Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Call to Action: Ask Your Legislators to Support a Change to the Tobacco Control Act

(Update - 05.15.15)

Thanks to the efforts of advocates around the country and some very dedicated vapers in Oklahoma, a bill (HR 2058) has been introduced in the US Congress that would amend the Food, Drug, & Cosmetics Act to change the grandfather date for "deemed tobacco products" to something more current than February 2007.  This move would prevent the total destruction of the vapor industry by allowing many of the products we use to stay on the market.


  • You can read more detail and take action here.


Thank you!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Call to Action! Wauwatosa, Wisconsin E-cigarette Use Ban! (CONCLUDED)

(Note: this is a reposting of a Call to Action created by the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition)

UPDATE 12/11/2014

Note from WSAC:
"Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin and Minnesota advocates and CASAA, the Wauwatosa City Council has decided not to include vapor products in the City's smoking ordinance at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert Wisconsin residents if there is any further action taken. If you are a Wisconsin vaper, smoke-free user or THR advocate, please consider joining WSAC to get involved in local advocacy efforts. You can find us on Facebook or at http://wsac4wi.wordpress.com"

Wauwatosa Health Officer Nancy Kreuser is urging the city to pass an ordinance that would prohibit smoking with electronic devices in public places, and also prohibit the sale of such devices to minors. The State of Wisconsin already prohibits the sale of nicotine products to minors, however, WSAC does not oppose also prohibiting the sale of devices to minors.

The Community Development Committee considered Kreuser's proposed ordinance Nov. 25, and voted 3-3 on a recommendation to approve it. That meant it got introduced to the Common Council Dec. 2, but it will go back to the committee, likely December 9, 2014.

Location:   City of Wauwatosa
                  7725 W. North Avenue
                  Wauwatosa, WI  53213
Where:   Committee Room #1  
When: Second and last Tuesday of each month
Time: 7:00 pm

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.


ADVOCACY SUGGESTIONS

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Step in the Right Direction: House Leadership Calls for a Change in the Grandfather Date for the Tobacco Control Act.


Just before Thanksgiving, Rep. John Boehner (House Speaker), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (House Majority Leader), and Rep. Fred Upton (Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee) cosigned a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell. The full text of this appears below. In this letter they asked the FDA to consider changing the February 15, 2007 grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products. They go on to suggest that the grandfather date be moved, perhaps to April 25, 2014, the day that FDA’s proposed regulations were submitted, or to a future date when the regulations are finalized.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CASAA Comment to FDA regarding Swedish Match's Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) Applications



To:       U.S. Food and Drug Administration

From:  Carl V Phillips, PhD
            Chief Scientific Officer
            The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA)
            cphillips@casaa.org

25 November 2014

VIA regulations.gov
Comment Tracking Number: 1jy-8fp5-yhfe



Re:     CASAA comments on Swedish Match MRTP application
           (Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051)


1.      Introduction

This comment on Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051, Swedish Match’s (SM’s) Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application is submitted on behalf of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). CASAA is a public health and education NGO. It is a 501(c)4 nonprofit membership organization that serves as the leading representative of consumers who use or might in the future use smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products. CASAA is not an industry group and does not represent the interests of industry. CASAA did not confer with Swedish Match or other industry representatives when creating this comment.

First, we wish to note that we heartily endorse the acceptance of SM’s application. It would benefit the public, who FDA and the rest of our government are charged with operating on behalf of, particularly by improving the public’s overall health. It would reduce a persistent problem of the government grossly misrepresenting risks to the public about this category of products. We can see no apparent downside for consumers or society as a whole in FDA granting SM’s application. The only apparent downsides are for two special interest groups: those who wish to keep consumers smoking because they have a financial interest in cigarette sales, or those who are pursuing tobacco prohibition and know that those goals will be unattainable if consumers have accurate information about low-risk products.

