Monday, April 21, 2014

Call to Action! Minnesota E-Cigarette Usage Ban

UPDATED 5/9/14:  URGENT  MNVA has updated it's Call to Action  to note on MONDAY, May 12th at 8:30AM, the Conference Committee will be hearing HF2402, which is the Health & Human Services omnibus bill that contains the e-cigarette public usage ban.  Please see the MNVA Call to Action for detailed information on this issue and contact information.

UPDATED 5/6/14:  URGENT MNVA has updated its Call to Action for SF 2027 to note that the bill is being considered by the Senate WEDNESDAY, MAY 7th, and it is CRITICAL that vapers and harm reduction advocates contact their senators to express strong opposition to Section 1 of that bill.  Please see the MNVA Call to Action for detailed information on this issue and contact information.

UPDATED 5/3/14:  URGENT Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group (MNVA) has issued a Call to Action for House Bill 2402, which is scheduled to be heard in the Minnesota House of Representatives on MONDAY, May 5th, 2014.  Two amendments have been offered to that bill, one of which would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited, and the other which would ban sale of e-cigarettes in kiosks.  Please see the MNVA's Call to Action for HB 2402 for information on how you can help.

UPDATED 5/1/14:  SF 2027 was on the Senate Finance Committee’s agenda for May 1, 2014, but is now on the agenda for MONDAY, May 5th, at 10:15 a.m. 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 123, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606.

We're asking vapers and harm reduction advocates in the State of Minnesota to (1) attend the meeting to express your opposition to treating e-cigarette use like smoking and to request that SF 2027 be amended to remove that provision and to move forward as a simple ban on sales to minors, and (2) contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (below) to express your views.

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the committee meeting.

Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for additional information and late-breaking information on this fast-moving legislation.

Please continue to call and email the Finance Committee senators listed below!

UPDATED 4/30/14 P.M.:  SF 2027 has been pulled from tomorrow's agenda.   We will update the Call to Action when more information is available.  No need to attend the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, but please continue to call and send emails.

UPDATED 4/30/14 A.M.:  SF 2027 has been set for a vote on whether to remove the provision that would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited on THURSDAY, May 1st, 2014 before the Senate Finance Committee at 8:30 a.m., 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 123, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606.

We're asking vapers and harm reduction advocates in the State of Minnesota to (1) attend the meeting to express your opposition to treating e-cigarette use like smoking and to request that SF 2027 be amended to remove that provision and to move forward as a simple ban on sales to minors, and (2) contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (below) to express your views.

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the committee meeting.

Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for additional information and late-breaking information on this fast-moving legislation.

Contact information for members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Comma delimited email list (does not include members with online webmail forms):  sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn, sen.scott.newman@senate.mn, sen.john.pederson@senate.mn, sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn, sen.bobby.champion@senate.mn, sen.terri.bonoff@senate.mn, sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn, sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn, sen.sean.nienow@senate.mn, sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn, sen.michelle.fischbach@senate.mn, sen.scott.dibble@senate.mn, sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn


Senate Finance Committee Members:




















UPDATED 4/28/14:  Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group has issued a Call to Action regarding SF 2027, which is expected to be reviewed in the Senate Finance Committee this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday, April 30th.   Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for details on how you can help.

UPDATED 3/21/14:  The  Senate Commerce Committee will hold a public hearing on SF 2027 on MONDAY, March 24th, 2014 at 12:30 P.M. in Room 322 of the Capitol Building (75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) in St. Paul.

Please (1) continue to call and email members of the Senate Commerce Committee to let them know you oppose SF 2027 unless the ban on e-cigarette use is removed (See the 3/13/14 update immediately below for contact information and see Part II of the Call to Action for talking points), and (2) attend the hearing and offer testimony.  (As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the hearing.)

Due to the fast moving nature of Minnesota's legislative session, CASAA recommends following the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy website and Facebook page for the latest Call to Actions to respond to.


Updated 3/13/2014:  SF 2027 passed the State and Local Government Committee and has been re-referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.  It has not yet been set for a hearing.

