January 05, 2014

CASAA Represents eCig Consumers in DC

e-cigarette news casaa seal
e-cigarette news casaa seal

In case you're wondering if anyone has your back at our nation's capital with all the potential e-cigarette regulation looming large, the answer is yes. CASAA paid a visit to DC last week to both lobby for a permanent consumer advisor on the FDA's tobacco advisory board, namely Carl V. Phillips. Currently that spot is held by a prohibitionist. The consumer group also met with representatives from the relevant part of the OMB to express what sort of hardships regulation might mean for the industry and consumers.

We nominated him primarily for the consumer representative slot on the committee (which to date has been held by an extremist prohibitionist who is about as far from representing consumers as is possible), but also for any open slot, since he is also one of the most accomplished and broadly knowledgeable scientists in the area of the modern world of tobacco products (if you want more details on that, here is our nomination letter).  We believe he may be the only genuine consumer representative nominated this round, and know that he is among the most qualified scientists.  If his nomination is rejected, it can only be interpreted as the FDA not being honest about welcoming consumer participation in the process.
Second, we had a very successful meeting with the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA; part of the Office of Management and Budget), which is currently reviewing FDA’s proposed regulations of e-cigarettes.  As you know, FDA has written regulations that “deem” e-cigarettes to be tobacco products, and thus to be under the jurisdiction of their Center for Tobacco Products, and that contain other (as of yet, unknown) details about the regulation of e-cigarettes.  OIRA is the office responsible for reviewing all regulations to basically make sure they are not unnecessarily burdensome.  The testimony that CASAA (in the persons of Elaine Keller and Julie Woessner) delivered can be found here.
I know I've been a little concerned about the consumer voice at the national level.  Several trade groups have been in talks, but depending on the group their vision may not always line up with consumers.  And of course Big Tobacco already has the ear of much of the Beltway. Grass roots support tends to, out of necessity, be focused on more local action, so it's good to see the views of consumers taken to all levels of government.
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