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.

FDA rocks vapor industry with sweeping regulations

May 5, 2016

Featured

FDA 2016 E-Cigarette RegulationBy COREY NOLES

The Food and Drug Administration this morning gave the vapor industry a rude awakening when it issued sweeping regulations that deemed vapor products to be tobacco products.

>> read the full FDA regulatory document.

The 499-page document places all vapor products under the jurisdiction of the Tobacco Control Act of 2007. Under the changes, vapor products including e-liquid containing no nicotine, will be held to the same requirements.

Numerous vaping advocacy groups have already denounced the regulations. The American VapingAssociation, in a statement, referred to the regulations as “downright prohibition.”

On Twitter this morning, AVA President Greg Conley noted that the regulations effectively freeze the market to new products 90 days after they are published. Any product moving forward that is not already on shelves, would have to go through theprocess immediately, as opposed to being allowed two years for compliance.

SFATA also weighed in on the discussion earlier this morning

“Our industry has a long history of supporting sensible science-based regulations, including license requirements, as well as banning sales to minors and adopting child-resistant packaging,” according to SFATA President and Executive Director, Cynthia Cabrera. “Today’s final rule pulls the rug out from the nine million smokers who have switched to vaping, putting them in jeopardy of returning back to smoking, which kills 480,000 Americans each year and costs the U.S. more than $300 billion in annual health care expenses.”

The regulations include federally requiring age identification, banning of vending machines, free samples and a laundry list of other items. As we at VAPE Magazine are still investigating the documents, more will come in the near future.

Specific warning label instructions are included in the regulations as well, with active manufacturers having 24 months to come into compliance.

In addition, all products — hardware and e-liquid — will have to go through one of two processes to reach the public. The pre-market tobacco application would have to be completed; otherwise manufacturers will be required to show substantial equivalence to a product on the market prior to February 15, 2007.

SFATA is challenging this date with the idea that virtually no products were on the market at that time.

“Although the FDA states it has found a vapor product on the market in 2006, it has yet to be determined whether the far more technologically advanced vapor products on the market today can be considered substantially equivalent to that product,” Cabrera said in a statement. “These new regulations create an enormously cost-prohibitive regulatory process for manufacturers to market their products to adult smokers and vapers. It also limits access to the 40 million adult smokers in the U.S. yet to make the switch to vaping and cripples a multi-billion dollar job-creating industry, the majority of which are made of small businesses.”

More information, reaction and specific requirements will be posted later today.

Corey Noles is the managing editor of VAPE Magazine. He has worked as a journalist for more than a decade and is the founder, owner of Inked Up E-Liquid Co.

SFATA’s Episode 6 Podcast: Senator Ron Johnson Speaks About FDA Deeming Reg

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 3.14.35 PMSFATA president and executive director, Cynthia Cabrera, spoke with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who recently sent a letter to the FDA’s Commissioner Robert Califf raising concerns about the impact the final deeming regulations will have on the small businesses that make up the majority of the vapor industry.

To listen in, visit http://sfata.org/episode-6-u-s-senator-ron-johnson-speaks-sfata-fda-deeming-reg/.

Public Health Professor Says FDA’s Regulations ‘Ignore’ Smokers’ Harm Reduction Benefits

Kenneth_Warner-thumbStandardIn a recent editorial for the New York Times, Kenneth E. Warner, university professor of public health and former dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, address the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations regarding smokers and harm reduction.

Warner says while the FDA has a right to assert authority over products containing nicotine and/or tobacco, the agency must be careful.

“Novel products such as e-cigarettes hold the potential to help thousands of Americans to quit smoking. Vaping is unquestionably less dangerous than smoking. The trick, then, is how to regulate e-cigarettes and other novel products to maximize their potential to reduce harm while simultaneously discouraging their use by young people who otherwise would never be exposed to nicotine,” he writes.

He says while regulations could keep young smokers away, they don’t address vaping as a harm-reducing, lower-risk product. He suggests the FDA evaluate classes of products and establish better basic standards. He says the current approach is “unbalanced” in ignoring potential harm-reduction benefits and placing too much of an emphasis on a “hypothetical risk to children.”

For the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/05/10/will-regulating-e-cigarettes-mean-fewer-will-quit-smoking/the-fda-rules-ignore-harm-reduction-benefits-for-adult-smokers.

Join the Right to Be Smoke-Free Coalition

r2b-logoThe Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition is a non-profit, industry-led trade association of e-vapor businesses dedicated to promoting the interests of the industry by advocating for reasonable and responsible laws and regulations, and fighting for the right of vapers to be smoke-free.

The Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition works with expert legal counsel and the broader industry to develop comprehensive litigation strategies to challenge unlawful Federal and State Laws and Regulations. To join the fight please contribute to become a member of the Coalition.

The Coalition is positioned to enforce and defend the industry, and it needs your help. Lawsuits of these nature are costly and the Coalition expects vigorous defense against its efforts. If you are an industry advocate, e-liquid producer, device manufacturer, vape shop owner or internet retailer that believes in responsible and appropriate regulations, you can join the Coalition or contribute to the cause.

Click here to become a member or to contribute.

VAPEXPO Amsterdam Announced

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 2.06.28 PMVAPEXPO AMSTERDAM-2016, coming up in July, is an electronic cigarette show where vendors from all around the world will showcase their newest and most popular product lines. Products ranging from vaporizers, tanks and accessories to handcrafted e-liquids and more will be on hand.

 Key topics of the event:

- How to build and optimize vape business

- Marketing and digital tools

- Analysis of the world and regional markets

- Legislation and rights of vape business

- New opportunities for realization of goods in Europe

 The event consists of three parts:

·  Conference

·  Exhibition of devices, e-liquids and accessories.

·  Entertainment program: shows, workshops, exciting surprises from organizers.

VAPEXPO Amsterdam is part of the largest chain of European vape exhibitions, organized by Smile-Expo company. Events take place in Poland, Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dhKY8vk4os
You can find more information about the event program at vapeexpo.nl.

 

 

BBC Horizon Asks ‘E-Cigarettes: Miracle or Menace?’ In Video

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.55.20 AMIn this video by BBC Horizon, Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes. They’re everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal?

Are they really better for you than cigarettes? What is actually in them? Is passive vapor harmful? And can they really stop you from smoking?

Mosley meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up vaping himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health—no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.

 

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