Monday, April 28, 2014

FDA regulation of e-cigarettes: huge costs, little or no benefit, says CASAA


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its long-awaited draft regulations for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other low-risk alternatives to smoking. The regulations offer little benefit, according to The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), the leading advocate for the current and future consumers of low-risk alternatives to smoking. However, CASAA believes that should the FDA finalize the rule in its current form, it will inflict devastating harm on consumers.

“This is a classic case of government imposing a ‘solution’ and then looking for a problem,” said CASAA President Julie Woessner, J.D. “The regulations do nothing to address real concerns, and instead are a slow-motion ban of the high quality e-cigarettes that have helped so many smokers quit. The rules would mostly require busy-work filings that impose huge costs with little apparent benefit.”

The proposed regulations are based on a faulty understanding of the science, reports CASAA Scientific Director, Dr. Carl V. Phillips. “FDA has cherry-picked the available evidence,” says Phillips, “blindly accepting any assertion that favors aggressive regulation and ignoring the overwhelming evidence about the harms that these regulations would cause.”

Although the regulations do not openly ban the refillable devices that are preferred by experienced users, they impose a costly registration and approval process that would effectively eliminate them. Such registrations offer minimal benefits, but ensure that only a few large companies who mass-produce small and disposable products would be able to afford the necessary filings. Additionally, while the regulations do not immediately ban the variety of popular flavors for e-cigarette liquid, they signal an intention to do so in the future.

“Our research and others’ shows that higher-quality hardware and appealing flavors are important for smoking cessation,” says Phillips. “Many former smokers report that they were always tempted to go back to smoking while using the smaller devices with imitation tobacco flavoring, but they quit smoking for good when they found better hardware and flavors that no longer reminded them of smoking.”

It is estimated that as many as a million American smokers have quit or substantially reduced their smoking thanks to e-cigarettes, and many are already making plans for a black market if these regulations take effect. Those smokers who are using e-cigarettes in a transition stage could easily return to smoking--and future potential switchers may never be able to make the transition--if the restrictions on high-quality products are imposed. Woessner, who quit smoking thanks to e-cigarettes, fears such impacts. “If I had been limited to only those products that would exist under this regulation, I would probably still be smoking.”

CASAA is preparing a response that will point out the flaws in the proposed regulations and is organizing its members and hundreds of thousand of other e-cigarette users in an attempt to persuade FDA about the harms this regulation would cause. Should that fail, it plans to fight the regulations in court.

CASAA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, public health, membership NGO. It does not represent the interests of industry. Donations are not tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.

Contact: Carl V Phillips, CASAA Scientific Director, 651-503-6746, cphillips@casaa.org.
________________________________________________________________________________

CASAA Members: Please email this press release to your local newspapers and news stations.

Friday, April 25, 2014

CASAA Assessment of FDA Deeming Regulation, April 25, 2014



Yesterday’s FDA draft deeming regulation regarding e-cigarettes, other smoke-free alternatives, and other products is not as bad on its face as it might have been. However, a full review -- in the context of background knowledge and institutional analysis -- reveals that the proposed regulation is inappropriate, ill-founded, and potentially devastating for consumers.


1. The proposed regulation of non-combustible tobacco products, particularly including e-cigarettes, does almost nothing to address any real problems.


With the exception of ingredient labeling requirements, which benefit consumers, and bans on sales to minors, which we also support, this appears to be a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. FDA presents only speculative claims of harms or risks from smoke-free products.  To the extent that they identify potential problems, there is no reason to believe that the proposed regulations will address them.  


For example, there are vague assertions that regulation will address problems of unsanitary manufacturing processes or contamination. Addressing these would benefit consumers. But the regulations, which primarily involve busy-work information filings and applications, would do nothing to address such problems. Another example is the repeated claims about fixing consumer misperceptions. There is no evidence that consumers are misinformed. But even if they are misinformed, there is no apparent way the proposed restrictions would change that. Indeed, we believe the proposed regulations would increase confusion.


FDA implies that their filing and application processes address these speculative problems, but they do not. They would have us believe that their HPHC (hazardous and potentially hazardous chemicals) reporting process, where manufacturers are required to measure and catalog the quantities of a list of chemicals in products, is a solution. But such reporting is nearly useless for educating consumers, as was made clear when FDA and TPSAC discussed how to try to make it useful in a meeting last year. It does nothing to prevent occasional contamination problems and is not sufficient knowledge for determining which products might pose higher risks, though it will inevitably be interpreted as such.


Similarly, they declare that their application process for allowing new or “substantially equivalent” products onto the market protects good products and eliminates bad ones. But there is no evidence that their process actually accomplishes this. Moreover, that process is hopelessly backlogged merely trying to regulate cigarettes and smokeless tobacco; they will be even less capable of dealing with applications about far more complicated and varying e-cigarettes. FDA actions, discussions, and statements about the approval process strongly suggest that for manufacturers to get filings approved, they will have to provide information that is next-to-impossible to produce.


2. There is no recognition of consumer interests.


The consumers are the primary stakeholders in this process, yet FDA displays an utter disregard for their interests. Discussions of the cost of the proposed regulations focus entirely on the compliance costs for manufacturers. There is no apparent awareness of the costs imposed on consumers. It is telling that the logon password for yesterday’s FDA phone broadcast about the regulations was “industry.”


There are signals that FDA would take actions that are harmful to consumers. FDA is aggressively soliciting reasons to ban e-cigarette flavors and there are several hints that they intend to take this step. Buried in the middle of a nondescript paragraph is the observation that they would gain the authority to impose whatever unspecified restrictions on additives and constituents they want. Reading between the lines indicates they would be inclined to ban any product variation that appears to be slightly higher risk than an alternative (but still very low risk compared to smoking), regardless of whether consumers preferred it.


FDA consistently insists that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free products cannot be considered smoking cessation aids and asserts (contrary to overwhelming evidence) that they are not effective as such. Yet this regulation says that the only reason for allowing a new (which means post-2007) product onto the market is that it is useful for smoking cessation. This might just be the self-contraction that unrealistic rhetoric often leads to, but it might signal an intention to ban most everything.


3. The rules would eliminate the small businesses that provide the high-quality e-cigarette products that experienced vapers prefer.


The filing requirements that would be imposed on manufacturers would put small-sized, and probably medium-sized, companies out of business. Only a half dozen large manufacturers (particularly including the major traditional tobacco companies and their suppliers) would be able to meet these requirements.  Moreover, any smaller manufacturer that was able to complete the filings would face the prospect of being instantly put out of business by the FDA’s ruling as soon as the grace period (24 months) expires and FDA gets through the backlog and rules on their applications. Thus, these regulations appear to eliminate the vast majority of e-cigarette manufacturers approximately two years after they take effect.


FDA repeatedly asks for comments on how the requirements could be made non-fatal for small manufacturers. But this appears to be disingenuous; there is simply no way to reconcile the burdens imposed by proposed requirements with the resources of small and medium specialty businesses that make higher quality e-cigarette components.


4. The scientific claims made by FDA are flawed and biased.


We are very concerned with FDA’s apparently tenuous grasp of the relevant science.  They ignore the bulk of what is known, repeatedly misinterpret studies, and accept as fact politically-motivated assertions of authors.  They have some out-and-out factual errors in their review of the science, but far worse is the spin and innuendo. They cherry-pick single sources with particular conclusions about topics that are far more uncertain when all the evidence is considered.  In almost every case, the uncritical acceptance of bad information tends to justify restrictions and deny the harms they will inflict on the public with these restrictions.  This bodes ill for what they will accept as new evidence in response to their requested comments.  


By contrast, they downplay overwhelmingly obvious facts about the benefits of e-cigarettes.  For example, they present the statement that e-cigarettes reduce exposures to toxicants compared to smoking, something that is true beyond a doubt, with the caveats “some researchers have stated” and “may.” They similarly downplay the evidence about e-cigarettes’ effectiveness in aiding smoking cessation.


