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.

Canadian Website Condenses Regulation Info

Photo by EmbassyWorld.comThe Winnipeg Free Press has shared a nifty infographic slideshow regarding vaping news and regulations across the county.

“E-Cigarette Regulations Across Canada” takes a look at proposals to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping across Canada via an interactive slideshow map, which includes various stories about each province.

To view the Free Press’ map, click here.

SFATA Report: FDA Seeking Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee Noms

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1A recent SFATA newsletter reports that the FDA is looking for a few good men and women to be a part of the Tobacco Products Scientific Committee.

Small business tobacco manufacturing industry organizations interested in serving on the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee for the Center for Tobacco Products should notify FDA in writing. The FDA also is requesting nominations for nonvoting industry representatives to be included in a pool of individuals to represent the interests of the small business tobacco manufacturing industry on the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee.

A nominee may either be self-nominated or nominated by an organization to serve as a nonvoting industry representative. This position may be filled on a rotating, sequential basis by representatives of different small business tobacco manufacturers based on areas of expertise relevant to the topics being considered by the Advisory Committee. Nominations will be accepted for current vacancies effective with this notice.

Any small business tobacco manufacturing industry organization interested in participating in the selection of an appropriate nonvoting member to represent the interests of the small business tobacco manufacturing industry, must send a letter stating that interest to FDA by December 1, 2014 (see sections I and II for details). Concurrently, nomination materials for prospective candidates should be sent to FDA by December 1, 2014.

Vapor Shows Debut Jan. 21 – 22 in Miami Beach

VaporShowsThe Agent received this press release today and is excited to announce six new Vapor Shows in the New Year!

Vapor Shows LLC debuts its first trade show in Miami Beach, Jan. 21-22, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The first to bring regional business-to-business trade shows closer to retailers who sell vapor products, Vapor Shows LLC will host six events throughout the year in top U.S. metro areas.

Exhibitor registration is now open for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, e-liquid manufacturers and others. The trade event is exclusively for businesses that want to showcase their products, services and new technology to retailers in the vapor market and not intended for consumers. A 10×10-foot exhibit space is $1995, with larger sizes available. Reduced rates are offered to companies exhibiting at all six shows.

Retailers interested in attending Vapor Shows’ Miami Beach event can register online beginning Dec. 8 or in person at the Miami Beach Convention Center on the days of the event. Visit www.VaporShows.com, click on Attendees, Miami Beach to register online. Cost is $20 to visit exhibit trade show floor or $50 to visit floor and attend educational sessions. Attendees can attend educational sessions alone for $30.

“With a high concentration of vapor product retailers in the area, Miami Beach is the perfect place to kick off our 2015 regional trade events,” said president and CEO of Vapor Shows LLC, Richard Perkins. “Vapor Shows offers businesses the networking and educational benefits found at large national shows, without hefty travel expenses or extended time away from their retail shops.”

Three hours of educational sessions will be offered during the two-day event. Some of the topics that will be discussed during the six trade event series include: Using Technology to Automate Sales; How the European Market May Signal Our Future Regulations; How to Start, Grow, Brand and Maximize Your Vape Business; Customer Service Missteps and Easy Fixes; The Growing Medical Marijuana Market and What it Means to You, Clean Rooms 101: Create Your Own or Contract Out?; Doing Business with China: Should You? How to Guide for Making the Process Easier; and Panel: Clones vs. Authentics.

Vapor Shows has partnered with NaylorCMG, a show management firm that will help streamline the registration process. A mobile app also has been developed to guide attendees around the exhibit floor.

In addition to Miami Beach, the five other regional Vapor Shows in 2015 will be: Long Beach, Calif., March 11-12; Frisco, Texas, May 18-19; Valley Forge, Penn., August 12-13; Wilmington, Ohio, Sept. 16-17; and Denver, Colo., Nov. 18-19.

For more information, go to www.vaporshows.com or www.facebook.com/vaporshows.

Know Before You Connect to USB

Photo by Yahoo.comConnecting your e-cigarette to a USB to charge may be a cool new technology, but Yahoo.com reports that an e-cigarette manufactured from China recently “infected” a user’s computer with a virus.

The source? A $5 e-cig bought from a Chinese manufacturer through eBay. The Yahoo story says that “the e-cigarette was found to have malware hard-coded into the charger, which ‘phoned home’ and infected the system when plugged into the computer’s USB port.”

For the full story, visit https://www.yahoo.com/tech/e-cigarette-from-china-infected-mans-computer-with-103466334849.html.

 

 

E-Cig Market in Spain Plummets

BBC_EcigSpain is facing a decline in e-cigarette product sales, and the reason is lobbying by pharmaceutical companies, according to TheLocal.es.

Sales have dropped nearly 90 percent in just a year; this time last year there were 3,000 shops selling the product in Spain and now the number is a paltry 300, according to Spain’s National E-Cigarettes Association.

