Nebraska: SUPPORT Banning E-Cigarette Sales to Minors & Tell Your E-Cigarette Success Story
According to a recent report in the Lincoln Journal Star, lawmakers on the Nebraska Legislature's interim General Affairs Committee will be meeting on October 4, 2013 to discuss whether Nebraska should ban e-cigarette sales to minors, and if so, how the Legislature may wish to accomplish this goal. CASAA is requesting its members in Nebraska attend and speak at this meeting. This is a great opportunity to educate lawmakers, encourage rational policy that benefits public health, and possibly achieve local media attention that will bring attention to the benefits of vaping.
The October 4th meeting of the General Affairs Committee will begin at 1:30 pm in Room 1510 of the State Capital Building (1445 K St.) in Lincoln. Public comment of approximately 5 minutes will be permitted, but those wishing to speak for even 30 seconds are encouraged to attend. While the hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm, it might take between 1 and 2 hours for the e-cigarette issue to be discussed. Please keep this in mind and be patient. Upon arrival, be sure to ask for a speaker card (you can sign up to speak after 1:30 pm, but try to be on time).
CASAA strongly supports banning e-cigarette sales to minors. Unfortunately, groups like the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have began coming out in opposition to bills that do not treat e-cigarettes like "tobacco products." In other words, these groups want to tax e-cigarettes and ban their use where smoking is banned, both of which would make these life saving products less attractive to adult smokers.
UPDATE (10/05/2013): CASAA is happy to report that several e-cigarette users and local store owners testified before the General Affairs Committee yesterday. News stories about the hearing can be found here and here. Nebraska citizens are encouraged to continue to send e-mails to the committee members until the committee releases a report on its recommendations (updates will be found here).
Please call or write the members of the Nebraska General Affairs Committee below:
1. Inform them you SUPPORT banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. While e-cigarettes are a far less hazardous alternative to cigarettes, it makes sense to ban the sale of products containing nicotine to those under 18. This is currently the law in 25 states.
2. However, explain that you would not support a bill that would classify e-cigarettes as "tobacco products," tax them as such, or ban their use where smoking is banned. Wyoming, Kansas, and Colorado all ban sales to minors but do not impose other burdensome regulations.
3. Tell your story about how e-cigarettes have changed your life. Did using an e-cigarette help you quit smoking? If so, what was it about the e-cigarette that helped you quit? If you use a flavor other than tobacco or menthol, tell them about why such flavors are important to smokers looking to get away from the taste of cigarette smoke.
4. Explain how the low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
5. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as CASAA's Research Library, for more information.
How to Contact the Members of the General Affairs Committee
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When writing legislators, be sure to include your city so the legislators know they are being contacted by Nebraska citizens.
Sen. Russ Karpisek (Chairperson) (District 32 -- Wilbur)
Phone: (402) 471-2711
Sen. Bob Krist (District 10 -- Omaha)
Phone: (402) 471-2718
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh (District 18 -- Omaha)
Phone: (402) 471-2618
Sen. Colby Coash (District 27 -- Lincoln)
Phone: (402) 471-2632
Sen. Dave Bloomfield (District 17 -- Hoskins)
Phone: (402) 471-2716
Sen. Jerry Johnson (District 23 -- Wahoo)
Phone: (402) 471-2719
Sen. John Murante (District 49 -- Gretna)
Phone: (402) 471-2725
Sen. Ken Schilz (District 47 -- Ogallala)
Phone: (402) 471-2616
Please cc Christina Case at firstname.lastname@example.org on all e-mails sent on this issue so that your testimony will be put on record.