Wednesday, April 1, 2015

California Call to Action! Multiple bills threaten adult use of and access to vapor products

AB 768 (the Tobacco Free Baseball Act), introduced by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond and co-sponsored by Senator Mark Leno, would include “an electronic device that delivers nicotine or other substances...“ in its definition of “tobacco products.”  While, on the surface, prohibiting athletes from using a personal vaporizer on the field or on the bench might seem superfluous and even silly, the larger issue here is the tobacco product definition.  Defining vapor products as “tobacco products” anywhere in California’s statutes will likely expose these products to taxes and other inappropriate tobacco regulations.


AB 768 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, & Internet Media on Tuesday, April 7th, at 9:00 AM.


State Capitol, Room 437
Sacramento, CA 95814


Please take a moment now to call members of the committee urging them to oppose this bill.




For sending emails to committee members, please see contact information below


CA - Asm. Committee on
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS,
TOURISM, AND INTERNET MEDIA
Asm. Member
Phone
Email Contact Form
Marc Levine
(916) 319-2010
Kansen Chu
(916) 319-2025
Jay Obernolte
(916) 319-2033
Adrin Nazarian
(916) 319-2046
Ian C. Calderon
(916) 319-2057
Jose Medina
(916) 319-2061
David Hadley
(916) 319-2066


SB 140, introduced by Senator Mark Leno, would deceptively alter the state’s definition of “tobacco product” to include vapor products -- which includes devices and component parts -- and apply this new definition to various other parts of the state’s code.  A very intended consequence of this would be to ban vaping in the same places that smoking is currently prohibited.


SB 24, introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, would require vapor retailers not already licensed as tobacco retailers to acquire a tobacco retail license.  Although SB 24 would prohibit sales to minors statewide, the tobacco retail license requirement is neither the most effective way to enforce age restrictions nor appropriate for this product category.  Moreover, the bill would require “childproof” packaging for prefilled cartridges and bottled liquids -- a standard which is unattainable for any consumer product. (CASAA supports child-resistant packaging rules tied to a federal standard as both reasonable for industry and good for consumers.)


Please take a moment NOW to send emails to the committee urging them to oppose these bills.



Both SB 24 and SB 140 are scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 at 1:30 PM.
State Capitol, Room 2191
Sacramento, CA 95814


Please make plans to attend this hearing.  For talking points to use in developing your comments to the committee on SB 140, please see here.  Even if you are not planning to testify, your attendance is important as it demonstrates the many people affected by and engaged in this issue. (As a sign of respect, we ask that you refrain from vaping in the building.)


Please share this post on your Facebook wall and in groups.


Please see NorCal SFATA’s calls to action for AB 768, SB 24, and SB 140 for additional updates, talking points, and analysis.


(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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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

(Update - 03/30/15)

Both bills that would include vaping in Alaska’s smoking law, SB 1 and HB 40, are scheduled for committee hearings on Thursday, April 2nd.
  • SB 1: 9:00 AM, Senate State Affairs Committee, Butrovich 205.  
    • Testimony is by invitation only.
  • HB 40: 3:00 PM, House Health & Social Services Committee, Capitol 106.

Oppose HB 40 and SB 1 - Send an Email


(Update - 03/09/15)


Both SB 1 and HB 40 will be heard in committees this week:


We have refreshed and updated our email campaign to send messages to both committees and your state legislators.  Even if you’ve sent an email back in February, we urge you to send a follow-up email to remind your elected officials of your concerns.


Alaska residents can also use the “Public Opinion Message System” to send a brief -- 50 words or less -- message to lawmakers.  Be sure to state that you are opposed to each bill.

It is unclear as to whether the committees will be hearing public testimony on either of these bills.  Alaska residents should check with their Legislative Information Offices for details.


(Update - 02/08/15)

If you cannot attend the hearing in person, you may participate in the hearing via teleconference. Simply call 1-855-463-5009 (907-463-5009 if in Juneau) and tell the operator what bill and committee you want to testify on.


(Update - 02/07/2015)

SB 1 has been scheduled for a hearing on WEDNESDAY, February 11th at 1:30 PM (AST), at Butrovich 205. Please plan to attend this hearing. If you are unable to attend, please use the email list below to send in written testimony to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee. 


