Monday, October 17, 2016

Local Alert - Philadelphia, PA - City Council is considering imposing a moratorium on new vapor shops.

The Philadelphia Board of Health has “provisionally approved” a regulation regarding tobacco retailing within the city. This regulation would limit the number of “tobacco retailer” licenses to 1 per 1000 residents in a district. The city’s definition of “tobacco retailer” includes vapor shops. Approval of this regulation will effectively impose a moratorium on new vapor shops opening in over 3/4th of the city.

A public hearing will be held on:

Municipal Services Building

Please take action NOW by sending a message to City Council members urging them to oppose this regulation!

Take Action - Send a Message

Existing retailers in the city of Philadelphia should be aware that even if you believe this regulation is a good thing because it will limit your competition, other municipalities have adopted similar ordinances that are later used to reduce the number of licences issued by the city -- there is no distinction between a vapor shop and a bodega that sells cigarettes.

Please make plans to attend this hearing.

We have provided talking points for you to develop your presentation to the board.
Suggested Talking Points - Tobacco Retail License

  1. Because this ordinance will prohibit new vapor shops from opening, it will actually have the effect of protecting the sales of traditional cigarettes as they will still be allowed to be sold in hundreds of locations throughout the city.
  2. Including low-risk, smoke-free products like e-cigarettes in tobacco regulations sends a confusing message to existing smokers that these products are just as harmful as continuing to smoke. We know from a growing body of science that:
    1. these products are 99% less risky than traditional cigarettes,
    2. they are helping more than several million people worldwide to eliminate or reduce their smoking habit
    3. adult awareness of these low-risk, smoke-free alternatives is declining due to confusing laws and misinformation campaigns.
  3. If “licensing” or “registration” is the only way the city feels they can enforce a ban on sales to minors, vapor retailers should be regulated under a separate vapor retailer regulatory scheme. Regulations for tobacco retailers are notably more restrictive due to the risks associated with smoking.

(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

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