Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Call to Action! Pico Rivera, CA May BAN E-Cigarette Sales (UPDATED)

UPDATE (6/25/2013): Tonight, the Pico Rivera City Council voted to extend their current ban on the issuance of zoning permits to establishments wishing to sell electronic cigarettes, but only for 45 more days (the City Council originally considered 10 months).  According to one person who attended, it was indicated that the Council was likely to remove e-cigarettes from the ban at some point in the next month-and-a-half, but this has not been confirmed.

CASAA will continue to follow this issue. Until the plan is finalized, we ask our members to continue to contact the City Council members and oppose the e-cigarette sales ban. 

The below Call to Action is out of date, but still accurately reflects the background behind this ban attempt and the need to contact the members of the City Council. 

Pico Rivera, California: City May Treat E-Cigarettes like Drug Paraphernalia, Ban All Sales Within the City

On May 28, 2013, the Pico Rivera City Council adopted an ordinance that placed a 45-day moratorium temporarily prohibiting the issuance of zoning permits to "electronic cigarette retailers, drug paraphernalia retailers and headshops within the city limits." The ordinance itself claims that this action is needed because illegal drugs can be used in some vapor products.

CASAA has learned that the Pico Rivera City Council's staff is planning to request an additional ten month moratorium on the issuance of such permits, with the ultimate goal being to BAN the sales of smoke-free electronic cigarettes within the city of Pico Rivera.  This request will be made at their June 25, 2013 hearing (details below).

At the moment, no new Pico Rivera retailer can sell electronic cigarettes.  Nonetheless, these same retailers are free to apply for a license to sell cigarettes.  Policies like these are contrary to public health, and the Pico Rivera City Council needs to hear from YOU to know that there are people out there who have benefited in tremendous ways from the availability of electronic cigarettes. 

The Pico Rivera City Council will holds its next meeting on Tuesday June 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM at the Council Chambers, which is located at 6615 Passons Boulevard in Pico Rivera, CA 90660. There will be an opportunity to make a public comment at the meeting.  CASAA is requesting that all of its members in the Pico Rivera, CA area attend and speak in opposition to cigarettes being made more freely available than e-cigarettes.  If you can attend, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org with the subject line "Pico Rivera."

Please contact the Pico Rivera City Council, as well as Pico Rivera Community & Economic Development Director Julia Gonzalez, at the below e-mail addresses / phone numbers. Tell them your story about how electronic cigarettes helped you quit, send them some snippets from CASAA's vast library of scientific literature on e-cigaretes, and urge them to reject any ordinance that would impact the availability of e-cigarettes in Pico Rivera. 

Emails can also be sent to the Mayor & Council at: spena@pico-rivera.org
Mayor Gustavo Camacho 
Mayor Pro Tem Brent Tercero
Councilmember Gregory Salcido
Councilmember David W. Armenta
Councilmember Bob Archuleta

Please cc Julia Gonzalez on your e-mails: juliagonzalez@pico-rivera.org

URGENT Call to Action! Massachusetts Bill to Impose 90% Tax on E-Cigarettes -- HB 2593 (UPDATED!)

UPDATE (6/25/2013): Today the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue held a hearing on HB 2593.  Several vapers and vendors, as well as CASAA Director Karen Carey, spoke against the bill.  After the meeting, the attendees had a meeting with HB 2593's primary sponsor, Rep. Jonathan Hecht.  During this conversation, Rep. Hecht indicated that it is his intention to tax e-cigarettes. 

No vote was taken on HB 2593.  Continued action against this bill is still needed!  In addition to contacting the below legislators, vapers should contact their own representatives.  Also, letters to the editors of their local newspaper(s) can help a great deal. 

UPDATE (6/24/2013): CASAA relied on an inaccurate interpretation of HB 2593 in our original Call to Action.  Massachusetts currently taxes smokeless tobacco at 90%, and because HB 2593 would define e-cigarettes as "smokeless tobacco,"  the tax applied to e-cigarettes would actually be an outrageous 90%! 

