Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not ready to Smokeout? Switching products is as good as quitting

WASHINGTONNov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has good news for the smokers who have tried repeatedly to quit over the past 36 years during the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, but keep relapsing: For those smokers who don't even try to quit during the annual event, there are other life-saving options.
To smokers who are happy quitting tobacco and nicotine entirely, we wish you the best of luck doing so on the day of the Smokeout or any day. But we know that this option does not work for everyone. Fortunately, there are other choices.
Many people mistakenly believe that nicotine is the cause of smoking-related lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. However, the fact is that these diseases are caused by the tar, carbon monoxide, and thousands of chemicals of burning the tobacco. Non-combustion sources of nicotine such as smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes pose an estimated 1% of the risk of smoking.
CASAA's Legislative Director, Julie Woessner points out, "Even with all of these efforts to get smokers to quit, nearly one in five Americans still smoke and 30% of them won't even attempt to quit this year. That's millions of smokers who are left with the message that they have no choice but to die from smoking-related diseases. The ACS Great American Smokeout does smokers a grave disservice by failing to inform them that switching to a low-risk source of nicotine can reduce their health risks by an estimated 99% as compared to smoking. In other words, switching to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or smokeless tobacco can achieve basically the same health benefits as quitting entirely - and switching is far more likely to last a lot longer than a one-day quit attempt."
"Smoking cessation that is achieved by weaning people off nicotine often turns out to be a temporary solution to a permanent problem," says CASAA President, Elaine Keller. "Nicotine provides beneficial effects such improvements in attention, memory, and concentration, as well as relieving some of the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson's Disease, and even ulcerative colitis."
CASAA's Scientific Director Dr. Carl V. Phillips has been researching alternatives to smoking for more than a decade, and points out that many smokers suffer greatly if forced to give up nicotine's beneficial effects. Relapse often occurs when a former smoker is faced with some situation that is mentally or emotionally challenging, and the absence of nicotine is more keenly experienced. "For many," Dr. Phillips suggests, "a superior option is to switch to a low-risk source of nicotine on a permanent basis. It is far healthier than repeatedly relapsing since smoking for just a couple of months is more harmful than a lifetime of using a smoke-free alternative."
CASAA recommends smokers who continue to have trouble quitting, or do not intend to quit but are concerned about their health risks, to consider switching to a smoke-free alternative. The organization provides smokers with information about alternative products and tobacco harm reduction on its website at casaa.org.
SOURCE Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association


RELATED LINKS
http://www.casaa.org

CASAA Director moves on to consulting, advisor

After 3 years of extraordinary service on behalf of consumers, CASAA Legislative Director Gregory Conley has stepped down from our Board of Directors to embark on a new venture.  Greg has started a consulting organization for the purpose of assisting those in the e-cigarette industry with responding to legislative matters.

Gregory will serve as a valued CASAA Advisor, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and his new organization on matters where interests of consumers and vendors coincide.   We hope the entire membership will join us in thanking Greg for his hard work on our behalf and wishing him the best with his new business.

CASAA will continue its legislative advocacy on behalf of consumers with CASAA’s Julie Woessner serving as Legislative Director.   Julie, a retired attorney, has been a tobacco harm advocate since she first switched to e-cigarettes from smoking nearly five years ago.  She has been actively involved in CASAA since its inception and joined its Board of Directors in 2012.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Call to Action: SUPPORT Ohio Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors -- HB 144 (UPDATED -- Now in Senate) (CONCLUDED)

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

 [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 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 board@casaa.org. 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)
Committee Chairman
District 18: Munson Township; Geauga (part), Lake (part), Portage
(614) 644-7718
Email Senator Eklund

Sen. Bill Seitz (R) 

Committee Vice Chair 
District 8: Cincinnati; Hamilton (part)
(614) 466-8068
Email Senator Seitz


Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D) 

District 33: Canfield; Columbiana, Mahoning
(614) 466-8285
Email Senator Schiavoni

Sen. Jim Hughes (R) 

District 16: Columbus; Franklin (part)
(614) 466-5981
Email Senator Hughes

Sen. Frank LaRose (R) 

District 27: Copley Township; Stark (part), Summit (part), Wayne
(614) 466-4823
Email Senator LaRose

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R) 

District 6 -- Kettering; Montgomery (part)
(614) 466-4538
Email Senator Lehner

Sen. Larry Obhof (R)

District 22 -- Montville Township; Ashland, Holmes (part), Medina, Richland
(614) 466-7505
Email Senator Obhof

Sen. Tim Schaffer (R) 

District 31 -- Lancaster; Coshocton, Holmes (part), Licking, Perry, Tuscarawas
(614) 466-5838
Email Senator Schaffer 


Sen. Michael J. Skindell (D) 
District 23 -- Cleveland; Cuyahoga (part)
(614) 466-5123
Email Senator Skindell

Sen. Shirley A. Smith (D) 

District 21 -- Cleveland Cuyahoga (part)
(614) 466-4857
Email Senator Smith



PAST UPDATES
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.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Call to Action! New York City Ordinances Would BAN Flavored E-Cigarettes And More -- Int 1020 & Int 1021 (ENDED)

LATEST UPDATE (11/20/2013): THIS CALL TO ACTION HAS ENDED

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law two tobacco ordinances.  CASAA is pleased to announce that the City Council did not move forward with provisions of the original ordinances that would have: enacted a de facto ban on e-cigarette flavors; defined e-cigarettes as "tobacco products"; required a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes; banned price discounts and coupons for e-cigarettes;  require a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes; and banned the display of all smoke-free alternatives. 

In the end, the only portion of the two Bloomberg bills that impacted e-cigarettes was that the age of purchase was moved from 18 to 21.  

