Saturday, May 3, 2014

Call to Action! FOUR New York State Bills Threaten Access and Use by Adult Consumers - CONSOLIDATED Call to Action

UPDATE 6-20-14: New York State vapers and harm reduction advocates can breath a brief, yet deserved, sigh of relief.  The 2014 legislative session has concluded for the year and no anti-vaping legislation has passed.


Although this concludes the NY State Calls to Action (favorably), advocates should remain vigilant in the "off season".  Please continue to make connections with lawmakers (state & local) and help educate them as to the benefits of smoke free products like e-cigarettes.

Thank You!





UPDATE 5-6-14:  All four bills have been reported out of Committee.  

SB 7139, the one bill on which CASAA is neutral, has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.   

The other three bills, SB 6562 (ban on e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited), SB 6939 (ban on sale of e-liquid), and SB 7027 (packaging and labeling requirements)--all of which CASAA opposes--are going before the full Senate.

FIRST, It is IMPERATIVE that you act NOW by contacting your state Senator to express your opposition to these bills.  You can find your senator by using New York State Senator ('Find My Senator').  Ask your senator to OPPOSE any bills that (1) would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, (2) enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, (3) impose labeling and packaging requirements that would make it difficult for products to be sold in the state and therefore reduce your access to products, or (4) ban usage where smoking is banned.  (More detailed talking points are included in the Call to Action below.)

SECOND, a public hearing on SB 6562 is scheduled for MONDAY, May 12th at 10:00 a.m.  (Legislative Office Building in Albany).  Oral testimony is by invitation only.  Please make your views known BEFORE this hearing.

*****

This is a CONSOLIDATED Call to Action for FOUR bills being heard by the New York State Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014


CASAA currently has three active Calls to Action for New York:

New York Call to Action - Taxes - NOT included in this Consolidated Call to Action

New York Call to Action - E-Cigarette Usage Ban - SB 6562 - On agenda for 5-6-14 Senate Health Committee meeting.  At this time, no public input at the meeting.  Also, a public hearing scheduled MONDAY, May 12th at 10:00 a.m., oral testimony by invitation only.

New York Call to Action - Ban on Sale of E-Cigarette Liquid - SB 6939 - On agenda for 5-16-14 Senate Health Committee meeting.  At this time, no public input at the meeting.


This Call to Action consolidates the Calls to Action on SB 6939 and SB 6562 and also adds two new bills:

  • SB 7027A:  Introduced 4-16-14 and amended 5-1-14, Packaging and labeling requirements for electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids).  On agenda for 5-6-14 Senate Health Committee meeting.  At this time, no public input at the meeting.
  • SB 7139:  Introduced 4-30-14, Registration of vendors of electronic cigarettes.  On agenda for 5-6-14 Senate Health Committee meeting.  At this time, no public input at the meeting.

*****


The New York State Senate Health Committee has added FOUR bills to its agenda for TUESDAY, May 6th, 2014.  This meeting is not a hearing, and, at least as of the date of this Call to Action (5-3-14), there will be no opportunity for public comment at the meeting.  However, we are asking that vapers and harm reduction advocates in the State of New York contact members of the Senate Health Committee by phone and email to share your concerns about these four bills.


1.  You are  New York resident and while you support bans on sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you oppose any legislation that would make e-cigarettes less accessible, less affordable, or less satisfying for adult consumers.

2.  Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or another smoke-free product has changed your life.

3.  These are CASAA's positions on the four bills, and you should let the Senate Health Committee know your position:

  • CASAA OPPOSES SB 6939 (ban on sale of e-liquid).  (If you wish, you can simply register your opposition to the bill or you can explain in more detail why you oppose the bill.)

    • Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarette liquids would harm public health by making it more difficult for New York smokers to acquire far less hazardous alternatives to smoking.
    • This ban would also cost the State of New York millions of dollars in lost sales taxes, income taxes, and other sources of tax revenue, as it would: (a) shut down small and medium sized business across New York; (b) put more people on unemployment; and (c) lead existing and future e-cigarette users to simply purchase products over the Internet from out-of-state companies.
    • The threat of e-cigarette liquid has been greatly exaggerated for political purposes. While it is true that plenty of consumer products pose risks to children -- including medications, household products, cosmetics, e-cigarette liquids, tobacco products -- prohibition is not the answer. The Legislature should look to education, parental responsibility, and childproof caps and warning labels (already used on the majority of e-liquids and something that should be a uniform standard across the nation) rather than prohibition.
    • Poison Control Center data released by the CDC showed that from September 2010 to February 2014, there were nearly 700% more calls relating to traditional tobacco products versus any kind of e-cigarette product (2,405 for e-cigarettes vs. 16,248 for tobacco products).  Hospitalizations were rare and the only death reported from an e-cigarette poisoning was from an adult who committed suicide by intentionally injecting e-cigarette liquid into his body. 
    • In 2012 alone, 193,443 calls to Poison Control Centers involved household cleaning agents, 54,445 involved alcoholic beverages, 11,848 were caused by ink, and 20,306 were caused by toothpaste. Where are the bills to ban these products?
    • The sponsor of SB 6939, Sen. Kemp Hannon, proposed a bill to ban sales of all electronic cigarette products to adults in 2012.  SB 6939 is not about protecting children; it's about prohibition. New York State law already rightfully bans the sale of e-cigarettes to children.  
    • Passage of SB 6939 would benefit the large tobacco companies (Altria, RJ Reynolds & Lorillard) by protecting them from competition!  While these companies do sell electronic cigarette products, NONE sell e-cigarette liquid. SB 6939 would shut down the segment of the e-cigarette industry most responsible for the major declines in cigarette sales we have seen over the past 3 years.  
    • A recent report by Wells Fargo Securities' Bonnie Herzog stated that 'tank system' e-cigarettes (products that are filled with liquid before usage) are the fastest growing product category in the e-cigarette industry.  This is not a niche market. Indeed, the majority of companies in the e-cigarette industry exclusively sell e-cigarette liquid and 'tank system' products.
    • One of the reasons why e-cigarettes are such a successful alternative to smoking is that the diversity in the marketplace allows consumers to find the device and e-cigarette liquid that work best for them.  Eliminating e-cigarette liquid would destroy the diversity in the marketplace, and consumers would suffer.  
    • Electronic cigarettes are widely available on the the Internet from retailers in nearly all 50 states and around the world.  While New York may be able to succeed in shutting down small businesses that sell e-cigarette liquid within its borders, it has next to no hope of interrupting interstate commerce.

  • CASAA OPPOSES SB 7027A (labeling and packaging requirements for e-liquid) because these issues should be addressed as a national standard to provide uniformity. If various states adopt different rules and requirements regarding packaging and labeling, it interferes with interstate commerce, making it more difficult for products to cross state lines and thereby reducing consumer access. 

  • CASAA is NEUTRAL on SB 7139 (registration of vendors of electronic cigarettes).  

  • CASAA OPPOSES SB 6562 (ban on e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited). Please note that SB 6562 has been set for a public hearing on MONDAY, May 12th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany, New York.  Oral testimony is by invitation only.  (If you wish, you can simply register your opposition to the bill or you can explain in more detail why you oppose the bill.)

    • Smoking bans are supposedly 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. 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.
I. CONTACTING YOUR NEW YORK STATE SENATOR

Please be sure to contact your New York State Senator ('Find My Senator') and ask your senator to OPPOSE any bills that (1) would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, (2) enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, (3) impose labeling and packaging requirements that would make it difficult for products to be sold in the state and therefore reduce your access to products, or (4) ban usage where smoking is banned

II.  CONTACTING THE MEMBERS OF THE NY SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE

We have separated out the members of the New York Senate Health Committee into two lists: legislators from the NYC / Long Island area and legislators from other areas of New York.  As you can see, each individual member has a District Number (see here for a Senate district map) and a general area that they represent. 



