Friday, April 29, 2011

Smoking ordinance for Macon vetoed by Reichert

The Telegraph
By JIM GAINES
April 29, 2011

Macon, Georgia -- Macon’s tighter rules on smoking are going back to the drawing board, sent there by a mayoral veto Thursday.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said he thinks the measure was passed without sufficient public input.

“My veto is based on the fact that this ordinance is, in my opinion, excessively broad and includes public parks as well as all other open spaces” as areas that would be off-limits to smokers, he said in a news release.
...

Gregory Conley, with the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, welcomed the opportunity for more public discussion since it would allow lobbying for an exemption for electronic cigarettes. Those deliver a mist of nicotine and flavors for “smokers” to inhale, but they don’t actually burn or produce any smoke....

Read full story >

Smoking ordinance also banning e-cigarettes for Macon vetoed

Macon, Georgia

The Macon Telegraph reported today that Macon's tighter rules on smoking are going back to the drawing board, sent there by a mayoral veto Thursday.

"Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said he thinks the measure was passed without sufficient public input," the article stated.
     
"My veto is based on the fact that this ordinance is, in my opinion, excessively broad and includes public parks as well as all other open spaces" as areas that would be off-limits to smokers, he said in a news release.

"The measure passed Macon City Council on April 19 by a vote of 9-6. It takes 10 votes to override a mayoral veto."

"Rather than override the veto, I encourage council to reduce the scope of this ordinance and get Bibb County to pass a joint ordinance," Reichert's statement said. "I will work with them in this regard."

"That's in line with what some opponents wanted. Councilman Mike Cranford said local business owners were petitioning Reichert to veto the ordinance, and threatening to sue if the smoking ban went into effect. Arguing that tighter smoking rules in Macon would drive bar and restaurant business just outside city limits, they said any new law should be done in conjunction with the county."

"Gregory Conley, with the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, welcomed the opportunity for more public discussion since it would allow lobbying for an exemption for electronic cigarettes. Those deliver a mist of nicotine and flavors for "smokers" to inhale, but they don't actually burn or produce any smoke."

"Reichert said input should have been gathered from "citizens, health officials, property and business owners."

Read more: http://www.macon.com/2011/04/29/1542362/reichert-vetoes-ordinance-tightening.html#ixzz1KvQaQF4h

CASAA sent a letter to Mayor Reichert Thursday, urging him to veto the bill.

"Please VETO the smoke-free workplace ordinance approved last week by City Council. Sec. 13-39(a)(20) bans the usage of smoke-free electronic cigarettes by deceitfully defining their use as "smoking" and the "purpose" and "findings" sections of the proposed ordinance fail to mention e-cigarettes or provide any public health rationale for banning their usage," the letter said.

"While the proposed ordinance would only ban smoking in approximately one-hundred workplaces in Macon (that are currently exempt from the GA smoke-free workplace law) the proposed ordinance would ban the usage of e-cigarettes in tens of thousands of workplaces in Macon.  As such, the proposed ordinance's impact on e-cigarette usage is far greater than its impact on smoking.  Your veto message can encourage the City Council to eliminate the prohibition on e-cigarette usage and then reconsider the proposal."

Read more: http://www.casaa.org/files/Letter%20to%20Macon%20GA%20mayor.pdf

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tennessee House Agricultural Committee bans e-cigarette sales to minors

Yesterday, the Tennessee House Agricultural Committee passed a bill that bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, however the devices will remain legally available for sale to adult smokers in Tennessee.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), supports the sales ban to minors. CASAA, a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of reduced harm alternatives to cigarette smoking, became interested in the legislation when it was alerted that Section 18 of an earlier version of Tennessee House Bill 1729 would have made it a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a $10,000 fine, to sell electronic cigarettes to any citizen, regardless of age.

In a letter sent to members of the Tennessee House Agriculture Committee, CASAA Legal Director Yolanda Villa and Medical Director Theresa Whitt urged the Committee to remove Section 18 before passing the bill.

"An exception is made for products approved by the FDA as drug devices; however, federal courts have ruled that the FDA cannot regulate the products as drug devices unless a therapeutic claim is made," the letter stated. "Consumers are not using e-cigarettes as treatment for a disease, but rather as a replacement for smoking. Banning all sales of e-cigarettes would force thousands of adult e-cigarette consumers in Tennessee to either switch back to smoking far more hazardous tobacco cigarettes or to buy e-cigarettes from a newly created black market. Numerous small businesses in the state will be forced to close as well."

Representative Joe Armstrong (D) assured the Committee at Wednesday's hearing that the bill had indeed been amended to remove Section 18.

 "This in no way will outlaw them or stop anybody from over 18 or above being able to get it. They won't need a prescription. They can just go right to any place that sells these, walk right up if they have a photo ID that says they're 18 or older, they can purchase it?" asked Representative Jeremy Faison (R).