(We expect to provide more details about the scientific errors and spin at the antiTHRlies.com blog over the coming weeks.)


It is this biased view of the science that will presumably be used to evaluate product applications, determine the content of warning labels, and otherwise control communication. In particular, FDA implies that a new tobacco product can only be justified if it is effective for harm reduction (a term they blatantly avoid). Yet FDA’s evaluation of e-cigarettes seems to deny they are effective. Given that the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes is supported by about as much evidence as is imaginable for any new product, It is difficult to see how they could reach a favorable ruling about any product.


FDA asks for comments about many aspects of the proposed regulation, including evidentiary support. They do not do this for most of their tenuous scientific assertions, however. Furthermore, they demonstrate a willingness to accept most anything as evidence if it supports their inclinations. Since they will inevitably get comments from someone providing ostensible evidence to support every claim they want to make, and since they demonstrate a tendency to cherry-pick and uncritically report such claims, this suggests that FDA will conclude that they have adequate support for every additional restriction they wish to impose.

Taking Action.

It is our current assessment that these proposed regulations are not in the best interests of consumers. They include some good provisions, but do far more harm than good. They are based on arbitrary claims and rationalizations. Should the regulations be finalized as currently formulated and implied, we are prepared to marshal our resources to file a lawsuit on behalf of consumers.


We expect to provide further analysis on Monday, April 28th, 2014. In the next week or two, we will issue a Call to Action detailing how the proposed regulations affect consumers along with suggested actions so that consumers can respond most effectively. Please remember that a comment to the FDA regulations made on Day 1 is given no more weight than a comment made on Day 75.  We urge the vaping community and others interested in opposing regulation that discourages tobacco harm reduction to await further analysis before acting. There is no benefit in acting or opining precipitously.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FDA releases e-cigarette rules

Today the FDA finally released its long-awaited proposed rules on e-cigarettes.

On its face, it appears that it is not as bad for consumers as it might have been, but there are still serious concerns. The FDA approval process is very complicated, and the details matter. Unlike some commentators, we are not prepared to say much more until we have a chance to examine them and consider them in the context of existing institutions.

It's important to remember that the recently published rules are only proposed rules at this time.The next step for the FDA will be to open a docket for public comments, which will last for 75 days. After analyzing the 240-page document, CASAA will issue a Call to Action for its members detailing any consumer concerns, instructions for submitting public comments and possible talking points.

To download a copy of the rules: Click Here

Call to Action! Iowa - Support Ban on Sales to Minors (HF 2109 with Dotzler Amendment S-5088)

Iowa: Ask Iowa State Senators to to Vote YES on HF 2109 with Dotzler Amendment (S-5088)
 [HF 2109 with Amendment S-5088]

 If enacted, this bill would:


  • Ban sales of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) and "alternative nicotine products" to minors.  (In connection with "vapor products," the Dotzler Amendment would ban e-cigarette sales to, and use by, minors of devices and e-cigarette liquid, including no-nicotine liquid.)
  • NOT impose an additional tax on these these products  
  • NOT define these products to be "tobacco products" under Iowa law 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Call to Action! Minnesota E-Cigarette Usage Ban

UPDATED 5/9/14:  URGENT  MNVA has updated it's Call to Action  to note on MONDAY, May 12th at 8:30AM, the Conference Committee will be hearing HF2402, which is the Health & Human Services omnibus bill that contains the e-cigarette public usage ban.  Please see the MNVA Call to Action for detailed information on this issue and contact information.

UPDATED 5/6/14:  URGENT MNVA has updated its Call to Action for SF 2027 to note that the bill is being considered by the Senate WEDNESDAY, MAY 7th, and it is CRITICAL that vapers and harm reduction advocates contact their senators to express strong opposition to Section 1 of that bill.  Please see the MNVA Call to Action for detailed information on this issue and contact information.

