Friday, March 28, 2014

Local Alert! Ocala, Florida E-Cigarette Usage Ban

The Ocala, Florida City Council is considering adopting an ordinance that would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.  (The ordinance would also ban sales to minors and impose reasonable restrictions on product placement/access,  which CASAA supports.)
The ordinance will be introduced at the regular City Council meeting on TUESDAY, April 12014 at 4:00 P.M., Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. Ocala, FL 34471.  Second reading (and vote) is expected at the next City Council meeting on April 15th, 2014, so it is imperative that vapers make their voices heard NOW.
Please (1) email and call the mayor, city manager,  and members of the City Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend BOTH meetings (April 1st and April 15th at 4:00 P.M.) and offer testimony in opposition to this ordinance.

(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the City Council meeting.)

CASAA strongly encourages vapers to call and email the mayor, city manager, and members of the City Council.
What to say:
  1. You are an Ocala, Ocala-area, or Florida resident and while you support bans on sales to minors, you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to this Local Alert and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Ocala 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. Clarify that: 
a.  Smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been found to pose a risk 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.

b.  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.

c.  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.

d.  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.

e.  The ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch and reduce their health risks by an estimated 99%.

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

Contact Information for the City Manager, Mayor, City Council, and the City Attorney:
Comma delimited email list:,,,,,,,

Phone/Fax numbers are not given for individuals other than the City Manager, so call/fax the City Clerk's office at 352-629-8266 (fax 352-629-5208) and ask to speak with the various city council members or ask to leave messages for them.

Matthew Brower, City Manager
Phone: (352) 629-8401
Fax: (352) 629-8391
Kent Guinn, Mayor
John McLeod, Council President

Mary S. Rich, Councilwoman

James P. Hilty Sr., Councilman

Brent Malever, Councilman

Jay Musleh, Council President Pro-Tem

Patrick G. Gilligan, City Attorney

How to Sign up to Speak at the Meeting (from the City's website):  Citizens are encouraged to participate in City of Ocala  meetings. Speaker cards should be filled out in advance and submitted to the City Clerk. Speakers will be limited to 3 (three) minutes. Additional time may be granted by the Council President. When recognized, state name and 
address. Citizen groups are asked to name a spokesperson. 

Register here for both dates:

For April 1st, 2014 

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