by Carl V Phillips
A purely personal aside today. Some readers of this blog may not appreciate what a truly amazing phenomenon CASAA is. I write this in praise of my colleagues in this all-volunteer organization, claiming no credit for myself for yesterday’s accomplishments (though obviously I helped out where I could).
Yesterday, CASAA’s efforts succeeded in defeating an anti-consumer regulation of e-cigarettes in Oklahoma that was backed by both anti-THR activists and a major tobacco company. It seems safe to conclude that the defeat was caused by the efforts of the CASAA legislative team. At the same time, CASAA organized vapers to testify at hearing in a million-person California county (where I lived for a few years) about restricting use of e-cigarettes, as well as a state government hearing in Rhode Island. And at the same time, we managed to respond, in time for a hearing that evening, to an apparent plan for an out-and-out ban in a city in Massachusetts that no one even knew about until that afternoon. (You can see our calls to action page for more details about these.)
In Rhode Island, we also won a victory, with the proposal being tabled for further research (though in theory could be brought back up before the session is over). Massachusetts turned out to be a false alarm — action was not actually imminent — but we are now on it. The California county turned out to be one of the very few losses we ever suffer in the US (these stupid local boards are designed to handle little town matters but end up with enormous power over large populations with no democratic accountability, making it hard for the people to fight the public interests like we can at the state level). It was a very impressive day for our all-volunteer organization and its thousands of supporters.
During the course of my career, I have been part of prestigious universities, I have run major research projects, and I created and ran what was the largest tobacco harm reduction research and education organization that existed before CASAA (the remnants of which I merged into CASAA last year). I have also spent most of my life working in various areas of advocacy for the downtrodden, fighting those in power. I mention to make clear quite how strong the following statement is:
I have never been more proud to be part of an organization as I am to be part of CASAA.