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.

Vapor Shops United Releases Video

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 6.00.56 PMCheck out this new commercial defending all vapor shop owners and the myths within our industry.

Vapor Shop Owners United hope you will join the fight against Big Tobacco and help defend rights as small business owners.

Interested parties should email www.vibleo.com and a member organizer will contact you; basic association benefits are found in the brochure link: Association Brochure.

For the Vibleo New Television commerical defending the vaping industry, visit the Vibleo commercial.


New Product: Vapor Savor Protective Case Debuts Today

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 9.14.38 AMThe Vapor Saver is a patented protective case designed to prevent damage to vaporizers from impact, water and debris. Creating an encapsulating shell around a vapor pen, the Vapor Saver is a product that shields vaporizers.

The Vapor Saver protects a vaporizer from snow, ice, water, dirt, dust, mud, sand and impact on hard surfaces, thus preserving the investment in the device, as well as any liquids contained within. The case expands the portability and potential use of vapor devices to environments that may not be compatible with electronic use due to potential damaging or weather hazards.

The Vapor Saver case includes a hood that covers and seals off the mouthpiece, reservoir and atomizer portions of a vaporizer. A handle region covers the remaining portions of the vaporizer and forms an airtight seal. A check valve over the mouthpiece only opens when the operator takes a drag from the vaporizer. There is a flexible pad over the activation button of the vaporizer allows an operator to activate the vaporizer while it is still inside the case. An optional lanyard is included to enable ease of carrying.

“Much like the functionality of a protective cell phone case, we have created an airtight casing that will protect the investment in a vapor device from contamination,” Joey Doyle, the inventor of The Vapor Saver, said. “The Vapor Saver truly expands the nature and enjoyment of a vaping experience, because it eliminates any fear of damage.”

The Vapor Saver was developed by Vapor Nature, an emerging technology firm based in Longmont, Colo. Initially, it will be available online at www.vapornature.com and at select retail outlets. For more informattion, visit www.vapornature.com.


Washington Legislation Could Make it Strictest State

polletRep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) is proposing a bill that could make Washington State have the strictest vaping laws in the nation.

KGW.com reports that the proposed bill would require special licenses for all retailers, require manufacturers to list all ingredients in e-juice, ban non-tobacco flavored vaping products, and tax e-cigarettes and the supplies at the same rate as tobacco products. That tax would stand at 95 percent.

Pollet, who also teaches public health at the University of Washington, said that he wants to reduce youth smoking by raising prices and eradicating flavors. He also told the news site that vaping is not safe and that it’s highly addictive. Shop owners in the state are fighting back, afraid that if the bill passes they will go out of business.

For the full story, visit http://www.kgw.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/17/wash-e-cig-rules-could-become-toughest-in-us/24925489/.

SFATA Executive Director Cites ‘Major Turning Point’ in Vaping Industry

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1Below is a note sent to Agent VAPE from SFATA Executive Director, Cynthia Cabrera:

We are at a major turning point in the vapor industry. You may know that the FDA has begun sending warning letters to vapor companies about the marketing of their products. The Center for Tobacco Products warned these companies that using language or graphics implying FDA approval of the products is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This is only the beginning of enforcement actions.

The FDA’s actions, coupled with the increased activity against vapor products at the state level indicates we are about to see a fundamental shift in vapor landscape. With the deeming rule decision likely to be finalized this June, our member companies across the nation are going to face needing FDA approval of marketing materials, including packaging, for products that were not on the market before Feb. 15, 2007. They are also going to have to try to maintain compliance with all the different state and local legislation that is cropping up and balance it against federal guidelines.

Every day SFATA works with businesses to advance the vapor industry. All of them are small businesses started in the last few years. They are e-Liquid companies in California and Utah. Mom and pop retail shops in Delaware and Illinois. And FDA’s decision about how to treat vapor products  could likely put them out of business.  If the states handled properly they may do it first.

You can be part of vapor history – Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, JD, has never before addressed a vapor audience. Until now. 

Business owners have a unique opportunity to represent themselves and the industry at the only conference designed especially for them at the 2015 SFATA Conference May 4 & 5 in Chicago.

Attending trade shows and vape fairs can be fun but getting the information you need to make the right decisions for your business’s future is essential.

The insight Zeller will offer on into the FDA’s thinking will be a valuable tool to everyone in the room and we will have a wealth of sessions that everyone working in the vapor industry should hear:

  • John Fuisz’s presentation “Protecting Your Intellectual Property” is an important message for small business owners in a crowded industry constantly threatened by lawsuits.
  • Les Weinstein, Senior Consultant, EAS Consulting Group, will present “Navigating FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP)” and is not to be missed.
  • The State Advocacy Panel will offer insight on how to most effectively work at the state level where we are seeing new burdensome regulations far too often.
  • Many more presentations are scheduled and all designed to inform you and assist with long-term decisions.

After an intense day of learning and strategizing, join us on May 4 for an open bar reception where you can mix and mingle with potential business partners and colleagues. May 5 will be another half day packed with information while the afternoon of May 5 is reserved for special training for all SFATA Chapters.

Register today and we are looking forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Nicopure Revamps Halo Cigs Premium E-Liquid Packaging

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.33.12 AMNicopure’s Halo brand aims to be different, standing out in the electronic cigarette/e-liquid industry.

Halo’s packaging conveys an edge vibe, with vibrant vapor-inspired graphics, foil and gloss UV accents. A wrap around rigid window showcases the generic bottle, while color coding creates flavor cues for e-liquid consumers.

