Monday, January 27, 2014

Local Alert: City of La Mesa, California - E-Cigarette Sales Ban

According to a report in the La Mesa Courier, Mayor Art Madrid of La Mesa, California is encouraging the La Mesa City Council to enact a BAN on the sale of electronic cigarettes to adults.  The Mayor will present his idea before the City Council at their meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 28th) at 6 PM at the La Mesa City Hall (8130 Allison Avenue in La Mesa).  

The agenda of Tuesday night's meeting reveals that the Mayor is supporting his push for a ban with only two documents; (1) a newspaper editorial co-written by someone who regularly obfuscates facts about e-cigarette science; and (2) a spam e-mail advertising. (See page 105 of the agenda

If the City Council agrees with the Mayor, it is possible that they may try to ram this proposal through as an emergency ordinance. That's why we need you to make your voice heard, either by attending the hearing or contacting the City Council. (Note: If attending the hearing, please be sure to be passionate but respectful and to refrain from openly vaping in the Council chambers). 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Call to Action! Kentucky Bills to Ban E-Cigarette Usage & Impose Excessive Tax

UPDATED 2/21/2014: Great job Kentucky vapers!  The sponsor of the smoking ban bill (HB 173), Rep. Susan Westrom, has filed an amendment to her own bill to remove electronic cigarettes from the definition of "smoking"!  While victory cannot be declared yet, this is an excellent sign. CASAA thanks you for taking action and we especially want to thank Rep. Stan Lee, who put forward the original amendment to remove e-cigarettes.

While victory appears imminent on the "smoking" ban issue, the tax threat remains! With the news that Governor Steve Beshear has endorsed a far reaching "tax reform" plan that would include taxing electronic cigarettes at 20% of value and increasing the tax on smokeless tobacco, Kentucky has become a serious threat to harm reduction in the United States.**

Governor Beshear's plan has not yet been assigned a bill number (i.e. HB ___) nor has the full wording been released. The below summary will be updated when it is available. 


************
 

If enacted, Governor Beshear's proposal would

  • Tax e-cigarette devices and liquids at 20% of wholesale price
  • Tax smokeless tobacco products at 25% (a 65% tax increase)
  • See below for other consequences of taxation...
 
If enacted, HB 173's Amendments #2 and #5 would:
  • Clarify that electronic cigarettes are NOT banned under Kentucky's smoke-free laws. 
  • Ban smoking in thousands of additional workplaces and public places in Kentucky, but NOT electronic cigarette use.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Local Alert: City of Hayward, California, May Issue Moratorium on E-Cigarette Stores and Lounges.

The City Council of Hayward, California will meet TUESDAY (January 14th, 2014) at 7:00 p.m. to consider an urgency ordinance which would impose a temporary moratorium on various e-cigarette businesses in the city. 

Report and Text of ordinance (starting at p. 42)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Call to to Action: Los Angeles E-Cigarette Usage Ban

Call to Action! Los Angeles E-Cigarette Usage Ban

 (Committee hearing to be held February 24, 2014)



UPDATED 3/6/14:  Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council voted to prohibit e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.  A limited exemption was provided for vape shops/lounges.  

We're asking vapers to:

  • Contact Mayor Garcetti:  While the mayor has indicated he'll sign the ordinance into law, we're nonetheless asking vapers to contact him to let him know you oppose this ordinance and ask him to reject it as unnecessary and against the interests of genuine public health.  (See talking points below in the main Call to Action.)
    • Contact information for Mayor Garcetti:  (213) 978-0600,  mayor.garcetti@lacity.org
  • Show up and make your voice heard. Rally is this Saturday, March 8th, 2014, 1:30 - 4:00 PM, Pershing Square 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.  Link to Details on Rally

UPDATED 2/21/14 11:50 PM eastern:  Note time and place for meeting has changed.  The meeting will begin at 1:30 P.M. on Monday, February 24th, and the Room No. is now 340.

