A few words from a non-vaper to Berkeley City Council by Sallie Goetsch

Sallie’s testimony as rendered to the Berkeley City Council. Still working on a full write up but wanted to leave this one here on its own in case anyone would like to feel inspired to use some of it for purposes of their own local battles.


My name is Sallie Goetsch. I have never smoked or vaped. I am here to oppose the ban on electronic cigarettes in multi-unit housing.

No one is paying me to be here. Unlike my opponents from the so-called public health organizations, my advocacy efforts are not funded by tobacco industry money or pharmaceutical industry money.

I am here at my own expense because I never thought my husband would quit smoking, but he hasn’t touched a cigarette for more than a year.

If more people followed my husband’s example and switched from smoking to vaping, the air in Berkeley would be cleaner. The population would be healthier. Stanton Glantz would lose his $20 million grant and my opponents would lose their funding.

At least the vapers are honest about their motives: they want to be able to vape in their own homes. Our opponents are telling you they want to protect public health when they only care about protecting their budgets.

Members of this council have expressed concern that exposure to electronic cigarettes would be a bad influence on children.

When I was young, children had parents.

What’s more, parents knew how to say “No.” When I wanted Froot Loops and Coco Puffs, my parents said “No” and fed me whole-grain cereal.

My parents taught me that smoking was bad for you and cigarettes could start fires.
And even though both my parents started smoking for a few years after their divorce, neither my brother nor I ever smoked.

Are all the children in Berkeley orphans?

My school health classes in the Seventies taught me that smoking could cause cancer.
Is health education so much worse now that the mere sight of someone vaping is going to cause teens to forget everything they’ve ever learned at home or at school?

Berkeley’s high school students have proved themselves smarter than that on many occasions. Don’t underestimate them. Don’t underestimate their parents.

The City of Berkeley probably has more PhDs per square foot than any other place in the East Bay. This council should be too intelligent to fall for claptrap that no freshman at Cal would be allowed to pass off as research.

If you believed such a thing as the gateway effect existed, you would not subsidize medical marijuana, you would outlaw it.

If all forms of nicotine were incurably addictive and dangerous, my opponents would not advocate products like Nicoderm.

If only children liked the flavors of candy and baked goods, not only would we have no flavored vodka, but I bet we would have no overweight adults in this room.

If vapor had an inherently greater penetrating power than smoke, this council would be urging that smoking, rather than vaping, of medical marijuana be permitted.

I urge the council to exercise common sense and permit vaporizing nicotine inside of residences in multi-unit apartment buildings.