UPDATED 5/3/14:  URGENT Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group (MNVA) has issued a Call to Action for House Bill 2402, which is scheduled to be heard in the Minnesota House of Representatives on MONDAY, May 5th, 2014.  Two amendments have been offered to that bill, one of which would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited, and the other which would ban sale of e-cigarettes in kiosks.  Please see the MNVA's Call to Action for HB 2402 for information on how you can help.

UPDATED 5/1/14:  SF 2027 was on the Senate Finance Committee’s agenda for May 1, 2014, but is now on the agenda for MONDAY, May 5th, at 10:15 a.m. 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 123, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606.

We're asking vapers and harm reduction advocates in the State of Minnesota to (1) attend the meeting to express your opposition to treating e-cigarette use like smoking and to request that SF 2027 be amended to remove that provision and to move forward as a simple ban on sales to minors, and (2) contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (below) to express your views.

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the committee meeting.

Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for additional information and late-breaking information on this fast-moving legislation.

Please continue to call and email the Finance Committee senators listed below!

UPDATED 4/30/14 P.M.:  SF 2027 has been pulled from tomorrow's agenda.   We will update the Call to Action when more information is available.  No need to attend the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, but please continue to call and send emails.

UPDATED 4/30/14 A.M.:  SF 2027 has been set for a vote on whether to remove the provision that would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited on THURSDAY, May 1st, 2014 before the Senate Finance Committee at 8:30 a.m., 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 123, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606.

We're asking vapers and harm reduction advocates in the State of Minnesota to (1) attend the meeting to express your opposition to treating e-cigarette use like smoking and to request that SF 2027 be amended to remove that provision and to move forward as a simple ban on sales to minors, and (2) contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (below) to express your views.

As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the committee meeting.

Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for additional information and late-breaking information on this fast-moving legislation.

Contact information for members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Comma delimited email list (does not include members with online webmail forms):  sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn, sen.scott.newman@senate.mn, sen.john.pederson@senate.mn, sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn, sen.bobby.champion@senate.mn, sen.terri.bonoff@senate.mn, sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn, sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn, sen.sean.nienow@senate.mn, sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn, sen.michelle.fischbach@senate.mn, sen.scott.dibble@senate.mn, sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn


Senate Finance Committee Members:




















UPDATED 4/28/14:  Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group has issued a Call to Action regarding SF 2027, which is expected to be reviewed in the Senate Finance Committee this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday, April 30th.   Please see the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy Group Call to Action for details on how you can help.

UPDATED 3/21/14:  The  Senate Commerce Committee will hold a public hearing on SF 2027 on MONDAY, March 24th, 2014 at 12:30 P.M. in Room 322 of the Capitol Building (75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) in St. Paul.

Please (1) continue to call and email members of the Senate Commerce Committee to let them know you oppose SF 2027 unless the ban on e-cigarette use is removed (See the 3/13/14 update immediately below for contact information and see Part II of the Call to Action for talking points), and (2) attend the hearing and offer testimony.  (As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the hearing.)

Due to the fast moving nature of Minnesota's legislative session, CASAA recommends following the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy website and Facebook page for the latest Call to Actions to respond to.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Local Alert! Watauga, Texas has Banned Sale of E-Cigarettes.

The City of Watauga, Texas has banned sale of e-cigarettes, preferring for the residents of Watauga to have access only to traditional combustible cigarettes, which are estimated to be 99% more hazardous than e-cigarettes.  The City has made provision for local businesses currently selling e-cigarettes to apply for a two-year variance, which basically gives the City two years to close down all e-cigarette sales if it is so inclined.  In the meanwhile, sale of traditional combustible cigarettes remains completely legal.

The ordinance has passed, but CASAA is asking its members, particularly those in Texas, to contact the City Council to let them know how damaging this ordinance is, not only to the rights of adult vapers in Watauga, but also to the interests of public health, and ask that the City Council immediately rescind it.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Local Alert! San Jose, California - E-Cigarette Usage Ban


Memorandum from Councilmember Ash Kalra

The City of San Jose is considering adding e-cigarettes to its smoke-free ordinance, effectively banning e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited (including many outdoor venues).  The Rules and Open Government Committee members will be hearing from staff regarding the ordinance TODAY, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. (City Hall Wing Room 118/119, 200 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA  95113).  Parking can be found below City Hall, and you should ask to receive validation at the Committee Meeting.   (When you arrive at the meeting, please fill out a yellow speaking card to be recognized to speak.)

