Augusta, GA -- E-cigarettes in smoking ban extension
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Thread: Augusta, GA -- E-cigarettes in smoking ban extension

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    Thumbs up Augusta, GA -- E-cigarettes in smoking ban extension

    Augusta, GA is amending their smoke-free ordinance to more match the glorious ANR model. In addition to extending their existing ban, this will ban e-cigarettes in hundreds of workplaces already covered under the existing language.

    Augusta, GA - Official Website

    Commissioner's contact info -- Augusta, GA - Official Website - Augusta Commission

    If someone could put the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses into format similar to what our Call to Action's look like, I'd appreciate it.

    Augusta, Georgia invites public input with respect to these proposed amendments and has set aside two Public Hearings for this purpose. The time allotted for each participant to speak may be limited to five minutes. The Public Hearings are: Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the Augusta, Georgia Commission Chambers, 530 Greene Street, 8th Floor, Augusta, Georgia and Monday, October 17, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad Street, Augusta Georgia.
    A public hearing at 10 a.m. :shakes head:

    Below is a letter CASAA wrote to the the chief sponsor of the ordinance and the town's attorney in August, before the legislation was official proposed. They didn't remove e-cigarettes, but they did define them separately and include them in the title. Unfortunately, the city's website only bothered to note that it was a ban on SMOKING (public notice here). I'm hoping to get that changed.

    Mr. Mackencie and Commissioner Brigham,

    Having reviewed the model ordinance distributed at a recent meeting of the Augusta Commission, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) urges you to not include electronic cigarettes in the proposed changes to Augusta’s indoor smoking laws. Electronic cigarettes emit NO smoke and pose NO known health risks to users or nonusers. CASAA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of reduced harm alternatives to smoking tobacco products and to provide the public with truthful information about such alternatives.

    Smoking bans were enacted for the purpose of protecting non-smokers from the potentially harmful effects of second-hand smoke. But electronic cigarettes have not been shown to harm bystanders or users. The FDA did not find any toxic or cancer-causing substances in the vapor. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with electronic cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless tobacco products and to the risks of using nicotine gum, lozenges, patch, and inhalers.

    There are enormous differences between smoke and vapor. Smoke is created by the process of combustion. Setting tobacco on fire creates tar, carbon monoxide, airborne particulates, dozens of carcinogens and thousands of other hazardous chemicals. Inhaling these substances in smoke is the cause of 99% of tobacco-related diseases and deaths.

    Vapor from an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) does not contain any of these substances. Vapor, while resembling smoke, is not a product of combustion but rather the product of the process of condensation. Vapor is created by heating a liquid to the point of evaporation.

    Dr. Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand tested e-cigarette vapor for over 50 cigarette smoke toxicants. No such toxicant was found. Dr. Laugesen stated, “Relative to lethal tobacco smoke emissions, e-cigarette emissions appear to be several magnitudes safer. E-cigarettes are akin to a medicinal nicotine inhalator in safety, dose, and addiction potential.” [1]

    Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health reviewed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes—including the testing conducted by the FDA in 2009—and concluded, “A preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.” Dr. Siegel states that there is no justification for banning the indoor use of e-cigarettes based on potential harm to bystanders. [2]

    The majority of consumers use e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for all their tobacco cigarettes, and most of the rest use e-cigarettes to reduce the number of cigarettes per day they smoke. These products are improving the health of their users, and could save the lives of many more smokers—provided their use is not discouraged. [3, 4]

    Many e-cigarette users first discover the safer devices when they see them being used where smoking isn't allowed. Banning indoor use, forcing e-cigarette users outside, removes an incentive for smokers to switch to an alternative that could very well reduce their risks of smoking-related disease.

    Recently, different locales have chosen to take different stances towards e-cigarettes.
    - Delaware County, Indiana initially included e-cigarettes in their proposed smoking regulations, but a City Commissioner whose daughter found success with an e-cigarette sponsored a successful amendment to remove them.
    - Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington held several public hearings when they announced their intention to include e-cigarettes in their smoking regulations. After 40-50 e-cigarette users testified against the inclusion, the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health severely scaled back their regulations, instead choosing to only ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places where children are permitted. A copy of that regulation is available upon request.

