Taking a Look at The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association

Taking a Look at The Smoke Free Alternatives
Trade Association

By Cynthia Cabrera, SFATA Executive Director


The e-cig industry is a disruptor, turning the tobacco industry on its head,
empowering consumers and creating a new multi-billion dollar industry. But, in the
long run who will be able to reap the windfall brought on by this nascent industry?

The World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and the Surgeon
General have for many years agreed that tobacco use is harmful, and in particular, that
smoking tobacco cigarettes is very harmful in various ways. Despite the well-known dangers
of cigarette smoking and the public policy arguments in favor of reducing tobacco consumption such as lower health care costs, efforts to reduce tobacco consumption have not been as effective as one would expect over the past several decades. Reducing tobacco use is a significant benefit that has the potential to change our society for the better and an objective that the FDA and anti-smoking groups across the globe have been trying to achieve for decades.

I believe a major problem right now is that FDA and anti smoking groups seem to view vapers and the act of vaping as indistinguishable from smokers and smoking when the two are in reality very different things. Given the stigma smoking has earned, and the harm it causes, there is a strong push by FDA, various Attorney Generals, and legislators at the federal, state and local levels. These groups and individuals confuse smoking with vaping and attempt to regulate vaporizers in the exact same manner as cigarettes. This doesn’t make sense, and would be a huge mistake on many levels as it would unfairly stifle the industry, deny millions of adults an alternative to tobacco and stifle one of the most prolific segments of our economy.  That’s bad news for an industry that’s largely comprised of small companies and entrepreneurially-minded individuals

The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) exists in part to help educate smaller and mid-sized companies as to what we consider to be acceptable advertising, manufacturing and marketing protocols and to serve as a powerful voice for them in our nation’s capital as well as in their own backyards where many of them are being unfairly treated as though they were tobacco companies. 

At SFATA we are constantly engaging and educating regulatory officials and legislators at the federal, state and local level on behalf of our members. Our membership grows each month as more companies look to collaborate to achieve common goals and to obtain guidance and support as the industry expands and become more complicated.

To date, SFATA is the largest e-cig trade association and is comprised of sophisticated companies in the industry who are looking to work together to help protect common interests.  Business owners and consumers of e-cigs and e-cig accessories can help in a variety of ways:

Become a member of SFATA. While different companies may not always agree on every initiative, as some affect others differently in the marketplace, its important to have an industry that speaks with a unified voice on the issues that everyone agrees are most important. SFATA is committed to engaging with government agencies and elected officials in an effective manner—to communicate industry messages that smaller and mid-size businesses would not normally able to convey. We employ FDA experts, as well as attorneys and staff who specialize in the areas that affect our industry and are able to be of the most help as they have a profound understanding of the regulatory, legal and business issues that are unique to the vaping community. 
The way consumers and business owners talk about vaping needs to be different.

As a business owner, your message and your right to communicate it, is different than that of a consumer and that’s an important distinction. A consumer can talk about his or her vaping experience with impunity and in ways businesses cannot.

A consumer can advocate about what they see as any benefit vaporizers provide them with. Perhaps the availability of flavors keeps that consumer interested in using his or her personal vaporizing device rather than tobacco cigarettes? Perhaps he or she has cut down use of tobacco cigarettes and have saved money? Perhaps he or she feels better having switched to vaping from smoking. There are many compelling, important and amazing stories that vapers share about how vaping has changed their lives for the better. It’s important that consumers and consumer advocacy groups make those statements so that elected officials, government agencies and others unfamiliar with vaping understand consumers’ point of view. 

Business owners have a responsibility to sell and advertise products as intended and governed by law. While it is fine for consumers to share their personal stories, business should never make or endorse health or smoking cessation claims. Doing so could, arguably, subject such a business to being regulated by the FDA as a tobacco product under the current state of the law.  

Instead, craft your message as a business owner and focus on the economic impact this product has given you. Focus on the jobs you’ve created, the taxes you pay, the properties you rent and how you’ve assisted your community financially.  Attend meetings and stay in tune with what is happening in your community. Visit the SFATA website to get more information about issues in your state. Rally your customers to attend meetings as well; have them share their stories.  It’s important to engage with legislators and be part of the process as they are responsible for making decisions that affect your community and they need to hear from you.

Whatever the case is, consumer or business, advocating for an industry and the right to use new technology requires a lot of work. Consumer and businesses that engage and communicate with lawmakers have the ability to effectuate positive change. Legislators care about and listen to their constituents. Our website has tools to contact elected officials and information business owners can utilize for themselves and relay to their elected officials and communities  in support of the industry.

For more information, visit www.sfata.org.

Going to the Big Game? Leave Your Vape Outside Stadium

NewStadiumCPHeading to watch the Seattle Seahawks battle it out with New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium? Stadium policy prohibits vaping within the stadium walls, grouped together with its “smoke-free” policy.