There is little chance we could add any research material to SM’s encyclopedic application, and so we will not attempt to do so. Instead we will highlight some key summary points and address some public-interest and ethical issues that fall outside of what SM emphasized in their application.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Call to Action! Madison Wisconsin E-cigarette Use Ban (CONCLUDED)

UPDATE 1/7/15: 
Madison City Council voted to include e-cigarettes in Madison's smoking ban, although an exemption is provided that continues to allow sales and sampling in shops.

This Call to Action will be updated as we receive more information about upcoming meetings and public hearings.

UPDATE 12/11/2014
The Board of Health is recomending the ordinance to the city council. The Board of Park Commissioners declined the changes.

The ordinance now goes back to the city council for a final vote, most likely at the next meeting on January 6, 2015 at 6:30 PM.

Please check back frequently for updates and join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition on Facebook!

URGENT UPDATE 12/10/2014
Next Madison-Dane County Board of Health meeting has been pushed up to December 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM at Madison Water Utility 119 E. Olin Ave., Conf. Rm. A and B.

The agenda has been posted here: Board of Health Meeting Agenda and e-cigarettes are agenda item #9, but public comment period is near the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is open to the public, however the Board requests commentrs be limited to 5 minutes each.

UPDATE 11/24/14
Next Board of Parks Commissioners meeting is December 10, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center: 1625 Northport Dr, Madison, WI 53704

The ordinance is listed for discussion on the agenda: Click here to view

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.

The City of Madison is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The justification written into the proposed law makes misleading, false and/or unproven scientific claims about "ultra-fine particles" and "volitile organic compounds."

The first reading was on November 18, 2014 and has been referred to the Board of Park Commissioners and the Madison-Dane Board of Health .

This ordinance will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in all places where conventional smoking is prohibited. This includes businesses that wish to cater to e-cigarette consumers and retailers that need to allow customers to try samples. The same proposed ordinance also extends the prohibited areas to include Madison parks and beaches, which would also apply to vaping.

Because 10 alders have sponsored this ordinance (see sponsor list below), they only need just one more vote for this ordinance to pass. We strongly recommend members first focus efforts contacting the lawmakers who are not already on board with this proposal, to convince them not to vote in favor. However, be sure to also contact the sponsors to let them know how you disapprove of their decision to support this ordinance.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CASAA Makes a Donation to Help Preserve Consumer Access to E-Cigarettes in Western Australia



Consumers in Western Australia are facing a particularly difficult situation now that the Supreme Court of Western Australia has ruled that the sale of e-cigarettes violates the provisions of Section 106a of the Tobacco Products Control Act, an act designed to outlaw the sale of candy cigarettes. Even more inexplicable, the devices that were the subject of the legal action were not cigalikes and did not contain nicotine.
To help preserve consumer access to e-cigarettes in Western Australia, CASAA has made a donation of $500 to help fund the legal battle to keep e-cigarettes available to consumers in Western Australia.
While CASAA is a U.S. organization, we recognize that we are a part of a global community. We remain focused on our U.S. efforts, but we realize the importance of established organizations reaching out to assist with efforts in other countries when we can help make a difference.

The following website provides details about not only the court action, but also information about the trust fund and safeguards put in place to protect contributions towards this effort: http://www.gofundme.com/Ecigs-Our-Right-to-Choose

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Call to Action Baltimore, MD - Indoor Use Ban

A second hearing was held this week on Wednesday, 11/5.  It is our understanding that an amendment to the bill has been submitted and recommended favorably by the committee that would allow the use of electronic cigarettes in dedicated vapor retail shops.  The proposed amendment also stipulates that restaurants and bars would be able to allow vaping inside as long as proper signage is displayed informing patrons that e-cigarettes may be in use on the property.
While the amended version is obviously better than the original (which would have banned e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited and which original version is still possibly under consideration by the City Council), it should be pointed out that the proposed ordinance (as amended) would unjustifiably prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in thousands of other workplaces and indoor areas within Baltimore City.
A “Second Reader” has been scheduled for Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 5:00 PM before the full city council.  The hearing will be held in the Du Burns Council Chamber, 4th floor, City Hall.  We encourage you to continue participating in the legislative process by contacting your officials and voicing your opinion on this ordinance (and the amendment).  The full list of Baltimore City Councilmembers and their contact information can be found here.

