Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CASAA Comment to FDA regarding Swedish Match's Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) Applications

To:       U.S. Food and Drug Administration

From:  Carl V Phillips, PhD
            Chief Scientific Officer
            The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA)

25 November 2014

VIA regulations.gov
Comment Tracking Number: 1jy-8fp5-yhfe

Re:     CASAA comments on Swedish Match MRTP application
           (Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051)

1.      Introduction

This comment on Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1051, Swedish Match’s (SM’s) Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application is submitted on behalf of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). CASAA is a public health and education NGO. It is a 501(c)4 nonprofit membership organization that serves as the leading representative of consumers who use or might in the future use smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products. CASAA is not an industry group and does not represent the interests of industry. CASAA did not confer with Swedish Match or other industry representatives when creating this comment.

First, we wish to note that we heartily endorse the acceptance of SM’s application. It would benefit the public, who FDA and the rest of our government are charged with operating on behalf of, particularly by improving the public’s overall health. It would reduce a persistent problem of the government grossly misrepresenting risks to the public about this category of products. We can see no apparent downside for consumers or society as a whole in FDA granting SM’s application. The only apparent downsides are for two special interest groups: those who wish to keep consumers smoking because they have a financial interest in cigarette sales, or those who are pursuing tobacco prohibition and know that those goals will be unattainable if consumers have accurate information about low-risk products.

There is little chance we could add any research material to SM’s encyclopedic application, and so we will not attempt to do so. Instead we will highlight some key summary points and address some public-interest and ethical issues that fall outside of what SM emphasized in their application.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Call to Action! Madison Wisconsin E-cigarette Use Ban (CONCLUDED)

UPDATE 1/7/15: 
Madison City Council voted to include e-cigarettes in Madison's smoking ban, although an exemption is provided that continues to allow sales and sampling in shops.

This Call to Action will be updated as we receive more information about upcoming meetings and public hearings.

UPDATE 12/11/2014
The Board of Health is recomending the ordinance to the city council. The Board of Park Commissioners declined the changes.

The ordinance now goes back to the city council for a final vote, most likely at the next meeting on January 6, 2015 at 6:30 PM.

Please check back frequently for updates and join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition on Facebook!

URGENT UPDATE 12/10/2014
Next Madison-Dane County Board of Health meeting has been pushed up to December 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM at Madison Water Utility 119 E. Olin Ave., Conf. Rm. A and B.

The agenda has been posted here: Board of Health Meeting Agenda and e-cigarettes are agenda item #9, but public comment period is near the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is open to the public, however the Board requests commentrs be limited to 5 minutes each.

UPDATE 11/24/14
Next Board of Parks Commissioners meeting is December 10, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center: 1625 Northport Dr, Madison, WI 53704

The ordinance is listed for discussion on the agenda: Click here to view

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.

The City of Madison is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The justification written into the proposed law makes misleading, false and/or unproven scientific claims about "ultra-fine particles" and "volitile organic compounds."

The first reading was on November 18, 2014 and has been referred to the Board of Park Commissioners and the Madison-Dane Board of Health .

This ordinance will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in all places where conventional smoking is prohibited. This includes businesses that wish to cater to e-cigarette consumers and retailers that need to allow customers to try samples. The same proposed ordinance also extends the prohibited areas to include Madison parks and beaches, which would also apply to vaping.

Because 10 alders have sponsored this ordinance (see sponsor list below), they only need just one more vote for this ordinance to pass. We strongly recommend members first focus efforts contacting the lawmakers who are not already on board with this proposal, to convince them not to vote in favor. However, be sure to also contact the sponsors to let them know how you disapprove of their decision to support this ordinance.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CASAA Makes a Donation to Help Preserve Consumer Access to E-Cigarettes in Western Australia

Consumers in Western Australia are facing a particularly difficult situation now that the Supreme Court of Western Australia has ruled that the sale of e-cigarettes violates the provisions of Section 106a of the Tobacco Products Control Act, an act designed to outlaw the sale of candy cigarettes. Even more inexplicable, the devices that were the subject of the legal action were not cigalikes and did not contain nicotine.
To help preserve consumer access to e-cigarettes in Western Australia, CASAA has made a donation of $500 to help fund the legal battle to keep e-cigarettes available to consumers in Western Australia.
While CASAA is a U.S. organization, we recognize that we are a part of a global community. We remain focused on our U.S. efforts, but we realize the importance of established organizations reaching out to assist with efforts in other countries when we can help make a difference.

The following website provides details about not only the court action, but also information about the trust fund and safeguards put in place to protect contributions towards this effort: http://www.gofundme.com/Ecigs-Our-Right-to-Choose

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