No-Smoke.Org outlines stadium policies throughout the NFL, and the Super Bowl’s home, University of Phoenix Stadium, is a non-smoking building in accordance with the Smoke-Free Arizona Act. The stadium does provide three designated smoking locations and fans outside of the stadium must be at least 20 feet away from the entrance to smoke or vape. E-cigarettes are not allowed inside the stadium.

For the full rules, visit http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokingpoliciesNFLstadiums.pdf.

German Vaping Market Booming

logo-prnAn estimated two million Germans vape electronic cigarettes, and the number is growing by leaps and bounds, according to a recent article on PRNewswire.com.

An infograph of vapers’ profiles, why they started vaping and why they switched to e-cigs can be found in conjunction with the upcoming eCig Germany: Industry Conference. Almost 800 German, Austrian and Swiss vapers comprised the infograph, which also looks at the quality and manufacture of e-liquids.

Ahead of the eCig Germany: Industry Conference, eCig Global in conjuction with PowerCigs’ created an infographic to highlight some of the key user trends in this market.

To see the infograph, click here.

For more information about the Industry Conference, visit http://www.ecig-germany.com.

Breaking Call to Action: Oregon’s Legislative Session Begins Monday

CASAA Color Logo High Res 500pxThe Agent has received this note, as multiple bills in Oregon threaten access, awareness and availability of vapor products.

Oregon’s legislative session begins Monday, Feb. 2, and already a handful of damaging e-cigarette related bills have been pre-filed. This year, Oregon vapers are facing flavor bans, taxes, use bans, packaging restrictions, and the introduction of a new and exciting derogatory term (“Inhalant Delivery System”) used to define the vapor product category. Advocates are anticipating updating this call to action several times.

HB 2546 has been scheduled for a hearing Monday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m.
at the Oregon State Capitol (900 Court Street NE, Room 453, Salem, Oregon 97301). Please plan to attend this hearing.
Although CASAA generally supports banning sales to minors, HB 2546 would include provisions that ban indoor use in public places (which includes privately-owned businesses) as well as in personal vehicles where a minor is present. Please take action now to oppose this bill.
Other bills of note in Oregon:
    • Prohibits online sales of electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
  • SB 340 (same as HB 2546)
    • Prohibits sales to minors
    • Adds use of e-cigarettes to Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act
    • And prohibits use of e-cigarettes in a motor vehicle where a minor is present.
    • Flavor Ban.
    • Requires vapor retailers to acquire a license from the OR Liquor Control Commission
    • Stipulates distances from schools (1000ft, no grandfather clause) as well as allocating funds collected from licensing fees to the state’s tobacco control fund.
    • Prohibits free giveaways, discounts, and coupons.
  • HB 2074 (same as HB 2134)
    • Imposes 65 percent wholesale tax on vapor products (including devices)
    • Would classify nicotine as a schedule III controlled substance

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Says E-Cigs Are ‘Danger in the Making’

urlA blog, “The Doctor’s Tablet,” from doctors at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine says that e-cigarettes are a “danger in the making,” based on one article about Chinese manufacturing practices reported on in the New York Times. The blog goes on to urge the FDA to regulate e-cigs as swiftly as possible. Below is an exerpt from the blog:

E-cigarettes: A danger in the making
A new danger was revealed in an article in the New York Times on December 13: the unregulated manufacture of e-cigarettes in China poses significant health risks to consumers. The article notes that heavy metals, carcinogens and other dangerous compounds, such as lead, tin and zinc, have been detected in some e-cigarettes. The suspicion is that shoddy manufacturing practices contribute to this contamination.

The article notes that more than 300 million e-cigarettes from China are expected to be shipped to the United States and Europe this year. Some of the Chinese manufacturing plants are legitimate operations that produce name brands, while others are operated by counterfeiters. The industry is entirely unregulated in China at present, and in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving slowly toward issuing rules that would require producers of e-cigarettes to provide details about ingredients and the manufacturing process.

Who should regulate e-cigarettes?
Despite the views of politicians who have strongly supported deregulation of industry in the United States, regulatory agencies exist to protect the health of the public. The FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety of many foods and all drugs, medical devices and biologicals; since 2009 the agency has also regulated the tobacco industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in charge of monitoring the safety of meat, poultry and eggs. The Environmental Protection Agency has had the mandate to ensure safe drinking water in the country for the past 40 years. These agencies conduct activities that it would be impossible for consumers to carry out on their own. Without the scrutiny and actions of governmental regulatory agencies, public health would suffer a devastating blow.

The need for speed
This new information about risks posed by e-cigarettes from the manufacturing process underscores the need for the FDA to move swiftly. Recent studies have shown a significant rise in the use of e-cigarettes by high school students even as their use of tobacco cigarettes has declined. While such studies can help determine whether vaping increases, decreases or has no effect on the rate of tobacco consumption among young people, it is an open question whether the risks from poor manufacturing of e-cigarettes will reach the majority of users or prompt them to change their behavior.

