Monday, 24 January 2011 15:26

Bill Godshall - New York e-Cigarette Ban A01468 Action Alert

Written by Bill Godshall
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NY Assembly Health Committee is scheduled to consider legislation (A01468) that would ban all e-cigarette sales tomorrow afternoon.

[EDITOR's NOTE: First they came for the e-cigs and I did nothing since I didn't use them. Then they came for my Swedish Snus and there was no one left to help me]

SmokeFree should NOT mean TobaccoFree!Smokefree Pennsylvania needs your help: Call/e-mail/fax/ NY Assembly Health Committee members urging them to AMEND A01468 (to ban e-cigarette sales to minors), and to OPPOSE the bill unless/until it is amended. Also, please forward this e-mail to other e-cigarette consumers and/or tobacco harm reduction advocates. Contact information for NY Assembly Health Committee is below.

Smokefree Pennsylvania has already sent the following letter to NY Assembly Health Committee. As you will see, once again personal agendas take precedence over common sense in New York.

Smokefree Pennsylvania
1926 Monongahela Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
412-315-5880

NY Assembly Health Committee:

Smokefree Pennsylvania strongly encourages you to AMEND Assembly Bill A01468 (by deleting Section 2 of the bill [pg 3, lines 37-53], and by deleting references to Section 2 in the bill's Summary and Memo) so that it bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors (like all other tobacco products), and to OPPOSE A01468 until/unless amended because the bill would force tens of thousands of adult e-cigarette consumers in NY to either go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes, or to purchase these far less hazardous life saving alternatives from an newly created black market.

In sharp contrast to the inaccurate and misleading claims in Assembly member Rosenthal's purported justification of A01468, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes have ever harmed any consumers nor anyone else. The growing body of scientific and empirical evidence indicates that e-cigarettes (also called nicotine vaporizers) are at least 99% less hazardous alternatives to tobacco cigarettes (since they emit no smoke), satisfy the cravings of many smokers, and have helped hundreds of thousands of smokers stop smoking or significantly reduce cigarette consumption. The most comprehensive analysis of e-cigarette research is at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-institutes/population-development/files/article.jphp.pdf

Also in contrast to the sponsor's inaccurate claims, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are marketed to youth, that any youth use the products, or that the very low levels of nicotine emitted by e-cigarettes (that are lower than levels emitted by nicotine gums, lozenges and patches) can cause addiction http://www.healthnz.co.nz/2010 Bullen ECig.pdf http://www.casaa.org/files/Virgiania Commonwealth University Study.pdf Regardless, as with all other tobacco products, it would be wise for NY to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Section 2 of A01468 is inconsistent with last year's opinion by federal Judge Richard Leon http://www.casaa.org/files/SE-vs-FDA-Opinion.pdf that the FDA isn't authorized to regulate e-cigarettes as drug devices (unless a manufacturer/importer makes therapeutic claims), and his injunction prohibiting FDA from banning the import of e-cigarettes http://www.casaa.org/files/SE-vs-FDA-Ruling.pdf , which was unanimously upheld last month by the DC Court of Appeals http://www.casaa.org/files/ct app opinion on injunction.pdf and which Smokefree Pennsylvania and other public and consumer health advocates filed a supportive amici curiae brief http://www.casaa.org/files/amicus brief smokefree.pdf

Consistent with public health goals and Judge Leon's opinion, last year the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) filed two petitions to the FDA urging the agency to classify and regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products in accordance with the FSPTCA, and to truthfully inform smokers that these products are far less hazardous alternatives to cigarettes. http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=FDA-2010-P-0095 http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=FDA-2010-P-0093

Since 2007, an estimated 500,000 smokers in the US have switched to e-cigarettes, which emit smokefree nicotine vapor.

A01468 threatens public health and protects the deadliest consumer product (tobacco cigarettes) from market competition by these exponentially less hazardous smokefree alternatives. E-cigarette consumers and smokers have a human right to truthful information about, and legal access to far less hazardous alternatives to cigarettes.

