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.

One Half Million Brits Have Switched to Vaping, Report Says


Photo by Mirror.co.uk

Inquisitr.com reports that approximately one half million people in Britain have switched from analog cigarettes to e-cigarettes in the last year. This equates to more than 2.6 million British vapers, up from 2.1 million at the beginning of last year.

“Research carried out at King’s College London found that electronic cigarette use increased among ex-smokers from 4.5 percent in 2014 to 6.7 percent in 2015,” the story says.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2111048/an-estimated-half-a-million-brits-have-switched-from-real-cigarettes-to-e-cigarettes-in-the-last-year/#7FtfuB2j6ikDCPyv.99.

New ISO Vapor Standards Proposed

iso-international-organisation-standardization-collaborative-robots-600pxSFATA’s latest newsletter is out, and in it there’s a report about new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) vapor standards being shopped around.

In recognition of the growing popularity of the vapor industry, a proposal for a new field of technical activity at the ISO has been filed for vape and vapor products. The proposed committee for vapor products would look to standardize the requirements and test methods, product information and related services.

The setting of standards is an important step forward for the industry as more levels of governments pass regulations. The proposed ISO standards would be created in a process open to input from the industry to ensure that all voices are heard. Mods and liquids, emissions during use, and a standardized terminology are among the proposed goals.

“One of the major areas to be considered is the mission testing which aims to analyse and quantify the substances released during the process of vaping,” the proposal reads. “The standard has therefore to address the definition of a “vaping” cycle, a standard reference flavouring, standard reference liquids. It will also determine testing facilities and propose methods for measurement/qualification of the emissions.”

For more information, visit sfata.org.

Cafe Racer Joins Blue Orb Family

unnamedCafe Racer announces that it has joined the Blue Orb family. A release sent to Agent VAPE said that Cafe Racer produces artfully crafted, complex, unique e-liquid blends that are classic, timeless and bold—much like the rebellious street racers who inspired the brand. This handcrafted e-liquid is made in a GMP and ISO certified lab located in Southern California. Every batch of e-liquid produced is date and batch coded for strict quality control.

Cafe Racer’s team uses the finest USP/food grade ingredients and the best premium pharmaceutical grade nicotine available. Its blends are rigorously tested and are diacetyl free. Cafe Racer’s flavors are in a 70 percent VG/30 percent PG combination.

For more information, visit BlueOrbVapor.com.

Parrot Vapers Announces ECC Giveaway Winner

Brian Holloway (middle) with the Parrot Vapors crew

Brian Holloway (middle) with the Parrot Vapors crew

One lucky winner is headed to the Electronic Cigarette Convention in August, courtesy of Parrot Vapors.

Brian Holloway of Connecticut was entered into a drawing at World Vapor Expo to win a free trip to ECC, and he won two round trip airline tickets, three nights at a local hotel and a $250 gift card.

Congratulations, Brian!

Help Support H.R. 2058

photoThe Americans for Tax Reform organization is asking for your help with new legislation, and this one is of particular importance.

Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) recently introduced H.R. 2058, the “FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015.” This legislation would prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning tobacco products and 99 percent of the innovative vapor and electronic cigarette products that have hit the market since 2007.

The Americans for Tax Reform story reads:

“The FDA is finalizing a regulatory framework for premium cigars and vapor products that stands to require pre-market approval for all products that have hit the market since Feb. 15, 2007. Any product on the market prior to that date would largely be exempt and any product that has hit the market since then would be given two years to apply for approval.

H.R. 2058 moves up the 2007 date to the date of the announced ‘deeming regulation,’ which is likely to occur later this year. This would permit products that have hit the market since 2007 to remain on the shelves, pending approval. This is important for a number of reasons. First, nearly every vapor product on the market today did not exist in 2007. The thousands of e-liquids and countless versions of electronic cigarettes available to smokers looking for an effective way to quit would be banned pending FDA approval without a change to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or subsequent Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which established the 2007 date.

That Act was intended to apply to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and roll your own products. The FDA’s attempt to categorize new products under the authority given to them by that legislation lays out two pathways to “legalization” for new products on the market. The first is ‘substantial equivalence,‘ whereby a manufacturer must file for a tobacco product application, which includes clinical trials and would be relatively expensive for small and medium sized businesses.

Rep. Cole’s common-sense legislation moves up this substantial equivalence 2007 date to date of deeming regulation in 2015 and would prevent countless companies from having to cease operations given the cost of compliance for products that are already being sold to consumers.

If this legislative change if not made, and for the companies who could afford compliance, the FDA would be inundated with applications that the agency is not equipped to fast-track for approval. For combustible cigarette smokers looking to or considering quitting with e-cigarettes, this would be a tragedy as countless innovative smoking cessation devices would be at risk of never being sold.

The FDA has claimed that it does not have the power to modify the Feb. 15, 2007 date, making a Congressional solution imperative. Americans for Tax Reform supports H.R. 2058 and urges more members to join on as co-sponsors in the coming weeks. This legislation will encourage innovation and teardown an unnecessary federal barrier to the sale of many products that stand to improve public health.”

To learn more about his important cause, visit http://www.atr.org/atr-supports-rep-tom-cole-s-fda-deeming-authority-clarification-act-2015.

