Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Miami, FL Call to Action

Commissioner Barbara Jordan of the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners has proposed Ordinance No. 120901 (link).

This bill would:
 If enacted, sales of flavored smokeless tobacco products (excluding menthol, mint and wintergreen) would be prohibited and punishable by a $500 fine.

A public hearing will be held on July 10, 2012 at 9:30 A.M. before the Public Safety & Healthcare Administration Committee (instructions for speaking at a public hearing).  CASAA members in the Miami area are strongly encouraged to attend and testify in opposition to the portion of the ordinance that would ban the sale of flavored smokeless tobacco.  Please e-mail us if you can attend!

The proposed ordinance has been portrayed by anti-tobacco groups as a public health measure to protect children from the lure of flavored smokeless tobacco products (news link).  This comes despite Florida's decades old law banning tobacco sales to minors and significantly improved retailer compliance rates.  Furthermore, according to AC Nielsen Scantrak data for 2009 and 2010, sales of non-menthol flavored smokeless products were only approximately 6% of the overall U.S. smokeless market.  There is no evidence that banning this small segment of the smokeless tobacco market will decrease youth tobacco usage.

What to say:
1. Let them know that you oppose banning the sale of flavored smokeless tobacco products.
2. Tell your story on how switching from cigarettes to a far less hazardous smoke-free tobacco product has changed your life.
3. Explain that the smokeless tobacco products have been found to be around 99% less harmful than cigarettes, and that many former adult smokers have quit smoking by switching to less harmful alternatives, including products that contain flavors. discourage smokers from switching to a less harmful alternative.
4. Suggest that instead of banning the sale of flavored smokeless products under the guise of keeping the products out of the hands of children, the Board of Commissioners examine its own tobacco-retailer laws to determine if already existing penalties for selling tobacco to youth need to be strengthened.
5. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
6. Direct them to the website for more information.

Please call, write or fax the members of the Public Safety & Healthcare Administration Committee below.

    Jose Diaz, Chair
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 320
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-372-6109

    Barbara Jordan
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 220
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-372-6028

    Sally Heyman
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 220
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-372-6179 Fax

    Lynda Bell
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 220
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-372-6073

    Javier Souta
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 320
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-375-3456

    Esteban Bovo, Jr.
    111 NW 1st Street, Suite 320
    Miami, Florida 33128
    Fax 305-375-2011

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John Connell said...

Of the “Whereas” in the actual bill- where is the document that shows references to these alleged draws to youth and appeal to youth. Other than menthol, I don't recall seeing any preference in youth.

Jason McRoy said...

Ok, I am a little confused on one point here. I am a user of the personal vaping device. Does this bill include that product? Is this product considered legally a "smokeless tobacco product"?



Kristin Noll-Marsh said...

Hi Jason,

Good questions!

To answer your first question, no, this bill does not currently include nor directly affect electronic cigarettes/PV's. HOWEVER, there are three points to consider if this bill does not affect you directly as a member:

1) CASAA supports consumers who use a variety of smoke-free alternatives. This includes the consumers of low-risk, smoke-free tobacco products, many of which people would not consider a very acceptable smoking alternative without the common flavorings used in them.

2) The FDA has announced its intention to regulate electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product. Those opposed to e-cigarettes have already been claiming that the flavors available in e-cigarette are made only to attract youth to the product. As we all know, the ability for an adult smoker to find a flavor that appeals to him/her is a very significant factor in the effectiveness of the product to keep them from going back to smoking. Very frequently, the consumer needs to find a flavor as far from the tobacco taste as possible for that to happen. Legislation such as this opens the door to future bills that could restrict e-cigarettes to tobacco-only flavors.

3) There are a significant number of e-cigarette users who find "something missing" from e-cigarettes and depend on using a smoke-free tobacco product in conjunction with the e-cigarette to get off of those last couple cigarettes a day. So there are e-cigarette users who depend upon some tobacco products to keep smoke-free.

So, CASAA recommends that ALL members oppose this bill in support of fellow members, regardless of whether or not you don't personally use the product. Not only as a point of solidarity with the smoke-free tobacco consumers, who also help fight bills against e-cigarettes, but as a protective measure for the future of e-cigarettes.

