Monday, September 30, 2013

Call to Action! SUPPORT Pennsylvania Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors -- SB 1055

Pennsylvania: Ask Senators to Hold a Vote on Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors -- SB 1055

 [legislative tracking + full text]

 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 Pennsylvania law 

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 appears they are trying to slow down SB 1055.  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 set the stage for this to happen in the future.

SB 1055 has been sitting in the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee for 3+ months with no movement.  We need PA vapers to respectfully encourage committee members to hold a hearing on this bill and begin to move it towards the Governor's desk.  

If you might be able to testify when the bill has a hearing in Harrisburg, PA, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org

The below legislators need to hear from Pennsylvania e-cigarette users who SUPPORT SB 1055.

Please call or write the members of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee below
 
1. Inform them you SUPPORT SB 1055 because it would wisely ban sales of "alternative nicotine products" (e-cigarettes and e-liquid) 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 there is no rational reason to oppose SB 1055.  E-cigarettes contain no tobacco and are helping hundreds of thousands quit smoking.  

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

Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee:
It is extremely important for Pennsylvania citizens to personally contact legislators on the PA Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as their own legislators in the PA Assembly and Senate, and urge them to vote YES on SB 1055. You can find out what district you are in by using the Pennsylvania Legislature's 'Find My Legislator' website.

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

Comma delimited email list for Senate Judiciary Committee:
sgreenleaf@pasen.gov, leach@pasenate.com, jrafferty@pasen.gov, jscarnati@pasen.gov, alloway@pasen.gov, jeichelberger@pasen.gov,
rvulakovich@pahousegop.com, jgordner@pasen.gov, dpileggi@pasen.gov, gyaw@pasen.gov, boscola@pasenate.com, farnese@pasenate.com, fontana@pasenate.com, stack@pasenate.com

Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R) (Chairman) (District 12 - Bucks/Montgomery)
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012
Room: 19 East Wing
Phone: (717) 787-6599
FAX: (717) 783-7328
Email: sgreenleaf@pasen.gov


Sen. Daylin Leach (D) (District 17 - Delaware/Montgomery)
Senate Box 203017
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3017
Room: 184 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-5544
FAX: (717) 705-7741
Email: leach@pasenate.com


Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. (R) (District 44 - Berks/Chester/Montgomery)
Senate Box 203044
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3044
Room: 20 East Wing
Phone: (717) 787-1398
FAX: (717) 783-4587
Email: jrafferty@pasen.gov


Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati III (R) (District 25 - Cameron, Clearfield (part), Elk,
Jefferson, Mckean, Potter, Tioga, and Warren (part))
Senate Box 203025
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3025
Room: 292 Capitol Building
Phone: (717) 787-7084
FAX: (717) 772-2755
Email: jscarnati@pasen.gov


Sen. Richard L. Alloway II (R) (District 33 - Adams, Franklin, and York (part))
Senate Box 203033
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3033
Room: 187 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-4651
FAX: (717) 772-2753
Email: alloway@pasen.gov


Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr.(R) (District 30 - Bedford, Blair, Fulton,
Huntingdon, and Mifflin (part))
Senate Box 203030
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3030
Room: 169 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-5490
FAX: (717) 783-5192
Email: jeichelberger@pasen.gov


Sen. John R. Gordner (R) (District 27 - Columbia, Dauphin/Luzerne,
Montour, Northumberland, and Snyder)
Senate Box 203027
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3027
Room: 177 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-8928
FAX: (717) 787-9715
Email: jgordner@pasen.gov


Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R) (District 9 - Chester/Delaware)
Senate Box 203009
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3009
Room: 350 Capitol Building
Phone: (717) 787-4712
FAX: (717) 783-7490
Email: dpileggi@pasen.gov


Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R) (District 40 - Allegheny/Butler)
Senate Box 203040
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3040
Room: 168 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-6538
FAX: (717) 787-8625
Email: rvulakovich@pahousegop.com


Sen. Gene Yaw (R) (District 23 - Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna/Union)
Senate Box 203023
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3023
Room: 362 Main Capitol
Phone:(717) 787-3280
FAX: (717) 772-0575
Email: gyaw@pasen.gov


Sen. Lisa M. Boscola (D) (District 18 - Lehigh/Monroe/Northampton)
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
Room: 458 Capitol Building
Phone: (717) 787-4236
FAX: (717) 783-1257
Email: boscola@pasenate.com


