SFATA Requests Veto on California SBX2-5
SFATA Requests Veto on California SBX2-5
The California chapters of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), the largest trade group representing the vapor industry, last week met with Governor Brown’s office urging his veto of SBX2-5, a measure the seeks to define vapor products as “tobacco” and make related changes to existing law.
The bill, which passed last week during the second special session of the California Assembly, is now headed to the State Senate where a “yes” vote is inevitable.
“While we are hopeful this measure will not pass in the California Senate, and are outreaching to these legislators announcing our opposition, we are calling on Governor Brown for a veto nevertheless,” Cynthia Cabrera, president of SFATA, said in a statement on SFATA’s website.
“Treating vapor products like tobacco opens the door to unfair and unwarranted tobacco tax-related implications that will discourage smokers from switching to what science says is an effective and significant alternative to combustible tobacco,” she wrote in a hand-delivered letter to Governor Brown.
Below is a copy of the full letter to Governor Brown that was delivered on March 9, 2016:
March 9, 2016
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Governor of California
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: VETO Request on SBX2-5 introduced during the Extraordinary Session on Health Care’s Public Health and Development Services
Dear Governor Brown:
On behalf of the California chapters of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), we respectfully request your veto on SBX2-5, a measure that seeks to classify vapor products as “tobacco” and make related changes to the law. The bill, which passed last week during the second extraordinary session of the California Assembly, is now headed to the State Senate where a “yes” vote is inevitable.
Our industry always has supported sensible legislation, such as prohibitions on selling to minors, reasonable licensing requirements and child-resistant packaging. However, attempting to classify these products as “tobacco” has unintended consequences, several of which are outlined below. We also believe this legislation opens the door to unfair and unwarranted tobacco tax-related implications that will discourage smokers from switching to what science says is an effective and significant alternative to combustible tobacco.
Please consider the following:
- Vapor products are not tobacco products because they clearly do not contain tobacco. Vapor products are significantly different than combustible cigarettes. They are technology products comprised of metal and electronic circuitry and use heat from a battery to vaporize e-liquids rather than combustion to burn tobacco. It is scientifically impossible to create an equivalent between the risk posed by combusted tobacco and that posed by vapor products because the chemical makeup of the products is entirely different. Even California’s own current definition of vapor products says they do not meet the definition of a cigarette or tobacco product, since they do not contain tobacco and are not subject to the state’s tobacco excise tax.
- Other products such as therapeutic vaporizers may be subject to regulation. The language “electronic device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to the person inhaling from the device” is broad and could be construed to capture products that the legislature did not intend to regulate as “tobacco products,” such as therapeutic vaporizers that are not subject to FDA approval requirements and products such as air fresheners or “aromatherapy” devices.
- Hardware including batteries will be regulated as a “tobacco.” The new definition of “tobacco product,” and in particular the “component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately” language is broad enough to capture hardware, including batteries, which are represented for use in or in conjunction with vaping products.
- SBX2-5 legislation leaves ambiguity as it relates to licensing. Although it appears that Chapter 2 of the Cigarette and Tobacco Product Licensing Act of 2003 (CTPLA) (which requires licensure of retailers) would incorporate the new definition of “tobacco product,” the other Chapters of CTPLA would continue to use the Revenue and Taxation Code (RTC) definition, as incorporated by the California Business and Professions Code at Sec. 22971(s).
- The consequences for a vapor retailer are unclear. Under CTPLA Sec. 22974, retailers would need to “retain purchase invoices that meet the requirements set forth in Section 22978.4 for all cigarettes or tobacco products the retailer purchased for a period of four years.” Section 22978.4 applies to wholesalers and distributors and is in Chapter 3 of CTPLA, so it uses the RTC definition of “tobacco product,” which does not include vaping products. Given that such wholesalers and distributors need not comply with 22978.4, it is not clear what would be the consequences for a retailer, if any.
- Legislation may impact a vapor business’ ability to successfully operate. The stigma of being equated with tobacco has many negative consequences, including the potential to be denied workers’ compensation and product liability insurance, as well as being forced out of financial institutions and merchant service agreements.
- Raising the minimum age does not take into consideration current adult smokers between the ages of 18-21. According to a 2012 California Health Interview Survey, 16 percent of male smokers, and 11 percent of women smokers, are between the ages of 18-24, respectively. Studies have revealed smoking cessation products such as patches and gums are not effective. Removing this group from access to vapor products, which science has proven to be 95+ percent less harmful than combustible tobacco, as well as an effective tool at replacing smoking, leaves these current adult smokers without viable options to help them stop smoking. Similar legislation such as SB7X2 and AB8X2 also cuts-off these smokers from significant alternatives to smoking.
- Linking vapor products to tobacco will lead to excessive taxation. It is very likely that measures SB9X2 and AB10X2 granting local jurisdictions the ability to apply tobacco taxes will pass and head to your desk for signature. Not only does this create a patchwork of inconsistent laws across the state, it leaves the vapor industry at risk of being taxed like tobacco products, which certainly will lead to an unregulated, underground market of these products, as well as become considerably more expensive than combustible tobacco. There also is no clear indication of how these products will be taxed, such as vapor products that do not contain nicotine and all other non-nicotine related hardware, which can are used for many applications other than vaping, leaving enormous ambiguity in the proposed law.
