Monday, March 24, 2014

Call to Action! Philadelphia E-Cigarette Usage Ban

UPDATE 3/25/14 4:00 PM.  Vapers will be gathering around 9:15 a.m. in the Council room area in order to try to talk with council members before the meeting.  

UPDATE 3/25/14 1:00 PM:  Bills No. 140096 and 140095 will be considered by the full City Council on THURSDAY, March 27th at 10:00 a.m.  (Link to Agenda)

Please (1) call and email the mayor and members of the City Council to express your opposition to these bills, and (2) attend the City Council meeting on THURSDAY, March 27th at 10:00 a.m. and offer testimony.  The meeting will take place at City Hall, Broad St & Market St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.  You should ask the security guard for directions to the room where the full City Council meets.
  • Bill No. 140096 would prohibit sales of "electronic smoking devices" and "unapproved nicotine delivery products to minors."  (Please see Part I of the Call to Action for talking points and Part III of the Call to Action for contact information.)
  • Bill No. 140095 would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited (with an exception for specialty e-cigarette establishments).  (Please see Part II of the Call to Action for talking points and Part III of the Call to Action for contact information.)

This Call to Action has now been divided into three sections, Part I for Bill No. 140096 (ban on sales to minors), Part II for Bill No. 140095 (ban on e-cigarette use wherever smoking is not permitted) and the similar bill, Bill No. 140011, which was the original focus of this Call to Action, and Part III (contact information, which is the same for all bills).

I.  Bill No. 140096 (ban on sales to minors)

Bill No. 140096

CASAA supports bans on sales to minors, but is unable to support this bill as presently drafted.

What to say to the City Council and Mayor (contact information is provided in Part III below):

  • The bill defines e-cigarettes as "electronic smoking devices," which completely mischaracterizes the nature of the product.  These are not "smoking devices," but, rather, an alternative to smoking.  The bill also makes reference to "unauthorized nicotine delivery products," which also mischaracterizes the nature of the product.
    • Characterizing them as "smoking devices" or "unauthorized nicotine delivery products" sends the wrong message and suggests that e-cigarettes carry the same or similar risks as smoking.
    • E-cigarettes involve no combustion (and therefore no smoking) and are estimated to be 99% less hazardous than smoking.
    • In addition to objecting to "electronic smoking devices" and "unauthorized nicotine delivery products," this provision could very well put Philadelphia at odds with legislation currently being considered at the state level.
    • SB 1055, which would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors, is currently being considered by state lawmakers.  Bill No. 14009600 would require different signage and would therefore conflict with state law if SB 1055 is passed.  
  • The bill should either be (1) amended to conform with the language contained in SB 1055 ("alternative nicotine product") or (2) rejected.
II.  Bill No. 140095 and Bill No. 140011 (ban on e-cigarette use wherever smoking is not permitted)

Bill No. 140011

The following is from the original Call to Action on Bill No. 140011.  The talking points remain the same and apply equally to Bill No. 140095.  You should address your comments to the entire City Council and the Mayor, not simply the Committee on Public Health and Human Services.

On January 23, 2014, City Councilman Bill Green introduced an ordinance to include e-cigarettes within the City's Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law. According to Councilman Green, the legislation is intended as "an affirmation of a tobacco-free lifestyle, since the use of e-cigs in public places erodes decades of critical work focused on decreasing tobacco consumption.  Smoking is definitely not something we want to become 'cool' again."  He is joined by Councilman Greenlee who insists that the city should regulate "e-cigs as we do normal cigarettes."

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Public Health and Human Services (members of this committee are highlighted in green below).

Please take this opportunity to send the mayor and members of the City Council (with particular attention focused on the members of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services, highlighted in green) with accurate information about e-cigarettes and your story about how the product has improved your life. 
CASAA strongly encourages vapers to call and email City Council members.

