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.

New Vaping Convention in New England

vcc-1404-3Vaping Convention Circuit (VCC) and Nicvape.com proudly present New England’s first vaping and electronic cigarette convention, VCCNE2014, being held in beautiful Springfield, Massachusetts at the MassMutual Center June 28-29, 2014.  Springfield, situated in southern New England, is only one and a half hours from Boston and two and a half hours from New York City. Public attendance is free, and attendees must be over the age of 18 to enter the event (no preregistration is required).

Join thousands of fellow vapers in the 40,000+ square feet convention hall with an awesome variety of vape gear, eliquid, giveaways, free battery safety and coil rebuilding classes, as well as a special welcome speech from tobacco harm reduction activist Mr. Gregory Conley of The Heartland Institute, who will also lead several legislative advocacy town hall style sessions during the event.  Mr. Dimitris “Vapingreek” Agrafiotis and the Vape Team will be broadcasting live and recording the event.

Public hours are:

Saturday, June 28, 2014, 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 11 am – 7 pm

In order to have a general idea of how many attendees to expect, VCC requests that you click ‘Join’ on the Facebook event page, which can be found under events at www.facebook.com/vapingconventioncircuit

The facebook event page also contains information on hotels, parking, etc. and is updated regularly.  Don’t forget to follow VCC on Twitter @VapingCC for additional updates (#VCCNE2014), and online at www.vapingcc.com

Sponsor and vendor opportunities are available.  Email Kevin Skipper at admin@vapingcc.com for more information or to reserve your space before they sell out.  VCC would also like to hear from you if your company plans to be a vendor at the event and if you have a product you would like to launch at VCCNE2014.

VCC and Nicvape looks forward to seeing you there in June! Vape on.

European Ecig market double original valuation

e-cigarettes[1]The European ecig market is double what the original valuation showed last year. “The analysis from ECigIntelligence claims that the previous research over-valued some national markets and underestimated others. Early figures had suggested that the European e-cigarette market was worth somewhere in the $1.2bn (£0.7bn, €0.9bn) ballpark.” The UK and Germany are the biggest markets in Europe with Poland also having a sizable market share.

Barnaby Page, ECigIntelligence editorial director, added: “These figures show that e-cigarettes are here to stay – the question now is who will dominate one of the fastest-growing FMCG markets in Europe.” EcigIntelligence expects the e-cigarette market to be transformed by the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive – a new set of regulations that govern the tobacco industry set to be in full force by 2016 – “but not destroy it”. Read more here.

First e-cig coffee shop opens in London

promo_vape-lab[1]In a sign of the growing popularity of e-cigs. The first e-cig coffee shop has opened in London, England. The UK market is somewhat small compared to the U.S. market, but a small shop offering both e-cigs and coffee shows there may be a growing need for e-cig businesses in the U.K. Vape Lab is located in a neighborhood called Shoreditch in London.

“Here in London, it’s a young market: you see people here with disposable cigarettes and they will switch to electronic cigarettes,” co- owner Jonathan Cadeilhan told The Guardian.  “In five years’ time, there will be no more tobacco.” Read more here.

NY state ban on e-liquid

image[1]State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) has been hard at work trying to ban e-liquid in New York. Is this another case of big tobacco and big pharma trying to ruin the ecig market or a greedy government positioning themselves for big tax dollars?

Hannon, like many politicians and activists are playing the “for the kids” card which many of us know when that card is played it simply means “we have no idea what we’re talking about to lets bring the kids into this.” Yes it’s all for the kids and not to fatten up some wallets? Read more here.

Vapebash announces special guest speakers

EcigaretteConsumer[1]Greg Conley: E-Cigarette Politics, Regulation, and Advocacy will be speaking at 7pm Friday and 4pm Saturday.

1522043_10202953180010809_167479895_nThe Vaping Militia will be speaking 6pm Friday and 3pm Saturday.

3rd Annual VapeBash, brought to you by The Windy City Vapers Club will be held at The Westin O’Hare 6100 North River Road Rosemont, IL 60018 on April 11th and 12th of 2014. Admission is free.

Event schedule: Friday 12pm to 2am, Saturday 2pm to 2am.

Visit vapebash.com for more info.