Our industry was built by former smokers that morphed into small- and mid-sized businesses as a way to offer a significant alternative to combustible tobacco. In California alone, there are approximately 1,400 vaping retail locations, plus hundreds of manufacturers, distributors, and related businesses that contribute to the state’s economy, generating taxes and thousands of jobs.
The majority of the scientific community believe vapor products can be effective in achieving the goal of harm reduction caused by smoking, especially in California, which costs the state $18 billion in annual healthcare costs, and is responsible for 37,000 deaths each year. Fewer smokers also will contribute to cost savings among Medicaid patients, where the prevalence for smoking is more than twice the national average. In California, 45 percent of adult smokers receive Medi-Cal, according to 2011 CDC data. Even the FDA has acknowledged that vapor products may be a viable option to help smokers who are otherwise unable or unwilling to quit.
SFATA represents a wide cross-section of the entire vapor product industry, including distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. Its membership is comprised of responsible business owners who are committed to ensuring a path for the continued innovation of products that researchers worldwide have agreed could eliminate the public health hazards caused by use of combustible tobacco cigarettes.
While we share the same goal of eliminating smoking as many of the measure’s advocates, we believe SBX2-5 is actually counterproductive to that goal and we urge your consideration for a veto.
Please visit Sfata.org for more information including scientific research on vaping as well as our top 10 vapor facts that clarifies misconceptions about the vapor industry.
President & Executive Director
The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, announced last week in a press release that there officially will be no vaping allowed on U.S. commercial flights, as well as on foreign carriers in and out of the U.S. Charter flights that need a flight attendant or crew members also are grouped in with the ban.
“This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes that occur when electronic cigarettes are used on board airplanes,” Foxx said in the release. “The department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.”
Foxx said that “e-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful chemicals,” however he then said “further study is needed to fully understand the risks.” He said the ban was a “precautionary approach.”
There has been a regulatory smoking ban for flights for quite a while, however it was a broad ban that did not specifically include vaping or define what “smoking” was. Many airlines already have their own individual vaping bans in use.
Cynthia Cabrera, president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, said in a release, “While we defer to the Transportation Department prohibiting the use of vapor products on commercial flights, it’s important to know that vapor products are fundamentally and scientifically different than combustible tobacco and should not be equated with the harmful effects of smoking.”
The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) was created 15 years ago to fight to protect the right of retailers to sell legal tobacco products by channeling all of its resources into opposing local, state and federal legislation and responding to FDA tobacco regulations. On issues regarding e-cigarettes and vape products SFATA and NATO have shared the same mission.
NATO also holds and annual trade show, this year being held at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on April 19-21. To register to attend the NATO Show, visit NATOShow.com and click on the “Attendee” tab and then click “Get A Badge” to register online.
Members from SFATA’s California Chapters will converge on the state legislature in Sacramento this month to meet with their elected officials as they debate bills that would define vapor products as “tobacco” and damage the industry.
SFATA members are invited to join up in Sacramento on Tuesday, March 29, for the event.
Your voice is critical in this debate! If you never contact your State Senator or State Representative, how will they know that you want them to protect vapor?
Register today for this important event!
While there are a ton of quit smoking aids in the universe, the Yorkshire and the Humber Tobacco Control Network, which is an anti-smoking coalition, recently said that e-cigarettes “are substantially less harmful than smoking tobacco,” according to a story in The Daily Caller.
The coalition’s statement, published by Breathe 2015 was issued in support of Public Health England “and several major health organizations that agreed e-cigarettes are not in the same league as regular cigarettes in terms of health risks,” The Daily Caller reported. In a nutshell, vaping should be used to help smokers quit.
The statement contains 15 bullet points outlining the benefits of vaping, including the huge mistake many lawmakers are making in terms of treating e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
“E-cigarettes are substantially less harmful for users than tobacco cigarettes, with no known health risks to bystanders,” the statement read.
Broughton Laboratories and Nerudia have announced a new partnership that will see the companies working in tandem to support customers in complying with the requirements of the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which comes into effect on May 20.
The partnership brings the strengths and expertise of the two companies together and will bring cost benefits to customers through economies of scale and knowledge, along with the convenience of having a single point of contact between the two businesses.
Peter Beckett, Nerudia Head of Compliance, said, “The analytical capabilities and expertise of Broughton Laboratories are a perfect fit with Nerudia’s regulatory knowledge and our own services. Our partnership will bring cost effective and accessible services to the entire market, from the smaller firms up to larger organizations, as we believe that the cost of TPD should not be prohibitive to anyone.”
Chris Allen, M.D., of Broughton Laboratories, said, “The partnership of Nerudia and Broughton Laboratories means that clients will receive a premium level of service for both regulatory support and emissions testing studies for EU TPD compliance. Combining our experience and expertise of working within global regulated industries enables us to offer clients a pragmatic and scientifically-sound approach to complying with the EU TPD regulations. Alongside Nerudia Compliance we will continue to work closely with the MHRA and other EU Member States to develop, establish and promote international quality standards for the electronic cigarette industry.”
To mark the partnership, there will be an offer of 10 percent discount on all analytical and regulatory services booked during March.
For more infomation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT NERUDIA AND BROUGHTON LABORATORIES:
Nerudia offers the development, manufacture, testing and regulatory compliance of nicotine products for the e-cigarette and pharmaceutical markets, along with innovation for next generation products.
Broughton Laboratories is an independent MHRA and FDA inspected laboratory offering product development and analytical testing services, with over five years’ experience specializing in nicotine products for both the consumer and health care markets.