Chicago Suburb’s City Council Passes New Vaping Ordinances

Photo by Pulte.com

Photo by Pulte.com

Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, is changing things up a little in terms of vaping laws. Two ordinances recently were passed by Naperville’s City Council, according to ChicagoTribune.com. The first is that retailers who sell e-cigarettes must have a $200 annual license that is the same requirement of regular tobacco shops.

The second is that sales to those under 18 were officially banned (many shops self-regulate prohibiting sales to minors).

Both ordinances passed unanimously, however some of the council members told the Tribune that they wanted to know more when it comes to research and education. Others want to push further and ban vaping altogether, grouping it in with the established smoke-free laws.

For the full story, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-ecigs-st-0522-20150520-story.html.


SFATA Publishes Story on New Aldehyde Research

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1SFATA recently shared a special story about a controversial e-cigarette study in its newsletter:
In January 2015 a report published as a research letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that a third generation e-cigarette (an e-cigarette with variable power settings) set to the maximum power and long puff duration generated levels of formaldehyde that, if inhaled in this way throughout the day, would several times exceed formaldehyde levels that smokers get from cigarettes.

Media worldwide accordingly reported this new health hazard of e-cigarettes. A new study published online in the scientific journal “Addiction” took a closer look at the NEJM findings in the context of real-world conditions. It concluded that third generation e-cigarettes can indeed produce high levels of aldehydes—but only under extreme conditions which human smokers can be expected to avoid because of the immediate unpleasant sensory effects.

Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, U.K., says of the “Addiction” study: “These findings emphasise the importance of making clear the conditions in which tests of this kind are undertaken and avoiding sweeping assertions that can mislead the public. Vapers are not exposed to dangerous levels of aldehydes. My reading of the evidence is that e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent safer than smoking. Smokers should be encouraged to switch to vaping.”

Author Aggregates E-Cigarette Research

Photo by TIME.com

Photo by TIME.com

A reporter at Vox.com took a closer look at various research reports regarding vaping. The reporter read through more than 60 studies, articles and reviews, and interviewed nine researchers and health experts about their work.

The research showed, overall, that vaping is less harmful than smoking. But, if never having done both, it’s probably best to not pick up either habit. Long-term effects obviously are unknown, and a lot of research is either incomplete or misreported by the media.

For a look at the reporter’s key findings within the research and an answer to hot questions such as “Do e-cigarettes actually help people stop smoking?” and “Could e-cigarettes ‘re-normalize’ smoking?” visit http://www.vox.com/2015/6/26/8832337/e-cigarette-health-fda-smoking-safety.

V2 E-Cigs CEO and Co-Founder Shares Industry Predictions

cspnetJan Verleur, CEO and co-founder of V2 E-Cigs, recently shared with CSPNet.com his three predictions for the vaping industry by the end of the year. With $3.5 billion in retail sales predicted by Wells Fargo Securities by the end of 2015, our industry has a lot of change ahead.

Verleur says that 1: Big Tobacco Will Spur the Vaporizer Market’s Growth. He believes that open system vaporizers will grow, with Big Tobacco doing its best to get into the mix.

He also believes that 2. Rapid Innovation Will Drive Device Democratization. Our industry changes almost daily, with a wide array of innovation at our fingertips—for now. We still don’t know what will happen regulation-wise, and Verleur thinks that prices will fall once more common e-cigs are available.

Finally, 3. Record Investments in R&D. Verleur shares that open system vaporizers will “become the driver in the electronic vapor industry.” He calls for more research and development ahead to convert as many cigarette smokers as possible. He sees an improvement happening in both e-cigs and vaporizers.

For the full story, visit http://www.cspnet.com/category-news/tobacco/articles/opinion-3-predictions-e-cig-industry.


Recent Survey Asks, ‘Why Do You Vape?’

lAvail Vapor recently conducted a two-week survey about why vapers do just that—vape. Approximately 8,500 vapers responded to the survey, according to Richmond.com. Avail is a Richmond-based vaping retailer.

Here is what the survey found:

  • 94 percent of respondents already used tobacco products before starting e-cigs, with the length of time they used conventional products varying widely from less than one year to more than 30 years.
  • 5.8 percent of respondents said they started using e-cigs without using traditional tobacco products first.
  • Almost 80 percent of the survey respondents said they started using e-cigs as a way to quit using conventional tobacco products, and 85 percent said they did quit using conventional tobacco products, with 69 percent quitting within a month.
  • About 13 percent said they had reduced their consumption of conventional products.
  • More than 70 percent said they consider it “very important” to have a variety of flavors to choose from.
  • Almost 76 percent of respondents said they started vaping with higher levels of nicotine in their e-cig devices but cut back over time. Only 2 percent said they increased nicotine intake.
James Xu, Avail co-owner, told Richmond.com that this survey “indicates that e-cigs are not a gateway to traditional smoking,” however those 18 and above were the only survey respondents. And, surprisingly there wasn’t much dual use among the vapers surveyed. 

The survey was adapted from a 50-question list that the FDA has asked to be answered about e-cigs, and Avail plans to submit its findings to the Food and Drug Administration.