By banning the legal sale of e-cigarettes, A01468 would result in many/most e-cigarette consumers in NY buying the products from a newly created black market or in adjacent states (none of which ban their sale), where taxpaying e-cigarette industry jobs in NY also would relocate. Furthermore, if A01468 is enacted, any enforcement, prosecution and/or adjudication of this unwarranted legislation would pose an unjustifiable burden on state and local taxpayers.

Last September, I and other consumer and public health advocates testified before NY Senate Health Committee about this legislation at http://www.youtube.com/user/nysenateuncut#p/u/3/Aj53NLxCpts

Ironically, although cigarette companies would be the chief beneficiary of A01468, they aren’t lobbying for the legislation. Rather, drug industry funded anti-tobacco/nicotine extremists have been lobbying for this bill because they vehemently oppose smokers reducing their health risks by switching to less hazardous alternatives. And yet, public health officials, organizations and professionals have an ethical duty to not only truthfully inform the public about health risks, but also to provide smokers with legal access to far less hazardous alternatives.

Since I founded Smokefree Pennsylvania in 1990, our nonprofit organization has advocated local, state and federal policies to reduce indoor tobacco smoke pollution, reduce tobacco marketing to youth, hold cigarette companies accountable for past misdeeds, preserve civil justice remedies for those injured by cigarettes, increase cigarette tax rates, fund tobacco education and smoking cessation services, and inform smokers that all smokefree tobacco/nicotine products are far less hazardous alternatives to cigarettes. For disclosure, neither I nor Smokefree Pennsylvania have ever received any direct or indirect funding from any tobacco, drug or electronic cigarette company or trade association.

Once again, please amend or reject this outrageous and inhumane legislation.

Sincerely,

William T. Godshall, MPH
Executive Director

 

Here is contact information for Assembly Health Committee members, and at the top are both semicolon and comma delimited email lists for ease of use:

Assembly Health Committee


Semicolon delimited email list:

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Comma delimited email list

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Chair: Richard N. Gottfried D (a cosponsor)
LOB 822
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4941

f 518-455-5939

Jonathan L. Bing D
LOB 744
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4794
f 518-455-4629

Kevin A. Cahill D
LOB 713
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4436
f 518-455-5576

Robert Castelli R
LOB 820
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5397
f 518-455-5041

James D. Conte R
LOB 446
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5732
f 518-455-5553

Steven Cymbrowitz D (a cosponsor)
LOB 538
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5214
f 518-455-5738

Jeffrey Dinowitz D
LOB 824
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5965
f 518-455-4437

Sandy Galef D (a cosponsor)
LOB 641
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5348
f 518-455-5728

Aileen Gunther D
LOB 435
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5355
f 518-455-5239

Andrew Hevesi D
LOB 833
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4926
f 518-455-5173

Rhoda Jacobs D
LOB 736
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5385
f 518-455-3881

Charles D. Lavine D
LOB 441
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5456

f 518-455-5467

William B. Magnarelli D
LOB 841
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4826
f 518-455-5498

Nettie Mayersohn D
LOB 746
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4404
f 518-455-5408

David G. McDonough R
LOB 443
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4633
f 518-455-5559

Joel M. Miller R
LOB 437
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5725
f 518-455-5729

Amy Paulin D
LOB 627
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5585
f 518-455-5409

Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes D
LOB 619
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5005
f 518-455-5471

Naomi Rivera D
LOB 652
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5844
f 518-455-5596

Linda B. Rosenthal D (primary bill sponsor)
821 LOB
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5802
f 518-455-5015

Robin Schimminger D
LOB 847
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4767
f 518-455-4724

Lou Tobacco R (a cosponsor)
Room 722
Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4495
f 518-455-4501

Darryl C. Towns D
LOB 424
ALBANY, NY 12248
518-455-5821
f 518-455-5591

 

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