Comma delimited list of the members of the Baltimore City Council:

helen.holton@baltimorecity.gov, william.welch@baltimorecity.gov, edward.reisinger@baltimorecity.gov, eric.costello@baltimorecity.gov, carl.stokes@baltimorecity.gov, warren.branch@baltimorecity.gov, marypat.clarke@baltimorecity.gov, councilpresident@baltimorecity.gov, james.kraft@baltimorecity.gov, brandon.scott@baltimorecity.gov, robert.curran@baltimorecity.gov, bill.henry@baltimorecity.gov, rochelle.spector@baltimorecity.gov, sharon.middleton@baltimorecity.gov, nick.mosby@baltimorecity.gov


Friday, October 31, 2014

How CASAA Members Can Help

Members often tell us they don't have a lot of time or money, but they want to help. The main thing CASAA needs is members getting our information out to the public and recruiting new members. Below is a list of things that only cost you a little time and effort. CASAA needs members to do these things more than ever. Without your involvement, CASAA cannot succeed!

Join CASAA

If you haven't yet, make sure you've joined CASAA by using the form at Become A Member. It's quick and it's free!

Call to Action: Philadelphia is Considering a $2.00 Tax E-Cigarettes and and $.50/ml Tax on E-Liquids

By now, every vaper in SE Pennsylvania should know about Philadelphia Councilwoman Brown’s proposal to impose a burdensome tax on vapor products. The proposal is being presented as a necessary measure to partially shore up an astonishing gap in the city’s budget for public schools. (Apparently, this is a new twist on “Think of the children.”)

Brown’s proposal, if passed, would mean a $2.00 tax on devices and $0.50/ml tax (up to $5.00) on liquids. Although some may be tempted to view this tax as a “bake sale” for public schools, at its core, the proposal is predatory and short sighted. The fact remains that Councilwoman Brown sees an opportunity to exploit an emerging market with potentially devastating consequences to consumers and businesses in Philadelphia.

Simply stated, if this proposal passes, brick and mortar shops in Philadelphia will not be able to be competitive, and Philadelphia consumers will lose a valuable resource. Local vape shops are not simply a convenience for consumers.  They provide a hub for social gatherings, expert information and help in making the transition from smoking to vaping, and a place for people to try different devices and liquids prior to purchase.




October 31, 2014:  Please note that for now, participation in this Call to Action is limited to people who have an address in Philadelphia.  We expect to expand participation to a broader geographic area next week, and will update this Call to Action when we've done so.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make Your Voice Heard: You Vape - You Vote



You Vape - You Vote!

Election day is less than a week away, and we encourage vapers everywhere to take some time to become more informed about the candidates and their positions on issues that are important to you, including stances on e-cigarettes are other low-risk alternatives to smoking. And, most importantly, make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Call to Action: New York City is Considering Banning the Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes and E-Liquids

On October 7, 2014, Councilman Constantinides introduced an ordinance that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and flavored e-liquids in the five boroughs. As is often the case, flavor bans like this are poorly researched and fail to account for the fact that practically ALL e-liquid is “flavored”. Furthermore, this ordinance fails to carve out an exemption for dedicated vapor shops, allowing sales by tobacco bars only.


In short, this would mean the end of vapor sales in New York City as we know it.  The ordinance has been referred to the Committee on Health, and it is possible (if not likely) that this proposed ordinance will be heard in committee on Thursday, October 23, 2014.  Tri-State area advocates are strongly encouraged to plan to attend. (We will update this Call to Action as additional information becomes available.)

We are asking advocates in the Tri-State area to please contact NYC council members on the Health Committee and thoughtfully express your opposition to this ordinance.


NYC residents can follow the link below to find your council members and contact them directly as well: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

Residents are encouraged to call and meet with their council members.  Please feel free to contact board@casaa.org for tips and guidence with talking to lawmakers.

Please share this Call to Action with anyone you know who lives or works in New York City.  In fact, share this with anyone you know who might feel inclined to visit the city.  

