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.

Vaping Jargon Moves Industry Forward

vapingjargonFrom e-liquids to a resounding “no” when using the term smoking, vaping jargon can sometimes be a mixed bag of alphabet soup. While the jargon essentially isn’t coming from one place or region, terms are finding their way around the industry much like the industry itself.

An article in TheSandPaper.net takes a closer look at vaping jargon (we all can agree on not ever saying the “s” word) along with trying to define exactly what vaping is—a lifestyle, smoking cessation product or a hobby? The jury is still out regarding safety of the product and the e-liquids that go within the device, citing more research and regulations ahead before making a final decision.

The range of devices and e-liquid choices are infinite, allowing for new innovations and flavors to come almost before the industry has had a chance to keep up within itself.

To read the full story, visit http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/vaping-offers-smokers-a-tool-to-quit-a-hobby-to-enjoy/1234367.

ECRM Announces 2015 Vegas Event

ecrm_logo-12014 sold out, so Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) is coming back to Las Vegas in February with a bigger and better event. DrugStoreNews.com reports that the second annual E-Cigarettes, Vapor and E-Cigars show will focus on electronic cigarettes, vapor, e-cigars and accessories categories.

Held at the Palms Casino Resort Feb. 10-12, this show will be a great way to market and make connections in the industry.

For the full story, click here.

VaporSearch USA Secures VCCTN Booth Spot

VaporSearchUSA-2-220x170There’s a ton of exciting news on the horizon for VaporSearch USA, so the company will be at VCCTN to tell the masses all about it.

Held in Chattanooga, Tenn., VCCTN is coming up in just a few short weeks. VaporSearch will be at Booth 110 talking about the new mobile site; iTunes and Android app launch; and the special VAPE News directory available in November 2014.

New Orleans Universities Take Closer Look at Vaping Bans

UNO_University_Center_FrontNola.com reports that while many local colleges and universities in New Orleans have banned smoking on campus, the University of New Orleans still allows e-cigs on campus.

While 1,372 campuses in the area prohibit smoking, only 176 have banned vaping. Members of the UNO Student Government are against banning e-cigs on campus, however their argument may fall on deaf ears in the future if the university goes with many colleges in the nation.

For the full story, visit http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2014/09/uno_makes_case_for_e-cigarette.html.

CVS Stops Selling Cigarettes, No Plans to Sell E-Cigs

CVS-pharmacyCVS has stopped selling all tobacco products in its stores, and this has e-cig supporters asking questions once again, according to ABCNews.com. The article quotes CVS Health Spokesperson Mike DeAngelis as saying: “CVS stores have never sold e-cigarettes and has no plans to sell them in the future.

Groups like CASAA and The American Vaping Association are in agreement that since CVS’ rebrand, the company should offer better-for-you alternatives to smoking. Since the FDA hasn’t made an official ruling, CVS is sticking to its policy. It does however, offer smoking cessation products in its stores such as nicotine patches, gums and inhalers.

For the full story, visit http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cigarette-makers-fuming-cvs-tobacco-ban/story?id=25229979.

Virgin Vapor to Exhibit at VCCTN 2014

Virgin_Vapor_logo6AAA-500x500Tennessee Valley welcomes VCCTN 2014 to the Chattanooga Convention Center, and Virgin Vapor will be at Booths 203 and 205.

The event will be held Oct. 4-5 from noon to 7 p.m.

Try new vape gear and e-liquids in 40,000 sq. ft. of vaping heaven! General public attendance is free (must be 18 years or older to enter). Tons of giveaways, drawings and a special, live DJ charity event is happening Saturday, Oct. 4, at 10 p.m.

To contact Virgin Vapor, e-mail wholesale@virginvapor.com.

Presented by the Vaping Convention Circuit.
Join the event at the VCCTN Facebook page.

Blu UK’s New Digital Campaign Targets Younger Crowd

BLUAlmost everyone wants to seem young and fun, but in the case of vaping, should that be a marketing strategy? Blu UK thinks so, and has centered its recent social media campaign around targeting the younger vaping generation.

After Lorillard acquired Skycig and rebranded it to Blu in May, new marketing obviously was needed to boost the brand. According to MarketingMagazine.com.uk, £20 was the budget.

Naturally, thousands of followers flocked to Facebook and Twitter, but what’s the real cost? Launch parties, partnering with Lady Gaga and tickets to O2 academy were up for grabs, all targeting the younger demographic.

For the full marketing campaign, visit http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1310462/e-cigarette-brand-blus-new-digital-plan-gone-smoke.

HealthDay Reports Second-Hand Vapor Not as Hazardous

-1Even though e-cigarettes still aren’t totally done being vilified by any means, researchers at the University of Southern California have found that second-hand vapor is less hazardous than that of cigarette smoke.

Of course there are caveats to the research, however the researchers have concluded that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative in general. Care2.com also reported on the research, and that publication says that the study found that “people subjected to the secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes are exposed to only 10 percent of the gross chemicals found in normal cigarettes.

This study echoes thousands of others, according to Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Assocation. He says that e-cigarettes are at least 98 to 99 percent safer than regular cigarettes.

For the full story, visit http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/09/03/e-cigarette-vapor-may-be-less-toxic-than-tobacco-smoke-study.

Poison Center Calls Regarding E-Cigs On the Rise

Infographic courtesy of the CDCWHBL.com, based out of Wisconsin, reports that the Centers for Disease Control claims the number of e-cigarette related calls to poison centers are on the rise. Specifically, those containing nicotine-infused liquids rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. In short, that’s more than 51 percent of the poison center calls.

The CDC says that the demographic of calls varies, but more than half of them involved children under the age of 5.

“The CDC also says the number of young Americans who have tried electronic cigarettes but never used conventional tobacco tripled in 2013 from 2011,” the story reports. This now totals more than 250,000 people.

To read the full story, visit http://whbl.com/news/articles/2014/aug/28/health-groups-applaud-recent-challenges-to-e-cigarette-safety-claims/.

Vape Shop Owner Agrees with City Ban

EGP photo by Nancy Martinez

Vape Unit Owner Andy Han

While one would think most vaping shop owners would be against banning of e-cigarettes of any kind, Andy Han, owner of the Vape Unit in Monterey Park, Cali. agrees with the city’s recent ban, according to egpnews.com. However, he has his reasons.

Han is quoted in the story as saying “You shouldn’t vape where you’re not allowed to smoke.” However, he also said that “he disagrees with perceptions that electronic cigarettes contain the same health risks as traditional cigarettes.”

While Han says that he wants to promote vaping as an alternative to smoking, he does believe that vaping is a lifestyle, not a trend. Ultimately, Han wants to change where vaping takes place, change the vaping perception and make it a more “classy” alternative.

For the full story, visit http://egpnews.com/2014/08/monterey-park-adds-e-cigarettes-to-smoking-ban/.