What to say to the mayor and members of the Philadelphia City Council: 

1. You are a Philadelphia, Philadelphia-area, or Pennsylvania citizen and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where smoking is banned.   (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 Philadelphia 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.
  • 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 indoor 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 website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

III.  Contact Information for the Members of the Philadelphia City Council (green denotes members of the Public Health and Human Services Committee):

Comma delimited e-mail:,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Mayor Michael Nutter
Phone: (215) 686-2181
Fax: (215) 686-2180

District 1 - Mark Squilla
Phone: (215) 686-3458, (215) 686-3459
Fax: (215) 686-1931

District 2 - Kenyatta Johnson
Phone: (215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3413
Fax: (215) 686-1932

District 3 - Jannie Blackwell
Phone: (215) 686-3418, (215) 686-3419
Fax: (215) 686-1933

District 4 - Curtis Jones, Jr.
Phone: (215) 686-3416, (215) 686-3417
Fax: (215) 686-1934

District 5 - Darrell L. Clarke (President)
Phone: (215) 686-3442, (215) 686-3443
Fax: (215) 686-1901

District 6 - Bobby Henon
Phone: (215) 686-3444, (215) 686-3445
Fax: (215) 686-1935

District 10 - Brian J. O’Neill
Phone: (215) 686-3422, (215) 686-3423
Fax: (215) 686-1939

At Large - W. Wilson Goode, Jr.
Phone: (215) 686-3414, (215) 686-3415
Fax: (215) 686-1928

At Large - Bill Green (bill co-sponsor)
Phone: (215) 686-3420, (215) 686-3421
Fax: (215) 686-1930

At Large - James Kenney
Phone: (215) 686-3450, (215) 686-3451
Fax: (215) 686-2013

At Large - David Oh
Phone: (215) 686-3452 (215) 686-3453
Fax: (215) 686-1925

District 7 - Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez
Phone: (215) 686-3448, (215) 686-3449
Fax: (215) 686-1936

District 8 - Cindy Bass
Phone: (215) 686-3424, (215) 686-3425
Fax: (215) 686-1937

District 9 - Marian B. Tasco
Phone: (215) 686-3454, (215) 686-3455
Fax: (215) 686-1938

At Large - William K. Greenlee (bill co-sponsor)
Phone: (215) 686-3446, (215) 686-3447
Fax: (215) 686-1927

At Large - Dennis O’Brien
Phone: (215) 686-3440, (215) 686-3441
Fax:  (215) 686-1929

At Large - Blondell Reynolds Brown
Phone: (215) 686-3438, (215) 686-3439
Fax: (215) 686-1926


UPDATE 3/11/2014 11:00 a.m. central: To sign up to testify at the THURSDAY, March 13th, 2013 Philadelphia City Council Health Committee hearing, send an e-mail to and requesting to testify.  They are staff of Council Health Committee Chairwoman Marian Tasco and can also be reached at 215-686-3454. Written testimony can/should be sent to them by tomorrow (but it's unclear if written testimony must be submitted in order to testify orally at Thursday's hearing).

UPDATE 2/27/14:  Two proposed ordinances have been submitted to the City Council and have been set for a hearing:
  • Bill No. 14009600, which would prohibit sales of "electronic smoking devices" and "unapproved nicotine delivery products" to minors.
  • Bill No. 14009500, which would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited (with an exception for specialty e-cigarette establishments). This bill is similar in effect to Bill No. 140011, which was originally the source of this Call to Action.
According to our information, a hearing for both bills will take place on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 1:00 P.M. at City Hall (Broad St & Market St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107).  Meetings are typically held in Room 400.

We are asking vapers and harm reduction advocates to (1) plan on attending the hearing to offer testimony in opposition to both bills, and (2) call and write members of the Philadelphia City Council.

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the meeting.  Link regarding offering public testimony before Philadelphia City Council


Lyndsey Dunn said...

This can not happen. I work in Philadelphia and I will be sure to email every one of them. I would not have been able to quit with out electronic cigarettes. They shouldn't be called that anymore and only referred to as vaporizers and stop comparing them to cigarettes

Geoff Chiodi said...

We have to be on top of these bills, folks! They are coming so fast in every state. It seems abundantly clear you could track the travel itinerary of the Big Pharma lobbyists by the order these bills pop up. Curious what Cnmn. Green received for introducing the bill? Maybe time at the Johnson & Johnson Timeshare?

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