Monday, September 26, 2011

Call to Actions for Boston!!

Boston, MA Call to Action (Indoor Use Ban)

The Boston Public Health Commission has proposed the Clean Air Works Workplace Smoking and E-Cigarette Use Restrictions Regulation
Link:,%20Draft.pdf a prohibition on the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace

These regulations would:
Ban electronic cigarette use anywhere that smoking is banned.

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Boston, MA Call to Action (Prohibit online sales)

The Boston Public Health Commission has proposed an amendment to the Tobacco Control Regulation
Link:,%20Draft.pdf a prohibition on the sale or distribution of unregulated nicotine delivery products to minors and an increase in fines for violation.

These regulations would:
Potentially prohibit internet sales (any non-face-to-face sales) of any electronic cigarette or nicotine liquid.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

National Review Magazine: The War on E-cigarettes

By Jeff Stier & Gregory Conley
September 19, 2011

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that from 2005 to 2010, the nation’s smoking rate experienced a measly decline, from 20.9 percent to 19.3 percent. This, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in government anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette taxes. The CDC now estimates that the smoking rate will be 17 percent in 2020, far short of the sub–12 percent goal set by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

If there’s any chance of reaching the goal, influential anti-tobacco activist groups should quit stubbornly relying on the government to solve the problem, especially when the private sector is coming up with innovative approaches to reduce the risks related to tobacco use.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, perhaps the most prominent anti-tobacco group, wrote in a press release that the decline in smoking rates was “nothing to cheer” about and that the news “underscores the need for elected officials at all levels to more aggressively implement proven measures to reduce tobacco use.” Except by their own admission, the only thing proven about the current government approach is that it isn’t working.

In fact, groups like Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have remained steadfast in their adamant opposition to many commonsense strategies for making tobacco less deadly. The most egregious example is their continued prohibitionist stance towards electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine to the user in a water-like vapor that does not contain the deadly amalgamation of particles found in tobacco smoke, have caught on over the last half-decade with smokers looking for less risky ways to get nicotine, or even trying to quit entirely. Published surveys suggest that e-cigarettes have helped a significant number of people remain abstinent from traditional cigarettes. Furthermore, despite fear-mongering by activist groups, tests performed on e-cigarette liquid and vapor demonstrate that the product is no more toxic than other nicotine-replacement therapy products such as the nicotine patch, gum, and inhaler.

Apparently, the city of Boston hasn’t gotten the memo. Earlier this month, the Boston Public Health Commission took the first step toward banning the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces, restaurant patios and decks, and loading docks. If passed by the Health Commission, Boston will join a small but growing list of communities — one of the most significant being King County, Wash., (which includes the city of Seattle) — that have voted to force e-cigarette users, many of whom are ex-smokers, back into the smoking section based on nothing but pure hype and conjecture. There is no evidence whatsoever that e-cigarette vapors contain anything more harmful than small amounts of nicotine, which is not a carcinogen.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated examples of local governments’ interfering with effective private-sector solutions. In fact, these campaigns have been bankrolled by the CDC, the very same federal bureaucracy that’s spending recklessly — and ineffectively — to fight smoking.

When Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it created a CDC slush fund called Communities Putting Prevention to Work. Initially created as part of the 2009 stimulus package to distribute $400 million in grants to state departments of health and local governments, the CPPW program, like most big spending programs, refused to die. Its funding now stands at $750 million a year, and will rise to $2 billion a year beginning in 2015. The cash handouts are supposed to be targeted at “reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality associated with obesity and tobacco use . . . through implementing evidence- and practice-based approaches.”

What is the “evidence” supporting a CDC-funded campaign to restrict the use of e-cigarettes? The Boston Public Health Commission declined to share with us a report issued by their CPPW advisory council to Mayor Thomas Menino on the topic. And the CDC dismissed any notion of accountability and transparency by referring our questions back to the (non-responsive) grant recipient.

Whether achieved by national or local policy change, governmental micromanagement of health behaviors not only restricts freedom, but is failed policy. Boston’s proposed law is undoubtedly a waste of money and resources. But by creating obstacles for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, it will actually do far more harm than good.

Most important, it again illustrates what the few rational voices in the tobacco-control movement have been saying for years: The so-called public-health community simply strives for more control over our lives, even at the expense of shortening them.

— Jeff Stier is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffAStier. Gregory Conley handles legislative advocacy for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association and is a JD / MBA candidate at Rutgers University. 

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

CASAA Member Meeting Tonight

Meeting starts 7:30pm EST/ 6:30pm CST/5:30pm MST/4:30pm PST

Webinar link:

Register here:

Contact CASAA at or contact Thad Marney at 503-882-7769 if you have any technical issues.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Call to Action! S. 1403 Would Double Smokeless Tobacco Tax

CASAA opposes S.1403 because it would tax products that are up to 99% safer than smoking at the same rate as cigarettes. As cigarette prices go up, these safer alternatives need to remain less expensive, thus providing an additional incentive for smokers to make a life-saving switch.

