Friday, March 28, 2014

Call to Action! Louisiana E-Cigarette Usage Ban



UPDATE 3/31/14:  As of now, SB 491 is not currently on the agenda for Wednesday's meeting (4/2/14). However, it could be added before the meeting. If the bill is not on this agenda (link) by late Tuesday night (4/1/14), it is unlikely to be heard on Wednesday.





We have received word that a hearing will take place next week on Louisiana Senate Bill 491 (SB491), which is authored by Senator David Heitmeier.  We have been informed by well-placed sources that the author intends, through an amendment, to add to SB491 a ban on the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited.

By all indications, SB491 will have a hearing on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 9 AM before the Senate Health & Welfare Committee. (Official confirmation should come Monday afternoon). They will take testimony and possibly vote on SB 491 in the Hainkel Committee Room in the Senate basement of the State Capitol Building at 900 N. 3rd St. in Baton Rouge.

FIRST, if possible, please plan on attending the Senate Health & Welfare Committee meeting at 8:30 A.M. on Wednesday to offer testimony.  (As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the meeting.)

SECOND, please call and email members of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee NOW to let them know why you oppose banning e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.

(Louisiana residents:  It is critically important that Louisiana vapers and their friends and family contact the Committee members by email, by phone, and (if possible) in person at the hearing.)  






Call and email the members of the Louisiana Senate Health & Welfare Committee.  

What to say:

1. You are a Louisiana resident and you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where 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 Louisiana 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 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 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 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, 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:  heitmeierd@legis.la.gov, millsf@legis.la.gov, allainb@legis.la.gov, smithbuffington@legis.la.gov, claitord@legis.la.gov, dorseyy@legis.la.gov, erdeyd@legis.la.gov, guillorye@legis.la.gov, neversb@legis.la.gov, sh&w@legis.la.gov

Senator David Heitmeier (D - Dist 7 - New Orleans)
504-361-6356

Senator Fred H. Mills, Jr. (R - Dist 22 - New Iberia - Parks)
337-365-8484

Senator R.L. “Bret” Allain, II (R - Dist 21 - Franklin)
337-828-9107

Senator Sherri Smith Buffington (R - Dist 38 - Keithville)
318-687-4820

Senator Dan Claitor (R - Dist 16 - Baton Rouge)
225-765-0206

Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb (D - Dist 14 - Baton Rouge)
225-342-9700

Senator Dale M. Erdey (R - Dist 13 - Livingston)
225-686-2881

Senator Elbert L. Guillory (R - Dist 24 - Opelousas)
337-943-2457

Senator Ben Nevers (D - Dist 12 - Bogalusa)
985-732-6863

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