In response to your second question, it is not legally a "smokeless tobacco product" in Miami, but quite a few municipalities around the country have been changing their laws and ordinances to treat e-cigarettes the same as other tobacco products and if the FDA deems them to be "smokeless tobacco," any laws around the country that apply to smokeless tobacco could easily be applied to e-cigarettes. And if we do not challenge them trying to ban flavors of low-risk, smokeless tobacco products, based on lies about the risks, what is there to stop them from turning around and using the same lies to ban flavors in e-cigarettes? It's very important for e-cigarette consumers to see the greater implications when laws like these, based on fear-mongering and without scientific evidence, are proposed.

(Sorry for the long answer, but I thought it may be helpful to be overly-explanatory in case some other folks read this who are unfamiliar with the whole story.)

Jason McRoy said...

Hi Kristen,

Thanks for your reply and answers. This is very informative.

I am not really familiar with all the politics and such regarding this subject so all information is helpful.

I also saw your post over at ECF, so thanks again for that as well.

I will be in touch via email.


Jason McRoy

Jason McRoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kris Hanshaw said...

What I don't understand is how e-cigs can be legally described by the FDA as any kind of "tobacco" product. There's no tobacco in them. So, why are they considered "tobacco" products to begin with? Also, maybe it would help to change the term "electronic cigarette" to "vapor devices." Wouldn't that help us all?

Kristin Noll-Marsh said...

Hi Kris,

The FDA already had the authority to regulate nicotine products and now tobacco since President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. The FDA currently recognizes legal nicotine under only two classifications - an approved drug treatment for nicotine addiction (such as pharmaceutical gum, lozenges & patches) or tobacco products. Electronic cigarettes do not contain actual tobacco leaves, however, the nicotine in the nicotine liquids is extracted from tobacco (thus the argument being that the nicotine is a product derived from tobacco and therefore a tobacco product) and in the case of Smoking Everywhere vs. FDA, the e-cigarette companies successfully argued that e-cigarettes may be used as a tobacco alternative (recreational nicotine) rather than as a treatment for nicotine addiction. In very simple terms, the judge agreed that the FDA could NOT ban e-cigarettes which were advertised without therapeutic claims (as recreational cigarette alternatives) as unapproved drug delivery devices. Had the FDA won its argument, all e-cigarettes would have been immediately illegal as unapproved drug treatments (for nicotine addiction.) As you can imagine, this would have been devastating for the millions of e-cigarette consumers who now use e-cigarettes instead of smoking. As a "tobacco product," e-cigarettes were allowed to remain on the market as an alternative to traditional cigarettes (although - they can not be legally advertised as "safer.")

So, now you know, the FDA itself didn't even want to classify them a tobacco product - they wanted to classify them as unapproved drug delivery devices and remove them from the market until there has been 25 years of research "proving" that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking and are an effective treatment for nicotine addiction.

This also answers your second question. No, changing the name would make no difference (besides the fact that the name is pretty much established now anyhow,) as it is mainly the nicotine and the vapor that is the problem for many anti-tobacco and nicotine groups and the FDA. So long as any e-cigarettes contain nicotine and produce a vapor that "looks like smoking" and to which others may be exposed, people will try to ban them. It doesn't matter what we call them. The only way e-cigarettes will be accepted by those groups is if they are tested for many years to show that they are "safe" (rather than the obvious - that they are much safer than smoking and can be a smoking replacement) and then approved by the FDA as a short-term treatment for nicotine addiction.

Jack Rider said...

I just like to share my new experience of smoking Electronic Cigarette.
I was a tobacco smoker from the beginning,in spite of knowing the harmful effects of tobacco smoking I could not leave it.I tried to stop smoking, but I failed due to my strong addiction on smoking.But now after hearing about Electronic Cigarette ,I used to smoke in E-cigarette and it gives me more pleasure and more quality of smoking than traditional smoking.Now,I really liked this stylish way of smoking kit.More importantly FDA(Food And Drug Administrator),WHO(World Health Organization),Boston University of Public Health and many other health organization have given thumbs up to the Electronic Cigarette.
Now,by using Electronic Cigarette I completely stop traditional smoking.

Jack Rider

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