Participation in this Call to Action is NOT limited to residents of New York City, but if you are not a resident, please edit the letter to share what relationship you may have with New York City (for example, you have family or friends who live there, you plan on visiting, et cetera).

Also, please note that the CQRC campaign sometimes glitches and resets, and, if so, you may lose any edits you make to your email. If you are editing the email, you should consider editing the letter in a word processing program and then copying the final product into the CQRC program.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CASAA Welcomes Brad Rodu and Igor Burstyn to its Leadership





CASAA is delighted to announce that Professors Brad Rodu and Igor Burstyn have joined its Board of Directors. Anyone interested in CASAA will be familiar with them and their work, but by way of brief introduction:

Brad Rodu is Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He has been working on tobacco harm reduction advocacy longer than anyone else, dating back to his landmark 1994 paper in Nature, and has produced an enormous corpus of research studies and other analysis on the topic. He is widely considered the father of the tobacco harm reduction movement.

Igor Burstyn is Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Drexel University School of Public Health. He is an expert in environmental health and research methodology, and has been interested in tobacco harm reduction for almost ten years. His most notable contribution in the field was his systematic review of e-cigarette chemical exposure, which was sponsored by CASAA in 2013.

We cannot imagine better additions to the CASAA leadership than Drs. Rodu and Burstyn.

As part of this reorganization, Carl V Phillips has left the Board of Directors and now serves as CASAA’s Chief Scientific Officer (a cosmetic change of titles from “Scientific Director” to avoid confusion). Don’t worry -- Dr. Phillips’s contributions to CASAA’s work will remain almost unchanged. Upon his departure from the Board, CASAA began paying Phillips a token sum as a consultant. We felt that it was inappropriate to continue to take so much of the time of a top professional in the field without some compensation. While CASAA is unable to pay him or any other member of the leadership what they really deserve for all their hard and valuable work, this is something.

We are certain that those who remember CASAA’s modest origins are excited to see how CASAA has grown, not only in terms of its leadership, but also in terms of its membership, reach, and substantive work. The addition of these two top researchers will further enhance CASAA’s ability to advocate for THR and the consumers who depend on these potentially life-saving alternatives to smoking.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

International Call to Action! Celebrate World Vaping Day by Telling the World Health Organization How E-Cigarettes Have Changed Your Life.

Today, September 18, 2014, is World Vaping Day. We can think of no better way of celebrating World Vaping Day than by sharing our success stories with the World Health Organization (WHO).   

WHO is, to put it mildly, anti e-cigarette and has called for strict regulation of e-cigarettes, including a ban on e-cigarette use in public places. It sees e-cigarettes as challenging the core message of tobacco control and as a threat to WHO's goals of a tobacco-free world.  WHO seems willing to embrace speculative and unsubstantiated concerns about e-cigarettes (including the increasingly discredited gateway theory, namely, that e-cigarette use will lead to non-smokers starting to smoke), but fails to give any weight to the fact that an ever-increasing number of people  have quit smoking (or have substantially reduced their smoking) by using e-cigarettes.  

According to the WHO, we are anecdotes.

And so today, on World Vaping Day, we are asking vapers from across the world to join together in sending a personal message to WHO.  Tell your story and explain how e-cigarette use has changed your life.  Let them know that we are real people, not anecdotes.  (While this Call to Action is being released on World Vaping Day, it will continue indefinitely.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CASAA Comment on NIOSH Proposed Recommendations regarding Workplace Tobacco Use

On September 15, 2014, CASAA filed a comment (Tracking Number1jy-8edy-gzjb) on NIOSH proposed recommendations regarding workplace tobacco use.   The text of the proposed draft Current Intelligence Bulletin that we were commenting on can be found here.  Below is the full text of our comment.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Call to Action! Missouri: Ask Your Legislators to Override Governor Nixon's Veto of SB 841 (Ban on Sales of E-Cigarettes to Minors)


UPDATE:  9/11/14:  Missouri Call to Action successfully concluded.  Thanks to the hard work of Bistate Regional Advocates for Vaping Education (BRAVE), both the Missouri Senate and House have voted to override Governor Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 841. Missouri now joins the majority of states which ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors. 

