Monday, April 6, 2015

Berkeley, CA - Local Alert: Licensing and Place Ban - Hearing

Berkeley, CA.

City Council will meet on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 7:00pm to consider an ordinance that would:

  1. Require a tobacco retail license (TRL) to sell electronic cigarettes,
  2. Prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes within a 1000 ft buffer zone around schools and public parks,
    • Buffer zone requirement eventually will eliminate 80% of tobacco retailers currently operating in Berkeley.
  3. Any e-cigarette store (tobacco retailer) selling tobacco products within less than a 1000 feet of a school or park will be cited as a public nuisance.

This is listed as being the first reading but it will likely move to adoption.  If more than three people wish to speak on this item -- for or against -- it will be moved from the Consent Calendar to the Action Calendar.

Please make plans to attend this hearing and voice your opposition to this ordinance.
Council Chambers
2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA.

Please take a moment now to send emails and make phone calls to members of the city council.  Contact information and talking points are provided below.  Please see: guidelines for Public Comment under “Preliminary Matters” listed on the agenda.

Berkeley City Council

Email Address

Tom Bates (Mayor)
(510) 981-7100
Di 1
Linda Maio
(510) 981-7110
Di 2
Darryl Moore
(510) 981-7120
Di 3
Max Anderson
(510) 981-7130
Di 4
Jesse Arreguin
(510) 981-7140
Di 5
Laurie Capitelli
(510) 981-7150
Di 6
Susan Wengraf
(510) 981-7160
Di 7
Kriss Worthington
(510) 981-7170
Di 8
Lori Droste
(510) 981-7180

Questions regarding this matter may be addressed to Mark Numainville, CMC, City Clerk, 981-6900.

Comma Delimited Email List,,,,,,,,

Suggested Talking Points - Tobacco Retail License

  1. By subjecting vapor retailers to tobacco regulations, the city would eventually be forcing 80% of “tobacco retail stores” to shut down in the city of Berkeley.  Aside from being a tremendous financial loss for the owners and employees of these locations, vapor consumers would suffer an unjustifiable loss of access to low-risk products that help them live smoke-free.
  2. Because this ordinance will force several vapor shops to close, it will actually have the effect of protecting the sales of traditional cigarettes as they will still be allowed to be sold in hundreds of locations throughout the city.
  3. Including low-risk, smoke-free products like e-cigarettes in tobacco regulations sends a confusing message to existing smokers that these products are just as harmful as continuing to smoke. We know from a growing body of science that:
    1. these products are 99% less risky than traditional cigarettes,
    2. they are helping more than several million people worldwide to eliminate or reduce their smoking habit
    3. adult awareness of these low-risk, smoke-free alternatives is declining due to confusing laws and misinformation campaigns.

Suggested Talking Points - Place Bans
  • (Although these points are tailored toward indoor use, they can be easily applied to any place ban issue)

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

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

  1. Clarify that:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 often 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.
    5. 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%.
    6. Losing the ability to test e-liquids before purchasing will have a significant and negative impact on your ability to purchase/sell e-liquids.
    7. 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!
    8. 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, 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.

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