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.

SFATA Reports Democrats Pushing for E-Cig Regulations, Some East Texas School Districts Banning E-Cigs

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1Some East Texas Schools Taking Stance on Electronic Cigarettes

Longview News Journal
Some East Texas school districts are banning electronic cigarettes, while others don’t see a need to change policy regarding the devices. This past school year, Sabine ISD was the first area district to take a stance on e-cigarettes. “Electronic cigarettes are to be enforced as if they were a tobacco product, and they are not allowed on campus at any time,” said Superintendent Stacey Bryce. The policy extends to adults at football games and other extracurricular events on district property.

State Tobacco and E-Cigarette Legislative Overview

With only eight state legislatures still in session this year, a clearer picture of the outcome of tobacco and e-cigarette legislation is emerging. So far this year, very few tobacco and e-cigarette bills have been passed and enacted into law despite the fact that 25 state legislatures considered cigarette and/or tobacco tax-rate increases, 16 states debated bills to assess a tax on e-cigarettes, and 14 states deliberated bills to restrict the use of e-cigarettes/vaping in public places.

Nielsen: Altria ‘Marks’ Up the E-Cig Segment

Just one month into the national rollout of MarkTen, Altria Group Inc. already is establishing itself as a leader of the electronic-cigarette segment. According the latest Nielsen data, MarkTen jumped to the No. 3 c-store seller with a 13.6 percent dollar share and 11.4 percent unit share for the four-weeks ending July 5, 2014, up from a 1.4 percent dollar and 1.5 percent unit share in the prior four-week period. 

Democrats Press for E-Cigarette Regulations

Roll Call
A group of senators has ramped up concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes. CQ Roll Call’s Melissa Attias reports that the Democrats, who previously focused on the children’s health concerns related to e-cigarette flavorings, are now focusing on new legislation that seeks to target the packaging containing the liquid that fuels e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration in April issued proposed rules seeking comments on extending its authority to cover e-cigarettes, but the rule proposal does not address poisonings from liquid nicotine—which are particularly dangerous for children.

Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment Suing NYC Over E-Cig Public Venue Ban

Photo courtesy of Danielle Steingraber

Reason.com reports that Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment is suing New York City over the city’s new ban on e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars and everywhere else regular smoking is banned. This includes outdoor venues such as beaches and parks. Former Mayor Bloomberg passed the smoking ban bill last year, which for now includes e-cigarettes.

According to the story, the group filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court that the ban is illegal. Simply put, the group’s argument states that the ban has nothing to do with New Yorkers being protected from second hand smoke because vaping doesn’t produce smoke. It produces water-based vapor.

Could E-Cigs Be Classified As Flight Hazards?

smolderingEcigThe New York Times is reporting that an e-cigarette may be the smoldering substance found in a bag removed from a jet bound for Buffalo, N.Y. last week at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

According to the newspaper, airport officials are asking the Transportation Department to consider classifying e-cigarettes as hazardous materials.

“It was not clear if the combustion had reached the stage of fire,” The Times reports. “The episode raises the question of whether e-cigarettes that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries should be added to the list of banned items, which already includes matches, flares and most batteries that are ‘spillable.’”

Ed Freni, director of aviation at the Massachusetts Port Authority, was quoted in the Times saying that it was clear that lithium-ion batteries posed a hazard.

“The more you see these type of items sold out there, the more our industry has to take a closer look at them, as we’ve done with other hazardous materials,” he said.

Now the investigation is on, with airport officials and the Federal Aviation Administration taking a closer look. Banned items on airplanes is controlled by the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and they are the ones who will see if in fact an e-cig caused the smolder. The investigation is not yet complete.

For a complete look at this story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/business/e-cigarettes-under-scrutiny-for-listing-as-flight-hazard.html?_r=1.

Get Ready for VapeMania 14!

vapemania-14-80The largest Vape Con in the history of the Southeast is coming to North Carolina Aug. 29 and 30, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.