*************

Last month, Missouri's Governor Nixon was presented with an opportunity to sign into law a common-sense bill that would (1) prohibit sales of vapor products (e-cigarettes) to minors, and (2) clarify that vapor products are not subject to the same taxation or regulation as combustible cigarettes. However, due to pressure from "public health" groups trumpeting ideology over science, Governor Nixon opted to veto SB 841. Thankfully, Missouri has a second chance to bring this bill into law with a "veto session" scheduled for September 10th, 2014.

Missouri vapers need to act NOW to urge their legislators to overturn Governor Nixon's veto of SB 841.  

While SB 841 enjoyed strong bipartisan support when it was passed earlier this year, e-cigarette opponents are pressuring legislators to not challenge Governor Nixon's veto. Their intention is to push for stronger legislation next year that would tax e-cigarettes like combustible cigarettes and ban their use in public places.  They feel that if sales to minors are banned now, that will make it more difficult for them to pursue their anti-e-cigarette agenda next session.  Meanwhile, they appear content to allow Missouri children to continue to purchase e-cigarettes (while at the same time demanding that e-cigarettes be regulated to protect the children).

FIRST, CASAA has issued a new CQ Roll Call Campaign for Missouri vapers to express their views.  CQ Roll Call allows you to send an email directly to the legislators who are in your district.  The following link will take you to the campaign:




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New claims that e-cigarettes are a gateway to cocaine use are junk science



BALTIMORE, Sept. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study released today by the New England Journal of Medicine is claimed by the authors and the journal to suggest that e-cigarette use could cause cocaine use. In reality, the study shows no such thing, and the authors and journal are just trying to score political points based on an unimportant technical study of mice with no real-world implications. The study results only suggest that mice dosed with nicotine one day react differently, biologically, to cocaine the next day compared to those who are not. They do not suggest that nicotine use will cause people to seek out or use cocaine.

Carl V. Phillips, PhD, Scientific Director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), observes, "This study tells us little about human biology and nothing at all about real-world human behavior. It does not even measure mouse behavior. The study provides no evidence there is a gateway effect, and there is no reason to believe there is one. Even if there were, this would merely offer one hypothesis about why it happens, and tell us nothing about the real world."

The study, "A molecular basis for nicotine as a gateway drug" by Eric R. Kandel and Denise B. Kandel, looks at changes in the brain chemistry of mice administered artificial doses of drugs under artificial conditions. Even if the study is accurate in itself, it does not provide any information about gateway effects, let alone e-cigarettes specifically. But the authors add an unsupported and alarmist discussion about e-cigarettes to what is otherwise a standard technical paper.

The press release takes the claims even further, misleadingly implying that the study shows e-cigarettes will cause people to use dangerous drugs.

David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London, told an online discussion group of independent tobacco scientists, "This is another example of journal press offices making routine studies 'news' by distorting the data interpretation."

In the journal press release, the authors are quoted as saying "E-cigarettes may be a gateway to both combustible cigarettes and illicit drugs. Therefore, we should do all we can to protect young people from…the risks of progressing to illicit drugs." But the study does not even provide evidence there is such an effect for the one drug it studied, and it contained nothing related to a possible gateway to combustible cigarettes.

CASAA's Ronald A. Ward Jr., Esq., an expert in criminology, commented, "This is the worst excuse for a gateway argument I have ever seen."

"This is a classic case of someone with a political agenda tacking their opinions onto technical research and trying trick the press into reporting it that way," said CASAA President Julie Woessner. "E-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method are one of the most important public health breakthroughs of this century. But sadly there are those who would prefer that people keep smoking rather than finding a satisfying, very low-risk alternative."

"The authors of the new study seem unaware of the fact that cocaine use peaked long after smoking rates had come down, exactly the opposite of what they predict, and that drug-seeking behavior in the real world is not at all similar to mouse neurobiology," observed Phillips. "Moreover, even if their scientific conclusions are right, and nicotine use slightly increases the effects of cocaine, their political conclusions would still not follow from that. Imagine that a study found that eating apples had this effect. You can be sure that the authors would not be demanding restrictions on apples. This is purely a political agenda, one that is responsible for causing many people to unnecessarily die from smoking."

