Saturday, November 8, 2014

Call to Action Baltimore, MD - Indoor Use Ban

A second hearing was held this week on Wednesday, 11/5.  It is our understanding that an amendment to the bill has been submitted and recommended favorably by the committee that would allow the use of electronic cigarettes in dedicated vapor retail shops.  The proposed amendment also stipulates that restaurants and bars would be able to allow vaping inside as long as proper signage is displayed informing patrons that e-cigarettes may be in use on the property.
While the amended version is obviously better than the original (which would have banned e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited and which original version is still possibly under consideration by the City Council), it should be pointed out that the proposed ordinance (as amended) would unjustifiably prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in thousands of other workplaces and indoor areas within Baltimore City.
A “Second Reader” has been scheduled for Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 5:00 PM before the full city council.  The hearing will be held in the Du Burns Council Chamber, 4th floor, City Hall.  We encourage you to continue participating in the legislative process by contacting your officials and voicing your opinion on this ordinance (and the amendment).  The full list of Baltimore City Councilmembers and their contact information can be found here.

Comma delimited list of the members of the Baltimore City Council:

helen.holton@baltimorecity.gov, william.welch@baltimorecity.gov, edward.reisinger@baltimorecity.gov, eric.costello@baltimorecity.gov, carl.stokes@baltimorecity.gov, warren.branch@baltimorecity.gov, marypat.clarke@baltimorecity.gov, councilpresident@baltimorecity.gov, james.kraft@baltimorecity.gov, brandon.scott@baltimorecity.gov, robert.curran@baltimorecity.gov, bill.henry@baltimorecity.gov, rochelle.spector@baltimorecity.gov, sharon.middleton@baltimorecity.gov, nick.mosby@baltimorecity.gov




UPDATE 11/1/14:  14-0371 Electronic Smoking Devices: A second hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 at 1:00 PM.  The hearing will be held in the council chambers on the fourth floor of Baltimore City Hall.  Again, this proposal is before the council's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee which is chaired by the bill's main sponsor, James Kraft (D - 1st District).

For Baltimore residents, we have released an email campaign via CQ Roll Call:
http://cqrcengage.com/casaa/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=66933

UPDATE 8/13/14:  14-0371 Electronic Smoking Devices: A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7, 2014 before Judiciary and Legislative Investigations at 9:30 AM. The location is Du Burns Council Chamber, 4th floor, City Hall.

This legislation would prohibit the indoor use of “electronic smoking devices” (aka e-cigarettes, despite the fact that they emit no smoke) in any area where actual smoking is prohibited.  The bill could also regulate the placement of e-cigarettes in retail establishments that sell e-cigarettes with exemptions.  The proposed legislation also restricts the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and imposes civil citations for any violations.

Councilman James Kraft introduced this legislation (legislative file number 14-0371) and the bill is currently assigned to the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee.  The committee requested reports from the City Solicitor, the Department of Health, the Environmental Control Board, and the Department of Finance.  These reports are due June 4, 2014.  But, the Committee could schedule a hearing before June 1, 2014 if all reports are received by the Committee.  To date, the Council has not scheduled a hearing. 

            You can submit written comments either in person at the hearing, or by fax or email prior to the hearing.  The staffer in the Office of Council Services for the Judicial and Legislation Investigations Committee is Marguerite Murray (see legislative contact list) informed us that you can submit your written comments to her via email.

CASAA strongly encourages vapers to call and email the members of the City Council.



What to say:
1.  You are a Baltimore City- Baltimore metro-area, or Maryland 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 Baltimore City on business, 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 
CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Legislative Process
The Baltimore City Council posts the new hearing schedule every Tuesday by noon.  Furthermore, a hearing can only be announced at a City Council meeting.  Usually, 6 to 7 days notice are given but the notice can be as little as 24 hours.

Legislative History of Bill

Legislation and Memorandums 

Legislative Calender

The sponsors of the Bill are :   
James B. Kraft, Brandon M. Scott, Robert W. Curran, Bill Henry, Sharon Green Middleton, Mary Pat Clarke, Edward L. Reisinger

*****************


Comma delimited email list:  James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov, MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov, 
Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov, Robert.Curran@baltimorecity.gov, 


Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov 

The members of the Judiciary and Legislative  Investigations Committee are :

District 1 James B. Kraft - Chair

410-396-4821 
410-347-0547 fax
Room 503, City Hall 
James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov


District 14 
Mary Pat Clarke- Vice Chair

410-396-4814
410-545-7585 fax
Room 550, City Hall 
MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov


District 13 
Warren Branch

410-396-4829
410-347-0534 fax
Room 505, City Hall 
Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov


District 3 
Robert Curran

410-396-4812
410-396-8621 fax
Room 553, City Hall
Robert.Curran@baltimorecity.gov

District 4 Bill Henry

410-396-4830
410-659-1792 fax
Room 502, City Hall 
Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov

Staff: Marguerite Murray



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