By SUSAN OSER
Marcy Coyne (VapingMarcy) is the founder and creator of #Iamavaperproject. It’s a coalition of vapers, organization, etc. to get together to stand up and fight for our vaping rights. With the recent announcement of the FDA regulations, the group’s popularity has grown quickly.
So, how exactly was this group inspired? According to Coyne, it was just an idea that sparked from getting a few people to do a video and end their segment by merely saying “I’m a vaper, not a smoker.” That’s it. Just a simple video project. Little did she know that once word got around on the idea, it would blow up. It seems as if this was something that the vaping community had been looking for and wanted, but didn’t exactly know when or where to start.
Coyne is not working alone on this. She has several other assistants helping her disseminate and making sure that the right information gets out there. Chris Meyers, the owner of Pope Juice jumped on the bandwagon immediately when he heard about #Iamavaperproject. He has been a big help to Coyne in creating event pages and recording videos from various events that he attends. Other helping hands have included Brandon from Blue Collar Vapes and BRM (see Facebook).
It seems, according to Brandon, that social media is the key right now in getting the word out. In fact, if you do a mere Facebook search on vaping groups, there are thousands of them from every state, if not every city. This is also why the group has posted any video collaboration on their YouTube page, Twitter account, Tumbler, and more. While the population of the online community may seem a small portion of the overall population, it’s actually pretty vast and by reaching out to the online vapers, they hope it can filter out into real life. Yet sadly, even a lot of people who visit their local vape shops are oblivious to what the online community is talking about (except for the occasional Phil Busardo or Grimm Green video).
While there has been this panic as of late because of the FDA, the group stresses calm as well as respectable and professional behavior. In fact, it is highly stressed as a rule on the group’s Facebook page as well as when people are doing videos.
With all the demand for exposure, the group has been working on creating a PayPal page for donations, creating products such as bumper stickers and t-shirts, and maybe in the future, hosting a fundraiser. So far, the administration board of #Iamavaperproject have appeared and recorded videos at VPX events, Vape Bash, and even smaller venues. Eventually, the group would like to give presentations at various meets and shows similar to what is done by the Vaping Militia, SFATA, and CASAA.
So what are the long terms goals of #Iamavaperproject? Basically, it is the hope that everyone comes together to fight for the industry. In total, between the online and offline community, there are at least 10 million vapers in the US alone. If every single person took action and spoke out, making sure that news media coverage on vaping is balanced, became active in government, and even simply voted, a lot would happen. Sadly, it hasn’t and the #Iamavaperproject wants to emphasize that fact.
When joining the Facebook group (the heart of #Iamavaperproject), you will not only interact with other vapers, but will see Facebook feeds of video Calls to Action for collaborative projects, various articles on vaping, and of course CASAA calls to action to contact legislators.
Let’s face it; if FDA-approved drugs like Chantix didn’t have all the suicidal side effects, vaping would not have been a thought. If the FDA-approved nicotine patches worked, no one would’ve thought to turn to vaping.
What is stressed is that #Iamavaperproject is not replacing other more established groups, but encouraging those groups (as well as members of them) to work together for the same goal: fighting for vaping rights.
Thus this is a community group, not a clique.
To find out more about I’m a Vaper Project, find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or online at http://iamavaper2016.wix.com/Iamavaperproject