Thursday, January 9, 2014

Local Alert: City of Mankato (MN) May Ban Vaping Where Smoking is Banned

In October 2013, CASAA alerted its Minnesota members that the Minnesota City of Mankato would be considering an ordinance to ban e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited, including in e-cigarette retail stores.  An October public hearing on the measure was delayed after receiving opposition from harm reduction advocates, with some City Council members expressing a desire for more scientific information on the topic. 

The public hearing has been rescheduled for this coming Monday, January 13th.

CASAA strongly encourages vapers to (i) call and email City Council members as well as (ii) attend and ask to speak at the City Council meeting on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Intergovernmental Center (10 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN, 56001).  (The meeting will actually start at 7:00, but it is important to show up half an hour early in case you are required to sign up to speak.)

Contact the Members of the Mankato City Council: 
  

Members Names (e-mail addresses appear in order above):
Christopher Frederick, 507-382-7299, cfrederick@city.mankato.mn.us
Renae Kopischke, executive assistant to the city manager, should also be copied on e-mails. Her address is rkopischke@city.mankato.mn.us. 

What to say to the members of the Mankato City Council: 

  1. You are a Mankato, Mankato area, or Minnesota citizen, and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited.
  2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.
  3. Explain how smoking bans are ostensibly 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. 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.

    comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found "no apparent concern" for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under "worst case" assumptions about exposure.  This study has been published by  BMC Public Health, a peer-reviewed journal.
  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 ("discreet vaping").  With so little evidence of use, enforcing indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
  5. 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 an estimated 98-99%.
  6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
  7. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

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