Sen. Lawrence M. Farnese Jr. (D) (District 1 - Philadelphia (part))
Senate Box 203001
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
Room: 543 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-5662
FAX: (717) 787-4531
Email: farnese@pasenate.com


Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D) (District 42 - Allegheny (part))
Senate Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3042
Room: 543 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-5300
FAX: (717) 772-5484
Email: fontana@pasenate.com


Michael J. Stack (D) (District 5 - Philadelphia (part))
Senate Box 203005
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3005
Room: 543 Main Capitol
Phone: (717) 787-9608
FAX: (717) 772-2162
Email: stack@pasenate.com

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hermantown bans e-cigarettes — for now

Hermantown has temporarily snuffed out the sale and use of electronic cigarettes inside public spaces while it considers a more permanent solution.

Duluth News Tribune
By Peter Passi

Hermantown has temporarily snuffed out the sale and use of electronic cigarettes inside public spaces while it considers a more permanent solution.

The impetus for a six-month moratorium on the vapor-producing devices came from Duluth, said Hermantown City Administrator John Mulder.

Earlier this month, Duluth passed a resolution subjecting the sale and use of e-cigarettes to the same regulations as the combustible tobacco products they are designed to mimic.

“Like Duluth, we had some questions about these products. Not to criticize Duluth, but instead of taking immediate action the way they did, we decided to put a six-month moratorium in place to give us time to study what we ought to do,” said Hermantown Mayor Wayne Boucher.

“We want to take the emotion out of this issue and simply weigh the facts,” he said.

The idea of a moratorium also appealed to Mulder, who said: “Instead of just reacting, we wanted to take a more thoughtful approach.”

“We’re trying to get ahead of any problems and protect people, but the question is: How do we do that without unnecessarily hurting commerce?” Boucher said.

Although of a limited duration, Hermantown’s temporary moratorium is more restrictive than Duluth’s recently adopted ordinance, which still allows shops to sell e-cigarettes but regulates where they may be used.

No public opposition has yet surfaced to the moratorium in Hermantown, according to Mulder and Boucher, who both say they are not aware of any business selling e-cigarettes in the city.

...

Gregory Conley, legislative director for Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, testified before the Duluth City Council that e-cigarette users are exposed to only 1 percent of the risk conventional smokers are.

He told councilors: “If enacted, these ordinances, as written, would not only not benefit public health but would have the perverse consequence of actually protecting cigarette markets,” he warned.

...

Read full story >

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Call to Action! Seal Beach, CA May BAN E-Cigarette Stores (UPDATED -- 10 month moratorium proposed)

UPDATED (9/25/2013): On Monday, the Seal Beach City Council voted to impose a 10 month, 15 day moratorium on the licensing of new stores wishing to sell e-cigarettes.  At the meeting, Seal Beach Director of Community Development Jim Basham expressed his hope that the new regulations for e-cigarette stores would be written and proposed would be quickly placed before the City Council.

Those in and around Seal Beach should continue to e-mail the Seal Beach City Council and encourage them to act swiftly and again permit the establishment of e-cigarette stores in the city. 


Seal Beach, California: Ordinance No. 1631-U Would Treat E-Cigarettes like Drug Paraphernalia, Ban All Future Sales Within the City


Last night (Monday, August 26, 2013), the Seal Beach City Council provisionally approved Ordinance No. 1631-U, an ordinance to impose a 45-day moratorium on the establishment of any business that intends to sell electronic cigarettes or drug paraphernalia, with the goal being to establish a moratorium that would ban e-cigarette stores for a year or longer (and possibly permanently).  This means that while a convenience store that sells cigarettes can open in Seal Beach with zero issues, no electronic cigarette store will be permitted to open. 

Policies like these are contrary to public health and the Seal Beach 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.  Moreover, the City Council needs to be told that SB 648, the bill that would have banned e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is banned in California, is dead for the 2013 legislative session, and therefore the possibility of that bill passing should not be considered.  

The Seal Beach City Council will hold a public hearing on this ordinance on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM at the City Hall Conference Room, 211 Eighth Street, in Seal Beach, California.  There will be an opportunity to make a public comment at the meeting.  

CASAA is requesting that all of its members in the Seal Beach, 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 "Seal Beach." 

Please contact the Seal Beach City Council 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 Seal Beach. 