SPECIAL - ARTS, PARKS, HEALTH, AGING AND RIVER COMMITTEE
Monday, February 24, 2014
John Ferraro Council Chamber - Room 340, City Hall - 1:30 PM

200 NORTH SPRING STREET, LOS ANGELES, CA 90012

UPDATED 2/21/14:  


  • First, we still haven't seen the agenda, but we have heard from credible sources that it is possible that the Los Angeles City Council's Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee meeting will actually begin at 1:30 p.m. instead of 2:00 p.m. on MONDAY, February 24, 2014.  
  • Second, vapers are encouraged to attend a community outreach meeting TOMORROW,  SATURDAY, February 22, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at 848 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA  90038.  This will be an opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns with Council member Mitch O'Farrell, one of the sponsors of the ordinance that would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is not permitted.   Link for details on event
  • Third, as a sign of respect, we are requesting that you refrain from vaping during both the committee meeting as well as the community outreach meeting.


UPDATED 2/14/14:  The agenda is not yet available, but the City has confirmed that Los Angeles City Council's Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee expects to consider an ordinance that would ban use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, February 24, 2014 at 2 PM, in Room 340 1060, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA  90012.

Report from City Attorney and Text of Proposed Ordinance
Council File: 13-1204-S1
Council File: 13-1204-S2

Please (1) call and email council members (with particular emphasis on the members of the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and River Committee highlighted in yellow below), and (2) plan on attending the hearing to offer testimony to the Committee to explain why banning use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited would work against the interests of public health.   See below for contact information and talking points.


UPDATED 2/6/14:  We have received information that it is likely (but not certain) that this matter will be set for a hearing on Monday, February 24th.  The agenda will not be available until Friday, February 21, 2014, and we will update this Call to Action then.

UPDATED 1/11/14 to include link to ordinance.

Last month (December 2013) the Los Angeles City Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance that would ban vaping wherever smoking is banned, including thousands of outdoor locations in the city (view Los Angeles' current smoking prohibitions here on page 20).  CASAA has just learned that the ordinance has been completed (although not released publicly) and that the Los Angeles City Council's Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee is being pushed to consider the proposed ordinance as soon as possible.

URGENT CTA Chicago E-Cigarette Usage Ban 1-13-14

URGENT Call to Action! Chicago E-Cigarette 

Usage Ban -- 

 (Hearing in Committee Possible Monday, January 13, 2014!)
Possible City Council Vote Wednesday, January 15, 2014



UPDATE 1/13/14:  The ordinance passed Committee with a vote of 15 in favor, 5 opposed.  The next step is a vote of the full City Council, expected to occur at the next City Council meeting WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2014.   The Call to Action is still active, and we ask that members continue to call and email aldermen.

City Council meets at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall (121 N LaSalle St. in Chicago).

It has been reported that an ordinance regulating e-cigarettes in the City of Chicago will be introduced in a joint committee on MONDAY, January 13th, 2014.  

We are still trying to confirm details, but it appears that the City of Chicago is once again deliberately failing to provide advance notice in an effort to eliminate opposition to the ordinance.  (See December 2013 CTA where they tried the same thing last month and see this article where opposition from vapers defeated the measure.)


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Local Alert: City of Mankato (MN) May Ban Vaping Where Smoking is Banned

In October 2013, CASAA alerted its Minnesota members that the Minnesota City of Mankato would be considering an ordinance to ban e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited, including in e-cigarette retail stores.  An October public hearing on the measure was delayed after receiving opposition from harm reduction advocates, with some City Council members expressing a desire for more scientific information on the topic. 

The public hearing has been rescheduled for this coming Monday, January 13th.

CASAA strongly encourages vapers to (i) call and email City Council members as well as (ii) attend and ask to speak at the City Council meeting on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Intergovernmental Center (10 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN, 56001).  (The meeting will actually start at 7:00, but it is important to show up half an hour early in case you are required to sign up to speak.)

Contact the Members of the Mankato City Council: 
  

Members Names (e-mail addresses appear in order above):
Christopher Frederick, 507-382-7299, cfrederick@city.mankato.mn.us
Renae Kopischke, executive assistant to the city manager, should also be copied on e-mails. Her address is rkopischke@city.mankato.mn.us. 

What to say to the members of the Mankato City Council: 

  1. You are a Mankato, Mankato area, or Minnesota citizen, and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited.
  2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.
  3. Explain how smoking bans are ostensibly 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 is 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 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.  This study has been published by  BMC Public Health, a peer-reviewed journal.
  4. Detail how 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 indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
  5. Inform them that 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 98-99%.
  6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
  7. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Local Alert: City of South San Francisco, California, May Issue Moratorium on E-Cigarette Stores and Lounges.



The City of South San Francisco City Council will meet TONIGHT (Wednesday, January 8th, 2014) to consider an urgency ordinance which would impose a temporary moratorium on various e-cigarette businesses in the city. 


Please take this opportunity to send the members of the City Council accurate information about e-cigarettes and your story about how the product has improved your life. 
 
CASAA strongly encourages vapers to (i) call and email City Council members, the Mayor, and Vice Mayor as well as (ii) attend and ask to speak at the City Council meeting tonight (Wednesday, January 8th, 2014)
at 7 PM at the Community Room of Municipal Services Center (33 Arroyo Dr. in South San Francisco, CA 94080). 



Contact the Members of the South San Francisco City Council below:


Councilmember Mark N. Addiego
mark.addiego@ssf.net

Mayor Karyl Matsumoto
karyl.matsumoto@ssf.net

Councilmember Liza Normandy
liza427@comcast.net

Vice Mayor Richard Garbarino
rich.garbarino@ssf.net

Councilmember Dr. Pradeep Gupta
[no e-mail listed]

Address and phone number for all of the above persons:

City Hall
400 Grand Ave.
South San Francisco, CA 94080

(650) 829-6601 

General City Council email:  council@ssf.net 

What to say to the members of the South San Francisco City Council: 


1.  You are a South San Francisco, South San Francisco area, or California citizen and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE any action the City Council might take that would limit adult access to these life-saving products.
  
2.  Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3.  Explain that a moratorium on e-cigarette shops and lounges would work a substantial hardship on consumers.  E-cigarette shops and lounges are more than simply stores.  They provide an important resource for smokers looking to dramatically reduce their health risks by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that poses an estimated 99% less risk than smoking.   These stores offer knowledgeable employees and diverse products to allow adult smokers to make a successful transition from smoking to e-cigarette use.

4.  A moratorium would leave South San Francisco residents with little or no local access to e-cigarettes other than mass-produced products sold in convenience stores and gas stations, products which are generally of a lower quality and satisfaction level than those offered by e-cigarette shops and lounges.  (Lower quality and satisfaction mean less chance of successfully making the switch from smoking to e-cigarette use.)

5.  The concern is expressed that “permitting the sale of e-cigarettes and/or associated equipment may promote the consumption and purchase of these devices by children and minors by increasing exposure.”  California law prohibits sales of e-cigarettes to minors.  Rather than limiting adult access to e-cigarettes by imposing a moratorium on e-cigarette shops and lounges, existing laws should be enforced to keep these products from minors.

6.  Given the low risk of e-cigarette use, there is no need to impose an "urgency ordinance" which bypasses normal rules regarding public notice and comment.  

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 2009 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 by a Drexel University professor 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.    
  
7. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

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



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Local Alert: City of Norwalk, CA (Los Angeles County) May Ban Vaping Where Smoking is Banned


The City of Norwalk, California (Los Angeles County), City Council will meet TONIGHT (Tuesday, January 7th) for a second reading and likely vote on Ordinance 13-1650 which would ban e-cigarette use everywhere in the city where smoking is banned. 