Massachusetts: Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes & Smokeless Tobacco at 45% -- HB 2593

[full text + legislative tracking]

If enacted, this bill wold:
  1. Tax electronic cigarettes (including those that do not contain nicotine) by redefining "smokeless tobacco" under Massachusetts tax law to include any product "containing, made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption . . . or any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product." 
  2. Expand Massachusetts' unwarranted and punitive 90% wholesale tax on smokeless tobacco like snus to also tax e-cigrettes and dissolvables at the same rate.   E-cigarettes are not currently taxed under Massachusetts law, but enactment of this bill would result in e-cigarettes being taxed.  The Massachusetts Department of Revenue will be given the power to decide whether this tax would be applied to e-cigarette disposables, liquid, mods, cartomizers, atomizers, batteries, etc. 
  3. Require e-cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e-cigarettes and comply with the same regulations that apply to a seller of real cigarette. Retailers who mix their own e-liquid may also need to acquire a manufacturers license.
  4. Provide that if Massachusetts raises its tax on cigarettes, then the tax on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco will automatically be raised as well.
If you are from Massachusetts, please also contact your representative and senator in the Massachusetts Legislature and tell them that you're an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco user, you vote, and you don't want the unnecessary tax hike in HB 2593 to become law.

Please call, write, or fax the members of the Massachusetts Joint Revenue Committee below:

1. You oppose HB 2593 because it would impose a new, unwarranted tax on smoke-free electronic cigarettes. Further note that HB 2593 would tax not only e-cigarette disposables and liquid that contains nicotine, but also permits the taxation of hundreds of "components, parts, [and] accessories" like kits, mods, atomizers, cartomizers, and even batteries.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smoke-free tobacco product has changed your life.

3. Explain that the purpose of increasing cigarette taxes has been to cover governmental healthcare expenditure caused by smoking and to discourage smoking. But since electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvables are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.

4. Tell them that this year, committees in the Maine, New Mexico, and Delaware legislatures soundly rejected bills with similar broad redefinitions of "tobacco products." 

5. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would negatively impact businesses in Massachusetts that sell e-cigarettes, as many consumers would choose to use out-of-state and international online suppliers.

6. Many smokers who switch to less hazardous electronic cigarettes do so because e-cigarettes are less expensive than cigarettes. Increasing the costs of e-cigarettes to that of cigarettes would discourage many smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. It could also encourage some e-cigarette consumers to go back to cigarette smoking.

Members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue

Comma delimited e-mail list:

Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues (D) (Chairman) (parts of Bristol and Plymouth)
Room 213B
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1114
Fax: 617-722-1498

Sen. James E. Timilty (D) (Vice Chair) (parts of Bristol and Norfolk)
Room 507
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617 722-1222
Fax: 617-722-1056

Rep. Jay R. Kaufman (D) (Chairman) (parts of Arlington, Lexington, and Woburn)
Room 34
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2320
Fax: 617-722-2415

Rep. Timothy J. Toomey Jr (D) (Vice Chair) (parts of Cambridge and Somerville)
Room 238
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2380
Fax: 617-626-0668

Sen. John F. Keenan (D) (parts of Norfolk and Plymouth)
Room 413B
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1494
Fax: 617-722-1055

Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (D) (parts of Plymouth and Bristol)
Room 312B
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1551
Fax: 617-722-1074

Sen. Thomas P. Kennedy (D) (parts of Plymouth and Bristol)
Room 109E
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1200
Fax: 617-722-1116

Sen. Michael R. Knapik (R) (parts of Hampden and Hampshire)
Room 419
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1415
Fax: 617-722-1506

Rep. James Arciero (D) (parts of Chelmsford and Littleton and Westford)
Room 34
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2320

Rep. Christopher G. Fallon (D) (parts of Malden)
Room 236
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2430
Fax: 617-722-2436

Rep. James M. Cantwell (D) (parts of Marshfield and Scituate)
Room 22
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2140
Fax: 617-626-0835

Rep. Mark J. Cusack (D) (parts of Braintree, Golbrook, and Randolph)
Room 544
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2637
Fax: 617-626-0159

Rep. Ryan C. Fattman (R) (parts of Bellingham, Uxbridge, Sutton, Blackstone and Millville)
Room 443
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2460
Fax: 617-626-0176

Rep. Kate Hogan (D) (parts of Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Bolton)
Room 166
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2692

Rep. Randy Hunt (R) (parts of Barnstable, Bourne, Mashpee, and Sandwich)
Room 136
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-626-0218

Rep. Paul A. Schmid III (D) (parts of Fall River, Freetown, and Westport)
Room 473F
Boston; MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2210
Fax: 617-626-0267

Who’s Minding the E-Cigarette Industry?