Please contact the members of the Seal Beach City Council below

Ellery A. Deaton - Mayor Pro Tem
District One (Old Town & Surfside Colony)
Email: sealbeachdistrict1@gmail.com
Office: (562) 431-2527 Ext: 1501
Home:(562) 743-4355
Term: 2010 to 2014


David W. Sloan
District Two (Leisure World & College Park West)
Email: sloandistrict2@verizon.net
Office: (562) 431-2527 Ext: 1502
Home:(562) 431-8221
Term: 2012 to 2016


Gordon A. Shanks
District Three (Hill, Coves, Bridgeport, & Heron Pointe)
Email: gorsha@aol.com
Office: (562) 431-2527 Ext: 1503
Home:(562) 431-9501
Term: 2010 to 2014


Gary A. Miller - Mayor
District Four (College Park East & Town Center)
Email: gmiller@sealbeachca.gov
Office: (562) 431-2527 Ext: 1504
Home:N/A
Term: 2012 to 2016


Michael P. Levitt
District Five (Leisure World)
Email: mike4gail@yahoo.com
Office: (562) 431-2527 Ext: 1505
Home:(562) 596-1346
Term: 2010 to 2014


Comma delimited list: sealbeachdistrict1@gmail.com, sloandistrict2@verizon.net, gorsha@aol.com, gmiller@sealbeachca.gov, mike4gail@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

E-Cigarettes: Rush To Regulate Could Destroy Effective Alternative

Washington DC -- Last week, several organizations sent a joint letter to the President, asking him to order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promptly assert authority over all tobacco products not currently under its jurisdiction. The organizations imply that the delay is resulting in negative health consequences. However, they never mention any specific consequences, and for a good reason: They are proposing a "solution" where no problem exists. Instead, enacting regulations without sufficient scientific evidence has the potential to do a great deal of harm to public health.


The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is writing the president today to urge him to advise the FDA to take the time needed to develop science-based regulations that will serve the interests of public health. CASAA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of low-risk alternatives to smoking and to provide smokers and non-smokers alike with truthful information about such alternatives.

In 2009, four of the organizations that signed last week's letter--the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the American Heart Association--jointly pressured the FDA to remove electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from the market. The FDA tried to do so until a Federal Court Judge ruled that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated (and thus banned) as a drug unless therapeutic claims are made.

"Had these organizations succeeded in their efforts to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes in the U.S.," stated CASAA president, Elaine Keller, "hundreds of thousands of former smokers would still be lighting up. Almost all e-cigarette consumers are former smokers who tried to quit by using some or all of the products and methods these organizations tout and kept relapsing. The option to switch to a low-risk product that is a satisfying substitute for smoking has made a smoke-free life possible for those who had almost given up all hope of ever being able to quit smoking."

In their letter to the president, the organizations cite the recent report on youth use of e-cigarettes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as proof that students in grades 6 through 12 are taking up use of e-cigarettes at an alarming rate. This misrepresents the findings.

Only 2.1% of the youth had taken so much as one puff from an e-cigarette recently. As far as we know from that survey, none of them are using e-cigarettes daily, in contrast with the millions of youth who are known to smoke. The CDC did not report the daily use statistics for e-cigarettes, or even whether the e-cigarettes being tried contain nicotine.

How do these statistics compare to recent smoking of conventional cigarettes? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published, "Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Finding." According to the SAMHSA report, past month cigarette use among youths aged 12 to 17 fell from 9.1 percent in 2009 to 6.8 percent by 2012 for males and from 9.3 percent to 6.3 percent for females. Furthermore, the rate of initiation of smoking among youths in the same age group fell from 6.3 percent to 4.7 percent for males and from 6.2 percent to 4.8 percent for females.

CASAA's Scientific Director, Dr. Carl V. Phillips, pointed out, "Those who want to ban e-cigarettes make up any claim they can think of, regardless of whether there is evidence to support it. If e-cigarette use really caused kids to start smoking and there really was an alarming use of e-cigarettes by youth, we would see an increase in kids smoking, the opposite of the actual trend.

"Someone who would try an e-cigarette but would avoid smoking presumably is motivated by avoiding the risk of smoking. The only reason I can see for someone to make the unfortunate transition from e-cigarette use to smoking would be if e-cigarettes were to become less accessible or deliberately made less attractive, which, ironically, could be the result if the type of excessive regulations urged by these organizations is enacted."

