comment period is near the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is open to the public, however the Board requests commentrs be limited to 5 minutes each.

UPDATE 11/24/14
Next Board of Parks Commissioners meeting is December 10, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center: 1625 Northport Dr, Madison, WI 53704

The ordinance is listed for discussion on the agenda: Click here to view

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.

The City of Madison is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The justification written into the proposed law makes misleading, false and/or unproven scientific claims about "ultra-fine particles" and "volitile organic compounds."

The first reading was on November 18, 2014 and has been referred to the Board of Park Commissioners and the Madison-Dane Board of Health .

This ordinance will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in all places where conventional smoking is prohibited. This includes businesses that wish to cater to e-cigarette consumers and retailers that need to allow customers to try samples. The same proposed ordinance also extends the prohibited areas to include Madison parks and beaches, which would also apply to vaping.

Because 10 alders have sponsored this ordinance (see sponsor list below), they only need just one more vote for this ordinance to pass. We strongly recommend members first focus efforts contacting the lawmakers who are not already on board with this proposal, to convince them not to vote in favor. However, be sure to also contact the sponsors to let them know how you disapprove of their decision to support this ordinance.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CASAA Makes a Donation to Help Preserve Consumer Access to E-Cigarettes in Western Australia

Consumers in Western Australia are facing a particularly difficult situation now that the Supreme Court of Western Australia has ruled that the sale of e-cigarettes violates the provisions of Section 106a of the Tobacco Products Control Act, an act designed to outlaw the sale of candy cigarettes. Even more inexplicable, the devices that were the subject of the legal action were not cigalikes and did not contain nicotine.
To help preserve consumer access to e-cigarettes in Western Australia, CASAA has made a donation of $500 to help fund the legal battle to keep e-cigarettes available to consumers in Western Australia.
While CASAA is a U.S. organization, we recognize that we are a part of a global community. We remain focused on our U.S. efforts, but we realize the importance of established organizations reaching out to assist with efforts in other countries when we can help make a difference.

The following website provides details about not only the court action, but also information about the trust fund and safeguards put in place to protect contributions towards this effort: http://www.gofundme.com/Ecigs-Our-Right-to-Choose

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Call to Action Baltimore, MD - Indoor Use Ban

A second hearing was held this week on Wednesday, 11/5.  It is our understanding that an amendment to the bill has been submitted and recommended favorably by the committee that would allow the use of electronic cigarettes in dedicated vapor retail shops.  The proposed amendment also stipulates that restaurants and bars would be able to allow vaping inside as long as proper signage is displayed informing patrons that e-cigarettes may be in use on the property.
While the amended version is obviously better than the original (which would have banned e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited and which original version is still possibly under consideration by the City Council), it should be pointed out that the proposed ordinance (as amended) would unjustifiably prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in thousands of other workplaces and indoor areas within Baltimore City.
A “Second Reader” has been scheduled for Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 5:00 PM before the full city council.  The hearing will be held in the Du Burns Council Chamber, 4th floor, City Hall.  We encourage you to continue participating in the legislative process by contacting your officials and voicing your opinion on this ordinance (and the amendment).  The full list of Baltimore City Councilmembers and their contact information can be found here.

Comma delimited list of the members of the Baltimore City Council:

helen.holton@baltimorecity.gov, william.welch@baltimorecity.gov, edward.reisinger@baltimorecity.gov, eric.costello@baltimorecity.gov, carl.stokes@baltimorecity.gov, warren.branch@baltimorecity.gov, marypat.clarke@baltimorecity.gov, councilpresident@baltimorecity.gov, james.kraft@baltimorecity.gov, brandon.scott@baltimorecity.gov, robert.curran@baltimorecity.gov, bill.henry@baltimorecity.gov, rochelle.spector@baltimorecity.gov, sharon.middleton@baltimorecity.gov, nick.mosby@baltimorecity.gov

Friday, October 31, 2014

How CASAA Members Can Help

Members often tell us they don't have a lot of time or money, but they want to help. The main thing CASAA needs is members getting our information out to the public and recruiting new members. Below is a list of things that only cost you a little time and effort. CASAA needs members to do these things more than ever. Without your involvement, CASAA cannot succeed!


If you haven't yet, make sure you've joined CASAA by using the form at Become A Member. It's quick and it's free!

Call to Action: Philadelphia is Considering a $2.00 Tax E-Cigarettes and and $.50/ml Tax on E-Liquids

By now, every vaper in SE Pennsylvania should know about Philadelphia Councilwoman Brown’s proposal to impose a burdensome tax on vapor products. The proposal is being presented as a necessary measure to partially shore up an astonishing gap in the city’s budget for public schools. (Apparently, this is a new twist on “Think of the children.”)

Brown’s proposal, if passed, would mean a $2.00 tax on devices and $0.50/ml tax (up to $5.00) on liquids. Although some may be tempted to view this tax as a “bake sale” for public schools, at its core, the proposal is predatory and short sighted. The fact remains that Councilwoman Brown sees an opportunity to exploit an emerging market with potentially devastating consequences to consumers and businesses in Philadelphia.

Simply stated, if this proposal passes, brick and mortar shops in Philadelphia will not be able to be competitive, and Philadelphia consumers will lose a valuable resource. Local vape shops are not simply a convenience for consumers.  They provide a hub for social gatherings, expert information and help in making the transition from smoking to vaping, and a place for people to try different devices and liquids prior to purchase.

October 31, 2014:  Please note that for now, participation in this Call to Action is limited to people who have an address in Philadelphia.  We expect to expand participation to a broader geographic area next week, and will update this Call to Action when we've done so.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make Your Voice Heard: You Vape - You Vote

You Vape - You Vote!

Election day is less than a week away, and we encourage vapers everywhere to take some time to become more informed about the candidates and their positions on issues that are important to you, including stances on e-cigarettes are other low-risk alternatives to smoking. And, most importantly, make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote.