Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CASAA Comment on FDA's Proposed Regulation of Safety Packaging and Labeling for E-Cigarettes and Dissolvable Smokeless Tobacco

To: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

From: Carl V Phillips, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association 

27 September 2015
Comment Tracking Number: 1jz-8ld2-jrka


Re: CASAA comments 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)

This comment on Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514 (advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products”) is submitted on behalf of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). CASAA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit public health and education NGO that is the leading representative of consumers who use or might in the future use smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products. It is a U.S. membership organization with over 70,000 members. CASAA is not an industry group and does not represent the interests of industry.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tacoma-Pierce Co., WA - Local Alert! Share your vaping success story with the Department of Health.

Tacoma-Pierce Co., WA

The County Health Department is asking for public input on developing e-cigarette regulations. As stated on their website, the regulations they are considering may include vapor products in the county’s existing smoke-free air law. A public hearing will be held on
6:30 - 8:00 PM

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Please also RSVP to an event created by the Pink Lung Brigade here.

Please also take this opportunity to submit your comments via email to Anthony L-T Chen, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department:

We have provided talking points below to help you develop your comments. Please also add your personal story (about a paragraph or so).

Suggested Talking Points -Public 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 CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Matanuska-Susitna, AK - Oppose Vapor Taxes

Matanuska-Susitna, AK

An ordinance (Ordinance Serial No. 15-098) that would expand the borough’s tobacco tax to electronic cigarettes and vapor products will he heard tonight, September 15th, 2015 in the Borough Assembly.

Assembly Chambers

Please make plans to attend this hearing.

For those unable to attend, please take a moment NOW to send an email and make phone calls to borough assembly members. We have provided talking points and contact information below.

Matanuska-Susitna - Borough Assembly
Assembly Member
Jim Sykes
(907) 354-6962
Matthew Beck
(907) 355-3223
Ron Arvin
(907) 373-6685
Steve Colligan
(907) 373-1502
Dan Mayfield
(907) 892-7406
Barbara Doty
(907) 746-0460
Vern Halter
(907) 495-1197
Public Opinion Form
Also available here -->

Comma delimited email list:

jimsykesdistrict1@gmail.com, matthew.beck@matsugov.us, ronarvin@mtaonline.net, stevecolligan@mtaonline.net, dan.mayfield@matsugov.us, Barbara.Doty@matsugov.us, vern.halter@matsugov.us


1).  Ostensibly, taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. However, due to the fact that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 98 - 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.

2).  Sin taxes are regressive. The smoking population, those switching to vaping, is disproportionately made up of poor and low-income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group.

3). Imposing a tax on these products will drive consumers to shop in neighboring cities that do not have a similar tax. Concurrently, consumers will be encouraged to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the City and will result in less revenue, not more.

4).  It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.

5).  Taxing e-cigarettes in a manner similar to how cigarettes are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks.  The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update September 7, 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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

California "special session" bills threaten consumer access, choice, and use of smoke-free vapor products.

Update - 09.15.15

The California legislature concluded its Second Extraordinary Session on Public Health without passing any anti-vaping bills. This Call to Action is successfully concluded.

Update - 09.09.15

With just a couple of days left in California’s “Second Extraordinary Session on Public Health,” the pressure is on both advocates and lawmakers to make their voices heard.

If you have already participated in out call to action by making a phone call or sending emails to lawmakers, please take a moment now to print out this flyer and post it at your local/favorite brick and mortar store.

If you have not already participated, NOW IS THE TIME!

Update - 09.01.15

The California legislative session will officially come to a close on September 11th. Although we are only 10 days away, there is an awful lot that is happening in this short span of time. We are very concerned about several bills that are making their way through the special session on public health. It is imperative that every vaping and tobacco harm reduction advocate in California contact their lawmakers NOW!

At the time of this post, we have not received details on when these bills will be heard in committees. We do, however, expect that notice will be short. It is vitally important that you take action NOW by contacting your lawmakers by phone, email, and in person and urge them to oppose AB 6, AB 16, SB 13, and SB 5.

Please share these links on social media:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update August 31, 2015

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