The MPS pre-press team in Carlstadt, Calif. evaluated the artwork on its 144 SKUs, translating it into G7 calibrated proofs to ensure the expected colors were achieved on the press.

MPS Toronto executed a hard-window-application process through management of various components, as well as assembling the rigid windowed carton to exact product dimensions. Toronto also applied a matte/gloss combination on various title treatments, and silver fire graphics are embossed with a touch of UV gloss to add a shimmering reflection.

With this new packaging, Halo Cigs has established design consistency across its wide range of award-winning flavors.

Vapefest Ireland Coming Nov. 15

Vapefest-Ireland-InfographicDid you know that e-cigarette market sales in Ireland grew by a whopping 478 percent in 2013, generating €7.3 million? There is an active and thriving vaping community in Ireland, and Vapefest Ireland is coming Nov. 15.

Steve Barrett is the managing director of Purplebox Vapours, a vaping and e-cigarette ecommerce store and shop based in Temple Bar in Dublin. Barrett has shared with Agent VAPE an infographic outlining everything to know about Vapefest.

North Carolina Lawmakers Introduce SB 286

2000px-Flag_of_North_Carolina.svgA new Senate Bill has been introduced in North Carolina, which would require child-resistant packaging and warning labels on e-liquids, if passed.

Sens. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson) and Don Davis (D-Pitt) are co-sponsors of Senate Bill 286, as reported by JournalNow.com. The law would ban the sale of any product in the state that does not comply with the new law, which would take effect Dec. 1 if passed.

The N.C. Commisssion for Public Health’s rules would be the benchmark for the warning labels, and anyone who doesn’t comply would face misdemeanor charges.

North Carolina does have a minor sales law already in place of under 18.

New Study Says E-Cigs Will Save Medicaid Billions

imgresA press release sent to Agent VAPE says that a new study finds that electronic cigarettes could hae saved Medicaid as much as $48 billion in Fiscal Year 2012.

The estimated savings from e-cig utilization is 87 percent higher than all revenue generated by state cigarette taxes and tobacco settlement payments combined.

According to the study, published by State Budget Solutions, e-cigs hold the promise of dramatically improved health outcomes for today’s smokers. Consequently, smoking-related healthcare costs should decline as more traditional smokers convert to e-cigs.

Medicaid is disproportionately comprised of smokers—at levels twice that of the nation at large (51 versus 21 percent). The potential cost savings to the Medicaid system is therefore vast.

Notwithstanding the benefits of e-cigs, government at various levels might discourage their use—whether it is the FDA regulating them as a drug or states heavily taxing e-cigs as if they are traditional cigarettes.

State Budget Solutions is a national nonprofit organization with a research focus on the fiscal responsibility of state and local governments. To read the full study on e-cigs and Medicaid savings, CLICK HERE.

Connecticut Lawmakers, Vapers Battle

12311701-growing-movement-to-ban-cigarette-use-in-publicThe fight is on in Connecticut, as lawmakers are arguing that electronic cigarettes should be included in the state’s smoking ban. Of course, vapers in the state oppose the proposed legislation, arguing that vaping is a way to stop smoking analog tobaco products. Their argument is that e-cigs don’t burn tobacco or emit smoke.

A recent story on CTNewsJunkie.com reports that Rep. Jay Case (R-Torrington) proposed HB 5449 would define vaping as smoking. A group moving for the bill wrote testimony stating that “nicotine delivered electronically is just as addictive and damaging as nicotine inhaled or otherwise absorbed by means of traditional tobacco products.” The group added that flavoring added to e-liquids are enticing our youth. Others stated that allowing e-cigs to be vaped publicly shows that it’s OK to be addicted to nicotine and tobacco.

Smoking is prohibited in most public places in the state of Connecticut, along with several outdoor spaces.

Vapers who oppose the bill ranged from cancer survivors to those who have stopped smoking completely with the help of vaping. They testified at a recent hearing that vaping has proven to improve their overall health.

For the full story, visit http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/should_e-cigarettes_be_added_to_smoking_ban.

‘Mistic Machine’ to Debut New Livery At Grand Prix Of Louisiana

unnamedFour-time Series champ Sebastien Bourdais will pilot KVSH Racing’s No. 11 Mistic E-Cigs car with a new livery at the 2015 Grand Prix of Louisiana being held at NOLA Motorsports Park from April 10-12.

Mistic®, independent maker of electronic cigarettes, vapor products and U.S.-made e-liquids, will serve as primary sponsor for the No. 11 car (aka Mistic Machine) during the Grand Prix of Louisiana. The Mistic Machine’s new livery will include an updated version of the car’s iconic white and green scheme, as well as the addition of the 2015 Chevy Aero Kit, which was introduced this year to improve performance by lowering drag and increasing downforce.

Mistic serves as co-primary sponsor for the No. 11 car driven by KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series. With 32 career wins and 33 career poles, Bourdais currently sits in sixth place in IndyCar’s overall standings and is coming off his best finish in five starts last month at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Race fans also will be able to enjoy Mistic’s brand experience at IndyCar racetracks during the 2015 season. Adult smokers can visit the Mistic-HAUS kiosk and engage with members of the Mistic Pit Crew to learn more about the company’s products, while fans can ride in virtual race simulators and get the chance to compete against Sebastien Bourdais in mock competitions.

For more information, visit www.misticecigs.com and www.HAUSvape.com, follow on Twitter @MisticEcig and @HAUSpv, watch on YouTube, or like on Facebook at MisticElectronicCigarettes and HAUS.