Councilmember Rose Herrera sent an email yesterday to members of her district asking that residents show up in support of the ordinance, noting that, "Going up against big tobacco and addiction is not an easy feat and I need your help."  She apparently doesn't realize that the battle she is waging isn't against "big tobacco," but, rather, against thousands of individual vapers in San Jose who have improved their health and dramatically reduced their health risks by switching (either in whole or in part) to a product estimated to be 99% less hazardous than smoking.  CASAA is asking residents of San Jose to show up, call, and email to let the City of San Jose know that you oppose any efforts to treat low-risk, smoke-free e-cigarette use like smoking, 

Please (1) email and call members of the Rules and Open Government Committee to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting and offer testimony in opposition to an ordinance treating the use of low-risk, smoke-free e-cigarettes the same as smoking.
(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the  meeting.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CASAA Testimony - Vermont Senate Finance Committee April 8, 2014

Testimony of Carl V. Phillips, PhD, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA)

in Opposition to bill H 884

8 April 2014

I am Carl V Phillips, PhD, Scientific Director of CASAA, The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.  I live in xxxx, New Hampshire. 

I urge you to not support H 884, which would inappropriately place a disproportionate tax burden on people who have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking and discourage further switching to this low-risk alternative to smoking.

Local Alert! Oceanside, California - E-Cigarette Usage Ban


The City of Oceanside is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The ordinance is set for a public hearing (and is expected to be voted on) TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014 at 5:00 P.M. (300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA  92054).  

Please (1) email and call the mayor and members of the City Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to define smoke-free e-cigarette use as smoking.
(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the City Council meeting.)

Local Alert! Pleasanton, California - E-Cigarette Usage Ban


The City of Pleasanton is considering adopting an ordinance that would deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The issue will be discussed at the regular City Council meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:00 P.M. (City Council Chamber, 200 Old Bernal Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566 ).  
Please (1) email and call the mayor and members of the City Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to include  smoke-free e-cigarette use in a smoking ban
(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the City Council meeting.)

Local Alert! Corte Madera, California - E-Cigarette Usage Ban


The Town of Corte Madera is considering adopting an ordinance banning smoking in various areas.  They are considering two ordinances, one of which would include e-cigarette use in the ban, and the other which would not.  The ordinances will be discussed at the regular Town Council meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:30 P.M. (300 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera, CA 94925 ).  

Please (1) email and call the mayor and members of the Town Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to include  smoke-free e-cigarette use in a smoking ban
(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the Town Council meeting.)

Local Alert! Scotts Valley, California Ordinance - E-Cigarette Use Ban


The City of Scotts Valley is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  The ordinance is set for a second reading and vote on the Consent Calendar for TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014 at 6:00 P.M. (City Council Chambers, 1 Civic Center Drive, Scotts Valley, CA  95066).  

In addition to banning e-cigarette use as "smoking," the ordinance also bans sales to minors and bans location of retail tobacco stores (50% or more of annual gross receipts are from sale of tobacco and/or e-cigarette products) near schools.  (CASAA supports bans on sales to minors and does not object to reasonable restrictions regarding location of shops selling e-cigarettes or tobacco products.)
Please (1) email and call the mayor and members of the City Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to define smoke-free e-cigarette use as smoking.
(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the City Council meeting.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Local Alert! Newton, Massachusetts Ordinance E-Cigarette Use Ban, Flavor Ban, Restrict Place of Sale, Increase Age of Purchase to 21

Last updated 4-15-14

UPDATE 4-15-14 P.M.:  We have received confirmation that the flavor ban will NOT apply to retail tobacco stores or retail nicotine delivery product stores.  However, it would obviously apply to e-cigarettes that are sold in other retail establishments, and CASAA opposes laws which limit the availability of adult consumers to these legal products.  Rather then banning the sale of  e-cigarettes with characterizing flavors in convenience stores and other non-specialty retail settings, the Board of Aldermen should simply enforce bans on sales to minors.  