"Absolutely," Armstrong replied.

"Some of the things used in that New York [e-cigarette] bill, when interpreted into our Tennessee code made it illegal for e-cigarettes," he said. "And so, we've taken that section, that was Section 18, we've taken that completely out."

The FDA announced this week its decision to forego petitioning for Supreme Court review of the legal victory won last December by a major electronic cigarette distributor and will regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

"We estimate that over a million smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes," stated Dr. Whitt, in a recent CASAA press release praising the FDA decision. "As a result of avoiding the toxins, carcinogens, and particulates in smoke they are reporting their health has improved. Regulating electronic cigarettes as medical devices would have resulted in these life-saving products being removed from the market, pending lengthy and expensive clinical trials."

CASAA has stated that it will continue to oppose legislation which negatively affects the availability, affordability and effectiveness of smoke-free alternatives for adult smokers.

Read More at CASAA.org >

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Consumer Group Praises FDA Concession to Court of Appeals Ruling

On April 25, 2011 the FDA announced its decision to forego petitioning for Supreme Court review of the legal victory won last December by a major electronic cigarette distributor. See, http://www.casaa.org/files/ct%20app%20opinion%20on%20injunction.pdf. "This is a profound landmark in the federal legal definition and regulation of smoke-free tobacco and other nicotine products", stated Yolanda Villa, Legal Director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA).

"With the question of highly restrictive and cost-prohibitive drug product classification finally put to rest in favor of reasonable regulation as an alternative and less hazardous tobacco product, electronic cigarette sales will continue to increase, and many more retailers will probably begin to make them available to their customers", said Ms. Villa.

"The FDA's decision to regulate electronic cigarettes under the Tobacco Act is a great victory for public health," stated Dr. Theresa Whitt, M.D., CASAA Medical Director.

"We estimate that over a million smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes," stated Dr. Whitt. "As a result of avoiding the toxins, carcinogens, and particulates in smoke they are reporting their health has improved. Regulating electronic cigarettes as medical devices would have resulted in these life-saving products being removed from the market, pending lengthy and expensive clinical trials."

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid solution to create a vapor. Medical experts say that the combination of mimicking the hand-to-mouth action of smoking as well as providing adequate nicotine make the products an acceptable long-term substitute for smoking.

Providing safer long-term substitutes for cigarette smoking is a public health approach referred to as Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). Dr. Whitt remarked,
"Opponents of the THR approach claim that it delays or prevents nicotine cessation in people who might otherwise quit using nicotine. On the other hand, it is more likely that insisting on nicotine cessation delays or prevents smoking abstinence in people who might otherwise quit smoking."
Dr. Whitt stated that the profile of an e-cigarette user is a middle-aged adult who smoked for decades and tried numerous times to quit smoking, without lasting success. "All of the medically approved smoking cessation treatments require the smoker to give up nicotine as well as smoking," said Dr. Whitt. "The Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians reported that changes in brain structure and function can impair the ability of smokers to achieve and sustain abstinence. Some smokers may never be able to quit all nicotine use."

Monday, April 25, 2011

FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, not drug devices

RICHMOND, Va. — The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it plans to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and won't try to regulate them under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices.

The federal agency said in a letter to stakeholders Monday that it intends to propose rule changes to treat e-cigarettes the same traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The news is considered a victory for makers and distributors of the devices, which continue to gain popularity worldwide.

E-cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the "smoker" inhales. A tiny light on the tip even glows like a real cigarette.
Users and distributors say e-cigarettes address both the nicotine addiction and the behavioral aspects of smoking — the holding of the cigarette, the puffing, seeing the smoke come out and the hand motion — without the more than 4,000 chemicals found in cigarettes.

Read Full Story >

Thursday, April 21, 2011

CASAA Testimony for Smokeless Alternatives in Oregon

Oregon HB 3588, which would have banned the sale of “Candy Nicotine Products," came before committee hearing on Wednesday, April 20.

See: http://www.casaa.org/CTA/article.asp?articleID=149&l=a&p

CASAA Director Thad Marney attended the hearing and spoke eloquently on behalf of CASAA members.
Of his experience, Mr. Marney said, "Although nerves nearly got the best of me, yesterday went much better and easier than King County. I was there early which gave me an excellent opportunity to speak to the committee assistant Matt Davis who told me that House was about to begin working on bills from the Senate (and vice versa) and so HB 3588 would not be voted on in this session, but they wanted to “begin the discussion”. Matt was a bit taken aback when I told him that we opposed the bill but he said that he was against it personally and admitted to occasionally using an e-cigarette himself!"