As of press time, more than 70 vendors have signed on exhibit at the event. Highlights include:

*Live performances of popular vaping broadcasts
*raffles and giveaways
*$500 wrestling costume contest Friday night at 8 p.m. with a large prize
*special guests and vaping personalities (Grimmgreen, Vapor Joe and the TVA show are confirmed)
*live music
*national event coverage with on-site media
*a cloud competition

The official after party will be at Ziggy’s (about blocks down the road) from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. each night. The after party will include live music, the costume contest results and a VapeMania discount at the door.

For more information and updates on this event, join the TVA group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/traidvaping/ or visit www.vapemaniacon.com.

Smoke Smart Announces Grand Opening Celebration


You are cordially invited! Smoke Smart has opened its third store, in Valley Park, Mo., which happens to be the biggest one of the franchise in the Midwest. The grand opening will be Sunday, Aug. 24.

The new space contains 4,400 sq. ft. of lobby and game room space, allowing for plenty of room and seating. Customers can show up, hang out, meet up with friends, or be active participants by playing pool, air hockey or foosball. There also is a 185” big screen for your viewing pleasure.

Nationally recognized special guests from the vaping community will be in attendance at the grand opening, along with giveaways, specials, food and adult beverages.

“We wanted to create a fun environment at our new location for our fellow vapors to enjoy,” Jim Buchanan, owner, said. “There are two Vicious Ant Variants that will be part of a live auction and raffle. All proceeds for the Variants will go to CASSA to help fight for our rights as vapers.”

Visit Smoke Smart’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/smokesmartllc for details and updates.


SFATA’s News Update: Smoking Down in Youth, Proposed E-Cig Workplace Bans, E-Cig’s Hit $2.5 Billion in Nationwide Sales

Fears that electronic cigarettes could become a gateway into smoking for young people have not materialized so far, according to the BBC. The station added that the industry needs to keep monitoring use in young people, making sure advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes doesn’t glamorize their use. The percentage of pupils who said they smoked at least one cigarette a week in 2003 fell by two-thirds, to three percent in 2013. Also, over the past decade, the proportion of young people who said they had tried smoking halved from 42 percent in 2003 to 22 percent in 2013—the lowest level since the survey began in 1982.

E-cigarettes hit $2.5 billion in nationwide sales

The Register-Guard
E-cigarettes recently hit $2.5 billion in nationwide sales. The public health debate rages on, with supporters arguing that the devices are a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes and critics warning that there is insufficient evidence about their health risk and whether e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. Major U.S. tobacco companies continue to make their mark in the e-cigarette market. R.J. Reynolds is going nationwide with its Vuse e-cigarette, and Altria plans to begin selling its own product, the MarkTen, later this year. 

Altria: Time to get going

Seeking Alpha
As tobacco companies offer high dividends, they have stayed the preferred stock of choice among dividend investors. As tougher regulations, higher taxes and increasing acceptance of alternate tobacco products have adversely affected the sales volume of the industry, companies are relying on price hikes to support top-line growth. Altria Group recently reported a satisfactory financial performance for 2Q14, despite the challenges faced in increasing volumes.  

Cigars, hookah more popular than cigarettes among local high school students, survey shows

The Plain Dealer, Angela Townsend
One in five high school students in Cuyahoga County uses tobacco, with flavored cigars and hookah the most popular ways to smoke it, according to new data released by the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve University. Students are smoking at the same rate as adult residents in the county, according to a data brief of the research, which can be found on the center’s web site.

E-cigarette ban from indoor workplaces?

Appleton Post Crescent
The FDA has proposed regulations that would set an age limit for buying them and require them to have a warning label about nicotine addiction. The agency also has done a study that found half of the e-cigarettes tested contained cancer-causing substances. Wisconsin not only has a ban on selling them to minors, enacted in 2012, but the state also has an indoor workplace ban on tobacco cigarettes—and a question about whether it should include e-cigarettes.

NicoBurst Stealth Blasts Onto Vaping Scene


Vaporizer and e-cig lovers will have a device that does double duty by the end of August.

Arco Health Inc. has unveiled NicoBurst® Stealth™, the World’s first and only electronic vaporizer to achieve the size and shape of a regular cigarette.