The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly in Washington, but we can only hope that the FDA can meet this new challenge with timely action to regulate the importation of e-cigarettes containing ingredients that are known health hazards.

This post was originally featured on The Doctor’s Tablet, the blog of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Vapor Hub International Markets ‘Strongest Battery Available for Vaping’

vaporHubLogo_mediumVapor Hub International Inc. announces development of a 26650 battery for vaping, believed to be the strongest battery on the market, and one of only three brands of 26650 batteries in the world.

The product has been trademarked under the name “vamped” according to Vapor Hub’s CEO, Kyle Winther. He said in a statement that the company realized the strong desire for a larger battery in the marketplace.

For more information, visit www.vapor-hub.com.

New Orleans Business Leaders Feel ‘Unfairly Targeted’

Photo by Yelp

Photo by Yelp

While the City Council votes on whether e-cigarettes are banned along with analogs in the City of New Orleans, vape shop owners feel unfairly targeted, according to BestOfNewOrleans.com.

Minors already are banned from buying e-cigs, along with local universities including e-cigs in smoke-free campus policies, the site reports. Cigar and hookah bars are currently exempt from the ordinance, and shop owners say that e-cigs do not pose a health risk because they aren’t tobacco products. Health officials argue that the vapor does produce harmful second-hand chemicals.

The issue is being voted on this month. For the full story, visit http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/vape-no-more/Content?oid=2564987.

VaporFair Frankfurt Vendor Opportunities Available


International VaporFair Frankfurt, held May 2-3, invites all to exhibit at this year’s event. The self-proclaimed No. 1 international trade show specializing in hookah and vapor/e-cig products, this show provides a unique opportunity for industry specialists, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors etc. to showcase new products, innovations, establish business contacts and broaden market share.

In addition, exhibitors already have increased by almost 400 percent and attendees by 170 percent. Show’s organizers predict an even higher turnout at May’s show—160 to 200 exhibitors and more than 9,000 attendees.

Last year’s show was broadcasted by national TV channels and international trade magazines, reviewers, online video channels and more.

Indiana Attorney General Urges FDA to ‘Step Up’

Photo by IndianaPublicMedia.org

The Indiana Journal Gazette reports that State Attorney General Greg Zeller wants e-cigarettes taxed like tobacco products; put under the restaurant and public places ban; and for vape shops to be licensed.

Zoeller told the Gazette: ”We’ve tried with some frustration to get the FDA to regulate. Things for ingestion by humans in the United States are regulated. But with e-cigarettes, there’s no quality control. I really wish the FDA would step up.”

Zoller went so far as to say that the “new nicotine addiction” with youth stems from e-cigarettes, and that the product is marketed “deceptively.” He said that they aren’t a way to break a habit, instead they encourage more tobacco usage.

For the full story, visit http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/editorials/E-cig-action-plan-4320307.


American Lung Association Visits Various Minnesota Businesses

Erin Simmons of the American Lung Association gives a talk. Photo by Crow River Media

Erin Simmons of the American Lung Association gives a talk. Photo by Crow River Media

Program Manager of the American Lung Association, Erin Simmons, says that e-cigarettes need to have their own category and own language when it comes to banning within public places. CrowRiverMedia.com reports that e-cigarettes are not covered under Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act, therefore vaping in businesses is not against the Minnesota state law.

Simmons visited local business as part of a “Litchfield Chamber of Commerce seminar on e-cigarettes in the workplace,” and she specified that no-smoking or no-tobacco policies need to be tailored to e-cigarettes by adding new language to the bans.

“It needs to be specified as an electronic cigarette. We need to see it in the definition section, and we need to see it added to the language itself,” she told Crow River media.

Minnesota’s American Lung Association maintains that while e-cigs don’t contain tobacco, they do have levels of nicotine, and that the vapor itself could be harmful. She said that second-hand vape isn’t just “somebody’s boiling water.”

Minnesota law does not require that e-cigs sales must be behind a counter and licensed, along with childproof packaging mandates and an 18 and over buying restrictions.

The site reports that Simmons wants lawmakers to increase restrictions on e-cigs in 2015.

For the full story, visit


Kentucky Health Issues Poll Says Six of 10 Want E-Cigs FDA Regulated

Photo by www.healthy-ky.org

Photo by www.healthy-ky.org

A new poll is out according to WMKY.org and it says that six in 10 adults in the Commonwealth want the FDA to regulate the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes.

The site says that the rise of poison control center calls regarding e-cigarettes pertaining to children is one of the reasons for the call for more regulatory laws.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Vice President Vince Willmore echoed the poll’s results, stating to the stie that there also needs to be a “crack down on companies’ marketing and flavors, such as ‘gummy bear’ and bubble gum.” He urged for childproof packaging and for adults to keep more watch over their products if children are in the home.

The toxicity and addiction factor of nicotine also weighed into those polled.

For data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, visit http://aapcc.org.

For results of the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, click here: http://healthy-ky.org.

For the full story, visit http://wmky.org/post/concerns-rise-over-e-cig-exposure.