Monday, January 23, 2012

A note about CASAA's industry affiliations and Mission

Recently, there have been two questions raised that seemed to show a need for re-clarification on those issues.

Last week, CASAA received the following email message:

"Any company affiliated with ******* can walk off a cliff. All because a company is for not smoking doesn't make them pro their customers. As long as you do work along side a company who can't even provide a phone number for customer service, I will be unable to give you anymore donations. I've provided an alias but when the money stops coming you will know who you have lost and who is to blame (*******)"

Unfortunately, the email address the sender used bounced back to us, but we would like to reiterate that CASAA does 
not endorse any company. CASAA gratefully accepts donations from both consumer and industry sources, however CASAA does not offer nor give any compensation,  privileges, rights, benefits or otherwise special treatment to those who donate financially, link to our web site, volunteer their services/products or display our logo.

As per posted on each page of our web site:

"CASAA encourages the use of a link to the CASAA website as a means of providing accurate, unbiased information to consumers and the industry. Unless otherwise stated on casaa.org, CASAA does not have any affiliation with an organization, business, or individual that displays the CASAA logo or provides a link to the CASAA site."

Please do not misconstrue the presence of the CASAA logo on a merchant site or product display to be an endorsement of that merchant. All it means is that the merchant supports CASAA's mission. Note that CASAA's web site and social networking pages also do not advertise or endorse e-cigarette, tobacco or pharmaceutical merchants or product brands.


Secondly, this message was recently found posted on a consumer forum:

"The entire point in a CONSUMER advocacy group is that it be made up of CONSUMERS and not people with a vested interest in the commercial business side. But it seems to me that CASAA might be a little confused about their mission in general since they have been around since 2009 and I have yet to see them act as consumer advocates once. What CASAA does is industry lobbying, not consumer advocacy."

Unfortunately, some people are under the false impression that CASAA's mission is as a consumer protection organization against the industry and that is not and never has been CASAA's mission.


This is the CASAA Mission Statement, which has been posted on the CASAA web site since day one:

"Our mission is to ensure the availability of effective, affordable and reduced harm alternatives to smoking by increasing public awareness and education; to encourage the testing and development of products to achieve acceptable safety standards and reasonable regulation; and to promote the benefits of reduced harm alternatives."

January 19, 2012 - CASAA Director Greg Conley, 
once again advocating for smoke-free alternatives, 
at the FDA-TPSAC meeting in Maryland.


CASAA was born from the need for smokeless alternative users to have a collective voice against the anti-tobacco, anti-nicotine organizations calling for banning products from the market without any scientific evidence and spreading misinformation, lies and half-truths to the public and legislators. CASAA is 
a group of consumers, whose mission is to advocate for reduced harm or smoke-free alternatives, educate the public about the truth about smokeless alternatives and encourage the industry to promote testing and safety practices. CASAA's mission to protect the public comes by fighting for reasonable regulation of innovative, harm-reduction products and against unreasonable legislation. CASAA was not created to police industry business practices, as there are already consumer organizations and government offices set up for that purpose.

CASAA, again from day one, has been a loose co-operation between the industry and consumers, because it was understood that not only are a great number of e-cigarette businesses run by owners who are also consumers of and believe in the product that they sell, but that CASAA would not be able to accomplish it's goals efficiently without the involvement of the industry in advocating for their own products and for the consumers of those products. 
(CASAA was born in the e-cigarette community, but was ultimately formed as an overall tobacco harm reduction organization.) However, because it was obviously not in the best interests of the consumers for the industry to ever gain majority control over the board of directors, CASAA's bylaws strictly limit the number of directors with a vested interest in the e-cigarette, tobacco or pharmaceutical industry to just 25%. This ensures that consumers, and not any industry, will always have control of majority vote over CASAA's decisions and actions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at board@casaa.org and we encourage people to attend our publicly-posted, bimonthly, online member meetings to learn more about who CASAA is and what we are doing to accomplish our mission.

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