Convenience Store Decisions
By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor and John Lofstock, Editor.
June 25, 2013

Should electronic tobacco devices be regulated as tobacco products or are they something completely different? Four new trade associations with varying opinions and agendas guide this booming category.

With 3.5 million e-cigarette users and an estimated $1 billion in smoke-free alternative sales, this up-and-coming industry continues to be as controversial as it is profitable. Central to the discussion is whether or not e-cigarettes are and should be regulated and taxed by the government as a tobacco product.
Needless to say, retailers have several trade groups looking out for their best interests—NACS, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) and the Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA) to name a few—but the battle to represent the nascent e-cigarette industry is just brewing. And at just the right time, as the federal government cannot wait to grip its fangs into another of the industry’s promising profit centers.

To help guide manufacturers and retailers alike, multiple nonprofit associations have been formed, each with the purpose of taking a leadership role in representing and promoting the e-cigarette—or entire smoke-free—segment.

Consumer Focus
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is another all-volunteer organization formed in 2009 by members of an online forum as an advocacy group to raise awareness and protect consumer right of access to “effective, affordable and reduced harm alternatives to smoking.”

“We’re a true grassroots, consumer-focused organization and our mission is to promote Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR), the practice of switching to non-combusted products that could be used as a replacement for smoking,” said CASAA President Elaine Keller.

According to its mission statement, the organization was “created as an answer to the anti-Tobacco Harm Reduction groups’ efforts to ban THR products.”

CASAA is a registered nonprofit in Alabama and Virginia, and has applied to the IRS for nonprofit 501(c)(4) status. Although it accepts donations from a variety of sources to support its activities, the organization has no financial or policy agreements with the electronic cigarette, tobacco or pharmaceutical industries. Not a trade association, its bylaws strictly limit the number of product vendors to one-third of its board members to prevent industry interests having a majority vote, Keller said.

On its Website (www.cassa.org) CASAA provides information for members and the general public in the form of news articles, call to action alerts, scientific research studies, petitions, legal actions and pending legislation. The organization also produces brochures and other printed materials about reduced harm alternatives to smoking.

Member activities include writing pro-tobacco harm reduction articles and issuing statements to the media regarding legislation.
“For the first half of the year, we usually find ourselves fighting to keep the wolves from the door, trying to prevent proposed legislation limiting where e-cigarettes can be used or levying taxes on any THR product,” Keller noted.

The rest of the year, she said, is spent putting together and disseminating information. Keller pointed out that CASAA is also trying to set up a meeting with the FDA to discuss consumers’ points of view and concerns. “They’ve talked to the tobacco people and the e-cigarette people, but not consumers, the stakeholder group that has the most to gain or lose from this regulation,” she said.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Call to Action! SUPPORT Arizona Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors - SB 1209 (ENDED -- Signed into law)

UPDATE (6/22/2013): CASAA is pleased to announce that the Arizona House passed SB 1209 by a vote of 44-12.  Shortly thereafter, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1209 into law.  

To see who voted against this common sense measure, see this link. If your representative(s) voted against this bill, he or she likely did so because of the lobbying by the American Cancer Society and other like-minded groups.  Please consider asking for a meeting with members who voted 'nay' so that you can provide them with accurate information on e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction.

Arizona: SUPPORT Bill to Prohibit E-Cigarette Sales to Minors -- SB 1209

 [full text]

 If enacted, this bill would:
- Ban sales of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) and "tobacco-derived products" (dissolvables) to minors
- NOT tax these products 
- NOT define these products to be "tobacco products" under Arizona law 

The American Cancer Society has been out lobbying against enactment of this bill.  Why?  CASAA Science Director Dr. Carl Phillips took on this issue here and here, but it boils down to this -- the American Cancer Society doesn't just want e-cigarette sales banned to minors.  The American Cancer Society wants e-cigarettes to be taxed and treated just like cigarettes, and they are willing to stop a ban on sales of the product to minors if a bill doesn't set the stage for this to happen in the future.

SB 1209 has already passed the Arizona Senate and gone through the House committee process. The final step before going to the Governor's desk is to pass the full House. 

The below legislators need to hear from Arizona e-cigarette users who SUPPORT SB 1209. 