Top pharma, namely GlaxoSmithKline, have lobbied for stricter e-cig regulations in Spain, and while e-cigs aren’t regulated as of yet, public banning is occurring similarly to cities in the United States. Spain does have one of the strictest anti-tobacco laws in Europe, however.

Another reason for the decline, according to the article, is the oversaturation of shops in too short of a period of time. Too many staffers were inexperienced and too many shops were seen in a small geographical space.

For the full story, visit http://www.thelocal.es/20141103/spain-turns-back-on-e-cigarettes-ance-who.

 

SFATA Announces Non-Profit Funding Portal

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1Researchers who want to raise funds to delve further into the world of e-cigarettes may have more financial support. The E-Research Foundation has been established, according to a recent SFATA newsletter, to assist researchers seeking to advance independent peer-reviewed and published scientific research focused on electronic vapor products (electronic cigarettes) and their use.

The goal for these independent researchers is both find potential benefits and harm stemming from the electronic cigarette.

The newsletter’s copy reads:

ERF’s mission is to foster independent research focused on understanding the potential health benefits, and potential consequences, related to these products. ERF will not participate in advocacy efforts.
The ERF Board of Directors assembled recognized leaders from all categories of the e-vapor products market place, including consumer advocates, to participate on the Grant Committee. The committee members include leading representatives from:  e-vapor device manufacturing, e-liquid manufacturing, non-manufacturing vendors, leading advocacy association senior executives, knowledgeable consumers, the leading international vapor forum, and public policy.
Independent researchers, seeking funding for their e-vapor product studies, will be able to request grants from the ERF. The ERF Grant Committee will determine which research endeavors receive funding.
All potential grant recipients, as a prerequisite to receiving ERF funds, must commit to submitting their research for peer-reviewed publication ensuring all ERF-funded research receives transparent scrutiny by the professional medical and scientific communities. ERF will not be involved in the design of study protocols or the performance of the research itself. From time to time, ERF may initiate Requests for Proposals on specific research topics of interest.
The ERF website provides an extensive list of existing peer-reviewed and published studies as well as a wide variety of video presentations by globally recognized experts speaking at leading industry conferences.
The ERF is in the process for filing for recognition as an Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. ERF is seeking 501(c)(3) status.
Click here for additional information.

Barbados E-Cig Laws May Change in 2015

BarbadosIf you’re planning on vaping during your island vacation to Barbados next year, take note that the rules might be changing. BarbadosAdvocate.com reports that the Minister of Health revealed the new plan at the subregional workshop on Tobacco Taxation for English-speaking Caribbean countries.

E-cigarettes would be regulated under the new draft of legislation, along with legislation to “adopt the Caricom Standard on Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products.”

Both amendments, which will go into consideration in the New Year, were prompted by the recent World Health Organization report urging for governmental regulation on tobacco products. E-cigarettes, for now, are grouped into that category for this purpose.

For the full story, visit http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=local&NewsID=39639.

Wanted: VAPE Writers

hiring-writersWe had a great 2014, due in part to our wonderful core team of writers who made it all possible. We’re looking to add to this team, so we’re seeking stellar vape wordsmiths who can craft a well-written story and submit photos along with his or her work.

We’re looking for:

  • regular columnists
  • feature writers
  • technical experts
  • events coverage writers/photographers

If you display vast knowledge of the industry and wish to join the VAPE team as a contract writer, please send a resume, your area of expertise/interest and some writing clips to content@vapemz.com with “writer” in the subject line.

We thank all who apply, however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

‘Vaping Brain’ Study Takes a Look at Addiction

Photo by http://www.icbs-peclub.com/imperial-college-facts/British scientsts are researching the effects of smoking on the brain, according to FoxNews.com.

The pilot study used e-cigarettes and functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan vapers while they took puffs. The aim is to understand why smoking is addictive. The lead scientist, Matt Wall from Imperial College in London, says that since other nicotine replacement therapies havent had the success to kick the smoking habit like vaping has. Therefore, he’s digging a bit deeper to see where the addiction(s) are coming from.

While there are no specific conclusions of the study yet, Wall says that there is somewhat of a link in the brain area that controls taste and smell with reward and addiction.

Wall plans on conducting larger vaper studies in the future to learn more.

For the full story, visit http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/11/11/studies-vaping-brain-may-offer-clues-on-smoking-addiction/.

Starbucks Bans E-Cigarettes

StarbucksMorning coffee and a cigarette, or an e-cigarette in our world, is no more inside of the walls of the popular chain Starbucks. UK site Metro.co.uk reports that the move stemmed from the recent World Health Organization claim that e-cigarettes may not be the healthy alternative to analog cigarettes. The report also attacked the vapor emitted from e-cigs, saying that it contains toxins that create a health risk to second-hand breathers.

For more information on the Starbucks ban, visit http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/19/starbucks-has-banned-e-cigarettes-after-health-worries-4912414/.