Please take this opportunity to send the members of the City Council accurate information about e-cigarettes and your story about how the product has improved your life. 
 
CASAA strongly encourages vapers to (i) call and email City Council members, the Mayor, and Vice Mayor as well as (ii) attend and ask to speak at the City Council meeting tonight (Tuesday, January 7th) at City Hall Council Chambers, 12700 Norwalk Boulevard, Norwalk, CA  90650. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM. 


Contact the Members of the Norwalk City Council below:

Comma delimited e-mail:  
lvernola@norwalkca.gov, mrodarte@norwalkca.gov, ckelley@norwalkca.gov, mmendez@norwalkca.gov, lshryock@norwalkca.gov

Luigi Vernola, Mayor
lvernola@norwalkca.gov

Marcel Rodarte, Vice Mayor
mrodarte@norwalkca.gov

Cheri Kelley, Council Member
ckelley@norwalkca.gov

Michael Mendez, Council Member
mmendez@norwalkca.gov

Leonard Shryock, Council Member
lshryock@norwalkca.gov


Address and phone number for all of the above persons:

City of Norwalk
12700 Norwalk Boulevard
Norwalk, CA 90650
(562) 929-5305

What to say to the members of the Norwalk City Council: 

1. You are a Norwalk, Norwalk area, or California citizen and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where smoking is banned.   
  
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3. Explain how smoking bans are 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 is 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 by a Drexel University professor 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.    
  
4. Detail how 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 indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
  
5. Inform them that 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 98-99%. 


6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

  

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

Local Alert: Frisco, Texas May Ban Vaping Where Smoking is Banned.


UPDATE 2/17/14:  Frisco City Council will hold a public hearing on TUESDAY, February 18th, 2014 to consider an ordinance to establish regulations regarding the sale, possession and use of e-cigarettes by minors and/or prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited.


Agenda (See Item 37 of the agenda)

Option 1 Language

Option 2 Language

According to a report from Frisco Enterprise, the Frisco, Texas City Council will meet TONIGHT (Tuesday, January 7th) to discuss the possibility of banning the use of e-cigarettes everywhere in the city that smoking is banned. 

Please take this opportunity to send the members of the Frisco City Council accurate information about e-cigarettes and your story about how the product has improved your life. 
 
CASAA strongly encourages vapers to attend and ask to speak at the City Council meeting tonight tomorrow (Tuesday, January 7th February 18th, 2014) at George A. Purefoy Municipal Center, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd., in Frisco. The meeting begins at 6:30  5:00 PM.  (The meeting begins at 5:00 P.M. with a closed session.  We're not sure when the public portion of the meeting will begin but will update this Local Alert if more information becomes available.)


Contact the Members of the Frisco City Council below:

Comma delimited e-mail list
mmaso@friscotexas.govjcheney@friscotexas.govjkeating@friscotexas.gov,ballen@friscotexas.govwsowell@friscotexas.govsjohnson@friscotexas.govtnelson@friscotexas.gov


Maher Maso (Mayor, City of Frisco)
Phone: 972-292-5050
E-mail: mmaso@friscotexas.gov

Jeff Cheney (Mayor Pro Tem, Place 2)
Phone: 972-292-5052
E-mail: jcheney@friscotexas.gov

John Keating (Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Place 4)
Phone: 972-292-5054
E-mail: JKeating@Friscotexas.gov

Bob Allen (Council Member, Place 1)
Phone: 972-292-5051
E-mail: ballen@friscotexas.gov

Will Sowell (Council Member, Place 3)
Phone: 972-292-5053
E-mail: wsowell@friscotexas.gov

Scott Johnson (Council Member, Place 6)
Phone: 972-292-5056
E-mail: SJohnson@Friscotexas.gov

Tim Nelson (Council Member, Place 5)
Phone: 972-292-5055
E-mail: tnelson@friscotexas.gov

What to say to the members of the Frisco City Council: 

1. You are a Frisco or Texas citizen and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE banning e-cigarette use where smoking is banned.   
  
