Statements

Lawyers are already using misinformation on vaping to start class action lawsuits

The goal of these legal firms is to drum up as much misinformation on vaping as possible in order to file large class-action lawsuits that will end up financially benefiting them. This is outrageous and irresponsible.

Open letter to the Romanian government/parliamentarians


Dear Member of Parliament/the government,

We address this letter to you with regard to the law for the amendment of certain regulations applicable to the tobacco products sector. The amendment would introduce a tobacco display ban at points of sale, bans of sponsorship as well as 1-2-1 marketing. We believe that the rationale for these changes is not conclusive, and would like to explain the reasons for our opposition.

For consumers, the implementation of a display ban reduces the amount of information available for tobacco. Cigarettes are a legal product in Romania, yet consumers would become unable to identify differences between brands and are unexposed to new upcoming products. Added to that, a display ban creates uncertainty on the legal market, as the practice of selling cigarettes “under the counter” is equally present in the case of retailers engaging in the sales of illicit cigarettes.

A radical crackdown on tobacco as a legal product reinforces the prevalence of illicit trade. In France, where constant price increases, smoking bans, heavy regulation on harm-reducing products, and plain packaging are the norm, this phenomenon is particularly noticeable. There are some 7.6 billion contraband and counterfeit cigarettes in circulation in France, making up 13.1% of total consumption.

Some of our members have reported to us to have received counterfeit products when purchasing cigarettes in UK corner stores, where similar legislation is already in effect. A display ban might make it easier for vendors of counterfeit cigarettes to hide their illicit products from consumers and law enforcement until the moment of sale.

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that a decrease in smoking susceptibility does not necessarily equate to a decline in smoking rates, since this decrease also correlates with a number of other factors, on both the regulatory and the educational side, as well as innovations such as harm-reducing products. 

A negative side-effect of a display ban can be that smoking is perceived as an ominous and secretive act, which encourages certain youth to pick it up. In a comparable fashion, illicit narcotic substances are also purchased in large numbers by youths, without any advertising or display. We know through evidence in countries that have legalised or decriminalised these substances (particularly in the case of cannabis) that youth consumption rates normalise as the handling of the substance reaches social acceptance.

We believe that harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes represent an innovative way towards smoking cessation. A permissive approach to e-cigarettes would show a positive impact. According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking.

Public health objectives can be attained through alternative products. This is why a simultaneous ban on e-cigarettes would be counterproductive. Display bans reduce the amount of information available to consumers, and mirrors the shadow economy, whose activities will be eased. Illicit tobacco trade is already a major reason for concern in Europe. Legislative acts such as these, so we fear, would worsen the situation.

We hope that our objections and concerns finds you well, and that we can work together towards achieving public health objectives in a manner that is reconcilable with consumer choice.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science. The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice.

Onerous labeling laws harm consumers who want innovative meat alternatives

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Earlier this month, Mississippi lawmakers passed onerous labeling laws that will prohibit meat-alternative products, such as veggie burgers and sausages, from using the word “meat” in their marketing and branding. This is part of a larger trend by politicians and industries to limit what consumers can know about the products they consume.

Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “For years, consumers have demanded better tasting and more innovative meat alternatives, and entrepreneurs have delivered. The effort to stymie these innovations by forbidding the use of the word meat harms consumers who want more choice.

“By censoring what information and branding companies are able to use, consumers are left to guess what products they’re consuming, and what taste they’re due to expect.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to preemptively stop the innovative market of meat alternatives that environmentally conscious consumers want and demand. Brands matter, and labeling matters as well. Broader categories and more information are always better for consumers, and these laws to restrict this end up harming consumers,” said Ossowski. “That’s why the Consumer Choice Center launched the Brands Matter! initiative.

“Legislation like this is predicated on the idea that consumers are too dumb to understand the differences between meat and meat alternatives. Using legislation to bicker over nomenclature is ridiculous, and mirrors when the dairy industry lobbied against almond and soy beverages.

“Let’s let consumers choose,” concluded Ossowski.

*** Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues.  Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Supreme Court Makes the Right Decision on Modernizing Alcohol Laws

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
@YaelOss
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – In a 7-2 decision handed down yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Tennesse law that prohibits new state residents from obtaining liquor licenses.