UPDATE 4-15-14 A.M.:  The measure passed out of committee with a favorable vote, and now will be heard by the full Board of Aldermen on TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014 at 7:45 P.M., Newton City Hall (1000 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA 02459).

We do not expect that testimony will be allowed at the hearing, but we are asking vapers and harm reduction advocates to (1) attend the hearing to show opposition to the ordinance, and (2) phone, email, and ask to meet in person with members of the full Board of Aldermen.  (Contact information below.)

The ordinance being considered by the Board of Aldermen on TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014 would impose devastating restrictions on e-cigarettes within the city, including (1) banning flavors, (2) prohibiting e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited, (3) prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes wherever tobacco products can't be sold, and (4) raising the minimum purchase age to 21.  (CASAA currently does not take a position on this last issue, but members are free to express their views.)

Unlike most anti-e-cigarette ordinances in Massachusetts, this one is NOT being considered by the local Board of Health (who are appointed, not elected).  Rather, this is being considered by the Board of Aldermen, elected officials who should be accountable to their constituents.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Local Alert! Baytown, Texas E-Cigarette Usage Ban


The Baytown, Texas City Council is considering adopting an ordinance that would ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.  (The ordinance would also ban sales to minors,  a move which CASAA supports.)

The City Council is considering four alternatives:

  1. Prohibit the sale, possession and use of e-cigarettes by minors, and/or
  2. Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in areas where conventional cigarettes are prohibited; or
  3. Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in areas where conventional cigarettes are prohibited except in "bars" (more than 51% of their revenue from alcoholic beverages); or
  4. Take no regulatory action at this time.
CASAA supports Option No. 1 (ban on sale, possession and use by minors).
The ordinance will be discussed at the regular City Council meeting on THURSDAY, April 102014 at 6:30 P.M., City Council Chambers, 2401 Market Street, Baytown, TX  77520.
Please (1) email and call the mayor and members of the City Council to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend the meeting on THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 at 6:30 P.M. and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.

(As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during the City Council meeting.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

CASAA presents at FDA listening session in San Diego

San Diego -- April 5, 2014

The Office of Science in the Center for Tobacco Products held a public listening session, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), this past Saturday.  Senior staff from the Office of Science was present to hear relevant presentations from members of the public.

CASAA director Elaine Keller attended the event with a presentation written by her and CASAA's Scientific Director, Dr. Carl Phillips, PhD. Below is the transcript of the prepared presentation, with corresponding slides.



SUBMITTED AS ABSTRACT
A large portion of the science related to low-risk alternatives to smoking seems predicated on informing the regulatory question “should these products be caused to disappear, or at least be marginalized from the public view?” But since neither of these is a possibility in a free society, the research efforts designed to promote bans and the responses designed to head-off bans do nothing to improve regulations. Useful regulatory science must be premised on the reality on the ground, not the questionable and unattainable goals of a vocal minority. Such science would help determine what real-world regulation would benefit consumers with improved safety (e.g., specific features of e-cigarettes that should be sought or avoided) and improved understanding (e.g., accurate warning labels on smokeless tobacco). It would also help serve broader policy goals (e.g., moving away from the currently denigrated e-cigarette advertising to messaging that encourages harm reduction without glorifying any product).

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Passing of the Torch: A message from out-going CASAA President, Elaine Keller

It has been my extreme pleasure and privilege to serve as president of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association for the past 2-1/2 years. But the time has come for me to devote more time to family, so I must relinquish some of my CASAA responsibilities. That's the bad news.

New CASAA President Julie Woessner
The good news is that board member Julie Woessner has agreed to take over as president and was unanimously elected to that office. I gratefully pass on the torch to her. Also re-elected were Kristin Noll-Marsh as vice-president, and Karen Carey as treasurer. Karen will continue to serve as secretary pro tem until a suitable candidate is found to take on that role.