New Product: Gentile Packaging Machinery Bellows Filler


The Gentile Packaging Machinery Bellows Filler is an easy to use tabletop filler that uses a bellows metering pump for product fills up to 55ml. The fill volume is easily adjusted by hand and is accurate to +/- 0.5%. The GPM Bellows Filler comes with an adjustable bracket to accommodate various bottle sizes and styles. This filler is very easy to set up, clean, and change over to other products. No special tools are required. Product cycle is initiated by pressing a foot pedal. Can fill 600 bottles per hour. Go to www.gentilemachinery.com or call 734-429-1177 for more information.

Updates from the Center for Tobacco Products

Registration to present at CTP’s upcoming public listening session on April 5 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. PST has been extended to March 27. CTP’s Office of Science is holding the session in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego. Although presentations on any topic relevant to science-based regulation of tobacco products are welcome, we are particularly interested in hearing from the public on Center priorities, including:

  • Preventing youth tobacco initiation;
  • Encouraging adults who use tobacco to quit;
  • Reducing product harms and addictiveness; and
  • Developing a science base and continuing meaningful product regulation to reduce the toll of tobacco-related disease, disability, and death.

While this is a public listening session, you must register to present by March 27. We will contact those whose presentations are selected, and provide details on submitting any slides as well as the length of time available for the presentations. Please note that this listening session will not be webcast, but a transcript will be available and posted online in May 2014.

NATO Show 2014 Booth Spaces Sold Out

image1Minneapolis, MN: NATO announced that booth space is officially sold out for the 13th Anniversary and Trade Show held in Las Vegas, NV, on April 8 – 10, promising this year’s attendees a diverse offering of products and a valuable buying experience.  At only two weeks until NATO Show 2014, the show floor is booked and includes 30+ new exhibitors this year.

In addition to exclusive buying opportunities for attendees, NATO Show 2014 is offering four cash prize drawings on the show floor totaling $5,500. Two prizes of $1,000 each on opening day of the trade show, April 9th, as well as one $1,000 prize and one $2,500 prize awarded on day two of the trade show, April 10th. Attendees must be present at time of drawing to win.

NATO’s 13th Anniversary and Trade Show is the premier tobacco-industry show for retailers, manufacturers and distributors. In addition to the trade show, the meeting features a host of outstanding educational sessions focusing on everything for tobacco retailers to thrive in a difficult sales and regulatory environment. Proceeds from the show go to support NATO’s legislative efforts to help the industry.

Due to its success in 2013, NATO’s 13th Anniversary and Trade Show held in Las Vegas, NV, NATO will again kick off the show with a Meetings with a Mission (MWM) event, a community engagement initiative for exhibitors and attendees to serve at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission on April 8. The Community Partner for the NATO MWM event, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, provides redemption, recovery, and re-entry to the homeless, addicted and those in need through direct services of food, shelter, clothing and restorative programs.

To view the entire schedule of events including sessions on Tobacco Trends and Insights, Surviving ObamaCare and Electronic Cigarettes, visit www.NATOShow.com.

For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter @ShowNATO.

Beverly Hills Moratorium, Idaho Shop Conflict, eCig Europe Conference

Beverly Hills City Council Considers Moratorium on All E-Cig Sales

The Beverly Hills, Calif., City Council this week considered two emergency ordinances to apply the city’s smoking restriction law to electronic cigarettes and to enact an moratorium on the sale of electronic cigarettes by all retailers, even those retailers that currently sell electronic cigarettes.

The National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc, (NATO) responded by submitting a letter to the Beverly Hills City Council members describing the negative economic impact of a moratorium on retailers and arguing that banning the sale of e-cigarettes will have a serious negative impact on the public’s health.

During the Beverly Hills City Council meeting approximately 25 people testified in opposition to the ordinance. The council members took no action on either the smoking restriction ordinance or the moratorium ordinance and referred both proposals to the city council’s Health and Safety Committee for further review. The Health and Safety Committee may meet next on November 25.

New vaping shops spark conflict over e-cigs

With the increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes, some Idaho cities have taken steps to head off what some vaping critics see as a potential health threat.

While some municipalities have yet to address the use of the devices on city property, others prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in its buildings. Some have banned the use in parks and other cities prohibit employees from using tobacco or nicotine, including e-cigarettes, during work hours.

But opponents of e-cigarettes worry about nicotine’s impact on users’ health. At this point, the health effects of e-cigarettes are hard to pinpoint because there’s not much research available on the subject, Idaho Tobacco Project Manager Terry Pappin said.

“Nicotine by itself has some negative impacts, and the big question that remains is to get some independently funded research out there,” she said, noting that all of the research she’s found on e-cigarettes is funded by e-cigarette companies.