We have provided talking points on this issue below.

Comma-delimited email list:

Senator.Bert.Stedman@akleg.gov, Senator.Cathy.Giessel@akleg.gov, Senator.Pete.Kelly@akleg.gov, Senator.Bill.Stoltze@akleg.gov, Senator.Johnny.Ellis@akleg.gov

If you haven't already, please take action now and send an email to the HSS Committee




(Original Post - 01/22/15)

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.


* Correction - The exemption for vapor shops only applies to "freestanding building[s] not attached to another business or to a residence."


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:







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, 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 Podcast Update March 30, 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.



CASAA Podcast Update March 30, 2015

0:55 – Arkansas – Things moving quickly with  SB 978, which is very problematic even with amendments being considered.  We will update when more information is known, but it is not clear there will be additional opportunities to effectively engage.

2:40 – Texas – Multiple bills, a handful of which addressed prohibiting sales to minors. Our efforts have been focused on making sure that sales get banned to minors but not in a manner that would have a substantial impact on adult access. New Call to Action issued 3-30-15 to allow consumers to contact their legislators to share general concerns about this issue.

4:15 – Nevada – Call to Action to be issued for indoor use ban SB 201 that will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 1st.  (Editor’s note: Call to Action issued after this show aired.) Also a clean bill to ban sales to minors is being considered, which may or may not require a Call to Action.

5:50 – Connecticut – Consumer calls and emails have had an impact. HB 6283 has been dialed back to an indoor use ban. (HB 6283 originally defined e-cigarettes as tobacco, banned flavors, and imposed manufacturing/labeling/advertising restrictions, as well as imposing an indoor use ban.) We still oppose this legislation, and Connecticut residents should continue to make their voice heard.

7:35 – Delaware – HB 5 (indoor use ban, including vapor shops) is set for a hearing on Wednesday, April 1st at 3:30 p.m.

9:50 - Massachusetts – Anticipate Call to Action soon.

11:40 – The importance of local legislation and the logistical problems associated with tracking and issuing local alerts. It is important for people to monitor their city council. Just last week, six towns in MA gave full control to their local boards of health to regulate smoking/vaping. When you see an article locally about smoking, please don’t assume it doesn’t apply to you because more often than not it will also include vaping.

16:20 – Oregon – SB 415 and 416 were the subject of work sessions 3-30-15. (https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Committees/SHC/2015-03-30-15-00/Agenda, and recording log will eventually be available at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Committees/SHC/2015-03-30-15-00/RecordingLog) Oregon Call to Action updated 3/28/15 to note an amendment to SB 415 has been offered that would remove vapor products from the flavor ban. CASAA continues to oppose SB 415, though, as it would ban other flavored low-risk alternatives to smoking such as smokeless tobacco.

17:20 – California – SB 140 (indoor use ban) and SB 24 (licensing/packaging) will be heard April 8, 2015, and we expect to be issuing a Call to Action this week. Shout out to NorCal SFATA for its hard work. (NorCal SFATA’s Call to Action for industry stakeholders)

18:15 – More local alerts will be issued next week.


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:










Monday, March 30, 2015

Nevada Call to Action: Oppose SB 201 which would prohibit vaping where smoking is currently banned

(04.01.15) You can also fill out an online opinion poll provided by the Nevada legislature to let them know that you oppose SB 201. (Please do this in addition to sending an email and attending the hearing.)

(03.30.15)


Nevada Senate Bill 201 would deceptively redefine “smoking” to include the use of “electronic smoking devices” for the purpose of including vaping in the state’s indoor clean air act.  


Please take action now by sending a message to your state senator and members of the committee.


SB 201 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 1st at 1:00 PM.
Room 2134 of the Legislative Building
401 S. Carson St.
Carson City, NV


Videoconferenced to:
Room 4412E Grant Sawyer State Office Building
555 E. Washington Ave.
Las Vegas, NV.


Please make plans to attend this hearing.  For talking points to use in developing your comments to the committee, please see here.  Even if you are not planning to testify, your attendance is important as it demonstrates the many people affected by and engaged in this issue. (As a sign of respect, we ask that you refrain from vaping in the building.)




(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.