By Corey Noles
Well, it’s July Fourth again. Independence Day. The day that we, as Americans, celebrate our independence from England.
But today, I don’t feel like celebrating — and I certainly don’t feel independent.
As I sit here at my desk, listening to fireworks (or an ongoing flurry of gunshots, but I’m banking on the former), all I can think about is the millions of people who have no idea about the fight we are currently facing.
While everyone else is eating hot dogs and drinking beer (which I may still do), all I can think about is how our government is trying to kill our independence. I’m writing this more as a business owner that as magazine editor right now — but it applies to both.
As we speak, regulations are in place that, without change, will squash the businesses that myself, my friends and countless strangers have put everything in their life on the line to create. They weren’t built out of greed, but out of a strong desire to better ourselves while helping lifelong smokers add years back to their lives.
Many of us risked everything we had to take a chance on this industry, but I can only tell my story. I left the best paying job I’d had in my life. It was good work, but I simply wasn’t happy. I cashed in my 401k and took literally my entire life savings to build a business.
It wasn’t a struggle, it was a battle. But we kept our focus. When bills were late, we made tough choices. When Christmas came, we made even tougher choices.
My wife and I literally laid everything on the line to build a business from nothing. We wanted to help others. We wanted to offer our children a chance at a better life. Most of all, we wanted to be independent.
Our business, just like hundreds of others, is not simply a way to make a living. It’s an accomplishment. It’s proof that if you work hard enough and put your everything into something, you can do anything. We don’t come from wealthy families or have money nests to fall back on. This is our life.
After all, it’s the American Dream.
Now, our own government, wants to crush that dream. They want to take away the pride I feel every day when I walk into work or when someone tells me how our products helped them quit smoking.
It hasn’t even been a party battle to this point. It’s a bureaucratic agency with far less oversight than it imposes the industries it governs. An agency whose authority is even difficult to challenge.
It imposes fees and fines that prohibit the growth of small business and promote only its own existence.
This doesn’t seem like America in 2016. It sounds like the colonies of the 1700s as they fought against burdensome taxes.
Over the coming weeks, months and even years, we will be fighting that same fight. We will battle against tyrannical government regulation that has its sight set on the small businessman in an effort to ensure tobacco tax funds keep rolling in.
What we’re celebrating this year is not independence, but revolution. Not revolution in the sense of the Boston Tea Party, but we celebrate our own revolution as we wage a legal, legislative and public perception war against over-reaching governmental authority.
Support all of your friends who are small business owners and the companies you’ve grown to love. The struggle is real and the fight will be long.
But it’s a fight we have to win.
Corey Noles is the managing editor of VAPE Magazine. He has worked as a journalist for more than a decade and is the founder, owner of Inked Up E-Liquid Co.