Through its proprietary “micro” technology, the Stealth offers the consumer a product that feels and looks like a regular cigarette, while at the same time delivering a smoking experience without the flame, ash or any second hand smoke. The Stealth is rechargeable, easy to use and because of its size, allows consumers to vape virtually anywhere, anytime.

Arco Health believes the Stealth will become a game changer in the e-cigarette and vapor industry, as it has the capability of vaping other oils besides e-juice.

The NicoBurst Stealth is sold in a starter kit, which includes two mini clearomizers, one rechargeable battery, one USB charger and one small carrying case, which stores everything conveniently offered in the kit. MSRP for the starter kit is $29.95 with replacement mini clearomizers retailing at $5.95.

The company expects to have NicoBurst Stealth available in stores and vapor shops nationwide by the end of August.

NicVape Launches E-Liquid Line Designed to Improve Taste


NicVape announces the launch of E-Flavor, a new line of flavorings developed specifically for the electronic cigarette industry. The brand’s initial batch features 24 flavors designed to improve users’ taste experiences. NicVape claims to be the first manufacturer to engineer its own e-liquid flavoring product line, with sustainable, safe production methods.

Headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., NicVape opened its 28,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with a 5,000-square-foot clean room in 2010. The company performs both internal quality assurance checks and third party testing through Enthalpy Analytical Inc. on each ingredient. The Durham, N.C.-based laboratory specializes in analysis of air and tobacco products. Test data led NicVape to take the first steps toward designing its own flavorings in October 2013.

“Test results showed us that flavorings designed for use in food products either didn’t meet our quality standards, or contained some components we were concerned about,” Linc Williams, executive vice-president for NicVape, said. “We were especially interested in looking at alternatives that could eliminate Diacetyl, a chemical that is used to give food a buttery flavor, and Acetyl Propionyl, commonly found in dairy and custard–flavored products.”

NicVape’s team of engineers worked closely with top flavorists and manufacturing flavoring experts to develop the recipe it uses for its E-Flavor line.

“Our first offering is a mix of unique tobacco flavors as well as fruit flavors,” Williams said. “They are also more concentrated. We’re able to produce them at a 10 percent dilution rate instead of the industry’s standard 20 percent dilution rate.”

Certificates of Analysis for each lot will be available for review through NicTrace, (http://www.nicvape.com/Nictrace ) the company’s online documentation system. NicVape is making E-Flavor available to distributors and other e-juice manufacturers and expects to release additional flavors under its brand over the next few quarters.

For more information, visit www.nicvape.com.


Turkish Tobacco


Carolina Tobacco

Fine Cuban


Sweet Tobacco

Dark Raz

Subtle Cinnamon

Gourmet Cinnamon



Real Watermelon


Crème De Menthe

Green Apple

French Vanilla


Red Apple

Ripe Strawberry


Root Beer






‘Smokio’ Partners with AATAC, Commits to U.S. Distribution

Photo by Vaperanks.com

Smokio, the world’s first connected electronic cigarette that synchronizes automatically with users’ smartphones, recently announced a partnership with Asian American Trade Association Council (AATAC), an organization designed to build partnerships between convenience stores and manufacturers.

This partnership is representative of Smokio’s commitment to distribution in the United States.


National Institutes of Health Seeks E-Cig Research Proposals


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking proposals to develop a standardized electronic cigarette to be used in clinical research. As part of the NIH, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is leading this research effort because electronic cigarette use is rapidly increasing and the devices may have a potential role for harm reduction and smoking cessation.

The currently available research data on electronic cigarettes are insufficient to fully understand their impact on public health. Research is hampered by the limited information available on the nicotine delivery characteristics of devices, as well as uncertainty that any specific electronic cigarette will be available for the full term of a multi-year study. Furthermore, available devices cannot be used in many clinical studies because they lack the required product data and manufacturing documentation that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires to issue an Investigational New Drug approval.

To address these issues, NIDA is seeking proposals to develop a standardized device with the appropriate product data and manufacturing documentation needed for clinical research. This request for proposals may be most relevant (but not limited) to electronic cigarette manufacturers, provided they are eligible to apply for Small Business Administration sponsored programs.

The solicitation notice can be found here:
The deadline for receipt of proposals is Sept. 30, 2015.