In addition to sending e-mails, we strongly encourage our members in New York to make phone calls to the offices of the members in or around the country in which you live.  Legislators need to know that people who live in or around their district are passionate about this issue.  E-mails alone will not accomplish that.  If you have a favorite vape shop in New York, please ask them to also drive phone calls to the offices of specific members.

NYC / LONG ISLAND AREA LEGISLATORS 

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R - Dist. 06; Nassau County) SPONSOR

Phone: 518-455-2200
Email: hannon@nysenate.gov 

Sen. Simcha Felder (D / R - Dist. 17; Kings / Brooklyn)

Phone: (518) 455-2754
Fax: (518) 426-6931
Email: felder@nysenate.gov

Sen. Martin J. Golden (R - Dist. 22; Kings)

Phone: (518) 455-2730
Fax: (718) 238-6170
Email: golden@nysenate.gov

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D - Dist. 36; Bronx, Westchester)

Phone: (518) 455-2061
Fax: (518) 426-6998
Email: hassellt@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D - Dist. 27; NYC)

Phone: (212) 633-8052
Fax: (212) 633-8096
Email: hoylman@nysenate.gov

Sen. Jack M. Martins (R - Dist. 7; Nassau)

Phone: 518-455-3265
Fax: 518-426-6739
Email: martins@nysenate.gov

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D - Dist. 25; Kings)

Phone: (518) 455-3451
Fax: (518) 426-6854
Email: montgome@nysenate.gov

Sen. José Peralta (D - Dist. 13; Queens)

Phone: (718) 205-3881
Fax: (718) 205-4145
Email: jperalta@nysenate.gov

Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D - Dist. 33; Bronx)

Phone: 518-455-3395
Fax: 518-426-6858
Fax: 718-933-2825
Email: grivera@nysenate.gov

Sen. Diane J. Savino (D - Dist. 23; Kings, Richmond / Staten Island)

Phone: (518) 455-2437
Fax: (518) 426-6943
Email: savino@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. José M. Serrano (D - Dist. 29; NYC, Bronx)

Phone: (518) 455-2795
Fax: (518) 426-6886
Email: serrano@senate.state.ny.us 

Sen. Tony Avella (D - Dist. 11; Queens) Co-Sponsor, Not a Committee Member 

Phone: 518-455-2210
Fax: 518-426-6736 


Email: avella@nysenate.gov

OTHER AREAS OF NEW YORK STATE:


Sen. Greg Ball (R - Dist. 40; Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester)

Phone: (518) 455-3111
Fax: (518) 426-6977
Email: gball@nysenate.gov

Sen. Hugh T. Farley (R - Dist. 49; Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saratoga, Schenectady)

Phone: (518) 455-2181
Fax: (518) 455-2271
Email: Farley@nysenate.gov

Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. (R - Dist. 39; Orange, Rockland, Ulster)

Phone: (518) 455-2770
Email: larkin@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. Ted O'Brien (D - Dist. 55; Monroe, Ontario)

Phone: (518) 455-2162
Fax: (518) 426-6925
Email: obrien@nysenate.gov

Sen. James L. Seward (R - Dist. 51; Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Otsego, Schoharie, Tompkins, Ulster)

Phone: (518) 455-3131
Email: seward@nysenate.gov

Sen. Catharine Young (R - Dist. 57; Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Livingston)

Phone: (518) 455-3563
Fax: (518) 426-6905
Email: cyoung@senate.state.ny.us

Comma delimited email list: hannon@nysenate.gov, felder@nysenate.gov, golden@nysenate.gov, hassellt@senate.state.ny.us, hoylman@nysenate.gov, martins@nysenate.gov, montgome@nysenate.gov, jperalta@nysenate.gov, grivera@nysenate.gov, savino@senate.state.ny.us, serrano@senate.state.ny.us, gball@nysenate.gov, farley@nysenate.gov, larkin@senate.state.ny.us, obrien@nysenate.gov, seward@nysenate.gov, cyoung@senate.state.ny.us

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