CASAA (casaa.org), a public health NGO, is the leading representative of American consumers who use or someday might use low-risk smoke-free alternatives to smoking, including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. CASAA is a grassroots consumer membership organization, and is not affiliated with industry and does not represent industry interests.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Call to Action: Michigan Legislators are Considering an Excise Tax on E-Cigarettes

9/19/14 URGENT Update:  SB 1018 is no longer on the agenda for Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  We will continue to update this Call to Action as more information becomes available.  The bill is still in play, and vapers still need to participate in the Michigan Call to Action, especially the CQ Roll Call campaign.

9/18/14  Update:   SB 1018 has been set for a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 12:30 pmRoom 210, Farnum Building, 125 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48933 (Scott Jones, Committee Clerk, 373-5307).  
  • Michigan vapers and harm reduction advocates are strongly encouraged to attend the committee hearing to offer testimony in opposition to SB 1018.  (As a sign of respect, we ask you to please refrain from vaping in the committee room.)
  • If you haven't already, please participate in the Michigan Call to Action below.
*******************

Michigan vapers need to act NOW to defeat SB 1018, a proposed "sin tax" on e-cigarettes and treatment of e-cigarettes as "tobacco products."

Earlier this year, RJ Reynolds promoted a small but punitive sin tax on e-cigarettes in North Carolina that was passed quickly and over the objection of consumers. It appears we have a similar situation brewing in Michigan where our information is that RJ Reynolds and Altria are brokering deals between themselves and then quietly lobbying legislators to get the tax passed.  

The large tobacco companies accept the concept of sin taxes and don’t have much of a problem agreeing to them or even actively lobbying for them. Of course, they don’t actually pay the taxes . . . we, the consumers do. Moreover, the tax structure they push favors the cigalikes they produce and imposes a heavier burden on sales of refill liquid, a product the tobacco companies don’t sell.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Call to Action: FDA Comments Survey


NOTE: If you tried to do the survey and were kicked back to the begining (or out) without being able to get to the end, please try again. There was a glitch late Sunday night that may have interrupted your progress with the survey!



On August 8, 2014, the FDA comment period closed. As stated in our Calls to Action, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are going to attack this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness. The Action Plan will include, among other things, Calls to Action with specific requests directed towards members of Congress. To support this massive undertaking, we have subscribed to CQ Roll Call, a program which will help connect our members easily and in a targeted fashion with their state and federal legislators on specifically crafted campaigns we design.

Because the FDA comment site may not post all of your comments and they are particularly difficult to track, we are also doing a survey of the vaping community to collect and officially record the comments made to the FDA. Depending upon participation, this should give CASAA a way to report the true involvement of the community to the media and Congress, along with a way to share your comments directly with them, without the comments submitted by the opposition and the cigar supporters. It will also give CASAA statistics on ways to better reach the vaping community for future actions. This will be compelling information that will help us continue our fight.

This very short survey will be asking just a few, simple questions and for you to copy and paste your confirmation number and your saved submission to the FDA into the survey. Don't worry if you don't have those things saved, just answering the remaining questions will be a great help to us.

When you are done with the survey, please be sure to share a link to the survey with your vaping circles: Facebook groups, Twitter, Google+, vaping forums, Reddit, YouTube videos, and vendors. Please ask any video reviewers and bloggers you know to also share the link.

NOTE: Results of this survey will be shared online, so please remove any personal information from your comment before submitting it to us.

Thank you for your assistance!

Click HERE to submit your comment to the CASAA survey.


You can see the results of the survey and read the comments HERE.