Please call or write the members of the Arizona House of Representatives below
1. Inform them you SUPPORT SB 1209 because it would wisely ban sales of "vapor products" to minors, but would NOT tax the product or define them as a "tobacco product."

2. Tell your story about how e-cigarettes have changed your life, but note that you still believe that minors should not be permitted to purchase the product. 

3.  Inform them that opposition to SB 1209 is coming from groups like the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association, which have engaged in a four-year-long disinformation campaign against e-cigarettes.  Inform them that ACS and ALA are being dishonest about their true motives in opposing this common sense measure.

4. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.

Members of the Arizona House of Representatives:

It is extremely important for Arizona citizens to personally contact their two representatives in the Arizona House and urge them to vote YES on SB 1209. You can find out what district you are in by using the Arizona Legislature's 'Find My Legislator' website or this Google Maps extension (click where you live and the ID number is the district).  

When writing legislators, be sure to include your address (or at least city) so the legislators know they are being contacted by Arizona citizens.

Comma delimited email list:
jallen@azleg.gov, lalston@azleg.gov, bbarton@azleg.gov, sborrelli@azleg.gov, pboyer@azleg.gov, kbrophymcgee@azleg.gov, chcampbell@azleg.gov, mcardenas@azleg.gov, hcarter@azleg.gov, dcoleman@azleg.gov, lcontreras@azleg.gov, adalessandro@azleg.gov, jdial@azleg.gov, jescamilla@azleg.gov, kfann@azleg.gov, efarnsworth@azleg.gov, tforese@azleg.gov, rgabaldon@azleg.gov, rgallego@azleg.gov, sgonzales@azleg.gov, dgoodale@azleg.gov, dgowan@azleg.gov, rgray@azleg.gov, ahale@azleg.gov, lhernandez@azleg.gov, jkavanagh@azleg.gov, akwasman@azleg.gov, jlarkin@azleg.gov, dlesko@azleg.gov, dlivingston@azleg.gov, plovas@azleg.gov, smach@azleg.gov, ddavis@azleg.gov, jmendez@azleg.gov, jmesnard@azleg.gov, emeyer@azleg.gov, cmiranda@azleg.gov, dmitchell@azleg.gov, smontenegro@azleg.gov, jolson@azleg.gov, eorr@azleg.gov, lotondo@azleg.gov, jpeshlakai@azleg.gov, wpetersen@azleg.gov, jpierce@azleg.gov, fpratt@azleg.gov, mquezada@azleg.gov, brobson@azleg.gov, msaldate@azleg.gov, cseel@azleg.gov, asherwood@azleg.gov, tshope@azleg.gov, stsmith@azleg.gov, vsteele@azleg.gov, dstevens@azleg.gov, bthorpe@azleg.gov, atobin@azleg.gov, ktownsend@azleg.gov, mugenti@azleg.gov, bwheeler@azleg.gov