"Other than a representative from Big Tobacco and 7-11, who chimed in about how this ban would negatively impact local store owners, I was the only testimony in opposition to the bill, but I got a lot of positive feedback from the Committee. I’m not sure that Co-Chair Tomei was really convinced that harm reduction potential of these products was enough to change her preconceived notions about “candy”, but the entire Committee seemed impressed by my testimony—even the Tobacco Rep said that he learned a few things! I don’t know if I changed any minds, but I do know that I gave them a lot to think about as they did ask several questions, and I wished that I’d had more scientific data with me regarding smokeless and dissolvables because the proponents were tossing out data and assumptions about “gateway effects” that are unfounded but mostly went unchallenged."

Read Full Story >

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Zealand Health Ministry tells Parliamentary Committee that e-cigarette usage "is far safer than smoking"

“As the e-cigarette delivers only nicotine in a mist of propylene glycol, without the other 4,000 or so other chemicals in tobacco smoke, it is far safer than smoking.

“The current safety data would therefore suggest that the e-cigarette poses few risks to people, and is safer than continuing to smoke. However, this should be confirmed with data from long-term outcome studies."

E-cigarette - personal nicotine vapouriser

http://www.endsmoking.org.nz/MoH%20on%20ecigs%20etc.pdf

URGENT Call to Action: Oregon HB 3588

URGENT Call to Action:  Oregon HB 3588 - Public hearing Wed, 4/20 at 8AM


HB 3588 would prohibit the sale of certain flavored smokeless tobacco products that the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carolyn Tomei, claims resemble or are marketed as “candy”.  The range of the proposed fine is $100 to $720.  The link to the summary of the legislation can be found here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/cgi-bin/searchMeas.pl

Please visit the casaa.org Call to Action section (http://www.casaa.org/CTA/) for additional information.  If you can attend, please contact the CASAA Board of Directors at board@casaa.org, so that we may assist you in any way that we can.  CASAA Director Thad Marney will attend and speak at the hearing. Otherwise, please call, fax and/or e-mail the committee representatives.  The CASAA Call to Action includes talking points for your conversations and letters.

The Oregon House of Representatives: Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 3588 at 8AM on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The committee will hold the hearing in Hearing Room D of the State Capitol Building, 900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Email sent to Macon GA City Council

This is the text of the email message sent to members of the Macon GA City Council.


Subject: Limit Definition of Smoking to Products that Generate Smoke

Dear Council Member:

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) strongly urges you to amend the proposed Smoking Ordinance to exclude smoke-free electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from the definition of "smoking" because they emit no tobacco smoke and pose no known health risks.  CASAA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of reduced harm alternatives to cigarette smoking and to provide the public with truthful information about such alternatives. 

Indoor smoking bans have been enacted to protect workers and patrons from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. But e- cigarettes emit vapor, not smoke.  In the interest of truthfulness and public health, CASAA urges the City Council to amend Section 1(a), Definitions, item 20 to state: 

Smoking means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted tobacco product intended for inhalation, or in any manner or in any form.  The term smoking shall not include the use of an electronic cigarette or other noncombustible tobacco or nicotine product.

It is critically important to understand the scientific differences between smoke and vapor.  Smoke is created by the process of combustion. Burning any plant matter creates tar, carbon monoxide, particulates, and thousands of other chemicals and constituents.  Inhaling tobacco smoke causes more than 99% of tobacco-attributable diseases and deaths. 

In sharp contrast, the tiny amount of vapor emitted by an e-cigarette doesn't contain any smoke because it is not created by the process of combustion. Dr. Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand tested e-cigarette vapor for over 50 cigarette smoke toxicants. No such toxicant was found. Dr. Laugesen stated, "Relative to lethal tobacco smoke emissions, e-cigarette emissions appear to be several magnitudes safer. E-cigarettes are akin to a medicinal nicotine inhalator in safety, dose, and addiction potential."  [1]

Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health reviewed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes—including the testing conducted by the FDA in 2009—and concluded, "A preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products." [2]

Thus, there is no public health or safety justification for banning the indoor use of e-cigarettes.  The majority of e-cigarette consumers use the products as a complete replacement for tobacco cigarettes, and many others use e-cigarettes to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke. [3] These products are improving the health of their users, and could save the lives of many more smokers—provided their use is not discouraged or banned.

Many e-cigarette users first discover the safer devices when they see them being used where smoking isn't allowed.  Banning indoor use, forcing e-cigarette users outside, removes an incentive for continuing smokers to switch to an alternative that could reduce their risks of smoking-related disease by up to 99%.  

Once again, please amend the definition of "smoking" in the proposed ordinance to not include the usage of smoke-free e-cigarettes. Thank you for your attention and consideration.  