Friday, August 8, 2014

CASAA Submits Comment to FDA on Behalf of Consumers Regarding FDA Proposed Deeming Regulation

Last night, CASAA submitted its comment on behalf of consumers in connection with the FDA's proposed deeming regulation.  Following are a few highlights from the 53-page comment:

  • The proposed regulation is a de facto ban of more than 99% of the e-cigarette products currently on the market (something in the order of 100,000), creating an enormous cost to consumers.  In fact, the proposed regulation comes remarkably close to being all costs--very substantial ones--with no benefits.
    • The paperwork burdens are not about actual health, safety, or quality control issues and really provide no benefit to consumers.
    • The only products that will be able to successfully navigate the approval process will likely be the cigalike devices produced by the largest manufacturers.
  • The proposed regulation and accompanying publications by FDA are misleading, arbitrary and capricious for numerous reasons, and thus are not a legitimate basis for rulemaking.
    • The stated scientific background and impact analysis are fraught with omissions, bias, and errors.
    • The proposed regulation does not meet FDA’s own standards for showing that there will be a net public health benefit, and, in fact, there is overwhelming reason to believe the net public health effects will be negative.
  • For decades, it has been considered an ethical and political mandate for stakeholders to have a seat at the table in FDA rulemaking.  Yet consumers have been excluded from such a seat in the process.  
    • The slot on the TPSAC committee supposedly reserved for a consumer representative has been occupied by advocates who are not only not consumers of the products or representatives therefore, but whose political goals include eliminating consumption of the products, the diametric opposite of representing consumer interests.
    • Part of the explanation for FDA's apparent lack of understanding about the role e-cigarettes and other tobacco products play in consumers lives, as well as what will actually happen if these regulations are implemented, is the lack of consumer involvement in the process.
  • Consumers are better served by the current marketplace than they would be by the marketplace that would be created by the proposed deeming regulation.
  • If FDA wishes to do what is best for consumers, the primary stakeholders, it needs to either remove e-cigarettes from the proposed deeming or completely withdraw the proposed deeming regulation. FDA should then ask Congress to provide enabling legislation that would allow for genuinely beneficial regulation of e-cigarettes.
  • If FDA insists on moving forward with this type of devastating legislation, it is morally and legally obligated to:
    • Revise its scientific analysis so that it is complete, accurate, and unbiased;
    • Revise its impact analysis so that it actually assesses all of the impacts;
    • Assess and report the predictable real effects of the regulation (e.g., black markets);
    • Complete and report an analysis of the full public health effects of the regulation;
    • Include consumer representatives in the rulemaking process; and
    • Eliminate the unequal treatment of different social classes by giving "premium e-cigarettes" the same consideration granted to premium cigars.
While commenting on the proposed regulation is, of course, an important step in our fight against the deeming regulation, it is by no means our last.  We will be issuing a CQ Roll Call campaign in the next week directed at members of Congress as we continue with CASAA's Action Plan.

You may download and read CASAA's comment to the FDA here: http://casaa.org/uploads/CASAA-FDA-Comment-8-7-14.pdf



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Podcast: CASAA Director Jan Johnson on "How and Why YOU Should Submit A Comment to the FDA"





CASAA has been producing and posting FDA Alerts and Calls to Action since before the proposed regulations were released. For a full background on this issue, please go here:

For instructions on how to submit your comment to the FDA, please go here:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Call to Action! Massachusetts E-Cigarette Usage Ban -- HB 3726 (formerly HB 3639) (UPDATED 7/30/14)

Massachusetts: Bill Would Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors, But Also Add E-Cigarettes to State's "Smoking" Ban -- HB 3639 HB 3726


 

URGENT UPDATE 7/30/14:  HB 3726 is still in play.  Having received a favorable recommendation from the House Committee on Health Care Financing on 7/28/14, HB 3726 is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.  

CASAA has created a CQ Roll Call Campaign for Massachusetts residents to help you express opposition to HB 3726:


The first and last sentences of the email are not editable, but the body is completely editable by you.  In fact, we STRONGLY encourage you to make changes to the email to reflect your views and to share your story.  Personalized communications to legislators are far, far more persuasive than form letters.

