Friday, January 2, 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana Call to Action: Ordinance would Ban Vaping Wherever Smoking is Prohibited

1/25/14 Update:  This call to action has concluded.  Although the NOLA City Council reached a compromise with vapor retailers in the city that allows for e-cigarette use in vapor stores and would allow for vaping indoors at a convention, thousands of other businesses are now required to prohibit vaping indoors.  A detailed list of the affected businesses and other locations is available here.  Due to the fact that vaping has been deceitfully folded into New Orleans’ smoking ban, we consider this call to action to be concluded unfavorably.



1/16/15 Update:  In the wake of two large hearings regarding New Orleans’ contentious indoor smoking law, it is clear that the city council intends to move forward with including vapor products in the ban.  Even more concerning is that no amendment has been made to exempt vapor retailers from the law.  Please take a moment to send a message to the NOLA City Council expressing opposition to the inclusion of vaping in the smoking ban.

This campaign is open to ALL Louisiana residents.  If you live outside of New Orleans, please mention any connection you have to the city (work, family, friends, leisure, etc.).



1/11/15 Update: As a result of the large turnout at last week's city council hearing, some stakeholders in New Orleans were unable to present testimony.  In an effort to accommodate all interested parties, two council members will be hosting a town hall meeting on Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 at 5:00 pm in City Council chambers (City Hall, 1300 Perdido St.).  If you are a New Orleans resident or have ties to the city, please consider attending and speaking at this meeting.


1/9/15 Update: The New Orleans City Council's Community Development Committee met on January 7, 2015 and voted 3-2 to recommend the proposed smoking ban (with amendments) to the full City Council for its consideration. Coverage of the hearing can be found here.

The City Council could consider this matter as early as January 22nd, 2015, so it is imperative that you act now to make your views known.





Louisiana vapers!


This coming Wednesday, January 7th at 10:00 AM, the New Orleans City Council’s Community Development Committee will meet to discuss and take testimony on an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public workplaces in the city, but also would also senselessly ban vaping everywhere “smoking” is banned. The ordinance would also exempt tobacco retailers from the “smoking” ban, but NOT specialty vapor retailers.


We need your help! Anti-smoking activists who also oppose vaping are organizing people from across Louisiana to come testify. Without phone calls, e-mails, and public testimony from vapers, our concerns will likely be ignored.


Please take a moment now to write and/or call the members of the City Council to voice your opposition to the e-cigarette usage ban. Beneath the list of ways to contact the City Council, you will find ‘Advocacy Suggestions,’ as well as suggested points to make in your email.


Hearing location:
NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL
1300 Perdido Street -- 2nd Floor West (City Council Chambers)
New Orleans, LA 70112



NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS:


Comma delimited email list:
mayor@nola.gov, shead@nola.gov, jasonwilliams@nola.gov, sgguidry@nola.gov, lcantrell@nola.gov, districtc@nola.gov, jcbrossett@nola.gov, jagray@nola.gov


Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu
mayor@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-4900


Councilwoman Stacy Head, Council Member at Large
shead@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1060 / Fax: (504) 658-1068


Councilman Jason Rogers Williams, Council Member at Large
jasonwilliams@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1070 / Fax: (504) 658-1077


Councilwoman Susan G. Guidry, District A
sgguidry@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1010 / Fax: (504) 658-1016


Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, District B
lcantrell@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1020 / Fax: (504) 658-1025


Councilwoman Nadine M. Ramsey, District C
districtc@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1030 Fax: (504) 658-1037


Councilman Jared C. Brossett, District D
jcbrossett@nola.gov
Phone: (504) 658-1040 Fax: (504) 658-1048


Councilman James Austin Gray II, District E
jagray@nola.gov
City Hall, Room 2W60, 1300 Perdido St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1050 Fax: (504) 658-1058


ADVOCACY SUGGESTIONS


1)  Email and call the members of the New Orleans City Council (listed below) to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and attend the council 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.


4) 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.


5) 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, avoid the use of "vape slang" (e.g., "juice") and profanity, and otherwise act in a respectful, professional manner.


SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS


1. You are an New Orleans or Louisiana resident and you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not an New Orleans resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to New Orleans 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 cigarettes 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 CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

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