Read Full Call to Action:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Study finds nearly 85% smokers mistake smokeless products as hazardous as smoking

CASAA advisor Bill Godshall, of Smokefree Pennsylvania, reported this week that a new study published in the Harm Reduction Journal, "Trends in beliefs about the harmfulness and use of stop-smoking medications and smokeless tobacco products among cigarettes smokers: Findings from the ITC four-country survey" found that 5 out of 6 smokers in North America inaccurately believe smokeless tobacco to be as hazardous as cigarettes - due, he said, to a 25 year US law requiring misleading package labels and campaign of deception by health agencies, organizations and professionals.

"Interestingly, this survey also found that a higher percentage of smokers in the UK and Australia (than in the US or Canada) correctly believe that smokeless tobacco is less hazardous than cigarettes, even though snus and many other smokeless tobacco products are banned in the UK and Australia, while being legal to market in the US and Canada," said Godshall.

"That's because health agencies, organizations and professionals in the US and Canada have engaged in a decades long campaign to deceive smokers to believe that smokeless tobacco is as hazardous as cigarettes," he said.

"Smoking has more than twice the risk of causing oral cancer as smokeless tobacco and Swedish-style snus and dissolvables have reduced levels of TSNA's that are below levels known to cause cancer," CASAA Director Thad Marney explained to readers.

Dr. Gilbert Ross, of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), emphatically agreed with the study’s conclusion in a statement posted on ACSH's web site.

“With the advent of the FDA’s regulation of tobacco products — including smokeless tobacco — in the U.S.,” Ross said, “the opportunity may soon present itself to provide the kind of public education that is so clearly needed.” He also points to the authors’ assertion that manufacturers have failed to inform consumers of the benefits of smokeless tobacco: “It’s the government that won’t allow them to properly inform the public,” he says.

"Ironically," said Godshall, "if any cigarette company had ever mislead smokers or the public to believe that smokeless tobacco was as hazardous as cigarettes, abstinence-only prohibitonists and government health agencies would have viciously attacked the cigarette company for lying."

Friday, September 2, 2011

First, Control the Damage

Op-Ed Blog Post from 
By Elaine Keller

Frankly, I'm getting sick (literally) of doctors and "public health experts" trotting out the "First, do no harm" adage as their justification for aiding and abetting the murder of millions of smokers.

"I can't prescribe something that's harmful." Oh, really? I'd venture to say that a large percentage of the medications listed in the Physician's Desk Reference are substances that often are harmful when used as directed, can be harmful if prescribed for a condition the patient doesn't have, or are harmful when overused.

Nowhere in the Hippocratic oath will you find the exact words, "First, do no harm." Here is the pertinent sentence from the oath:

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
While not harming the patient is explicit, the first concern of anyone who provides medical care must be damage control. Old Joke: The operation was a complete success but the patient died.

In Epidemics, Hippocrates expands on the idea of what it means to never do harm to anyone.He suggests that the goal should be a speedy recovery of health, and the avoidance of prolongation of the disease, or death, or relapses.

The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future - must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely,to do good or to do no harm. The art consists in three things - the disease, the patient, and the physician. The physician is the servant of the art, and the patient must combat the disease along with the physician.

But what happens when the patient is shut out of the process? Often that means that the disease is misdiagnosed because the doctor is lacking pertinent information or does not understand (or does not value) the patient's health priorities.

The Tobacco Control Community has decided that the disease they intend to treat is "tobacco addiction." Framed in that way, "take away the tobacco" is the only treatment possible.

But what if, as Hippocrates suggests, we involve the patient in this process? What if the patient is more concerned about lung disease, cancers, and heart diseases that are not a direct result of the "tobacco addiction" but rather are direct results of the nicotine delivery method, smoking? What if the patient is also concerned about cognitive and emotional health, which are impaired when the patient follows the doctor's orders and becomes nicotine-abstinent? Is it ethical for the doctor to impose his or her set of values on the patient and disregard the patient's pain, distress, dysfunction, and premature death?

Diagnosing the disease as "the health consequences of inhaling smoke" opens up a whole new world of potential treatment options.

In Framing tobacco control efforts within an ethical context, B. J. Fox argues that the tobacco control community should more proactively frame its actions and base that frame upon ethical principles. "The tobacco control community lacks a comprehensive understanding of ethics," he states. "In turn, this has allowed the tobacco control community to be defined by its desire to defeat the tobacco industry, at the expense of its desire to protect the public."

Framing tobacco control efforts within an ethical context -- Fox 14 (suppl 2): ii38 -- Tobacco Control

Ethically, a doctor's first priority needs to be damage control.

Help the patient to stop the damage being done to his or her body, using whatever works! There's plenty of time later on to worry about treating addiction--if that turns out to be necessary to protect the patient's physical, cognitive, or emotional health. Moral health should be left up to the patient's spiritual healers, not to medical doctors or public health officials.

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