If you plan to substantially edit the email, you may wish to copy the text into a word processing program and make the edits there, then copy and paste back into the CQ Roll Call email.  We have had some reports that CQ Roll Call might "reset" when you keep the window open for a long time or when you open a separate browser window, causing you to lose any unique text you've added (and reverting back to the original).   

In addition to sending an email through the CQ Roll Call system, we're also asking Massachusetts residents to take a moment to make two phone calls to
Robert DeLeo (Speaker of the House): 617-722-2500 and Brian Dempsey (Chair House Ways & Means Committee) 617-722-2990.
Let them know
  • You are calling with comments about HB 3726. 
  • You support banning e-cigarette and vapor product sales to youth.
  • You oppose defining low-risk e-cigarettes as “tobacco products” for state law purposes because they shouldn't be treated the same as traditional combusible cigarettes.
  • You strongly oppose banning the use of e-cigarettes where smoking is prohibited. There is no sound science to support such a ban and prohibiting e-cigarette use in public actually works against the interests of genuine public health. Property owners should be free to decide whether or not to allow e-cigarette use on their premises.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

STREAMLINED VERSION of Fourth Call to to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations - Submit Comment



Fourth Call to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations
Streamlined Version

NOTE: After reading the instructions below, please go here to submit your comment to the FDA. Comments posted to this blog DO NOT go to the FDA. This is NOT a petition!


CASAA has been producing and posting FDA Alerts and Calls to Action since before the proposed regulations were released. For a full background on this issue, please go here:


However, we realize there are recent adopters of these products who may not have had time to familiarize themselves with the politics and what is at stake.  In an effort to engage you and provide a means to have your voice heard, the following is a simplified version of our 4th FDA Call to Action. (For those who have thought about this before and want to maximize the impact of their comments, we urge you to instead send the more detailed letter described in the 4th FDA Call to Action: http://blog.casaa.org/2014/07/fourth-call-to-to-action-for-fda.html)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fourth Call to to Action for FDA Proposed Regulations - Submit Comment


UPDATE: We realize there are recent adopters of these products who may not have had time to familiarize themselves with the politics and what is at stake. In an effort to engage you and provide a means to have your voice heard, here is the link to the simplified version of our 4th FDA Call to Action.
XXX

NOTE: After reading the instructions below, please go here to submit your comment to the FDA. Comments posted to this blog DO NOT go to the FDA. This is NOT a petition!



On Thursday, May 8th, 2014, CASAA released the Overview of its Action Plan Regarding Proposed FDA Regulations.  
As noted in CASAA's Action plan, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are attacking this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness, and extending beyond comments to the FDA docket.
  • On May 11, 2014, CASAA released the first of several Calls to Action anticipated in CASAA's Action Plan.  
  • On May 21st, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Action.  
  • On June 13, 2014,  CASAA released the third Call to Action.
  • On July 17, 2014, CASAA released the first Call to Prepare.
  • On July 23, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Prepare.
This is the Fourth Call to Action in CASAA's Action Plan.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Second Call to Prepare for FDA Proposed Regulations - Prepare/Refine Draft Comment

On Thursday, May 8th, 2014, CASAA released the Overview of its Action Plan Regarding Proposed FDA Regulations.  
As noted in CASAA's Action plan, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are attacking this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness, and extending beyond comments to the FDA docket.

  • On May 11, 2014, CASAA released the first of several Calls to Action anticipated in CASAA's Action Plan.  
  • On May 21st, 2014, CASAA released the second Call to Action.  
  • On June 13, 2014,  CASAA released the third Call to Action.
  • On July 17, 2014, CASAA released the first Call to Prepare.
This is the second Call to Prepare in CASAA's Action Plan.  


In the first Call to Prepare, you created some comments that addressed several substantive points. This second Call to Prepare is your opportunity to add to that content. Instructions on actually filing your comment to the FDA will be contained in the Fourth Call to Action that will be issued tomorrow, July 24, 2014.  


These guidelines are written for people who have used e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction. Obviously, we encourage comments from other CASAA members or other consumers, but much of this (it is obvious which parts) will not apply, and you will need to write more in third-person than first-person.