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.


1)  Email and call the mayor, members (alders) of the Madison Common Council, the Board of Park Commissioners and the Madison/Dane County Board of Health (listed below) to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend any meetings and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to define smoke-free e-cigarette use as smoking (see Suggested Talking Points listed below.)

2) Contact local media (television station producers and newspaper editors) to tell your story and explain why this ordinance is bad for public health and actually encourages smokers to keep smoking.

3) Post comments on online news stories about this proposed ordinance telling your story and why you oppose the ordinance (see partial  list below.)

4) For social networking users, the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the Common Council alders have also been included with their contact information. Let them know how you feel!

5) Share this blog post on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +)  and in any area vaping groups. Get your supportive family members and frioends to also share!

If you are on Facebook and want to get more involved, be sure to join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition group.

6) Contact all of your local vape shops and let them know that they need to fight this ordinance (no more vaping in their shop.) Retailers can contact their customers, make them aware of the proposed ordinance and get them to attend hearings.

7) Even if you do not wish to speak publicly, be sure to attend meetings and rallies as an audience member to show a strong, united front and to make clear to the media and lawmakers that such actions are hurting real people.

(See Massachusetts town snuffs out tobacco ban after outcry as an example of what a strong show of opposition can do, but please always remain calm and respectful. What ultimately changed changed minds in this case was the sheer numbers of people showing up, not the disruption of the proceedings.)

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during any meetings with lawmakers and/or media (unless requested), avoid the use of "vape slang" (ie. "juice") and foul language, and act in an otherwise respectful manner.


News Coverage (Please leave a comment, even on the positive stories!):


1. You are a Madison, Madison-area or Wisconsin resident and you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Madison on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life. (Avoid using slang terms such as "juice.")

3. Clarify that:

a.  Smoking bans are ostensibly 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%.

f. Losing the ability to test e-liquids before purchasing will have a significant and negative impact on your ability to purchase/sell e-liquids.

g. Many smokers first try e-cigarettes because they can use them where they cannot smoke, however, they often become "accidental quitters." This is a documented phenomenon unique to e-cigarettes. It may take a few months or only a few days, but they inevitably stop smoking conventional cigarettes. This is why including e-cigarettes in smoking bans could have serious unintended consequences!

h. By making e-cigarette users go outdoors, the City will also be sending a strong message to traditional smokers that e-cigarettes are no safer than smoking. This will actually maintain the number of smokers in Madison, rather than help reduce smoking. This is a far more realistic risk to public health than any unfounded concerns about possible youth or non-smoker use uptake.

In fact, the most recent report by the CDC showed that the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use over that past 3 years has not led to an increase in youth smoking. Youth smoking of traditional cigarttes continues to decline to record low levels.

i. The children of smoking parents are far more likely to become smokers than the children of non-smoking parents who see smoking behaviors in public. The children of smoking parents who quit aren't any more likely to smoke than those of non-smoking parents. Prohibiting vapor products in public does little to protect the children of non-smoking parents from becoming smokers, but significantly increases the likelihood that many smoking parents won't switch to e-cigarettes. This only serves to keep the highest-risk children at risk.

j. E-cigarette use does not promote the smoking of traditional cigarettes, nor does it threaten the gains of tobacco control over the past few decades. In fact, by normalizing e-cigarette use over traditional smoking, the efforts of tobacco control are being supported. If anything, e-cigarette use denormalizes conventional smoking by setting the example of smokers choosing a far less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. The CDC surveys clearly show that there has been no "gateway effect" causing non-smokers to start smoking. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, all available evidence is showing that more and more smokers are quitting traditional cigarettes, including youth smokers.

k. Important Note: A typical and frequent lawmaker response to e-cigarette users who object to public use bans is "We aren't banning all use or sales, just use where smoking is also prohibited."

Don't give them the opportunity to counter you in that way! Make it very clear that you understand that this is not a ban of e-cigarette sales or a ban of e-cigarette use where smoking is allowed, but that what IS proposed is still a step backward in public health, not a step forward.

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


City of Madison Board of Park Commissioners
(608) 266-4711

David L. Wallner (President)

Emily R. Gnam

Jeffery L. Lewis

Alder Joseph R. Clausis (Sponsor)

Madelyn D. Leopold

Alder Mark Clear (Sponsor)

Nancy T. Ragland

Comma Delimited List: (Cut and paste into email "To" field for bulk email),,,,,,

Madison and Dane County Board of Health
Phone: (608) 266-4821

Cynda Solberg

Jerry L. Halverson

Judith M. Wilcox

Lezli Redmond

Mark E. Edgar

Alder Matthew J. Phair

Patricia A. Lasky

Renae Sieling

Comma Delimited List: (Cut and paste into email "To" field for bulk email),,,,,,,

Madison Common Council Alders

(Sponsors of this ordinance: Mayor Paul R. Soglin and Alders: Lauren Cnare, Joseph R. Clausius, Mark Clear, Lucas Dailey, Steve King, Larry Palm, Chris Schmidt, Anita Weier and Ledell

Mayor Paul R. Soglin (Sponsor)
Madison Twitter: @CityofMadison
Personal Twitter: @PaulSoglin
Madison Facebook:
Personal Facebook:
Phone: (608) 266-4611

Lisa Subeck
District 1
Twitter: @LisaSubeck
Phone: 608-358-7090

Ledell Zellers (Sponsor)
District 2
Twitter: @Ledell_Zellers
Phone: 608-417-9521

Lauren Cnare (Sponsor)
District 3
Twitter:  @LaurenCnare
Phone: 608-235-9179

Michael E. Verveer
District 4
Twitter: @mikeverveer
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 608-255-6498

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
District 5
Twitter: @ShivaBidar
Phone: 608-220-6986

Marsha A. Rummel
District 6
Twitter: @MarshaRummel
Phone: 608-772-4555

Steve King (Sponsor)
District 7
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 608-235-9868

Scott J. Resnick
District 8
Twitter: @sjresnick
Phone: 608-807-7962

Paul E. Skidmore
District 9
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 608-829-3425

Maurice S. Cheeks
District 10
Twitter: @MoCheeks
Phone: 608-620-1994

Chris Schmidt (Sponsor & Council President)
District 11
Twitter: N/A
Phone: 608-238-7494

Larry Palm (Sponsor)
District 12
Twitter: @larrypalm
Phone: 608-692-8416

Lucas Dailey (Sponsor)
District 13
Twitter: @LucasDailey
Phone: 608-535-1214

John Strasser
District 14
Twitter (UNVERIFIED): @hugomadison
Phone: 608-298-7817

David Ahrens
District 15
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: (Campaign page)
Phone: 608-334-1156

Denise DeMarb
District 16
Twitter: N/A
Phone: 608-358-3195

Joseph R. Clausius (Sponsor)
District 17
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 608-244-5066

Anita Weier  (Sponsor)
District 18
Twitter: N/A
Phone: 608-320-5820

Mark Clear (Sponsor)
District 19
Twitter: @mark_clear
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 608-695-5709

Matthew J. Phair
District 20
Twitter: @MattPhair1
Phone: 608-772-1187

Comma delimited list: (Cut and paste into email "To" field for bulk email),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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