The CDC provided no data to suggest that youth were using candy or fruit flavors at all, let alone that those flavors have particular appeal to youth. Yet the organizations that have been trying to stop the sale of e-cigarettes claim that pleasant flavors are a clever ploy to attract youth to use the products. They tie this claim to the CDC results even though those results are completely silent on the issue and, indeed, there are no data to support the claim at all.

It should also be noted that most adults begin using tobacco or menthol flavor e-cigarettes, trying to match the taste of their favorite brand of conventional cigarettes. Many who give up on this (usually unreachable) goal of perfectly mimicking cigarettes switch to more interesting flavors, and  soon find that they no longer enjoy tobacco and/or menthol flavors. This appears to be an important part of why so many who have transitioned completely to e-cigarettes find they have no longer have any urge to smoke, even if they eventually wean all the way off nicotine.

"A rush to regulate, without having gathered sufficient scientific data, would have a devastating impact on public health," notes CASAA President Elaine Keller. "Anything that would reduce the availability of the e-cigarettes to adults or reduce their acceptability as a replacement for smoking will cost lives, not save them."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Handling of e-cigarettes by some insurers, employers a drag for users

Pittsburg Tribune-Review
By Kari Andren

...

A preliminary analysis of e-cigarette cartridges by the FDA in 2009 indicated some contain tobacco-specific nitrosamines, known cancer-causing agents, but found the amounts were comparable to those found in products such as nicotine gum and inhalers.

But some employers haven't waited for the FDA to weigh in on e-cigarettes, which come in flavors ranging from candy corn and apple pie to juicy peach, blueberry and caramel cappuccino.

Wal-Mart, which employes about 1.3 million people nationally, has been charging tobacco users higher insurance premiums for about three years and recently added e-cigarettes to the list, said spokesman Randy Hargrove.

Employees who use tobacco products pay a higher insurance premium, but Hargrove declined to say how much more. Wal-Mart considers cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes to be tobacco products, Hargrove said.

Beginning next year, UPS will join Wal-Mart.

“I can tell you that self-identified smokers will pay an increased monthly premium beginning Jan. 31, 2014,” said UPS spokeswoman Ivette Lopez. “Nicotine e-cigarettes are considered a tobacco product for UPS.”

DEBATE OVER RISK

The move has drawn fire from some who view e-cigarettes the same as other products that help smokers break their tobacco addictions.

“(Companies) should be basing their premium for health insurance on health risks, and the health risks of inhaling tobacco smoke are fairly well known,” said Elaine Keller, president of the Springfield, Va.-based Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.

“There is absolutely no actuarial evidence that e-cigarettes raise any risks for health because they are very much like the inhalers ... (used) to wean people down off nicotine,” Keller said. “There are no known cases of cancers, lung disease, etc. from those, so there's no reason to expect it from e-cigarettes.”

...

Read full story >

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Silent War Against Retail

CSDecisions
by John Lofstock

Within the past six weeks, documents outlining New York City’s secret war against electronic tobacco were leaked to the public. The contents of the documents are hardly surprising given New York’s recent assault on items sold in convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and supermarkets.

The documents were leaked by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), an advocacy group aimed at raising awareness and protecting rights to access to reduced harm alternatives. What’s more, while tobacco and menthol flavored e-cigarettes would still be available in retail stores, all other flavored e-cigarettes could only be sold in age-restricted “tobacco bars.” Unfortunately, NYC prohibits the operation of “tobacco bars” unless they were already in operation prior to  Dec. 31, 2001.

Ignoring Research
In May, an official from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stood before the Council Health Committee and stated that it was not their intention to regulate e-cigarettes or ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Greg Conley, legislative director for Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), told me that approximately 20 e-cigarette users spoke before the Health Committee and it was strongly implied by the Council members that ordinances would be amended to protect consumer access to low-risk alternative tobacco products.

“For three months, there was silence from the Mayor’s office, Department of Health, and the City Council on the e-cigarette issue,” Conley said. “Now, with local media attention focused on the mayoral race and other issues, a new draft of the ordinances has been leaked. The new drafts completely ignore the written and verbal comments made by e-cigarette users. Worse, the new drafts absurdly claim that e-cigarette marketing is designed to deter smokers from quitting, despite the fact that clinical trial and survey data show that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.”