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3. Explain how smoking bans are 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 is 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 by a Drexel University professor 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.    
  
4. Detail how 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 indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
  
5. Inform them that 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 98-99%. 

6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
  
7. Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

CASAA engages with US government to ensure consumer representation



This week, CASAA took two steps to help gain consumers better representation in tobacco product regulation.  First, we nominated our Scientific Director, Dr. Carl V Phillips, to serve on the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) for FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.  CTP has repeatedly assured the public that it intends to make sure consumers have a seat at the table.  (As you may know, consumers and those of us who organize to represent them have been relegated to supplicant status to date http://antithrlies.com/2013/12/10/dear-fda-ctp-nothing-about-us-without-us/ )  This will be a make-or-break test for their commitment, since it is difficult to imagine anyone more qualified to serve on that committee than Dr. Phillips.


We nominated him primarily for the consumer representative slot on the committee (which to date has been held by an extremist prohibitionist who is about as far from representing consumers as is possible), but also for any open slot, since he is also one of the most accomplished and broadly knowledgeable scientists in the area of the modern world of tobacco products (if you want more details on that, here is our nomination letter).  We believe he may be the only genuine consumer representative nominated this round, and know that he is among the most qualified scientists.  If his nomination is rejected, it can only be interpreted as the FDA not being honest about welcoming consumer participation in the process.


Second, we had a very successful meeting with the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA; part of the Office of Management and Budget), which is currently reviewing FDA’s proposed regulations of e-cigarettes.  As you know, FDA has written regulations that “deem” e-cigarettes to be tobacco products, and thus to be under the jurisdiction of their Center for Tobacco Products, and that contain other (as of yet, unknown) details about the regulation of e-cigarettes.  OIRA is the office responsible for reviewing all regulations to basically make sure they are not unnecessarily burdensome.  The testimony that CASAA (in the persons of Elaine Keller and Julie Woessner) delivered can be found here.


If you read that, you will notice that it is not just a generic broadside that says “e-cigarettes are great, and everything is fine, so regulation is bad.”  While that is often the right approach with politicians, dealing with different offices requires different approaches, and we realized that a generic plead would not be useful for persuading them or aiding their decision.  Thus, we based our analysis not on pleading about the wonders of the category, but on the regulatory economics arguments and other technical points that we believed would resonate with OIRA.  Apparently it worked, because they were attentive, asked a lot of questions, and kept us there well past our scheduled time so that they could continue to ask more.  We do not want to overstep by providing any details about what they said, but we will go as far as to say that they seemed to believe that the points had merit and did go to the basis on which they have to make their decision.


To summarize our testimony, we presented the great benefits and limited costs created by the current e-cigarette market, and argued that therefore almost any restrictive regulation would have a poor cost-benefit performance.  We emphasized how the current Center for Tobacco Products regulatory process was already overburdened, with a huge backlog of applications awaiting action, and that e-cigarettes would dramatically complicate this process even more.  In particular, we pointed out that the MRTP process (by which a product can get approval to enter the market and/or make health claims on the basis of being low risk) is currently nonfunctional.  Thus, while it might appear on paper that particular FDA regulations were reasonably flexible, in practice requiring these approvals was functioning as a de facto ban.  We did not suggest that the FDA’s motives or goals were bad, just that the combination of workload, decisions to date, and the constraints of the Tobacco Act make it almost impossible for them regulate e-cigarettes in a way that is beneficial rather than harmful.


OIRA seemed genuinely pleased to hear from real consumer representatives (in contrast with some decision-makers we have dealt with) and especially pleased that we brought them a cogent and fact-based analysis that focused on the decision criteria that they need to use, rather than just expressing opinions about what a perfect world would look like.  Before the meeting, we did not really think there was much hope that OIRA or the White House would intervene to change what might be some bad proposed regulations.  While it is far from certain that it will happen, we are now optimistic that they are seriously considering doing so.