Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update June 22, 2015

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.

0:20 - Federal - Appropriations bill (p. 86) introduced in the House Appropriations Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee would prohibit FDA from enforcing the February 15, 2007 grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products (including e-cigarettes), move grandfather date to issuance of Final Rule for Deeming Regulation (allowing newly deemed tobacco and e-cigarette products now on the market to remain legal, but require FDA approval of premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) for new products after Final Rule issuance). (See here for a brief discussion of the bill.) This is a similar approach as that offered by HR 2058. We now have two bills that would benefit consumers (and the diverse vapor industry) in the House at this time. Mark-up will be before the full committee on Thursday (June 25, 2015).

Industry groups are reaching out to their business members to encourage them to contact their legislators on the committee to express strong support. For example, Utah Smoke-free Association has a Call to Action for people who live in the district served by Rep. Chris Stewart, who is on the committee, and AVA is reaching out to vendors who are located in districts with a representative on the committee.

States with representatives on the House Appropriations Committee:  Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

6:00 - New York AB 5955 - Senate adjourned on Friday (June 19, 2015), resuming business Tuesday (June 23, 2015). As long as Senate is still meeting, AB 5955 (which passed the House and is now in the Senate) is still alive. If you haven’t already done so, please participate in the New York Call to Action. Rep. Rosenthal (one of the sponsors) was called on the gateway claim a few times and wasn’t able to come up with anything to substantively support the claim. (Not surprising in that the claim is bogus.)

9:00 - Minneapolis, MN - Health, Environment and Community Engagement Committee met Monday, June 22, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. Committee is still intent on restricting where flavored vapor products (lumped in with tobacco) can be sold. Minneapolis vape shops are already required to have a tobacco dealer’s license, and if a vape shop is already in compliance, this shouldn’t affect them. This would affect various other locations, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. These are places where traditional cigarettes are still permitted to be sold, and CASAA believes these are important outlets for current adult smokers to discover that other options are available. Vape shops should be very concerned about this ordinance because the first exposure of many smokers--future vape shop customers--is seeing vapor products in the same place as their favorite brand of cigarettes. This ordinance could cause a potentially large loss of future business for vape shops. Also, it’s a short step from banning flavored products in some venues to banning flavored products in all venues. Up-to-date information for Minneapolis-area folks can be found at MNVA and MNVA’s Facebook group.

13:40 - FDA - Third (and final) Call to Action regarding FDA Workshop issued June 16, 2015. Deadline to submit comments is July 2, 2015. CASAA’s Scientific Director, Carl V Phillips, was included in one of the panels, and you can see his thoughts on the workshop here and here.

The Call to Action contains three parts - Part A is a simple submission, Part B gives guidance for those who wish to make more in depth comments, and Part C provides submission instructions. Note that you may make more than one comment, and Part B is specifically designed so that you can pick several different topics and make multiple comment submissions.

16:00 - Brief discussion of politics and how many state legislative sessions have ended or are winding down. Many states have extended their sessions this year to deal with budget issues that seem to be raised at the very end of the regular session.

17:40 - Anticipate broadening the focus of the podcast to discuss issues being discussed in the vaping community such as labeling and marketing issues as well as scientific topics.

18:50 - Reminder that HR 2058 is still an active Call to Action, and it is important that you participate to encourage your representative to become a cosponsor of the legislation.

As always:
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