Conley indicated that the Bloomberg administration is banking on the City Council to “rubber stamp” his new ordinances “which would constitute a backdoor, unannounced ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and e-cigarette liquid in New York City. Banning flavored e-cigarettes will do absolutely nothing to protect public health. Indeed, considering the clear evidence that e-cigarettes are helping smokers quit or greatly reduce their cigarette consumption, restricting availability could lead less smokers to quit.”
Like Conley, convenience store industry veteran and tobacco consultant Lou Maiellano told me that New York City is simply failing to do its homework. “In light of recent research and its findings on electronic cigarettes, this proposal is simply absurd,” he said.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Call to Action: World Vaping Day is 9/19/2013!


This year, World Vaping Day falls on September 19th. There will be a week of events from Monday 16th through Sunday 22nd. The event was first held in 2012 to raise awareness about the benefits of electronic cigarettes for adult smokers.

The organizers of the event have a web site at http://www.world-vaping-day.com/. From there, you can find all sorts of ideas of how to be an advocate for electronic cigarettes as reduced harm alternatives, from helping to educate smokers to contacting legislators and government agencies to urge them to write pro-tobacco harm reduction policies.

Go to http://www.world-vaping-day.com/get-involved.html to find ideas for events and actions such as:

  • Contact your local radio station and tell them about the Day
  • Contact your local newspaper and tell them about the Day
  • Download the A5 flyer, print it, and hand it out
  • Take some flyers to your doctor’s office
  • Print the Health Info flyer and take to your doctor’s office
  • Print off some of the Drop Cards to had out
  • Take some flyers to your local pub
  • Take some flyers to your local newspaper office
  • Go to the local plaza, vape, and hand out flyers
  • Organize a vapemeet at a local pub or diner (get management permission first)
You can find great handouts to download and print on CASAA's web site at http://casaa.org/Printable_Material.html

Maybe you'll be inspired to order some of CASAA's new folded informational cards to hand out for the rest of the year and beyond: http://shop.casaa.org/CASAA-E-cigarette-Information-Cards-casaacards.htm

CASAA will also be holding an online Member Meeting on the evening of Thursday, September 19th. If you haven't attended a CASAA meeting yet, what better time than World Vaping Day! Register for the meeting at http://casaa.org/Member_Meetings.html.

CASAA member Matt A., who puts out the "Fight for your Right to Vape - Daily Action Plan" has put together his recommended list of possible actions for this week:
  • Action #1 Ask Vapers to call there congressman and Senators to make the aware of the FDA potential deeming regs. Give a link to show how to find there reps also give talking points.
  • Action #2 Copy and paste your e-cigarette testimonial story into your Congressman's email contact form.
  • Action #3 Tell your Ecig story on the American Lung Association, American Heart Association and American Cancser Society Facebook pages.
  • Action #4 Spread it Tweets for Obama and FDA Tobacco.
  • Action #5 Ask celebrity Vapors to tweet and talk about World Vaping Day. Something like "@VapingCeleb Hey did you know it's World Vaping Day? How are you Celebrating?" (Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/casaamembers/permalink/563548737016311/ )
  • Action Plan #6 Call one of these Senators (who oppose e-cigarettes) per day:  Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Find contact info: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
Aaron Frazier, an active CASAA member and director of Utah Vapers, has a web page of events in Utah for the day: http://www.utahvapers.com/WVD/wvd.html

Another CASAA member, Robin L., has started a thread on E-Cigarette-Forum.com called "World & National Vaping Day -Sept 19th- Be a part of History! This is what YOU can do."  Members there are working on ways to get the positive media attention that vaping needs, including a sample email for contacting news outlets. She wrote:
"On the 18th, I will supply the email addresses of the different new agencies that we want the emails to go to.  
The plan is to flood the media with Positive stories about how the e-cigarette has helped us quit smoking and better our life. We want to flood them on ONE day. World & National Vaping Day which is September 19th. We would like the Subject line to be as consistent throughout the emails so that it shows a unified front.  
In a sense, this is a positive peaceful protest.
The hope is to get a couple of news agencies to see that there ARE positives about the ecigs and they are worth looking into as a healthy alternative to smoking...."
Please visit the forum (it's free to join)n to find out how you can help spread the word and advocate for pro-harm reduction policies: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/general-e-smoking-discussion/466048-world-national-vaping-day-sept-19th-part-history-what-you-can-do.html

You can also find the same discussion on CASAA's Facebook group, We Are CASAA, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/casaamembers/permalink/559630960741422/

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Call to Action: Duluth, MN E-Cigarette Usage Ban (ENDED -- Ordinances Passed)

*This CTA is no longer active. Please see below for details*


[full text of Ord. 13-058-0] [full text Ord. 13-059-0] [full text Ord. 13-060-0]

If enacted, these ordinances would:
  • Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is banned in Duluth, including in outdoor areas (Ord. 13-059-0)
  • Prohibit the use of of e-cigarettes in an e-cigarette brick & mortar store (Ord. 13-059-0)
  • Require a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes (Ord. 13-060-0)
  • Ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors (although Minnesota law already bans such sales) (Ord 13-060-0)
UPDATE (9/15/2013): Unfortunately, on September 9th the Duluth City Council voted to pass the three ordinances.  As a result, e-cigarette use is now banned in all places smoking is banned in Duluth, including in e-cigarette stores.