House Roster 

Name Sort By Name
District Sort By District
Phone (602)
Fax (602)
Karen Fann 1 R kfann@azleg.gov 316 926-5874 417-3001
Andy Tobin
Speaker of the House
1 R atobin@azleg.gov 221 926-5172 417-3085
Andrea Dalessandro 2 D adalessandro@azleg.gov 118 926-5342 417-3169
Rosanna Gabaldón 2 D rgabaldon@azleg.gov 117 926-3424 417-3129
Sally Ann Gonzales 3 D sgonzales@azleg.gov 116 926-3278 417-3127
Macario Saldate IV 3 D msaldate@azleg.gov 115 926-4171 417-3162
Juan Carlos Escamilla 4 D jescamilla@azleg.gov 126 926-5872 417-3112
Lisa Otondo 4 D lotondo@azleg.gov 123 926-3002 417-3124
Sonny Borrelli 5 R sborrelli@azleg.gov 310 926-5051 417-3003
Doris Goodale 5 R dgoodale@azleg.gov 313 926-5408 417-3103
Brenda Barton 6 R bbarton@azleg.gov 111 926-4129 417-3010
Bob Thorpe 6 R bthorpe@azleg.gov 331 926-5219 417-3118
Jamescita Peshlakai 7 D jpeshlakai@azleg.gov 323 926-5160 417-3002
Albert Hale 7 D ahale@azleg.gov 129 926-4323 417-3160
Frank Pratt 8 R fpratt@azleg.gov 223 926-5761 417-3023
T.J. Shope 8 R tshope@azleg.gov 338 926-3012 417-3123
Victoria Steele 9 D vsteele@azleg.gov 318 926-5683 417-3147
Ethan Orr 9 R eorr@azleg.gov 337 926-3235 417-3030
Stefanie Mach 10 D smach@azleg.gov 125 926-3398 417-3126
Bruce Wheeler
Minority Whip
10 D bwheeler@azleg.gov 333 926-3300 417-3028
Adam Kwasman 11 R akwasman@azleg.gov 344 926-5839 417-3026
Steve Smith 11 R stsmith@azleg.gov 335 926-5685 417-3167
Warren Petersen 12 R wpetersen@azleg.gov 345 926-4136 417-3222
Eddie Farnsworth 12 R efarnsworth@azleg.gov 302 926-5735 417-3122
Steve Montenegro 13 R smontenegro@azleg.gov 218 926-5955 417-3168
Darin Mitchell 13 R dmitchell@azleg.gov 307 926-5894 417-3012
David M. Gowan Sr.
Majority Leader
14 R dgowan@azleg.gov 206 926-3312 417-3130
David W. Stevens 14 R dstevens@azleg.gov 312 926-4321 417-3146
Heather Carter 15 R hcarter@azleg.gov 303 926-5503 417-3107
John Allen 15 R jallen@azleg.gov 131 926-4916 417-3150
Doug Coleman 16 R dcoleman@azleg.gov 308 926-3160 417-3151
Kelly Townsend 16 R ktownsend@azleg.gov 342 926-4467 417-3018
Thomas Forese 17 R tforese@azleg.gov 113 926-5168 417-3021
Javan "J.D." Mesnard
Speaker Pro Tempore
17 R jmesnard@azleg.gov 220 926-4481 417-3152
Jeff Dial 18 R jdial@azleg.gov 110 926-5550 417-3120
Bob Robson 18 R brobson@azleg.gov 217 926-5549 417-3157
Lupe Chavira Contreras 19 D lcontreras@azleg.gov 325 926-5284 417-3106
Mark A. Cardenas 19 D mcardenas@azleg.gov 122 926-3014 417-3048
Paul Boyer 20 R pboyer@azleg.gov 309 926-4173 417-3153
Carl Seel 20 R cseel@azleg.gov 330 926-3018 417-3006
Rick Gray
Majority Whip
21 R rgray@azleg.gov 219 926-5993 417-3225
Debbie Lesko 21 R dlesko@azleg.gov 222 926-5413 417-3109
Phil Lovas 22 R plovas@azleg.gov 130 926-3297 417-3004
David Livingston 22 R dlivingston@azleg.gov 341 926-4178 417-3154
John Kavanagh 23 R jkavanagh@azleg.gov 114 926-5170 417-3108
Michelle Ugenti 23 R mugenti@azleg.gov 339 926-4480 417-3155
Chad Campbell
Minority Leader
24 D chcampbell@azleg.gov 320 926-3026 417-3037
Lela Alston 24 D lalston@azleg.gov 332 926-5829 417-3115
Justin Olson 25 R jolson@azleg.gov 306 926-5288 417-3161
Justin Pierce 25 R jpierce@azleg.gov 112 926-5495 417-3019
Juan Mendez 26 D jmendez@azleg.gov 120 926-4124 417-3017
Andrew Sherwood 26 D asherwood@azleg.gov 121 926-3028 417-3038
Ruben Gallego
Assistant Minority Leader
27 D rgallego@azleg.gov 321 926-3042 417-3117
Catherine H. Miranda 27 D cmiranda@azleg.gov 329 926-4893 417-3116
Kate Brophy McGee 28 R kbrophymcgee@azleg.gov 304 926-4486 417-3170
Eric Meyer 28 D emeyer@azleg.gov 334 926-3037 417-3111
Martín J. Quezada 29 D mquezada@azleg.gov 324 926-5911 417-3171
Lydia Hernández 29 D lhernandez@azleg.gov 119 926-3376 417-3176
Jonathan Larkin 30 D jlarkin@azleg.gov 124 926-5058 417-3015
Debbie McCune Davis 30 D ddavis@azleg.gov 322 926-4485 417-3014