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.

Vape Expo Poland Announces Speaker Lineup

vapeexpopoland-500x276Vape Expo Poland, which will be held March 4-6 in Warsaw, has announced some of its guest speakers for the event. Topics discussed will include regulations for the European Union, what to do in response to the new TPD regulations, how to market to specific markets and general information about many of the individual markets in and around the European Union. Additionally, speakers will talk about the challenges and the potential of growing into the Poland market.

Chris Dodge, director of the Global Vaping Association, also is the International Sales Manager at E-Gen Vaping Products. He is a world recognized expert on marketing of consumer goods. He is working with the European Union in forming regulations for the vaping industry. His report will focus on marketing and regulatory matters for lay people for our industry that are currently being proposed for the European Union. He also will discuss the needs of the brand owners and of the importer to insure the rapid and steady growth of the products in the European Union.

Оliver Kershaw is founder of E-Cigarette Forum and Vaping.com.

Tim Phillips is the founder and managing director of ECigIntelligence.

Austin Hopper is president at REVOL Vapors.

Beju Lakhani is the founder and CEO of Moshi E-Liquids, based in Toronto, Canada. In addition, he is the president of the Canadian Vaping Association and a guest columnist for Vapun Magazine. The theme of his speech will be Effectively Utilizing Technology in the Vaping Industry, specifically looking at how businesses can build highly scalable infrastructure without incurring enterprise level costs. He will look at the various applications available to businesses and how and why they should be implemented.

Luis Velazquez will speak to those that have shops or want to open shops on ways to help their business. Velazquez is vice president of E-Generation, and has been involved in the tobacco industry for 10 years. His experience over the years includes management in retail, wholesale and currently manufacturing since 2012 as the VP of E-Generation. He has seen the vaping industry go from early development in the United States to an international established market that is here to stay. His seminar will offer ideas on how to lower your costs, how to improve your profits and how to work with the local community in a more positive light so the general public can better understand the benefits of vaping.

The event’s business to business conference will include instructional seminars to help those who want to enter this exciting region.


North Carolina E-Liquid Packaging Law in Effect

warning-labels-www.imagesplitter.net-2-620x348December not only marks the last month of the year, but it also is a milestone for the state of North Carolina. A state law went into effect on Dec. 1 mandating childproof packaging and warning labels on all e-liquids. Violators of the sale of non-compliant packaging face a Class A1 misdemeanor charge. The packaging must make it “significantly difficult” for those under 5 to open, and the warning labels must be “consistent with rules adopted by the North Carolina Commission for Public Health, JournalNow.com reports.

North Carolina also is one of the 24 states that prohibits sales to minors under 18, and this Bill, deemed Senate Bill 286, passed on July 8.

Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, bill co-sponsor, told JournalNow.com that he views the bill as “an educational tool, as much as a warning, for all ages of the potential harm” from e-liquids. He said that he is concerned about “the bootleggers of these liquids who are selling products without warning labels, either from recipes they make themselves or they get from suppliers.”

For the full story, visit http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/e-cig-packaging-restrictions-become-law-tuesday/article_b99c7358-f327-5c2b-a357-580254c941f0.html.

Could Deeming Regulations Actually Mean a Hike in Retail Sales?

unnamedShilo Platts, vice president of sales at Cash Vape and the SFATA Utah Chapter press secretary, has sent Agent VAPE his newest press release:

Several years ago, the Obama Administration—through executive action—began regulating the sale of various types of firearm ammunition. Consequently, due to a prevailing fear among gun owners that the aforementioned ammo might either soon be in short supply or out of stock entirely, many shoppers began stockpiling ammunition. So, instead of regulation hindering the sale of ammunition—in the short term scheme of things—we actually saw a dramatic increase in overall purchasing.

Enter the deeming regulation of vaping products. While it is without question that much of what is being proposed by the FDA will ultimately have an adverse impact on the industry, what transpires over the first several months might influence the owners of vape stores to spend massive amounts of money with e-liquid manufacturing companies to ensure they have exhausted as much of their resources as possible before the regulatory sphere interferes with their bottom line. In turn, consumer behavior will very likely be tantamount to gun owners who stockpiled ammunition in years past. The worst case scenario would be having this industry turn into a profitable black market akin to the prohibition of alcohol because the reality is vaping is not going anywhere.

So, whether it’s ammo or e-liquid, regulation may not always affect the change regulatory agencies seek to implement. In the meantime, join the fight to preserve vaping as a viable smoke-free alternative by becoming active with SFATA, CASAA and other advocacy groups.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Seeks Smoking Ban

ForbesForbes.com reports that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeks a ban on smoking. There are more than 700,000 public housing units in the United States, with more than 500,000 of those inhabited by the elderly or disabled. A 60-day public comment period is in effect for the new proposal.

Forbes reports several implications for smokers/vapers, including those with low incomes, disabled or mentally ill not being able to have access or the funds to e-cigarettes, which aren’t yet folded into the proposed ban, but could be.

Hud told Forbes that it “encourages Publich Housing Authorities that already have smoke-free policies to consider whether electronic nicotine delivery devices should be included in their smoke-free policies.”

For the full story, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/sallysatel/2015/11/17/why-hud-should-allow-vaping-in-public-housing/.

Calumet Advisors Offers Advice to Vape Stores in ‘Emerging Market’

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOdAAAAJDAxOTA5ZGQwLWYzN2YtNDY5MS1iOWM1LTZkMmFkNmFjOWRhYwRon Tully, founding partner at Calumet Advisors, spoke at TabExpo in London in October about how vape stores can succeed in the evolving U.S. vaping market. Here are some of his points:

  • Vape stores, online retailers and wholesalers should increase diversity of products
  • Don’t just focus on the U.S. market; take care of your European and Asian customers/distributors/wholesalers
  • Keep up with information exchange and appreciate the diversity of the industry
  • Tully says there are between 10 and 14,000 vape stores in the United States
  • Vape stores with stellar customer service and adaptability thrive
  • Online stores still are thriving due to being able to sell the newest and hottest items first, no limited space and providing a place for online forums/product reviews

For the full story, visit http://www.pressreleaserocket.net/expanding-retail-opportunities-in-the-us-vape-segment/377942/.

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