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.

0:40 - Chicago, IL - Last week, the mayor had three town hall meetings regarding the budget, including a variety of measures (tax on e-cigarettes being one of them). They are talking about creating “tax parity” between e-cigarettes and smoking. Troubling is that policymakers are operating off of unrealistic and inaccurate information about use and products. For example, there is an infographic provided in an article noting that if you use an e-cigarette 5 days a week for a year, the tax will cost you an extra $1,864. (We’re assuming that is based on the purchase of 5 cigalikes a week.) We will be following up with a Call to Action trying to generate phone calls. (We anticipate the Call to Action will require more user effort than our typical Call to Action since our advocacy software isn’t designed to deal with local initiatives, making it difficult--and sometimes impossible--for us to offer our usual simple-style Call to Action.)

5:14 - California - Continue emailing and calling lawmakers. To date, only 1,500 people in California have sent emails. This is probably above average in terms of response rates for advocacy engagements in general given that we have less than 6,000 California CASAA members, but it’s still not enough. There are some people in California who are doing most of the heavy lifting, and we need to support their efforts and become more engaged. What happens in California will impact all of us and not simply in terms of bad legislation spreading to other areas. It will also have an immediate effect on out-of-state companies looking to sell product in California, and labeling/packaging and other requirements that might be imposed in California will likely be implemented for products being sold out of the state in order to simplify matters for the manufacturer.

9:40 - CASAA Research Fund - We have reached our fundraising goal, and the Gateway Research Project is fully funded. We expect that the researchers will have a working paper ready for comments and review within the next four to five months. Those who are familiar with Carl V Phillips know that this will be an honest, scientifically based assessment. Those unfamiliar with Carl’s writings and assessments should check out his blog.

11:30 - Public Health England Report - While the report generally contained good information and was supportive of governments embracing e-cigarettes as a low-risk alternative to smoking, we are concerned about the report’s incorrect assertion that e-cigarette use is 95% less hazardous than smoking, a number which is much higher than the best estimate of 99% less harmful than smoking. There are also concerns about moving e-cigarettes, a consumer product, into a more medicalized framework, which we believe is bad for consumers.

15:00 - EVUN Testimonials Project - Following the example of CASAA, the European Vapers United Network (EVUN) is collecting success-story testimonials from smokers who used smoke-free alternatives to quit or reduce their smoking. The testimonials are posted on a public webpage for everyone to see.
If you live in Europe, please share your story at: (If you live in the United States, continue to share your story here:
CASAA is working with EVUN and others in order to create an international testimonials site where stories from around the world will be copied and uploaded from sites maintained by the various participating organizations.

18:10 - Call to Action for HR 2058 - is still active. Over the next several months, there will be opportunities to contact your legislators while they are in their home districts, and all vapers and THR advocates should be setting up meetings with their federal legislators. We will be providing additional guidance on this in the coming month.

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.

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