Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), a non-profit organization based in Alabama, was formed by an online forum members' in 2009 to support and raise awareness and seek to protect the rights of those cigarette smokers who wish to quit smoking by use of alternative products such as e-cigarettes and tobacco or nicotine products that are smoke-free. It was created in contrary to the opinion of anti-Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) lobbies to ban tobacco alternatives. The mission is to ensure affordable, efficient and harmless alternatives to cigarettes smoking by offering public education and encourage the development of products of acceptable standards. CASAA provides easy to access articles and educational materials about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and smoke-free tobacco.
The concept of THR in tobacco control is controversial. Most anti-tobacco-use activists would love to see a tobacco/nicotine free environment while others think that would be unattainable and seek alternative, harmless sources of nicotine for smokers.
CASAA also works up their efforts in increasing their influence through organizing activist efforts to their members by writing articles and statements through media regarding adverse legislation.
Cigarettes and E-cigarettes
Cigarette smoking is harmful to one's health and the health of those around. They contain many toxic chemicals like arsenic, ammonia and formaldehyde that can cause organ failure, cancer, tooth decay and eventual loss of teeth. CASAA advocates for E-cigarettes use as the best alternative to cigarettes smoking. E-cigarettes are the most widely used alternatives to cigarettes and are ideal means to stop smoking.
Although e-cigarettes also contain nicotine that is highly addictive, they are not as harmful as smoking tobacco. In fact, nicotine is a therapeutic agent that helps to treat various medical conditions like Alzheimer, obesity, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, sleep apnea, colitis, Parkinson disease and inflammatory skin disorder. Tobacco has hundreds of dangerous chemicals but e-liquid, a component of e-cigarettes, has only four ingredients; propylene glycol (a substance used in the production of artificial smoke in clubs and theaters), nicotine, flavoring and vegetable glycerin.
CASAA recommends E-cigarettes to help smokers to quit the habit. Because no combustion takes place, no smoke is contained in the mist and therefore relatively safe to bystanders. A research done by Cancer Research UK, suggest about 60 percent of people trying to stop smoking are likely to succeed using e-cigarettes. Thousands of people who have used e-cigarettes have a story to tell about their success in quitting smoking. Most of them say they tried various methods such as the use of patches and gums before trying e-cigarettes.
Campaigns and Bans
CASAA has participated in campaigns to lift the ban on e-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco in different US states. CASAA aims to prevent local authorities from imposing bans on e-cigarettes and smoke-free tobacco products. Evidence shows that people who smoke tobacco see e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in use at smoking prohibited areas as an incentive to switch. CASAA is in full support of prohibiting tobacco sales to minors but calls for authorities and health boards to spare smoke-free products for adults who find it difficult to stop smoking. In Alameda California, CASAA arranged for locals to urge the authority to remove e-cigarettes on proposed smoking ban. In Hawaii, legislators introduced a bill to tax e-cigarettes and related products at 70% on wholesale. With CASAA's intervention, the bill was not passed.
Other Smoke-free Tobacco Products
Smokeless tobacco, on the other hand, has some advantage over smoked tobacco. Smokeless tobacco has less nicotine content than cigarettes that makes it less addictive. Also, the cardiovascular risks associated with smokeless tobacco are far less than that found in people smoking cigarettes. Tobacco chewing imposes little risks for cancers of upper respiratory and oral cavity related to tobacco smoking.
Another product recommended by CASAA is snus, a smokeless tobacco substance with less amount of cancer-causing nitrogenous than every other tobacco product. Tobacco in snus goes through a process called steam pasteurization that kills cancer-causing toxins thus making it less harmful to health. Since snus is not smoked, it does not pose any threat or cause any harm to bystanders as well. Snus is widely used in Sweden than in any other country, and Sweden has the least number of cigarette smokers in the world. Reports suggest that snus use does not have any health risks.
We support the CASAA in their efforts, if you'd like to know more about them take a look at their site: http://casaa.org/