Monday, January 25, 2016

CASAA Podcast Update January 25, 2016



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.




Friday, January 22, 2016

CASAA Podcast Update January 18, 2016

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.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wisely vetoes misguided Tobacco 21 legislation.

Yesterday, Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wisely vetoed bills -- S-602/A-3254 --that would have raised the age to purchase low-risk, smoke-free vapor products and smokeless tobacco from 19 to 21 years of age.

Ostensibly Tobacco 21 bills are intended to reduce smoking rates by putting combustible cigarettes further out of reach for young people. However, this effort clearly ignores the reality that a percentage of young people will continue to experiment with, and likely progress to habitual use, the most dangerous form of tobacco. By including all forms of tobacco products as well as smoke-free vapor products, Tobacco 21 bills limit the options of young smokers attempting to quit, leaving them with only ineffective and expensive cessation products that fail 93-97% of the time.

Although Governor Christie’s veto of these bills is not a resounding endorsement of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) as a promising public health strategy to reduce the suffering caused by smoking, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

In addition to denying adults access to legal products (including vapor products), Tobacco 21 laws mislead consumers to believe that all tobacco products are equally harmful. While raising the age to purchase cigarettes might help prevent a small number of young people from initiating a harmful smoking habit, we believe the long-term consequences are most likely harmful as they deny access to reduced-risk products for adults looking to quit or reduce their use of combustible tobacco.

Florida Call to Action! Oppose an indoor vaping ban (HB 1143)

01.20.16


As predicted, HB 1143, which would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes and vapor products in the same places where smoking is banned, was passed out of the Health Quality Subcommittee yesterday, January 19th, 2016. However, this is by no means the end of the process.


A special thanks are in order to Florida advocates from VISTA, FSFA, retailers, and consumers who took advantage of the opportunity to present accurate and compelling testimony in opposition to this bill. Our cooperative efforts generated well over 14,000 emails being sent to the committee in a matter of a few hours from 1,032 Florida residents.


HB 1143 will move on to at least one more committee hearing and likely a second. In the interim, Florida advocates are encouraged to continue contacting their representatives and urging them to oppose this bill.


Please take a moment, today, to make a call and make your voice heard.



We will update this call to action as this bill progresses.



Monday, January 18, 2016

El Monte, CA - Local Alert! Indoor Vaping Ban for Multi-Unit Residences

El Monte, CA

Update - 01.18.16

Ordinance No. 2871 which would prohibit vaping in condominiums, apartments, and any other multi-unit residence in El Monte has been placed on the consent agenda for tomorrow nights city council hearing.

6:00 PM
El Monte City Hall - East
City Council Chambers

This ordinance includes a ban on vaping in private outside areas like porches, balconies, decks, etc., and will be accomplished by deceptively redefining “smoking” to include the use of an electronic cigarette.

Please make plans to attend this hearing. If you are unable to attend, please take a moment to send an email to city council members. We have provided talking points and contact information below.

Even if you do not plan to speak, please plan to attend as your presence demonstrates the large numbers of people affected by and engaged in this issue.

Please send emails urging council members to reject Ordinance No. 2871 to: citycouncil@elmonteca.gov

You can also call:
(626) 580-2001

Athens-Clarke Co., GA - Local Alert! Take action to oppose an indoor vaping ban!

Athens-Clarke Co., GA

The mayor and commissioners are being requested to update the county’s smoking ordinance (Agenda Item E-9) to include a ban on the use of vapor products in the same places where smoking is prohibited. This item is on the agenda for:

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
7:00 PM

Please make plans to attend this hearing and urge the mayor and commissioners to oppose this change to the county’s smoking laws. For those wishing to speak: “If you wish to address the Mayor and Commission on any item listed [] under old and new business, please go to the podium and state your name and address. RULES OF THE COMMISSION STATE THAT A CITIZEN MAY SPEAK ONCE DURING THE FOLLOWING PORTION OF THE AGENDA FOR UP TO THREE MINUTES WITH A 30 SECOND REMINDER AT TWO AND A HALF MINUTES.”

