Thursday, October 15, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update October 12, 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 - VaperCon East - Several members of the CASAA leadership attended VaperCon East: Alex Clark, Elaine Keller, Ron Ward, and Brian Carter.


2:35 - Durham, NC - The State of North Carolina has a statewide clean indoor air act. Earlier this year, Asheville, NC included vaping in its smoking ordinance, and now the City of Durham has done the same. (Still optional for Durham County.) Discussion of how Asheville’s smoking ordinance was historically a matter of choice. If a business chose to be smoke-free, it could post a sign, and the City would enforce that. Advocates need to be aware that smoke-free ordinances that allow for choice are at risk as municipalities move to make them mandatory, and they’re increasingly including e-cigarettes in smoking bans.


10:00 - California - California has ballot initiatives, which allows citizens and interest groups to bypass the legislative process by proposing a measure and following the ballot initiative process. You can see a list of the initiatives here and read the initiative that includes e-cigarettes here. You can make comments on the initiative by going here and clicking on the “comment” button for Initiative 15-0081. (We anticipate issuing a Call to Action on this.)


The Title of Initiative 15-0081 is deceptive: “The California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016.” It is very important for vapers to understand that this would not only raise the tax on traditional tobacco products, but also tax vapor products. Many in the vaping community aren't particularly bothered by increased tobacco taxes and may not understand that voting in favor of this initiative will tax vapor products, too.


When they start collecting signatures to get the initiative on the ballot (probably January 2016 or later), vapers need to be very careful to understand that just because an initiative is about “tobacco” doesn’t mean that e-cigarettes are not included. In fact, this initiative would not only tax liquid, but also devices and hardware. Also, those collecting signatures are often paid by the signature, and they can become quite aggressive, even going so far as to misrepresent what the initiative is about. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORT OF WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING.


For those inclined to offer a comment (deadline November 6, 2015), you might consider talking about how the title of the Initiative is deceptive and confusing because it does not specifically include e-cigarettes in the title. If the Attorney General determines that the proposed initiative is unclear or defective, the language will have to be reworked to address the problems or it will not move forward.


18:30 - FDA deeming myths - There are many myths and misconceptions floating around the community about FDA regulations. For example, some mistakenly believe that FDA regulation is going to be mainly about warning labels and “kiddie stuff.” General discussion about FDA deeming regulation and also additional regulations FDA is considering imposing, like proposed labeling/warnings and the distinction between medical devices and tobacco products. It is important for members to understand, though, that THE big issue is that the proposed deeming regulations would effectively ban 99% of the products currently on the market. (You can read a synopsis of CASAA’s comment (with a link to the full comment) on the deeming regulations here.)


If you have heard any myths or rumors about FDA and regulation, contact Alex Clark at AClark@casaa.org and share them. It is important for us to know what misinformation is in the community so that we can better understand what misinformation we need to correct.


27:20 - HR 2058 - The Call to Action for HR 2058 (changing the grandfather date) is still active. It is important that members of the vaping community contact their legislators to ask them to co-sponsor this incredibly important legislation. Without a change in the grandfather date, 99% of the products currently on the market will be effectively be banned.


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