St. Croix County’s proposed amendments to “Resolution 34” redefines vaping as “smoking” and bans use on County property, including parks and fair grounds. While the County may have an argument for the right to prohibit vaping inside its own workplaces, banning the use of vapor products at public outdoor spaces, such as parks and fair grounds, is completely unreasonable and groundless.
This issue will be discused at the next St Croix Health and Human Sevices Board meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 5:30 p.m. at the County Board Room, 1101 Carmichael Road, Hudson, Wisconsin. If the Board agrees with this amendment, it will recommend to the Administration Committee the inclusion of E-Cigarettes to an updated policy or ordinance.
As it’s almost a guarantee that the Health and Human Servies Board will push this to the Administration Committee, we are recommending members focus on contacting the members of the Administration Committee. The next Committee meeting is scheduled for April 15th, but this proposal is not on the agenda. It may be on the agenda for the following meeting on May 5th. Please contact the committee members (see below) as soon as possible!
1) Email and call the members of the St. Croix Administraton Committee to explain why you oppose efforts to ban the use of vapor products on outdoor County property, and (2) attend any meetings and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to define smoke-free e-cigarette use as smoking (see Suggested Talking Points listed below.)
2) Contact local media (television station producers and newspaper editors) to tell your story and explain why this ordinance is bad for public health and actually encourages smokers to keep smoking.
3) Post comments on online news stories about this proposed ordinance telling your story and why you oppose the ordinance (see partial list below.)
4) For social networking users, the Twitter and Facebook accounts that could be found for the Committee have also been included with their contact information. Let them know how you feel!
5) Share this blog post on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +) and in any area vaping groups. Get your supportive family members and frioends to also share!
6) Contact all of your local vape shops and let them know that they need to fight this ordinance (no more vaping in their shop.) Retailers can contact their customers, make them aware of the proposed ordinance and get them to attend hearings.
7) Even if you do not wish to speak publicly, be sure to attend meetings and rallies as an audience member to show a strong, united front and to make clear to the media and lawmakers that such actions are hurting real people.
(See Massachusetts town snuffs out tobacco ban after outcry as an example of what a strong show of opposition can do, but please always remain calm and respectful. What ultimately changed changed minds in this case was the sheer numbers of people showing up, not the disruption of the proceedings.)
As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during any meetings with lawmakers and/or media (unless requested), avoid the use of “vape slang” (ie. “juice”) and foul language, and act in an otherwise respectful manner.
DOCUMENTATION AND LINK
St. Croix County Health and Human Services Board Meeting Agenda (pg 49): http://stcroixcountywi.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1649&Inline=True
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
1. You are a St. Croix-area or Wisconsin resident and you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited on County properties, specifically outdoor spaces such as parks and fair grounds. (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to St. Croix on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life. (Avoid using slang terms such as “juice.”)
3. Clarify that:
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. 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 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.
e. 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%.
f. 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!
h. By prohibiting vapor product use even outdoors, the County 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 in St. Croix 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 cigarttes continues to decline to record low levels.
i. 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 on County outdoor properties 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.
j. 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 usedenormalizes 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.
k. 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.
Travis Schachtner St. Croix County Chair
1101 Carmichael Road
Hudson, WI 54016
Roy Sjoberg St. Croix County Supervisor
Jill Ann Berke St. Croix County Supervisor
Judy Achterhof St. Croix County Supervisor
Dave Ostness St. Croix County Supervisor
Roger Larson St. Croix County Supervisor
Comma Delimited list: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, District9@co.saint-croix.wi.us, firstname.lastname@example.org, District17@co.saint-croix.wi.us, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org