Saturday, August 22, 2015

Roswell, GA - Local Alert! Outdoor Vaping Ban.

Roswell, GA

The Roswell City Council will be considering an amendment that would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in city owned parks.

This amendment is Item 5 on the regular agenda for

38 Hill Street
Roswell, GA 30075

Please make plans to attend this meeting.

Please take a moment now to send emails to Roswell City Council Members. We have provided contact information and talking points below. Although this list is directed at indoor use issues, it is easily adapted to present opposition to ridiculous outdoor use prohibitions as well.

Roswell, GA - City Council
Jere Wood
Rich Dippolito
Becky Wynn
Kent Igleheart
Jerry Orlans
Nancy Diamond
Mayor & Council

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update August 17, 2015 and August 10, 2015

This is a double-header . . . August 10, 2015 (a discussion with CASAA's Jan Johnson and Julie Woessner about some of the history of the e-cigarette advocacy movement) and August 17, 2015 (a discussion with CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark regarding legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest).

August 17, 2015:

0:45 - California - Special Session, hearing on various e-cigarette related bills to be held Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 1:30 PM in Sacramento. Hearings will be open to public. Call to Action has been updated to provide information on the hearing. If you live in California and haven’t already participated in the Call to Action, please do so now. See also Vaping Daily Action Plan (thanks to NotBlowingSmoke for the Twitter handles) for those who would like to use Twitter to share their thoughts with legislators. Latest updates can be found via NorCal SFATA and NotBlowingSmoke.

5:45 - Pennsylvania - Governor Wolf is calling for a 40% tax on vapor products. CASAA has two active Calls to Action:  (1) a thank you to lawmakers and (2) a message to Governor Wolf.

7:00 - FDA - CASAA has issued a new Call to Action regarding commenting on FDA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding warning labels and child-resistant packaging. Generally speaking, warning labels can provide valuable information, but if the warnings overstate the risks, then it becomes less about honest information and more about an activist agenda to discourage use. The Call to Action provides information to help consumers make formal comments to FDA on this ANPRM. This is not a simple “click and send” Call to Action, but it is important to take some time to share your thoughts with FDA. If nothing else, let FDA know that accurate and honest information is important to you. Deadline is August 31, 2015.

14:20 - Survey - CASAA is encouraging people to participate in a survey entitled “Your Perceptions and Experiences of Using Electronic Cigarettes.” CASAA has vetted this survey and believes that it is seeking to elicit genuinely useful information. The survey will end in another week or two, so please take a moment to participate now.

15:26 HR 2058 (requesting U.S. representatives co-sponsor a bill designed to change the grandfather date) is still active. If you haven’t already done so, please participate now.

15:30 - Testimonials Project - This is an important advocacy tool both in connection with legislative advocacy as well as simply providing information to people who may be interested in low-risk alternatives to smoking. Please share your story.

As always:
Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project and Join CASAA so that you receive the most up-to-date information on issues affecting you.

Join the conversation:


August 10, 2015:

This podcast is an interesting discussion of some of the history of early advocacy and chronicles changes made by CASAA in connection with its legislative advocacy efforts over the years. 

Topeka, KS - Local Alert! City Council to take action on indoor vaping ban (TONIGHT, 8/18/15)!

Topeka, KS

Indoor Usage Ban

The Topeka City Council will likely be taking action on an ordinance TONIGHT (8/18/15) that would redefine “smoking” to include the use of electronic cigarettes. This, of course, is for the purpose of prohibiting vaping where smoking is currently banned.

Please make plans to attend this hearing:

City Council Chambers
214 SE 8th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66603

Please also take action NOW by sending emails and making phone calls to City Council members urging them to oppose this ordinance. We have provided contact information and talking points below.

Topeka, KS - City Council
Karen Hiller
Sandra Clear
Sylvia Ortiz
Jonathan Schumm
Michelle De La Isla
Brendan Jensen
Elaine Schwartz
Jeffrey Coen
Richard Harmon

To send an email to the entire City Council, please send to

Indoor Usage Ban

Suggested Talking Points - Indoor Use
  • (Please choose a few of the points below -- topics you are most comfortable discussing.)