Contact Information for Senate Commerce Committee:

Comma delimited email list (does not include Senator Goodwin , who only provided a webmail address): sen.jim.metzen@senate.mn, sen.vicki.jensen@senate.mn, sen.paul.gazelka@senate.mn, sen.david.brown@senate.mn, sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn, sen.ron.latz@senate.mn, sen.roger.reinert@senate.mn, sen.jim.carlson@senate.mn, sen.sandra.pappas@senate.mn, sen.kevin.dahle@senate.mn, sen.karin.housley@senate.mn, sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn


James P. Metzen (52, DFL)
651-296-4370

Vicki Jensen (24, DFL)
651-296-9457

Paul E. Gazelka (09, R)
651-296-4875

David M. Brown (15, R)
651-296-8075

Gary H. Dahms (16, R)
651-296-8138

Ron Latz (46, DFL)
651-297-8065

Roger J. Reinert (07, DFL)
651-296-4188

Jim Carlson (51, DFL)
651-297-8073

Barb Goodwin (41, DFL)
651-296-4334

Sandra L. Pappas (65, DFL)
651-296-1802
sen.sandra.pappas@senate.mn

Kevin L. Dahle (20, DFL)
651-296-1279
           
Karin Housley (39, R)
651-296-4351

Eric R. Pratt (55, R)
651-296-4123



Updated 3/11/2014

There are two bills CASAA is actively tracking in Minnesota -- SF 2027 (a Senate bill) and HF 1931 (a House bill).  Both bills contain a variety of provisions regarding penalties involving sales to minors and licensing requirements that CASAA either supports or does not object to.  However, Section 1 of SF 2027 would ban e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited in Minnesota.*

SF 2027:  CASAA urges you OPPOSE this legislation.  On WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014, the State and Local Government Committee will be taking testimony and voting on SF 2027.  Please see Minnesota Vapers Call to Action for details on how you can help, including complete contact information for committee members.

HF 1931:  The House Health & Human Services wisely removed the prohibition on e-cigarette use from HF 1931.  As a result, we do not encourage opposition to this bill at the moment, but there have been attempts to reintroduce the prohibitions on e-cigarette use in HF 1931, so continued vigilance is necessary.  HF 1931 will be heard in the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014 at 4:00 P.M.

Due to the fast moving nature of Minnesota's legislative session, CASAA recommends following the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy website and Facebook page for the latest Call to Actions to respond to.

Minnesota residents who use Facebook are encouraged to visit the  of Minnesota Vapers.

I.  Please plan on attending the Health & Human Services Policy Committee meeting on WEDNESDAY, February 26th, 2014 at 2:15 P.M. to offer testimony:  Room 200 State Office Building State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155.  (If necessary, the committee will reconvene at 6:30 p.m. to complete its agenda.)  House General Information: 651-296-2146 Senate General Information: 651-296-0504  (As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from e-cigarette use during the meeting.)  
  • IMPORTANT:  If you plan on offering testimony, send an email with your name to Committee Administrator Matthew Bergeron at Matthew.Bergeron@house.mn before NOON on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014.  This will ensure that you are included as part of the publicly distributed agenda and will allow for the Committee to plan to accommodate all speakers.  (However, failure  to notify Mr. Bergeron in advance will not limit your ability to testify.)  Also, Mr. Bergeron asked that testimony be limited to "a couple of minutes" since there are expected to be several people speaking regarding these bills.
II.  Please call, email, and "tweet" members of the Health & Human Services Policy Committee (contact information below).  


II.  What to say in letters regarding SF 2027:

1. You are a Minnesota citizen and you would like them to OPPOSE SF 2027 which would ban smoke-free e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.  (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Minnesota on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)

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

3. Explain that:

  • 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 are 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.
  • A comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health 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.
  • 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 use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
  • 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 99%.
  • By switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

4. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Comma delimited e-mail list for committee members: rep.tina.liebling@house.mn, rep.rena.moran@house.mn, rep.tara.mack@house.mn, rep.jim.abeler@house.mn, rep.tony.albright@house.mn, rep.susan.allen@house.mn, rep.john.benson@house.mn, rep.mary.franson@house.mn, rep.patti.fritz@house.mn, rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn, rep.thomas.huntley@house.mn, rep.clark.johnson@house.mn, rep.diane.loeffler@house.mn, rep.kathy.lohmer@house.mn, rep.will.morgan@house.mn, rep.joe.mullery@house.mn, rep.dan.schoen@house.mn, rep.joe.schomacker@house.mn, rep.joann.ward@house.mn, rep.nick.zerwas@house.mn, matthew.bergeron@house.mn