CASAA Legislative Director Gregory Conley flew into Duluth and testified at the September 5th hearing.  CASAA's campaign was featured on FOX 21 and Minnesota Public Radio, as well as in the Minneapolis Star Tribune,  the Duluth News Tribune, and Minnesota Watchdog. CASAA would like to issue a special thanks to members of the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group for providing transportation to and from the airport and attending the hearing.  
UPDATE (8/27/2013): Last night the Duluth City Council had a first reading of the e-cigarette ordinances.  As reported by the Duluth News Tribune, Councilwoman Jennifer Julsrud and a representative from the American Lung Association contended that banning e-cigarette use would be a positive for public health.  According to one attendee, Councilwoman Julsrud justified banning e-cigarette use in e-cigarette stores by claiming that e-cigarette lounges are merely an excuse for people to sit around and inhale nicotine.

It is imperative that harm reduction advocates attend and testify in opposition to these ordinances at the City Council's Agenda Session next Thursday, September 5th at 5:15 pm at Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall 411 West First Street, Duluth, Minnesota.  The final reading, and likely a vote, on the ordinances will be held on Monday, September 9th.

If you can attend the September 5th meeting, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org with the subject line, "Duluth Testimony." 
 

Please call or write the members of the Duluth City Council listed below.

What to say:
1. You would like them to amend Ord. 13-060-0 to ONLY ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3. Explain how smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of  secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been shown to cause harm to  bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health  risks associated with e-cigarettes is comparable to other smokeless  nicotine products.

The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, 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 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.

4. Detail how electronic cigarette use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette, from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor ("stealth vaping").  With so little evidence of use, enforcing indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.

5. If you are a Minnesota resident and currently vape in public, talk about your experience.  Do businesses you frequent allow you to vape?  What about your office? Be sure to include your address and full name.

6. Inform them that the ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch. Surveys of thousands of users indicate that the majority of those who switch, completely replace tobacco cigarettes with the electronic cigarettes, reducing their health risks by 98-99%.

7. Tell them how important it is that smokers be allowed to try out e-cigarettes before they purchase them, so banning sampling in e-cigarette stores would discourage smokers from switching.

8. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

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

Duluth City Council

Sponsors: Councilors Julsrud and Krug

Jennifer Julsrud
First Council District (Precincts 1-7)
4920 Woodlawn Street
Duluth MN   55804
(218) 525-2409
E-mail: jjulsrud@duluthmn.gov

Linda Krug-2013 City Council Vice President
Councilor At Large
P.O. Box 92
Duluth  MN  55801
(218) 310-1628
E-mail: lkrug@duluthmn.gov

Patrick Boyle - 2013 City Council President
Second Council District (Precincts 8-13)
2201 East First Street
Duluth MN  55812
(218) 728-4185
E-mail: pboyle@duluthmn.gov
Committee of the Whole Chairperson

Jay Fosle
Fifth Council District (Precincts 28-34)
323-103rd Avenue West
Duluth MN   55808
(218) 626-3584
E-mail: jfosle@duluthmn.gov
Public Safety Committee Chairperson

Sharla Gardner
Third Council District (Precincts 14-20)
411 West First Street, Room 330
Duluth MN   55802
(218) 730-5353
E-mail: sgardner@duluthmn.gov
Personnel Committee Chairperson

Dan Hartman
Councilor at Large
2321 East Eighth Street
Duluth MN  55812
(218) 310-5356
E-mail: dhartman@duluthmn.gov

Garry Krause
Fourth Council District (Precincts 21-27)
1220 Stanford Avenue
Duluth MN   55811
(218) 727-2790
E-mail: gkrause@duluthmn.gov

Emily Larson
Councilor At Large
1331 East 11th Street
Duluth  MN  55805
(218) 730-5352
E-mail:  elarson@duluthmn.gov

