Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Alameda Co., CA - Local Alert!: Oppose Indoor use bans and Licensing requirements

Alameda Co., CA

Update - 02.09.16

Discussion and voting on the “Tobacco Retailers License Ordinance” was postponed once again at Tuesday’s County Supervisors hearing. Thanks to emails and other communications from Alameda Co. residents, this ordinance will held until September, 2016.

In the meantime, Supervisor Nate Miley will be working with stakeholders to develop a standalone vapor retailer licensing bill.

We will update this alert as things develop, but in the meantime, thank you, Alameda Co. vapers for being engaged and taking action!


Update - 02.08.16
Discussion and voting on the “Tobacco Retailers License Ordinance” was postponed last week until the next supervisors hearing. That hearing is tomorrow:


Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
County Administration Building - Supervisors’ Chambers


Your voices are having an effect!

If you have not already sent an email or made a call, please take a moment now to contact Board President Scott Haggerty and urge him to oppose this ordinance.


  • Email Board President Haggerty - district1@acgov.org


If you have not already sent an email or made a call, please take a moment now to contact county supervisors and urge them to oppose this ordinance. Please see our original analysis of this ordinance and additional contact information below.





Update - 01.31.16


An ordinance (linked below) intended to increase the ability to enforce sales restrictions on tobacco and vapor retailers in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County is scheduled for a second reading on:


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
County Administration Building - Supervisors’ Chambers


In order to sign up to speak you must fill out a speaker card (located at the back of the room) and hand it into the Clerk. Speaking time is limited to 3 minutes.


If you are unable to attend this hearing, please send an email urging the county board of supervisors to regulate and license vapor products through the proposed Personal Vaporizer/e-cigarette ordinance rather than enact confusing regulations that equate vapor products with smoked tobacco products.


Send an email to:
Board President Scott Haggerty - district1@acgov.org


Ordinance to License and Regulate Tobacco Retailers - This ordinance would redefine “electronic smoking devices” -- a clearly politically motivated term -- as tobacco for the purposes of folding vapor products into the county’s proposed Tobacco Retail License (TRL) regulations. Although CASAA is generally supportive of regulation that prohibits the sale of vapor products to minors, it is inappropriate to require vapor retailers -- which often more closely resemble electronics stores -- to submit to tobacco regulations.



Update - 01.11.16 (Urgent)


The Alameda Co. Board of Supervisors will meet again this week to consider two ordinances that will negatively impact consumer access to and awareness of vapor products.


Please make plans to attend this hearing:


Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
10:30 AM
County Administration Building - Supervisors’ Chambers

In order to sign up to speak you must fill out a speaker card (located at the back of the room) and hand it into the Clerk. Speaking time is limited to 3 minutes. It is recommended that you share your success story with vapor products and urge the Board to reject both items 17 and 18. Even if you do not plan to speak, your attendance is important as it demonstrates the large number of people affected by and engaged in this issue.


For those wishing to speak, we have also provided a very brief analysis of these ordinances followed by talking points below.


If you are unable to attend the meeting, please take a moment to call your district supervisor. Contact information is provided below in our original post.


Please also share this post on social media:


Update - 12.08.15


The Alameda Board of Supervisors have postponed the first reading of two vapor related ordinances until January 5th, 2016. It has been suggested that this decision is based on a technical error in the language that will need to be addressed. Advocates should remain engaged and continue reaching out to the supervisors listed in the Call to Action here.


CASAA will update this alert as information becomes available.


Original Post - 12.07.15


The County Board of Supervisors will be considering two ordinances at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting that will impact vapor retailers and consumers. In a rare but welcome gesture, a board supervisor is asking the public to attend and offer your stories about how vapor products have helped you.


Please make plans to attend this hearing:


Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
11:00 AM
County Administration Building - Supervisors’ Chambers


In order to sign up to speak you must fill out a speaker card (located at the back of the room) and hand it in to the Clerk. Even if you do not plan to speak, your attendance is important as it demonstrates the large number of people affected by and engaged in this issue.


For those wishing to speak, we have provided a very brief analysis of these ordinances followed by talking points below.


If you are unable to attend the meeting, please take a moment to call your district supervisor.


Alameda Co., CA - Board of Supervisors
Dist.
Supervisor
Phone
1
Scott Haggerty
(Board President)
(510) 272-6691
2
Richard Valle
(510) 272-6692
3
Wilma Chan
(Vice President)
(510) 272-6693
4
Nate Miley
(510) 272-6694
5
Keith Carson
(510) 272-6695


Ordinance to License and Regulate Tobacco Retailers - This ordinance would deceptively redefine “electronic smoking devices” -- a clearly politically motivated term -- as tobacco for the purposes of folding vapor products into the county’s existing Tobacco Retail License (TRL) regulations. Although CASAA is generally supportive of regulation that prohibits the sale of vapor products to minors, it is inappropriate to require vapor retailers -- which more closely resemble electronics stores -- to submit to tobacco regulations. In the case of Alameda County’s proposed licensing ordinance, retailers will be required to submit proof that they also hold a state tobacco retailer’s license. However, vapor retailers in California are not required by the state to obtain such a license. Despite the fact that the process to obtain a TRL from the state is relatively easy, this is an unnecessary complication and an added expense that could be avoided by crafting a separate, vapor specific registration for Alameda County businesses.


There is also a movement in several nearby municipalities -- at least one in Alameda County -- to limit the number of TRLs that can be issued. Although this ordinance does not directly address that effort, it sets Alameda County up for future regulation that could impose a moratorium on establishing new vapor retail shops. Again, this is not currently on the agenda, but it is cause for concern.


Ordinance to include Electronic Smoking Devices (Electronic Cigarettes) in tobacco sampling, tobacco retail, and smoking restrictions - Although this ordinance would carve out an exemption for vapor shops, it would still prohibit the use of vapor products in thousands of indoor (and some outdoor) public spaces and workplaces. The Board of Supervisors has heard testimony in support of and in opposition to this proposal and has chosen to include ginned-up scientific justifications as support for prohibiting vaping in the same places where smoking is banned. This being the case, if your early awareness of vapor products as a viable alternative to smoking was the result of seeing someone vaping in a public place, your testimony is vital.


Suggested Talking Points - Place Ban
  • (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. Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).


  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 County 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.


5) Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

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