Vaping shop owners in Idaho are not required to obtain a tobacco permit, Pappin said. Last month, 40 attorneys general, including Idaho’s, sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging them to regulate e-cigarettes like it does other tobacco products.

Europe’s only e-cigarette industry event to include speakers from E-Lites, UK eCig Store and ECITA

Leading e-cigarette brands and retailers are due to speak at the first ever eCig Europe: Industry Conference, two-day event dedicated to helping e-cigarette brands and retailers improve their business modelling in the fast-growing, global e-cigarette market, worth an estimated £2bn. www.ecigeurope.com/news

The conference, hosted by Technology IQ – a division of global events company IQPC – will be a unique opportunity for e-cigarette vendors and suppliers to discuss key issues for the industry including regulation, developing business intelligence and optimising profitability, and as well as supply chain management.

“The next 12 months will be pivotal for the e-cigarette industry, and this will be the place to find out how your business can thrive in the face of changing regulation and ever-more competitive landscape. Our expert speaker line up will offer their candid views on all the big issues affecting you now and in the future”. - Kate Love, Head of Production, eCig Europe

Speakers at this industry forum will include:

  • Clive Bates, the Counterfactual
  • Adrian Marshall, ex-chairman, NicoVentures
  • Michael Ryan, Chairman, E-Lites
  • Zair Al-Beyerty, CEO, TripleHalo
  • Nick Roman, Commercial Manager, Vapelux Ltd
  • Michael Clapper, Chairman, Vapestick Group
  • Atif Tanvir, Director, UK ECig Store
  • Jide Yao, CEO, Hangsen
  • Chris Dunhill, CEO, GDC
  • Katherine Devin, Operations Director, ECITA

eCig Europe will take place on December 4-5, 2013 in London, UK. Find the full program, speaker list and registration form at www.ecigeurope.com/news, call +44 (0)20 7036 1300 or email enquire@iqpc.co.uk.

Shutdown Delays Regulation, UK Bans TV ads, Vaper to run Marathon


Seal Beach, Calif., recently passed a 45-day moratorium halting any new e-cigarette and smoke shops from opening in the small beach community.

With fresh memories of how rapidly marijuana dispensaries multiplied and generated controversy, many cities want to slow the spread of electronic cigarette stores until they can figure out the ramifications.

For Jim Basham, Seal Beach's director of community development, the distinguishing line between pot dispensaries and vaping outlets is a bit blurry. He's seen e-cigarette stores evolve into hemp shops — and draw with them a ragtag crowd.

"You have other folks with different intentions," Basham said, "and you can have secondary adverse effects, like crime."

In August, Temple City passed a zoning ordinance that keeps all smoke shops, including those that sell only e-cigarettes, at least 1,000 feet from parks and schools. About a month earlier, Duarte passed an urgency ordinance that temporarily halted any new shops from opening there. And the city of Pico Rivera passed an ordinance that treats the vapor devices like traditional cigarettes.

Government Shutdown Could Delay E-Cig TV Ban Expected in October

The government shutdown could delay a Food and Drug Administration ruling that is expected to curb TV advertisements of e-cigarettes.

The FDA had announced its plan to issue a decision in October on whether and how to regulate the booming e-cig industry. And an FDA spokesman said staff at the agency's Center for Tobacco Products remain at their posts because it is funded by tobacco industry fees and not subject to annual budget appropriations. But the shutdown has furloughed 45% of the agency's employees, including some working on tobacco issues in the office of FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the spokesman said.

A virtual seminar on tobacco regulation has already been postponed until funding is restored, according to the FDA website.

Several people involved with the tobacco industry now believe an October decision on e-cig regulation is unlikely.

The FDA also has a history of kicking the can on e-cigs. It has delayed regulatory action on e-cigarettes since October 2011, when it first planned to weigh in.

The e-cigarette market, which is expected to reach $1.7 billion in sales this year, is currently unregulated, allowing for Big Tobacco's historic return to the airwaves after more than 40 years as well as renewed spending on print ads. The nation's top three tobacco companies -- Altria, Reynolds American and Lorillard -- have rolled out TV commercials promoting their respective products in the category. Other e-cig makers, including NJoy and Fin, have also run TV commercials.

But an FDA ban on TV advertising is considered a "no brainer," according to a report last month from CLSA. That would curb an emerging source of revenue for TV networks, where spending on e-cigarette commercials rose 17.9% to 2012 from 2011, according to a Citibank report.