Jim Stauber
Councilor at Large
130 Carlisle Avenue
Duluth MN  55803
(218) 724-1768
E-mail: jstauber@duluthmn.gov

Comma deliminated list: jjulsrud@duluthmn.gov, lkrug@duluthmn.gov, pboyle@duluthmn.gov, jfosle@duluthmn.gov, sgardner@duluthmn.gov, dhartman@duluthmn.gov, gkrause@duluthmn.gov, elarson@duluthmn.gov, jstauber@duluthmn.gov

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Health official: e-cig use doubles among kids

The Tampa Tribune - Highlands Today
Gary Pinnell

...
The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling," Frieden said. "Nicotine is highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to stuggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."

However, Gregory Conley found Frieden's statement to be disingenuous. Those teens in the survey admitted to trying e-cigs, not to using every day.

"That's the true hallmark of addiction. It's extremely misleading, and it's done in a political way, to get the FDA to issue harsh regulations," said Conley, legislative director, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives.

"About 90 percent of all smokers begin as teenagers," said Dr. Tim McAfee, the CDC's director of the Office on Smoking and Health. "We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product."

So far, neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulates e-cigarettes. Nor does the state of Florida. Twenty states have banned e-cigarette sales to minors.

Conley advocates banning e-cigarette sales to minors, however. "That has been our goal."

There's no evidence, Conley cited expert and academic studies, that e-vapor is harmful. Even if e-vapor contains nicotine, he pointed out that nicotine - while addictive - isn't a carcinogen. That's why the FDA allows nicotine gum and nicotine patches.

...

Read full story >

Friday, September 6, 2013

Middle Schoolers Are Smoking Electronic Cigarettes

Broward Palm Beach New Times
Deirdra Funcheon

Yesterday, the American Lung Association warned that middle and high school children are smoking electronic cigarettes at a "troubling" rate.

Data released from the Centers for Disease Control shows that between 2011-2012, the number of 6-12th graders reporting having ever used an e-cigarette more than doubled -- from 3.3 percent to 6.8 percent. Use of e-cigs among 6-12 year olds increased from 1.1 percent to 2.1 percent. (Six-year-olds???!!!) Twenty percent of the middle schoolers who admitted smoking e-cigs said they had never smoked a traditional cigarette, compared to 7.2 percent of high school students.

...

A group called the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association has argued that fears about electronic cigarettes are largely overblown. The group lobbies to keep them legal and readily available, at least for adults, because they are a great tool for weaning people off deadly conventional cigarettes.

That group's president, Elaine Keller, says that the CDC's news about kids trying e-cigs is alarmist -- but CASAA is in favor of laws that prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors anyway.

The group's legislative director Greg Conley released a statement:

Three habit descriptors are typically surveyed when asking about tobacco or drug use -- ever use, past 30 day use, and daily use. It is daily use that is clearly correlated with youth continuing to use the products rather than just experimenting a few times. Real public health practitioners and policymakers should not allow experimentation by youth to cloud their judgment about the great health benefits experienced by adult smokers who switch to e-cigarettes.

State lawmakers should continue to pass and enforce bills banning e-cigarette sales to minors, but should resist calls by misguided organizations to enact further restrictions on these life-saving products.
Keller said the FDA's draft industry regulations are now expected in October.
Of course, any new technology can spur unforeseen consequences. Some experimenters have discovered that electronic cigarettes are a creative new way to smoke hash oil. And authorities from high schools in California -- where medicinal marijuana is legal -- have warned that e-cigs' smokeless technology makes it easy for teenagers there to smoke hash oil in class when the teacher's back is turned.

The Lung Association isn't saying anything about that so far. (And Keller says that you'd need special equipment to smoke hash from an electronic cigarette anyway, because it gums up the parts.)

Read full article >

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

CASAA gives presentation in FDA 'Listening Session'

Dr. Carl V Phillips
CASAA Scientific Director

Rockville, MD -- On August 26, 2013, CASAA had the opportunity to have a "Listening Session" with policy staff from the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).  CASAA directors Elaine Keller, Carl V Phillips, Ronald A Ward, and Julie Woessner gave a presentation and answered questions for little over an hour.

