Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Massachusetts Call to Action: Attorney General Hearing on proposed overreaching e-cigarette regulations

(Updated 4-27-15) On April 23, 2015, CASAA's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Carl Phillips, testified at the hearing on 940 CMR. CASAA's full written comments and suggested revisions to the proposed regulations (submitted April 24, 2015) can be read here.

Summary


Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has introduced 940 CMR which would impose significant restrictions on the independent vapor retail market in Massachusetts:


  1. Ban self-service displays and require that no product be accessible without an employee’s assistance unless no one under the age of 18 is permitted to enter the store.
  2. Basically require a “secret shopper” program for any retailer with 6 or more employees and mandatory training program for any retailers with 5 or fewer employees.
  3. Require nicotine-containing liquids to be packaged in accordance with federal standards.
  4. Prohibit online sales unless a legible photocopy of a valid government ID is provided
  5. Ban sampling (or offering giveaways)
  6. Allow cities, towns, and local boards of health to pass more restrictive rules.


Although CASAA is generally supportive of child-resistant packaging regulation tied to a federal standard and sensible regulation that supports age verification compliance (items 1- 3), we are opposed to any regulation that would restrict adult access to these products or a retailer’s ability to help customers make an informed decision about a vapor product purchase (items 4 and 5).  Additionally, we are concerned that allowing Massachusetts counties and municipalities to set stricter policies (item 6) will lead to a confusing patchwork of regulation that will negatively impact consumer access, choice, and awareness of these products.


Take Action:


  1. Between now and Friday, April 24th, 2015, please take a moment to send a message to the Attorney General.
 
We have provided a pre-written email for you to add your story to HERE.  Although we have pre-written our assessment of the objectionable portions of AG Healy’s proposal and it is a complete letter, we strongly urge you to provide your own story.  Our feelings will not be hurt if you delete our entire letter and substitute your own.  However, please be respectful.  Or you can simply send an email* to AGOregulations@state.ma.us .  


AG Healey needs to hear your story about how switching to vaping has benefitted you.  Please mention any health improvements you’ve experienced.  Although we do not recommend sending personal medical information via email to the AG, please specify if you would be available for follow-up questions or that you have evidence to support any claim of improved health.  The fact that you are smoke free for “X” months or years is a good start.


* If you are sending an email on your own, please include your name, Massachusetts address, and phone number so you can be verified as a resident (and voter).


(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.


  1. Make plans to attend the public hearing.


THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2015 10:00am

It has been suggested that testimony be organized and limited to a few “spokespeople.”  Even though we are not encouraging everyone to plan to testify, attending the hearing is important as it shows the large number of people affected by, and engaged in, this issue.  Rather than planning to speak, it is recommended that you send your testimony via email instead.  The deadline for submitting written testimony is Friday, April 24th.  Please remember to make yourself available for follow-up questions.

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