CASAA would like to thank all the vapers who attended May's hearing, as well as the hundreds or thousands who sent e-mails or made phone calls to the members of the Health Committee. 


New York City: Ordinances to BAN Flavored E-Cigarettes, Define E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Products, Require Tobacco Licensing, and BAN the Public Display of E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco (Int 1020-2013 & Int 1021-2013)


[legislative tracking for 1020-2013]
[legislative tracking for 1021-2013
[full text of all ordinances]

If enacted, these ordinances would:
  •  Redefine "tobacco products" under New York City law to include e-cigarettes and related components, parts, and accessories (both ordinances)
  • Ban the display of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in retail stores (Int 1020-2013)
  • BAN the sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquid in flavors other than tobacco, menthol, mint and wintergreen in areas other than an age-restricted "tobacco bar." New York City law prohibits "tobacco bars" that were not open in 2001, and thus even an e-cigarette store in New York City would be prohibited from selling flavored e-cigarettes! (Int 1021-2013)
  • Ban coupons for e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco 
New York City Residents:  We recommend that in addition to contacting the members of the Health Committee that you also contact your own representative in the New York City Council.  Click here to find out who represents you. 

NYC and Nearby Residents: Please Contact the Members of the New York City Health Committee Below

1. Please reject Int 1020-2013 and Int 1021-2013 because it would redefine "tobacco products" under New York City law to include smoke-free electronic cigarettes. 

2. Explain that if the New York City Council wishes to regulate e-cigarettes, it should be done through a standalone ordinance.  As is, there has been zero media coverage of the fact that these ordinances would ban sales of certain electronic cigarettes.  This is an end runaround the legislative process.

3. If you use e-liquid that has a pleasant flavor added (such as fruit, candy, beverage), tell the members of the Health Committee that this has helped you quit smoking and describe how.  Further explain that a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health could not find a single nonsmoking youth who had tried an electronic cigarette, let alone a flavored electronic cigarette. 

4. Explain that the electronic cigarettes are far less harmful than cigarettes, and that many former adult smokers have quit smoking by switching to less harmful alternatives, including products that contain flavors.  These ordinances would harm public health by discouraging smokers from switching.

5. Note that e-cigarettes are NOT traditional tobacco products, and that the licensing laws of New York City are not appropriate for the sale of a product like e-cigarettes.

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

Members of the New York City Health Committee

Comma delimited email list: 
mathieu.eugene@council.nyc.gov, albert.vann@council.nyc.gov, jotero@council.nyc.gov, helen.foster@council.nyc.gov, joel.rivera@council.nyc.gov, rosie.mendez@council.nyc.gov, jferreras@council.nyc.gov, peter.vallonejr@council.nyc.gov, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov, drose@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Mathieu Eugene (District 40) (D - Brooklyn)
212-788-7352
Mathieu.eugene@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Albert Vann (District 36) (D - Brooklyn)
212-788-7354
albert.vann@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Maria Del Carmen Arroyo (District 17) (D - Bronx)
212-788-7397
jotero@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Helen D. Foster (District 16) (D - Bronx)
212-788-6856
helen.foster@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Joel Rivera (District 15) (D - Bronx)
212-788-6966
joel.rivera@council.nyc.gov 

Hon. Inez E. Dickins (District 9) (D - Manhattan)
212-678-4505
[no e-mail address available -- please call]  

Hon. Rosie Mendez (District 2) (D - Manhattan)
212-677-1077
rosie.mendez@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Julissa Ferreras (District 21) (D - Queens)
212-788-6862
jferreras@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Peter F. Vallone, Jr. (District 22) (D - Queens)
212-788-6963
peter.vallonejr@council.nyc.gov

Hon. James G. Van Bramer (District 26) (D - Queens)
212-788-7370
jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov

Hon. Deborah L. Rose (District 49) (D - Staten Island)
212-788-6972
drose@Council.nyc.gov

PAST UPDATES ON THESE ORDINANCES


LATEST UPDATE (10/23/2013): CASAA has received word that the New York City Health Committee could vote on these ordinances in the very near future, with a possible target date of Wednesday, October 30th.  It is imperative that vapers in and around NYC drive phone calls and e-mails to the offices of the New York City Council members in opposition to not just the flavor ban, but also other nonsensical approaches like banning the display of e-cigarettes in retail outlets.

UPDATE (9/25/2013): These ordinances have yet to be scheduled for a vote.  Vapers should continue to contact the City Council members to express their opposition to these ordinances as proposed by the Bloomberg Administration.


UPDATE (8/10/2013): CASAA would like to thank journalist Christopher Robbins for exposing this backdoor ban attempt on the Gothamist. From there, numerous outlets picked up the story, including Fox News, New York Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Week / Yahoo, Convenience Store Decisions (with comments by CASAA's Gregory Conley), and others.  Dr. Michael Siegel also wrote about this ban attempt on his blog.


UPDATE (8/7/2013): CASAA and NYC vapers had previously been led to believe that the Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be putting forward amendments to their proposed tobacco bills to ensure that e-cigarettes would not be treated the same as deadly tobacco cigarettes. 

CASAA has just learned that the Department of Health completely disregarded the concerns of vapers.  An updated ordinance was leaked to CASAA and no substantive changes have been made.  Indeed, the ordinance is actually worse than it was before, as the sponsors added language that absurdly claims that e-cigarettes are designed to DETER smokers from quitting. 

This move comes after a May 2, 2013 meeting of the NYC Committee on Health, during which a representative from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stated that the Department had no intention of trying to regulate e-cigarettes.  

The next meeting of the NYC Council Committee on Health is not currently scheduled. We will update as we learn more.  

Immediate action is needed to stop these ordinances from becoming law and harming public health. Please see below on how to help.  



Testimony from vapers, including CASAA Legislative Director Gregory Conley, before the Health Committee of the New York City Council