  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.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FDA Call to Action: Submit Comments on FDA's Proposed Regulation of Safety Packaging and Labeling for E-Cigarettes and Dissolvable Smokeless Tobacco

Update August 21, 2015: The comment deadline has been extended to September 30, 2015. Update September 29, 2015: Updated to include a link to the comment CASAA filed.


DEADLINE for Comment is August 31, 2015 September 30, 2015.

I. Background

The FDA recently published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting comments on rules about “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products.” As is obvious from the title, FDA is seeking comments on their plan to impose child-resistant packaging and accidental exposure/poisoning warning labels on e-cigarette refill products (liquid and cartridges), dissolvable smokeless tobacco products, and some other fringe tobacco/nicotine products. This is your chance to make the consumer voice heard. (There is enough information contained in this Call to Action for you to be able to comment without reading the full ANPRM, though reading it and/or CASAA’s comment will give you a more complete picture.)

As background, an ANPRM is a pre-draft of regulations that outlines the goals and approaches of the regulation, but often omits details and asks for input. If you recall FDA’s draft “deeming” regulation, it was really more of an ANPRM even though they released it as a draft regulation. You may also know that because the deeming regulation is not finalized, FDA does not yet have authority to implement the rules in this ANPRM, which comes only after they deem certain products to be under their authority. By putting this out, they are sending a signal that they will implement these rules as rapidly as possible after the deeming.

As you probably know, the deeming regulation as currently proposed will effectively ban most e-cigarette products after a two-year grace period. This regulation -- when and if it is implemented -- would apply to all e-cigarette products during the grace period and the few remaining non-black-market products after the grace period ends.

CASAA’s comment can be found here (at the time this CTA is going out, this is still a near-final draft text, as should be clear from looking at it; we will finalize and submit before deadline and post the final version). Our views can be summarized as:

CASAA's comment was filed September 27, 2015 and can be found here. Our views can be summarized as:

  • In order to implement these regulations, FDA will have to impose the deeming which -- unless there is some radical change in policy -- will effectively ban >99.9% of the e-cigarette products on the market by requiring filing and paperwork burdens that can be met only by the largest manufacturers, and only for a small number of closed-system products.
  • While we believe there are some genuine benefits to consumers from having federal-level rules mandating child-resistant packaging and providing honest and useful warnings, those benefits are very small compared to the devastating cost of the deeming. CASAA continues to object to the deeming regulations.

  • If we ignore that and consider accidental exposure warning labeling and child-resistant packaging in isolation, they are good ideas which offer modest net benefits so long as they are done right. It is better for consumers if e-cigarette refill products (liquid and cartridges) and dissolvable smokeless tobacco products are sold in child-resistant packaging. Warnings along the lines of “keep out of reach of children” are good advice for those who may not already know that and a good reminder to everyone else.

  • The potential benefits are modest because the accident hazards from these products are fairly minor, less than those from countless household products. Nicotine is far less toxic than is often claimed or believed.

  • It is inevitable that the ANTZ will encourage FDA to pervert the reasonable and pro-consumer intentions of safety labeling and packaging rules to try to vilify nicotine and make the products less appealing to consumers. This would be grossly inappropriate, but it is easy to imagine it occurring. Thus, we made numerous observations about what actions would be considered unacceptable burdens as opposed to legitimate regulation.

As individual consumers, there are several useful observations you can submit as comments on this ANPRM in advance of the deadline of August 31, 2015.


If you want to do a fairly quick and simple (but useful) comment, follow the instructions for Part A (“Simple Submission”), then skip down to Part C (“Submission Instructions”) and you’re done.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, you may choose to also follow the instructions for Part B (“Optional Additional Detail”).

Part C provides instructions on how to submit your comment.