Anti-smoking groups aren't eager for any further delay. "Everyone is frustrated," said Danny McGoldrick, VP-research at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. "The FDA said more than three years ago that they would take over regulating all tobacco products."

UK bans first e-cigarette commercials after complaints

The U.K.'s first three e-cigarette commercials have been banned from U.K. television following viewer complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The spots for E-Lites, SKYCIG and Ten Motives – the only commercials for e-cigarettes to have aired on U.K. television – were banned for failing to clearly identify the product being advertised. The E-Lites ad was also banned for being appealing to children.

A spokesman for the ASA, the U.K.'s independent industry regulatory body, said, "These rulings set an important precedent. It's a useful benchmark for the sector: useful for consumers to know that we are responding to their concerns, and useful for practitioners in the sector to see how the rules are applied."

In their efforts to comply with the ad codes, the marketers were guilty of lack of clarity. All three spots are pretty obscure because they try so hard not to promote smoking that they neglect to mention what the product does. While they were condemned for being misleading, the ads were cleared by the ASA of being "irresponsible and harmful."

The ASA spokesman denied the codes are confusing. He said, "The codes are clear, they show what you can and can't do, but these are the first cases and there are some initial teething problems." The ASA deliberately grouped the three rulings together in the same week to avoid singling out one particular e-cigarette marketer.

The codes relating to e-cigarettes state that they cannot be advertised to children, refer to smoking, or have a name or design that an audience might associate with a tobacco product. And marketers can't claim that they are healthier than smoking regular cigarettes.

Vaper to run New York City Marathon while vaping

Experienced marathoner, RunnerX (the runner’s name will be released after the event), will be highlighting the benefits of electronic cigarettes as harm reduction products by running the 26.2 mile ING New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013…while vaping through all five Boroughs of the race.

Less than eight months after starting vaping, RunnerX is ready to show fellow Vapers that e-cigarettes can be part of an active lifestyle. Even though most people will never run a Marathon, RunnerX wants Vapers everywhere to know that replacing tobacco with a personal vaporizer is a great step towards a healthier life.

RunnerX has completed more than two dozen Marathons and Ultra Marathons including four Marathons in four days and a 50 mile Trail Ultra Marathon. RunnerX has a professional degree and co-owns a vape shop on the West Coast of the United States. The endurance runner got into vaping to replace the cigarette habit that started in high school and continued while in the Army.

Representatives will be vaping Banzai Vapors new juice, Let’s Get Fizzykl out of either a ProVari, or a custom mod. Show your support by showing up along the Marathon route on race day for a toot and a picture. This will be a great opportunity for the vaping community to make a strong statement in support of tobacco harm reduction. It will also send a message to New York's Mayor Bloomberg that Vapers are a strong and united group.

MEP Gives No Vote for E-Cigarette Crackdown

The European Parliament’s vote on a raft of measures to help curb smoking stopped short of mandating that e-cigarettes should be regulated as a medical device.

Following this much awaited decision, e-cigarette retailers and users alike are breathing a sigh of relief, while local British lawmakers reassess their strategy.

As Clive Bates of The Counterfactual said, following the announcement – ‘Governments need to pause and consider what happened here, show some humility and think again. Thousands of users mounted a stunning bottom up rebellion against ill-fitting, excessive and restrictive regulation that threatened the products that they found have transformed their health and wellbeing.’

Mike Ryan, Chairman of E-Lites also mentioned to the BBC - ‘it’s a big victory for public health, and it really does allow this challenging industry to project itself forward…bring the fight to the tobacco companies, and offer smokers a true alternative to the products they have been offered for so many years’

Clive and Mike will be speaking further about the future of e-cigarettes at Europe’s only e-cigarette industry event, eCig Europe, taking place in London, December 4-5, 2013.

Find the full program, event details and registration information at www.ecigeurope.com/news2 or email enquire@iqpc.co.uk.  

Nature Vaper opens first brick and mortar store location in Grand Rapids

After two years of dealing with customers online or at events, Nature Vaper will open a brick and mortar location in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

Nature Vaper will be a full-service location, stocking everything from beginner starter kits to accessories and high-end mods.  The store will also offer a wide range of e-liquids, including a new line up of in-house liquids.

In addition to opening the new storefront, the company has added the Grand River Vapors e-liquid line. They have brought George from GRV out of “retirement” as their in-house mixologist.

In addition to bringing back some of GRV’s best flavors, George will use his experience and talented palette to help create brand new flavors and liquid lines for Nature Vaper.