In addition I was re-elected to the board to serve another 2-year term. Ron Ward, Michael Cozzi and Carl Philips were also re-elected for a second term as board member. The remaining members have another year left on their terms.

A few words about Julie Woessner. She has been a staunch activist for tobacco harm reduction since before CASAA even existed. She applied her knowledge of the law to keep consumers informed about the progression of the court case Smoking Everywhere and Soterra, Inc. d/b/a NJOY versus the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (See http://casaa.org/FDA_vs.html). Her legal knowledge has also been invaluable for evaluating various proposed laws at the Federal, state, and local levels in terms of the potential effects on consumers if the measure were to be enacted.

Her testimony at the Illinois State Capital helped to prevent a ban on e-cigarette sales back in 2010. As a CASAA director, she has spoken to the FDA and to the Office of Management and Budget regarding the potential effects of deeming e-cigarettes to be tobacco products. In short, her writing, speaking, and organizational skills are excellent. I know she will do an excellent job of leading CASAA.

Sincerely,











Elaine Keller
President from September 2011 to April 2014

Call to Action! New York State Bill Would Ban E-Cigarette Use Wherever Smoking is Prohibited (CONCLUDED)

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!


Call to Action! New York State Bills Would Impose a 75% or 95% tax on E-Cigarettes and Raise the Tax on Low-Risk Smokeless Tobacco



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!

Call to Action! New York State Bill Would Ban Sale of E-Cigarette Liquid

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!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Call to Action! Illinois Bill Would Ban Sale of Liquid for E-Cigarettes Until Illinois Department of Public Health Establishes Packaging Standards

(last updated 4/2/2014)

If enacted, HB 5689 would:
  • Require all e-cigarette liquids to be sold in "special packaging" and require the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish standards for such packaging
  • BAN the sale of all e-cigarette liquids in Illinois until these regulations are enacted.
Illinois vapers, your help is needed.  This bill has could come up for a vote in the Illinois General Assembly at any time. 

While HB 5689 is being promoted as a bill to sensibly require childproof caps on e-cigarette liquids, the truth is that this bill would BAN the sale of all e-cigarette liquid products until regulations are proposed and enacted by the Illinois Department of Public Health that describe the sort of packaging that is required.  These regulations could take anywhere from six months to two years to actually become law. In that time, sales of e-cigarette liquid would be banned.

Additionally, even if HB 5689 is amended to allow for continued sales of e-liquid, this bill still abdicates rulemaking power to unelected bureaucrats of the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Improper regulation, even on a subject as seemingly simple as childproof packaging, could have negative consequences for consumers by raising the cost of products or enacting barriers to adult access. As far as we can tell, no one at the Department of Public Health has any special knowledge of e-cigarettes or e-cigarette packaging. HB 5689 provides no funding for experts in the field of e-cigarettes or child-resistant packaging to be retained by the Department of Public Health. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Local Alert! St. Joseph, Missouri - April 8, 2014 Public Vote on Ordinance That Would Ban E-Cigarette Use as "Smoking"


Voters in the City of St. Joseph, Missouri will be deciding on April 8th, 2014 whether to approve a smoke-free ordinance that would not only ban smoking in virtually all workplaces, but would also deceptively include smoke-free e-cigarette use as "smoking."  We do not believe that most citizens of St. Joseph understand that e-cigarettes, which are estimated to be approximately 99% less hazardous than smoking (and which pose no risk to bystanders), will be banned.

We are asking that you (1) contact the NewPress newsroom at (816) 271-8500 and ask them to do a story highlighting the fact that use of smoke-free e-cigarettes would be treated exactly like smoking, and (2) and share information with friends and family (personally and via email and social media) encouraging St. Joseph residents to vote AGAINST the ordinance.

If you live in St. Joseph, Missouri, we ask that you VOTE against the ordinance on TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 2014.