The law required a two-year residency in the state before applicants could apply for a liquor license for a new business, shutting the door to entrepreneurs and depriving consumers of products they otherwise would have enjoyed.

The main issue up for consideration in Tennessee Wine And Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas was whether the 21st Amendment, which repealed alcohol prohibition in 1933, allowed states carte blanche to pass alcohol laws that effectively violated the commerce clause.

In response, Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director at the Consumer Choice Center, said “the Supreme Court made the absolute right decision, and it gives a total endorsement for the modernization of our Prohibition-era state alcohol laws.

“In many southern states and beyond, alcohol-control laws are some of the most byzantine and backward on the books. Indeed, many have not changed in the 86 years since the end of Prohibition.

“These laws treat adults like children, stunt economic growth, deprive consumers of better choices, and drastically increase costs for everyday people who just want a drink at the end of a hard day’s work.

“The Supreme Court’s decision isn’t as expansive as consumers would like, but it at least begins the conversation about how we can liberalize and modernize our alcohol laws for the 21st Century.

“Now is the time to explore getting rid of state liquor monopolies, protectionist limits on distribution, crony alcohol commissions, the requirements to use wholesalers, bans on shipping across state lines, punitive taxes, and other restrictive regulations that limit the creativity of entrepreneurs to deliver better products that consumers love.

“With more modern alcohol policies, entrepreneurs will have more room to grow their businesses, consumers will have access to better products tailored for their tastes, and we will finally close the book on the destructive era that was alcohol Prohibition in this country,” concluded Ossowski.

CCC’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Last Call should be extended for all consumers, not just politicians

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
@YaelOss
[email protected]

Last Call should be extended for all consumers, not just politicians

Charlotte, NC – Yesterday it was reported that North Carolina Republicans have introduced a provision that would allow bars, clubs, and restaurants to stay open until 4 AM during the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski responded to the news stating that extending the hours that facilities can serve alcohol shouldn’t just be a temporary measure for big city political conventions, but should instead be allowed statewide from here on out.

“What message are we sending about consumer choice if we only pass modern alcohol policies when a party comes to town,” asked Ossowski.

“Giving business owners the permanent option of staying open later to serve customers would provide the exact same economic benefits state legislators are touting about temporarily giving business owners that option in August 2020 during the RNC.

“Extending the time for ‘Last Call’ would be up to the individual businesses, and would be a huge boon for modernization of our state’s alcohol policy. Not only would clubs, bars, and restaurants have more flexibility, but consumers would also have a bigger range of options to choose from, and that could finally provide an incentive to lawmakers to update our state’s antiquated alcohol laws.

“Bringing North Carolina into the 21st Century when it comes to alcohol policy should be a priority for state legislators, and that is something that should be embraced for all North Carolina residents, not just when the RNC comes to Charlotte,” said Ossowski.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

The Sanders, AOC credit card interest cap will only hurt consumers

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

The Sanders, AOC credit card interest cap will only hurt consumers

Washington, D.C. – 
Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are introducing legislation in their respective chambers to put a cap on credit card interest rates.

Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “This measure to cap credit card interest rates may be well-intended, but it will ultimately end up hurting low-income Americans who need access to credit most desperately.”

“By placing a cap on credit card interest rates, borrowers who would otherwise use credit cards to pay bills and buy groceries for their families will be the first ones forced out of the credit system,” said Ossowski.

“The people who need access and who depend on credit cards to cover large transactions between paychecks are usually those who cannot otherwise gain access to credit and loans from banking institutions. If a cap on rates is passed, these borrowers will be pushed out of the credit card market and will be forced to take out loans at exorbitant rates by other, possibly illegal, means.

“Thankfully, there are legions of credit cards and credit unions that can offer low or zero interest rates to consumers as introductory offers. Mandating a cap would mean these offers would virtually disappear, making it even harder for the less well-off to afford to pay bills.

“At the same time, extending the U.S. Postal Service’s mandate to become a bank is just inviting trouble, especially for a government service that can barely make a profit as it is. It is wishful thinking to suggest that politicians in Washington will be the ones to revolutionize banking for everyday Americans.

“Reducing credit card interest rates for ordinary consumers is a noble goal, but a federal cap will do more to harm consumers than good, especially the people that depend on these cards to cover their week-to-week expenses,” said Ossowski.


***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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