June 2016

It’s time for vapers to take a stand

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By COREY NOLES

It’s election season. That glorious time of year when people wave their signs and fight for their rights. Well, most people.

People fight for civil rights, the right to own and carry firearms, the right to use the bathroom of their choice, but there’s a glaring omission among those who have the passion to stand up and make a change: vapers. While I’m not comparing those causes, the vaping community could use some of that passion.

In an industry under greater scrutiny than it has ever been, the time is now for vapers to stand up. Store owners and product manufacturers can not be the only people fighting this battle, but at local, state and federal hearings, these are the only people who have the passion to stand up for the right of the common vaper — and many of them still remain inactive in issues of advocacy.

It hast to Change.

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With millions of vapers in this country, if as few as 10 percent made their voices be heard, that would be hard to deny.

As it stands, we have a slough of presidential candidates who have yet to voice an opinion on the industry. With as many as 10 million votes up for grabs, we need to force the issue. When candidates visit your city, take up an “I Vape and I Vote” sign.

If everyone just sits down and lets the FDA regulate the vapor industry out of existence, who is really to blame — the FDA or all of us for not putting up a good fight?

I’m not saying everyone needs to take up a sign and head for the Mall of America (even though I reserve the right to suggest exactly that in the coming weeks.) There are plenty of ways to be active that take just a few minutes and can be done everywhere.

Following are a few things EVERY vaper should do:

  • Visit CASAA.org and sign up for their newsletter and Call to Action alerts. They send out alerts when a law of concern is in danger of passage and making contacting the necessary officials very simple. They even have basic form letters you can simply attach a name to and hit send.
  • Register to vote. I realize this sounds simple, but if you’re not registered to vote, many elected officials may discount your opinion.
  • Contact your representatives at every level of government. Tell them where you stand. Be respectful and professional, that goes farther than an angry militant yelling at them over their phone or in their office. Urge them to support HR2058 and the Bishop Cole Amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill immediately.
  • Learn how many vapor shops are in your region. Let your politicians know how many small businesses and jobs would be decimated by harmful legislation. Also know how many people have used vaping to quit smoking. It never hurts to explain the concern as “sending millions BACK to cigarettes.”
  • Know your local laws in regard to vaping, and obey them. Being that person in McDonald’s fighting over what is or is not a cigarette does not help our industry. It gives the impression we are all bigots. It’s important to be civilized and respectful vapers as such behavior reflects on the industry as a whole.
  • Educate your friends — smokers, vapers and non-vapers alike. Make sure they understand what is at stake and about the misinformation that is spread regularly throughout news stories.
  • Encourage your smoking friends to give it a try. Every converted smoker is another voice.
  • Visit notblowingsmoke.org and have your photo inserted into a No More Casualties photo that you can share on social media. Share it or make it your profile picture, but at least do it.
  • Share responsible new articles that tell the true story and struggles of the industry. Also share reports of studies that show the benefits of vaping. Don’t be suckered into fake stories shared on Facebook. Make sure they are from reputable news outlets.
  • Do not purchase e-liquid from companies that are clearly violating intellectual property laws in their names, or those whose labels market to children. Cartoon characters don’t have a place in the vapor industry.
  • Educate yourself. As cliche as it sounds, knowledge is power.
  • Ask the shops you visit and the companies you respect what they do for advocacy. Ask them to step up their game and educate their customers and support organizations like SFATA, the American Vaping Association and CASAA that fight for your right to vape every day.
  • Finally, take up a sign! People protest for everything and there’s a reason for that. Politics responds to the masses. If vapers take a stand, we CAN make them listen.

If vapers themselves don’t care enough to fight for their rights, why would anyone else?

Corey Noles is the Managing Editor or VAPE Magazine. He has worked as a journalist since 2006 covering crime, politics, healthcare and Major League Baseball. He is the owner of Inked Up E-Liquid Co.