Part A - Simple Submission
We encourage CASAA members to submit a comment that covers the following points:

  • State that as a consumer you support appropriate child-resistant packaging and appropriate safety warning labels in principle.
  • However, that you and your fellow members of CASAA strongly object to the deeming regulation that would effectively ban all e-cigarette products other than a handful of cigalikes. If you personally quit smoking or remain smoke-free thanks to other e-cigarette products, take this opportunity to briefly mention your story. Then tell FDA that no possible benefits of the proposed rulemaking could possibly offset the damage to consumers and public health from the deeming regulation.
  • Remind FDA that nicotine, in the low concentrations found in e-cigarette liquid and smokeless tobacco products, is not very toxic. If you use open-system e-cigarettes and, like most consumers, have had accidental exposure to the liquid (e.g., spilling it on your hands, getting it into your eye), point out that this has happened and that you suffered no ill effects. However, if you or a member of your family has ever experienced an accidental exposure that caused ill effects, please give details to better inform FDA about what circumstances caused it.
  • If you are a consumer of either e-cigarettes or dissolvable smokeless tobacco products, tell FDA about roughly what percentage of the products you buy or see for sale are already sold in child-resistant packages. This is important information that will help regulators know either (a) the packaging mandate is largely moot because it is already being done or (b) there is need for a requirement because too many manufacturers are not using proper packaging.
  • Remind FDA that you have many products in your home that pose greater accidental exposure hazard than the products in question.
  • If you are an open-system e-cigarette user, point out to FDA (if it is true) that if refill liquid bottles were made too difficult to open or were made unattractive due to mandatory labeling or other restrictions, you would be much more likely to transfer the liquid into a different bottle.
  • Tell FDA that if the warning labels contain information that you know is false or misleading, that this would make you less likely to trust other information from the FDA or warning labels on other products.

Part B - Optional Additional Detail
If you are inclined to delve deeper into the details, it is probably most efficient to:

  • Read the CASAA comment and see what ideas you would like to repeat. Feel free to borrow any of the points we make (you might want to rewrite them in your own words).

A few other specific points you might want to make:

  • Take a look at some packages you have at hand of over-the-counter medicines, cleaning products, or other products that have accidental poisoning warning labels. You will probably find “keep out of reach of children” and a poison control hotline and nothing more. You can point this out to FDA and remind them that there is no legitimate reason for the hazard labeling on e-cigarette liquid or other tobacco/nicotine products to go into any more detail.
  • If you have used products that would be covered by the packaging requirements (such as bottles of e-cigarette liquid) that already have child-resistant packaging, consider telling FDA your experience with it. Were you happy to see it? Did it create too great a burden for you? Did you ever consider emptying the contents into another container because you did not like the original packaging?
  • If you have encountered the over-the-top warning labels that some of the major tobacco companies have put on their e-cigarettes (examples here), tell FDA about your reaction to them. Did you treat them as a joke and ridicule them? Did you just ignore all of the content because you knew that some of it was false? Or perhaps you or someone you know felt intimidated by these warnings, so much so that they were dissuaded from using the product and decided to continue smoking instead.

Part C  - Submission Instructions
Follow these instructions to make sure your comment is properly submitted and reviewed. (You might also find it helpful to review FDA's Tips for Submitting Effective Comments.)

1. Make sure that you include the following statement at the very top of your comment because it is required:  
    • I am commenting on ANPRM “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products” (Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514)

2. Make sure that somewhere in the comment you describe yourself a bit:
    • Mention if you are an e-cigarette user and how long you have been using e-cigarettes. Go ahead and mention how long ago e-cigarettes allowed you to quit smoking if that describes you.
    • If you are a CASAA member, please mention that to remind them that there is an organized consumer voice they should be listening to. (If you are not, please go HERE and join. It is free and important.)

3. Close your comment with a simple, “Thank you.”

4. Submit your comments here. (We strongly recommend you compose your comment in a word processor rather than directly in the text box. If you have a long comment, you may get an error message when you try to copy and paste your comment into the comment box. In that case, type "My comment is attached" in the comment box, and then upload the document that contains your comment. To upload your document--immediately beneath the comment box is a button labeled "choose files" for uploading. Click on that box and select the document containing your comment.)