UPDATE (11/20/2013): After passing the House with a bipartisan majority last week, HB 144 now moves onto the Senate, where it has been referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
Ohio: Ask Ohio State Senators to to Vote YES on HB 144 and NO on Taxes or Usage Bans
If enacted, this bill would:
- Ban sales of "alternative nicotine products" (e-cigarettes and e-liquid) to minors
- NOT tax these products
- NOT define these products to be "tobacco products" under Ohio law
HB 144 is a common sense bill that CASAA supports. However, it has been attacked by some members of the Ohio legislature. According to the Columbus Dispatch, an attempt was made during the committee process to amend the bill to both make e-cigarettes a tobacco product (and thus taxed as such) AND ban their usage where smoking is banned. Opponents of the bill will likely try this tactic again when the bill is up for a vote in the full Ohio House of Representatives.
Over the past year, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have been out lobbying against enactment of bills that ban e-cigarette sales to minors, and it they are trying to kill HB 144. Why? CASAA Science Director Dr. Carl Phillips took on this issue here and here, but it boils down to this -- these groups don't just want e-cigarette sales banned to minors. They want 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 accomplish this goal.
We need Ohio vapers to respectfully encourage their representative in the Ohio House of Representatives (as well as other reps in and nearby your hometown) to vote YES on HB 144. Please see the below list to find out who represents you or use this tool on the Ohio Legislature's website.
If you might be able to testify if and when the bill has a Senate hearing in Columbus, OH, please e-mail us at email@example.com. However, the most important thing for Ohio citizens to be doing right now is contacting House members and urging support of HB 144.
The below legislators need to hear from Ohio citizens who SUPPORT HB 144.
Please call or write the members of the Ohio House of Representatives below
1. Inform them you SUPPORT HB 144 because it would wisely ban sales of "alternative nicotine products" (e-cigarettes and e-liquid) to minors, but would NOT tax e-cigarettes, define them as a "tobacco product," or ban their use.
2. Tell your story about how e-cigarettes have changed your life.
3. Explain the difference between e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Note all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-cigarettes is comparable to other smokeless nicotine products, including the nicotine gum and patch.
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.
For example, a study by the Roswell Park Center that was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the levels of chemicals and toxicants in the vapor produced by 12 different e-cigarettes 9-450x less than in cigarette smoke. The trace levels of chemicals present were about comparable to what is found in a FDA-approved nicotine inhaler.
Additionally, a comprehensive review by a Drexel University professor found "no apparent concern" for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor.
4. Inform them e-cigarettes should not be associated traditional tobacco products under the law. For hundreds of thousands of American smokers, e-cigarettes have represented a way to quit smoking.
5. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
6. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.
7. Include your name and address (or at least city) so that the representatives know they are being contacted by Ohio citizens.
Members of the Ohio Senate Criminal Justice Committee
Phone calls are recommended due to the volume of e-mails representatives receive each day. Please be sure to personally contact your own Senator and ask to personally speak to him or her about this issue. Phone calls to staff members, as well as making personal contact with legislators, are
Please call the staffers for the members of the Ohio Senate Criminal Justice Committee and ask them to support HB 144, but vote NO on amendments that would tax e-cigarettes, define them as "tobacco products," or restrict their usage by adults.
Sen. John Eklund (R)
District 18: Munson Township; Geauga (part), Lake (part), Portage
Email Senator Eklund
Sen. Bill Seitz (R)
Committee Vice Chair
District 8: Cincinnati; Hamilton (part)
Email Senator Seitz
Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D)
District 33: Canfield; Columbiana, Mahoning
Email Senator Schiavoni
Sen. Jim Hughes (R)
District 16: Columbus; Franklin (part)
Email Senator Hughes
Sen. Frank LaRose (R)
District 27: Copley Township; Stark (part), Summit (part), Wayne
Email Senator LaRose
Sen. Peggy Lehner (R)
District 6 -- Kettering; Montgomery (part)
Email Senator Lehner
Sen. Larry Obhof (R)
District 22 -- Montville Township; Ashland, Holmes (part), Medina, Richland
Email Senator Obhof
Sen. Tim Schaffer (R)
District 31 -- Lancaster; Coshocton, Holmes (part), Licking, Perry, Tuscarawas
Email Senator Schaffer
Sen. Michael J. Skindell (D)
District 23 -- Cleveland; Cuyahoga (part)
Email Senator Skindell
Sen. Shirley A. Smith (D)
District 21 -- Cleveland Cuyahoga (part)
Email Senator Smith
UPDATE (11/17/2013): On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed HB 144 with a bipartisan majority (news story). This came despite senseless opposition from the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society, both of whom pushed for amendments that would tax e-cigarettes the same as cigarettes AND ban usage where smoking is banned.
HB 144 still needs to pass the Ohio Senate to become law. This Call to Action will be updated when the bill is assigned to a committee in the Senate.