Thursday, August 28, 2014

Call to Action: Michigan Legislators are Considering an Excise Tax on E-Cigarettes

9/19/14 URGENT Update:  SB 1018 is no longer on the agenda for Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  We will continue to update this Call to Action as more information becomes available.  The bill is still in play, and vapers still need to participate in the Michigan Call to Action, especially the CQ Roll Call campaign.

9/18/14  Update:   SB 1018 has been set for a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 12:30 pmRoom 210, Farnum Building, 125 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48933 (Scott Jones, Committee Clerk, 373-5307).  
  • Michigan vapers and harm reduction advocates are strongly encouraged to attend the committee hearing to offer testimony in opposition to SB 1018.  (As a sign of respect, we ask you to please refrain from vaping in the committee room.)
  • If you haven't already, please participate in the Michigan Call to Action below.

Michigan vapers need to act NOW to defeat SB 1018, a proposed "sin tax" on e-cigarettes and treatment of e-cigarettes as "tobacco products."

Earlier this year, RJ Reynolds promoted a small but punitive sin tax on e-cigarettes in North Carolina that was passed quickly and over the objection of consumers. It appears we have a similar situation brewing in Michigan where our information is that RJ Reynolds and Altria are brokering deals between themselves and then quietly lobbying legislators to get the tax passed.  

The large tobacco companies accept the concept of sin taxes and don’t have much of a problem agreeing to them or even actively lobbying for them. Of course, they don’t actually pay the taxes . . . we, the consumers do. Moreover, the tax structure they push favors the cigalikes they produce and imposes a heavier burden on sales of refill liquid, a product the tobacco companies don’t sell.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Call to Action: FDA Comments Survey

NOTE: If you tried to do the survey and were kicked back to the begining (or out) without being able to get to the end, please try again. There was a glitch late Sunday night that may have interrupted your progress with the survey!

On August 8, 2014, the FDA comment period closed. As stated in our Calls to Action, this is not a battle that is going to be won based solely on comments to the proposed regulations. Accordingly, we are going to attack this on several different fronts. Before the draft regulations were published, we had envisioned a single Call to Action with several suggested actions. However, upon seeing the details, we decided the best strategy to effect positive change is to prepare a comprehensive Action Plan which consists of several Calls to Action issued at staggered dates to maximize effectiveness. The Action Plan will include, among other things, Calls to Action with specific requests directed towards members of Congress. To support this massive undertaking, we have subscribed to CQ Roll Call, a program which will help connect our members easily and in a targeted fashion with their state and federal legislators on specifically crafted campaigns we design.

Because the FDA comment site may not post all of your comments and they are particularly difficult to track, we are also doing a survey of the vaping community to collect and officially record the comments made to the FDA. Depending upon participation, this should give CASAA a way to report the true involvement of the community to the media and Congress, along with a way to share your comments directly with them, without the comments submitted by the opposition and the cigar supporters. It will also give CASAA statistics on ways to better reach the vaping community for future actions. This will be compelling information that will help us continue our fight.

This very short survey will be asking just a few, simple questions and for you to copy and paste your confirmation number and your saved submission to the FDA into the survey. Don't worry if you don't have those things saved, just answering the remaining questions will be a great help to us.

When you are done with the survey, please be sure to share a link to the survey with your vaping circles: Facebook groups, Twitter, Google+, vaping forums, Reddit, YouTube videos, and vendors. Please ask any video reviewers and bloggers you know to also share the link.

NOTE: Results of this survey will be shared online, so please remove any personal information from your comment before submitting it to us.

Thank you for your assistance!

Click HERE to submit your comment to the CASAA survey.

You can see the results of the survey and read the comments HERE.

Friday, August 8, 2014

CASAA Submits Comment to FDA on Behalf of Consumers Regarding FDA Proposed Deeming Regulation

Last night, CASAA submitted its comment on behalf of consumers in connection with the FDA's proposed deeming regulation.  Following are a few highlights from the 53-page comment:

  • The proposed regulation is a de facto ban of more than 99% of the e-cigarette products currently on the market (something in the order of 100,000), creating an enormous cost to consumers.  In fact, the proposed regulation comes remarkably close to being all costs--very substantial ones--with no benefits.
    • The paperwork burdens are not about actual health, safety, or quality control issues and really provide no benefit to consumers.
    • The only products that will be able to successfully navigate the approval process will likely be the cigalike devices produced by the largest manufacturers.
  • The proposed regulation and accompanying publications by FDA are misleading, arbitrary and capricious for numerous reasons, and thus are not a legitimate basis for rulemaking.
    • The stated scientific background and impact analysis are fraught with omissions, bias, and errors.
    • The proposed regulation does not meet FDA’s own standards for showing that there will be a net public health benefit, and, in fact, there is overwhelming reason to believe the net public health effects will be negative.
  • For decades, it has been considered an ethical and political mandate for stakeholders to have a seat at the table in FDA rulemaking.  Yet consumers have been excluded from such a seat in the process.  
    • The slot on the TPSAC committee supposedly reserved for a consumer representative has been occupied by advocates who are not only not consumers of the products or representatives therefore, but whose political goals include eliminating consumption of the products, the diametric opposite of representing consumer interests.
    • Part of the explanation for FDA's apparent lack of understanding about the role e-cigarettes and other tobacco products play in consumers lives, as well as what will actually happen if these regulations are implemented, is the lack of consumer involvement in the process.
  • Consumers are better served by the current marketplace than they would be by the marketplace that would be created by the proposed deeming regulation.
  • If FDA wishes to do what is best for consumers, the primary stakeholders, it needs to either remove e-cigarettes from the proposed deeming or completely withdraw the proposed deeming regulation. FDA should then ask Congress to provide enabling legislation that would allow for genuinely beneficial regulation of e-cigarettes.
  • If FDA insists on moving forward with this type of devastating legislation, it is morally and legally obligated to:
    • Revise its scientific analysis so that it is complete, accurate, and unbiased;
    • Revise its impact analysis so that it actually assesses all of the impacts;
    • Assess and report the predictable real effects of the regulation (e.g., black markets);
    • Complete and report an analysis of the full public health effects of the regulation;
    • Include consumer representatives in the rulemaking process; and
    • Eliminate the unequal treatment of different social classes by giving "premium e-cigarettes" the same consideration granted to premium cigars.
While commenting on the proposed regulation is, of course, an important step in our fight against the deeming regulation, it is by no means our last.  We will be issuing a CQ Roll Call campaign in the next week directed at members of Congress as we continue with CASAA's Action Plan.

You may download and read CASAA's comment to the FDA here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Podcast: CASAA Director Jan Johnson on "How and Why YOU Should Submit A Comment to the FDA"

CASAA has been producing and posting FDA Alerts and Calls to Action since before the proposed regulations were released. For a full background on this issue, please go here:

For instructions on how to submit your comment to the FDA, please go here: