CASAA Call to Action: Birmingham, AL

Birmingham, AL Call to Action 
Thursday, February 16, 2012 

AN ORDINANCE TO REPEAL TITLE 11, CHAPTER 9, SECTION 10, "SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES" AND ADOPT IN FULL A NEW TITLE 11, CHAPTER 9, SECTION 10, "CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SMOKE FREE ORDINANCE OF 2011".
Link to Proposed Ordinance

This ordinance would:
Ban the use of e-cigarettes in any public place where smoking is prohibited.

The Birmingham City Council has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, April 17th. Public comments will be allowed from anyone who wishes to speak. We want to encourage local e-cigarette users to attend the meeting, and we ask everyone to call, write or fax the City Council as soon as possible to let them know that you oppose this ordinance.

Please call, write or fax the Birmingham City Council members below.

What to say: 
1. Urge them to amend the bill to remove the second sentence in Section 2(a)(14) from the proposed Smoke Free Ordinance because it falsely defines "smoking" as including the use of smokefree e-cigarettes.
 
Encourage them to remove the bill's 4th Whereas clause because it grossly misrepresents the findings of FDA's laboratory test, which confirmed that e-cigarettes don't emit any tobacco smoke and contain nontoxic constituents, with similar trace levels of nitrosamines as found in nicotine gums and patches, and far lower levels than most smokeless tobacco products (none of whose usage would be banned by the proposal).  Also ask them to remove Section2(a)(3) from the bill. 

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco has changed your life. 

3. Explain how smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of second-hand smoke, but electronic cigarettes have not been shown to cause harm to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with electronic cigarettes is comparable to other smokeless nicotine products. 

This is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth and Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand 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. 

4. Let them know that vapor does not behave in the same manner as smoke. There is no "side stream" vapor like the side stream smoke coming from the lit end of a cigarette and unlike cigarette smoke, The vapor is virtually odorless and dissipates quickly. There is also no ash or litter. With so little evidence of use, enforcing indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible. 

5. Inform them that the ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch. Surveys of thousands of users indicate that the majority of those who switch very quickly completely replace tobacco cigarettes with the electronic cigarettes, reducing their health risks by 98-99%. 
So even if smokers think they are using electronic cigarettes just for indoor use, the chances are high that they will stop using tobacco cigarettes altogether.

6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks and placing you back out with the smokers simply puts you back in harm's way.

Contact information:

Birmingham City Council  
710 20th Street North 
Birmingham, Alabama 35203-2216
Council Fax: 205-254-2603
 
District 1
Lashunda Scales 
lashunda.scales@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2349
 
District 2
Kim Rafferty 
kim.rafferty@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2348
 
District 3
Valerie A. Abbott 
valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov 
Phone: 205.254.2355
 
District 4 
Maxine Herring Parker 
maxine.parker@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2464
 
District 5 
Johnathan Austin 
Phone: 205.254.2678
Chairman Public Safety & Technology
 
District 6
Carole C. Smitherman 
carole.smitherman@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2359
 
District 7
James "Jay" Roberson, Jr. 
Phone: 205.254.2498
 
District 8
Steven W. Hoyt
steven.hoyt@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2304
 
District 9
Roderick V. Royal, MPA (President) 
roderick.royal@birminghamal.gov
Phone: 205.254.2302

Comma separated email lists:
lashunda.scales@birminghamal.gov, kim.rafferty@birminghamal.gov, valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov, maxine.parker@birminghamal.gov, carole.smitherman@birminghamal.gov, steven.hoyt@birminghamal.gov, roderick.royal@birminghamal.gov

Semi-colon separated email list:
lashunda.scales@birminghamal.gov; kim.rafferty@birminghamal.gov; valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov; maxine.parker@birminghamal.gov; carole.smitherman@birminghamal.gov; steven.hoyt@birminghamal.gov; roderick.royal@birminghamal.gov