Tina Liebling
651-296-0573
rep.tina.liebling@house.mn
Twitter:  @Tinaliebling

Rena Moran
651-296-5158
rep.rena.moran@house.mn
Twitter: @RenaforRep

Tara Mack
651-296-5506
rep.tara.mack@house.mn
Twitter:  @TaraKMack

Jim Abeler
651-296-1729
rep.jim.abeler@house.mn
Twitter:  @jimabeler

Tony Albright
651-296-5185
rep.tony.albright@house.mn
Twitter: @RepTonyAlbright

Susan Allen
651-296-7152
rep.susan.allen@house.mn
Twitter:  @SusanAllen61B

John Benson
651-296-9934
rep.john.benson@house.mn

Mary Franson
651-296-3201
rep.mary.franson@house.mn
Twitter:  @RepMaryFranson & @MaryFranson

Patti Fritz
651-296-8237
rep.patti.fritz@house.mn

Glenn Gruenhagen
651-296-4229
rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn
Twitter: @GlennGruenhagen

Thomas Huntley
651-296-2228
rep.thomas.huntley@house.mn

Clark Johnson
651-296-8634
rep.clark.johnson@house.mn
Twitter:  @ClarkJohnson4MN

Diane Loeffler
651-296-4219
rep.diane.loeffler@house.mn

Kathy Lohmer
651-296-4244
rep.kathy.lohmer@house.mn
Twitter:  @KathyLohmer

Will Morgan
651-296-5387
rep.will.morgan@house.mn
Twitter:  @willmorgan84

Joe Mullery
651-296-4262
rep.joe.mullery@house.mn
Twitter:  @RepJoeMullery

Dan Schoen
651-296-4342
rep.dan.schoen@house.mn
Twitter:  @danschoen54a

Joe Schomacker
651-296-5505
rep.joe.schomacker@house.mn
Twitter:  @joeschomacker

JoAnn Ward
651-296-7807
rep.joann.ward@house.mn
Twitter:  @JoAnnWard4House

Nick Zerwas
651-296-4237
rep.nick.zerwas@house.mn
Twitter:  @NickZerwas

Matthew Bergeron
651-296-5413
matthew.bergeron@house.mn
Twitter:  @mwbergeron


2 comments:

  1. I am a former smoker of 1-2 packs per day for near 40 years. I am also diagnosed with Advanced Emphysema. I also have a spot that has grown since Jan 2013 on one of my lungs. In simple language, my lungs are full of holes and my breathing even just to walk up 1 flight of stairs finds be laboring for the next breath. Even with these facts glaring at me I could not quit smoking when the news was presented to me. That was in June 2013. I simply wrote it off and thought ..."it's my own fault". I almost just resigned myself to the inevitable.

    That was until I came across the Barb Tarbox documentary on Youtube. Barb's story and her crusade of going out and speaking to children intrigued me. Her method of delivering the message to those children was totally honest and powerful. If I was at the same age as those kids I know I would not have ever picked up a cigarette after hearing and watching Barb. That being said there is one thing she did say that caused me to stop in my tracks. She said she could not quit. She said she knew what she was doing was going to cause her death. She took full responsibility. She was also describing me. She left out the guilt she felt for the most part. She never once asked anyone to feel sorry for her. She also said, and I will quote her " if you smoke, please quit".....if you know somebody...somebody that smokes....can you help them quit? Offer them support.....without criticism.....because you know what.... it works."

    On a personal note please know that within my family and friends lives , I am ashamed also. That won't change anything however. What did change is that I no longer smoke as of September 30th 2013. I opened my mind. I bought an electronic cigarette after realizing all the other methods I had tried failed me. I researched like I have never researched before. I need to know what was in them. Like the patch and the vaporizer they contained nicotine, if I choose so. I have managed to reduce my nicotine intake since first starting and will never go backwards now. The device is truly ingenious and far less harmful. I am just one in my condition that can claim as a voluntary " guinea pig " so to say this is a far better alternative to what opportunity Barb had.

    In closing I have a statement and two questions. My first question is to reverberate Barb.....do know someone who smokes......will you help them to quit? My second question is........are each and every one of you who are so adamant to ban this simple yet effective device that right now millions are using to stop smoking, are you going to take full responsibility to the millions of smokers who need that help which Barb asked of us? Are you?

    Thank you for opening your mind and doing the real research based on scientific facts for harm reduction for smokers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ray, I have just read your post above and am very moved by your story. I am a heavy smoker too and, after over 40 years, starting to feel the effects on my health. I started using e-cigs recently. They helped me cut down my smoking a lot to start with, but then I had some bad experiences with poor quality devices and had some personal traumas in my life, and - I'm sad to say - I went back to smoking. But I've kept researching and reading about e-cigs, and now reading your story has revitalised my determination to try vaping again. I really hope that e-cigs will help your health and improve your quality of life. As I hope that they will help me now, before my lungs get any worse.

    ReplyDelete