Very truly yours,


Theresa A. Whitt, MD
CASAA Medical Director

References:

1.      Laugesen M. Health New Zealand. Poster Presentation at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco conference, Dublin, April 30, 2009. http://www.healthnz.co.nz/DublinEcigBenchtopHandout.pdf 

2.      Cahn and Siegel.   Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 0197-5897 Journal of Public Health Policy 1–16.  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-institutes/population-development/files/article.jphp.pdf 

3.      Heavner K, Dunworth J, Bergen P, Nissen C, Phillips CV. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products: Results of an online survey of e-cigarette users. Tobacco Harm Reduction 2010 Yearbook, Chapter 19. http://tobaccoharmreduction.org/wpapers/011v1.pdf

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Macon GA Call to Action!

Proposed Smoking Ban The Public Safety Committee of the Macon City Council in Georgia recently passed an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in public places, including bars, restaurants, private clubs and parking garages, while exempting tobacco shops, live-in health care facilities and outdoor seating areas at restaurants. The full council is likely to vote on the measure on April 19th.

This Bill could:
Ban the use of electronic cigarettes in places where tobacco cigarette smoking is prohibited

Councilwoman Nancy White, who co-sponsored the measure, said the proposed ban, which would close "some of the loop-holes in the State wide ordinance passed in 2005," could take effect as early as September 1, 2011, if the full council passes it.

Read Full Call to Action Here: http://www.casaa.org/CTA/article.asp?articleID=147&l=a&p=

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

UPDATED: TN State bill would BAN Smoke-free Alternatives

Wednesday, April 20th -- TN State meeting on bill that would BAN e-cigarettes
TENNESSEE RESIDENTS: CASAA and the world of vaping needs you

Background info:
CASAA's Call to Action with all legislative contact info -- CASAA.org
CASAA's letter to Tennessee legislators -- CASAA.org
Thread on ECF -- Tennessee also proposing ban on e-cigs

On Wednesday, April 20th at 2 PM at the Statehouse in Nashville the House Agriculture Sub-Committee will be meeting to discuss and vote on HB 1729. Sections 1 to 17 of this bill ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. However, Section 18 would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes until they are approved by the FDA as a drug delivery device, which the federal courts have stated does not need to happen.

We need vapers in Tennessee to get on the phone / fax to the legislators on this committee (listed on the second half of the Call to Action page) and express the need to vote NO on this bill unless an amendment is offered on the bill that would delete Section 18 from the bill.

Rep. Armstrong, the writer and sponsor of this legislation, advanced a proposal 2 weeks ago that would "only" require e-cigarette manufacturers to "register" with the FDA, and the mere act of registering would show a good faith effort that the company is being "safe." However, it has been pointed out to Rep. Armstrong that no such registration process exists, with the exception of a costly and time-consuming application to become a drug delivery device.

We also need vapers in Tennessee to go to the meeting. Please people, if you can get off of work and make it out, it would be wonderful to hear testimony from CASAA members / e-cigarette users.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Law Suits Threatened in Kentucky Over E-Cig Inclusions in Smoking Bans

E-cigarette users in two counties in Kentucky have had enough of Health Departments deciding to include e-cigarettes in indoor smoking bans.

In Bullitt County a law suit has been filed:
Inclusion of E-cigarette in smoking ban has some users feeling burned
By David Williams

But users of e-cigarettes are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Bullitt County Board of Health. Some, like Tony Thompson who has used e-cigarettes for six months, tell me they feel burned by the new rules.

"There's a little red light on the end here that lights up so it looks like a cigarette," Thompson said as he showed his e-cigarette. "It gives you the feel of a cigarette, but, again there's no second hand smoke. The only thing that you're inhaling is water vapor."

Second hand smoke is one of the reasons the Bullitt County Board of Health voted to ban smoking in public places, a ban that includes e-cigarettes.

The FDA has raised concerns over the device including a possible increase in addiction among children along with the device's possible toxic ingredients.

"Second hand smoke is a known carcinogen," said Cynthia Brown, with the Bullitt County Health Department. "The EPA has classified it as such, so we're trying to protect the public from this known hazard."

Thompson is part of a lawsuit against the Board of Health over its proposed smoking regulation.

Read full story: Inclusion of E-cigarette in smoking ban has some users feeling b - WAVE 3 News - Louisville, Kentucky

And in Madison County attendees at the Board of Health meeting indicated their displeasure:

E-cigarettes included in county smoking ban
Proponents threaten to sue
RICHMOND — "We'll see you in court," angry audience members yelled Wednesday night as they left a Madison County Health Board meeting.

"You sorry people can't run Madison County by yourself," one woman said on her way out of the meeting. "I thought the board of health was supposed to educate, not legislate."

The board had just voted 8-1 to include devices known as e-cigarettes in it regulations that ban smoking in indoor public places.

"Hold on," one man called out, when the board moved on to the next item on its agenda. "We'd like to speak. We thought this was America."

Read full story: E-cigarettes included in county smoking ban » Local News » The Richmond Register