    If, for some reason, it is not possible to remove e-cigarettes from the proposed legislation, CASAA urges you to define them separately and explicitly mention them in the title of the ordinance so that the public and news media is aware of the scope of the legislation.

    Very truly yours,

    Gregory Conley
    Board Member -- Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association


    References:
    1. Laugesen M. Health New Zealand. Poster Presentation at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco conference, Dublin, April 30, 2009. http://www.healthnz.co.nz/DublinEcigBenchtopHandout.pdf
    2. Cahn and Siegel. Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 0197-5897 Journal of Public Health Policy 1–16. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-institutes/population-development/files/article.jphp.pdf
    3. Heavner K, Dunworth J, Bergen P, Nissen C, Phillips CV. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products: Results of an online survey of e-cigarette users. Tobacco Harm Reduction 2010 Yearbook, Chapter 19. http://tobaccoharmreduction.org/wpapers/011v1.pdf
    4. Etter JF, Bullen C. Electronic cigarette : users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy. Addiction 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03505.x. Electronic cigarette: users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy - Etter - 2011 - Addiction - Wiley Online Library (accessed June 2011) Full Text: Electronic Cigarettes

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    I made a request that Augusta mention e-cigarettes in their public hearing notice.

    The website has been updated -- Augusta, GA - Official Website

    Looking at the glass as half full, at least this may result in someone from the news media reporting on e-cigarettes being included.

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    No mention of e-cigarettes in this news article about the hearing in Augusta.
    Smoke-free advocates, opponents air opinions at hearing on proposed Augusta ordinance | The Augusta Chronicle

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    An important note in the news article posted above. It would be helpful if some GA vapers showed up.

    There will be another public hearing on the proposed comprehensive smoke-free law for Augusta at 6 p.m. Monday at Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.

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    Proposed smoking ban raises controversy at public hearing

    Noah Garcia brings up his concerns with the language of the law. "If the ordinance is to prevent second-hand smoke, then why are electric cigarette devices listed, too?" He starts up his electric cigarette, showing a the minimal amount of smoke it produces. Garcia says he's used the nicotine-only device as a way to ween off of cigarettes. "There's no fire, no combustible plant matter, there's no trash. You don't litter, there's no nothing. And there's no smoke! You can't say that it's harmful to anybody else but me."

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    Yay Noah! Way to go to show up and speak!!


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    Augusta Call to Action -- CASAA.org

    Unfortunately, Mr. Garcia broke the cardinal rule of speaking before the government -- don't compare politicians to Nazis.

    Must be something in the water | The Augusta Chronicle

    Noah Garcia, who thinks e-cigarettes should not be part of the ban, doesn’t think it would work even if the ban is passed.

    “I’m going to do it anyway, regardless,” he said. With all the restrictions, the country is “about to become like Nazi Germany,” he said.

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    Good news

    More Work To Be Done Before City Leaders Take On Proposed Smoking Ban In Augusta | ABC 6 WJBF-TV

    I made phone calls to 3 of the 4 committee members last night asking that they address the e-cigarette issue. I spoke to Ronald Wolf, who is quoted in the above article, and apparently they did discuss them before deciding that the bill needed some revisions.
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    Proposed smoking ordinance sent back for revisions | The Augusta Chronicle

    On Monday, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles questioned why the draft ordinance banned e-cigarettes, electronic devices that dispense a chemical vapor, while Johnson asked if the ordinance couldn’t also ban smoking in cars with children.

    “If we’re going to address this issue, let’s address it more broadly,” Johnson said.
    We've got the Mayor Pro Tem advocating for us!

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    When I send to these Health groups, I've been looking up the mayor and town council members and copying them on the correspondence. I think it's good to get them to understand the issues as well as the obviously ban oriented health departments. I figure my 20+ years in the health/pharma industry doesn't hurt mentioning either.
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