Tuesday, October 20, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update October 19, 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.




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.


As always:
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chicago, IL - Local Alert! Oppose extra taxes on e-cigarettes and other smoke-free nicotine products.

Chicago, IL


Update - 10.13.15


In the next week, there will be two opportunities for vapers to make their voices heard in opposition to Mayor Emanuel’s proposed tax on vapor products.


The Chicago City Council will hold a regularly scheduled meeting tomorrow,


Council Chamber, Second Floor City Hall


A public hearing on the city’s 2016 budget is on the agenda for this meeting. Residents will have an opportunity to testify on budget issues, including a damaging tax on e-cigarette liquid and new taxes on smokeless tobacco products.


If you plan to speak, make sure to sign up. A sign-in sheet will be available starting at 10 am.


Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not intend to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large group of people affected by this issue.


Can’t make tomorrow’s meeting? You will have another opportunity to voice your opposition before the Budget Committee on


Council Chamber, Second Floor City Hall


If you are unable to attend either of these meetings, Please take a moment to send emails and make calls to your Alderman. Please see contact information and talking points in our previous alerts below.


Please share this link on social media:


Thursday, October 1, 2015

CASAA FDA comment on UCSF FDA comment - How Public Health Policy May Be Hazardous to Your Health




To: U. S. Food and Drug Administration

From: Brian L. Carter, PhD and Carl V Phillips, PhD

30 September 2015

VIA REGULATIONS.GOV
Comment Tracking Number: 1jz-8lf9-1nx4

Re: Comments on ANPRM “Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products” (Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514)

This is a 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”). We are concerned scientists with expertise in fields related to the proposed rule making. Carter is a member of the Board of Advisors of CASAA (The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association) and an independent consultant. Phillips is Chief Scientific Officer of CASAA.

This comment should not be mistaken for CASAA’s direct comment on the ANPRM [posted at regulations.gov at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2015-N-1514-0385 and also appearing at http://blog.casaa.org/2015/09/casaa-comment-on-fdas-proposed.html] (hereafter referred to as “the CASAA comment”). That comment presented analysis that supported the inclusion of safety warning labels and the use of child-resistant packaging, so long as these were not inappropriately used to mislead consumers about the risks or to intentionally lower product quality. The present comment has been endorsed by the CASAA leadership, and thus should also be considered an second official comment by the organization.
In the first CASAA comment, we predicted that those who seek to discourage e-cigarette use and other tobacco products may use this as an opportunity to misuse the legitimate process of creating valid and potentially beneficial safety warnings to deliver misleading claims with the intent of lowering the appeal of these products for consumers. The present comment is intended to make that concrete by observing exactly this behavior in one specific comment that has been filed. We reiterate the observation made in the CASAA comment that if FDA were to follow such advice, it would be scientifically misleading and grossly inappropriate public policy, would increase the risk of accidental poisonings by causing consumers to dismiss the warnings on these and other products as unreliable, and unnecessarily discourage smokers from seeking low-risk alternatives.
We are taking as an example for our response the comments submitted to the FDA under this docket number by the University of California, San Francisco, Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) and the California Poison Control System (CPCS) (hereafter: the TCORS/CPCS comment). This comment was previously published by Professor Stanton Glantz, PhD, on his UCSF website
[http://www.tobacco.ucsf.edu/ucsf-and-california-poison-control-centers-response-fda-questions-liquid-nicotine-products]
and appears at regulations.gov at
[http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2015-N-1514-0018.]

We expect that this is but one example of many comments from commentators with similar ideology-based political goals willing to subvert the rulemaking process in support of those goals. This is not an attempt to identify every error or weakness in the particular comment, but to illustrate the attempts to misuse this process to inappropriately demonize the products. We expect that this pattern will continue with every proposed regulation in this space and point out that FDA should not mistake political advocacy for scientific analysis, even when it is coming from the NIH- or FDA-funded academics. We wish to emphasize the contrast between the tendentious TCORS/CPCS comment and the CASAA comment, which we believe makes appropriate, reasonable, and science-based recommendations concerning the labeling and packaging of e-cigarette components and dissolvable smokeless tobacco products. The authors of the TCORS/CPCS comment are on record as opposing the use of low-risk tobacco products and have supported campaigns to dissuade consumers, including smokers, from experimenting with them (e.g., http://sanfranciscotobaccofreeproject.org/curbit-2/, https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/san-francisco-launches-e-cig-public-education-campaign).

Text from the published TCORS/CPCS document is presented throughout, indented and in italics, followed by our comments in a point-by-point analysis. The TCORS/CPCS comments are reproduced verbatim; the grammar and typographical errors appear in the original.