Listening Sessions are an opportunity for stakeholders and others to communicate their views to FDA staff.  They primarily consist of one-way communication, though the staff typically ask questions.  They do not, however, answer questions or provide direct feedback, which would be inappropriate for government decisions-makers to do in a private meeting (consider what would happen if they gave information to a company and not its competitors).  Moreover, the participants are asked not to disclose information about the FDA's questions or any suggestions about the implications of their reactions.  Without such an agreement, FDA would not be able have sessions like this for obvious reasons.

CASAA focused on two messages:  (1) Consumers are the primary stakeholders in discussions of tobacco harm reduction (THR) and need a formal seat at the table, which they do not currently have.  (2) Specific insights we could offer about THR consumer preferences and behavior and the implications of these for making good and avoiding bad regulation.  CASAA advocates for consumers and potential consumers of all smoke-free alternativers, but the presentation was focused on e-cigarettes because regulation of this category is currently most in play.

We pointed out that formal consumer representation is mandatory in other health regulatory processes (patient group representatives, etc.), and the "nothing about us without us" principle has been accepted by the FDA for decades.  And yet, consumers' only voice in the CTP process is via mass protest, which is not terribly efficient and not enough.  The supposed consumer representatives are actually tobacco control special interests whose interests are actually diametrically opposed to those of consumers.  We pointed out that a formalized seat at the table allows effective two-way communication and is in everyone's best interest.  The alternative, with the consumer voice being entirely in the form of mass protest and everything that comes with it, makes it difficult to make good regulations and is more costly to the FDA.

We argued that we and most consumers see proper regulation of smoke-free alternatives as more similar to that for foods and cosmetics (which FDA also regulates) than drugs.  Consumers appreciate having an invisible regulatory process that ensures universal and accurate labeling of contents, along with the quality control needed to ensure general safety.  But once that is in place, individual consumers are the best judge of whether to consume the product, how much, and what particular varieties.

We pointed out the counter-productivity (in terms of serving the citizens they are supposed to be benefiting, including consumer benefits of public health) of restrictions on flavors or nicotine strengths.  In particular, we emphasized that any regulation that was (or appears) intentionally designed to lower the quality of the products in order to discourage use (a description of such policies as banning menthol in cigarettes) is inappropriate for low-risk alternatives and would likely lead to massive protest and organized resistance.

In terms of specific points about consumers, we emphasized the vapers are very motivated, and why and how this translates into mass political mobilization.  We explained how many e-cigarette users find "cig-a-likes" unsatisfying in terms of flavor, delivery, or purchase price.  Thus someone who does not have access to other products (or does not know their advantages) faces a major barrier to completely quitting smoking.  In particular, we emphasized that appealing flavors were the difference between continuing to smoke and quitting for many switchers (and, of course, that flavors appeal to adults, and there is not a shred of evidence they are attracting children to e-cigarettes).  Similarly, adequate delivery (in terms of not just nicotine concentration, but also sufficient batteries) is important.

We pointed out the importance of the internet in giving consumers – most of who are not near an e-cigarette specialty store – access to better quality products.  As an aside, we pointed out that any regulations that favored low-quality devices over better ones, as well as imposed onerous mandatory requirements, would favor the cigarette companies' products – both their cigarettes, by making the alternative less appealing, and their e-cigarettes because they would be best able to comply with the regulations.

We addressed the common rhetorical point about "dual use" (and the related point about "gateway" effects) by reframing them more usefully as "transition."  We pointed out that there was nothing inherently harmful about dual use, of course, and that FDA officially agrees.  But we emphasized that anyone who is using e-cigarettes but still smoking should be thought of as one of the many switchers who used both for a while before quitting smoking.  With that, we could emphasize that making sure people have access to better e-cigarettes, as well as better communicating the comparative risks, is the key to helping complete the transition (and to ensure that no one makes the mistake of transitioning in the wrong direction).

 We have every reason to believe that the FDA was interested in what we had to say and paid attention.  Their questions focused on what we presented.  We, of course, know nothing about how seriously they will take it.  We remain guardedly optimistic.  However, we believe we presented the best possible case for giving consumers a formal seat at the table.  If they do not move forward to making that happen, we can safely conclude that they are actively refusing to provide such a seat, in which case we will know that we need to fully mobilize for fighting from the grassroots level and pull out all the stops.

(Note: The FDA has stated its intent to issue its proposed "deeming regulations" for electronic cigarettes sometime in October 2013. After reviewing the proposed regulations, CASAA will issue a Call to Action, as needed. Please watch for future updates on this blog or via your email, if you are a registered CASAA member.)