If you are unable to attend the hearing you can still make your position known by sending a message to the entire commission urging them to oppose this request. We have provided contact information and talking points below. Please take a moment to send an email and make phone calls to County Commissioners.

To contact the Mayor and ALL Commissioners, you can use this form:


Athens-Clarke Co., GA
Unified Government
District
Commissioner
Email
Phone
Mayor
Nancy Denson
mayorsoffice@athensclarkecounty.com
706-613-3010
Exec. Asst.
to the Mayor
Deborah Arnold
deborah.arnold@athensclarkecounty.com
706-613-3010
1
Sharyn Dickerson
sharyn.dickerson@athensclarkecounty.com
706-613-2416
2
Harry Sims
harry.sims@athensclarkecounty.com
706-546-1683
3
Melissa Link
melissa.link@athensclarkecounty.com
706-372-3382
4
Allison Wright
allison.wright@athensclarkecounty.com
706-549-3518
5
Jared Bailey
jared.bailey@athensclarkecounty.com
706-338-9019
6
Jerry NeSmith
jerry.nesmith@athensclarkecounty.com
706-248-3547
7
Diane Bell
diane.bell@athensclarkecounty.com
706-548-0314
8
Andy Herod
andy.herod@athensclarkecounty.com
706-543-0281
9
Kelly Girtz
kelly.girtz@athensclarkecounty.com
706-369-9457
10
Mike Hamby
mike.hamby@athensclarkecounty.com
706-338-3970

Comma delimited email list:

mayorsoffice@athensclarkecounty.com, deborah.arnold@athensclarkecounty.com, sharyn.dickerson@athensclarkecounty.com, harry.sims@athensclarkecounty.com, melissa.link@athensclarkecounty.com, allison.wright@athensclarkecounty.com, jared.bailey@athensclarkecounty.com, jerry.nesmith@athensclarkecounty.com, diane.bell@athensclarkecounty.com, andy.herod@athensclarkecounty.com, kelly.girtz@athensclarkecounty.com, mike.hamby@athensclarkecounty.com


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 City 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.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Call to Action! Support HR 2058 which would change the grandfather date for vapor products

Updated - 05.18.16

Click here


Original Post - (updated) 10.18.15


The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015 (HR 2058), introduced by Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, would save the U.S. vapor industry from being destroyed by improper regulations by the FDA. This bill would amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act to change the grandfather date for “deemed tobacco products.” This change would allow for most vapor products currently on the market to remain on the market without being subject to the burdensome (read: prohibitive) pre-market FDA approval application process.


While CASAA maintains the position that a separate regulatory scheme should be developed for vapor products*, we are proud to support HR 2058.


We are asking consumers to express strong support for HR 2058 and urge your representatives to cosponsor this bill.




If you have already taken action, please print out our flyer and ask if you can post it in your local/favorite vapor shop:




Update - 01.14.16


As HR 2058 gathers more co-sponsors, CASAA feels it is important for members living in those districts to take the opportunity to express some gratitude. A “Thank You” letter is a rare but very welcome event for lawmakers.




Please note: Thank You letters are restricted to residents living in districts represented by a Congressman that has signed on as a co-sponsor. If you would like to send a thank you letter to someone that has not sponsored HR 2058, please call them and ask them for their support.


Please share this link on social media:


We are also asking members who are not residents in Representative Cole’s district to send a written letter by traditional means. You can print out our pre-written letter here. We have provided the mailing address to his Washington, DC office below. As usual, you are encouraged to write your own letter adding your personal story, but feel free to copy ours.


Rep. Tom Cole
2467 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6165
Fax: (202) 225-3512




(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 INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

*Although CASAA feels that moving the grandfather date to a point in time that will protect consumer access to the current variety of vapor products on the market is a step in the right direction, this is by no means an ideal solution. Consumers should keep in mind that if this Act is adopted by Congress, innovations in safety, quality, and variety of devices and liquids essentially will be frozen at the time the FDA deeming regulation is finalized. Moreover, this change in the grandfather date will not exempt manufacturers from registering their products with the FDA, a process that will still remove a large number of vapor products from the market. CASAA maintains the position that a separate regulatory scheme should be developed for this product category.