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.

Military Bases, Ships Face Potential Tobacco Sales Ban

 

Photo by the Associated Press

Photo by the Associated Press

Politico.com reports that military bases and ships may face a potential ban on selling tobacco products onsite. For now this includes cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, however since many nationwide smoking bans include vaping, the potential sales halt could include e-cigs and subsequent products.

Congress and the Defense Department are the government sectors seeking the ban, citing an effort to curb smoking. However, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) is a Marine reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Politico.com story says that he has inserted an amendment in the House-passed defense authorization bill that would block the department from banning tobacco sales at exchange stores. Hunter argues that “we are fighting for your freedom, and you’re taking away ours.”

The review is expected to take place in November.

For the full story, visit http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/military-smoking-congress-111671.html#ixzz3FYfqxdH7.

NJOY Releases Artists Collection

NJOYACNJOY has a new line of e-liquids catering to the refined side of vaping. The Artist Collection is a self-described “sophisticated suite of masterful taste sensations, pushing the limits of experiential flavor indulgence.”

The Artist Collection is a curated collection of flavors from different e-liquid manufacturers in the country. They are:

Daniel – FlavorZ Academy
Anne-Claire – Vaponaute
Randy – P.O.E.T.
Jeremy – Goodlife Vapor
George – Mr. Goodvape

For information about how to carry the collection or find an NJOY Artist Collection liquid near you, visit NJOYAC.com.

Electronic Cigarettes International Group Readies IPO

ECIG_logo_horizontal_(1)Calling all stock market watchers, SeekingAlpha.com reports that Electronic Cigarettes International Group, Ltd. is set for its IPO of 33.3M shares of common stock at a prospective price, which is $4.50 per share.

The website states that “the firm is selling 28,443,133 shares and selling shareholders are offering 4,890,200. NASDAQ listing terms will be set at $150 million, according to NASDAQ.com.

The Nunica, Mich.-based company markets and distributes electronic cigarettes and accessories through more than 50,000 outlets worldwide. The company currently trades on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol ECIG.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/need-a-light-electronic-cigarette-international-sets-terms-for-150-million-nasdaq-listing-cm399797#ixzz3HZDhtKGc

For a closer look at the financials, visit http://seekingalpha.com/news/2027905-e-cig-firm-on-deck-for-ipo.

Eventige Media Group Offers Marketing, Ad Services

EventigeMediaGroupEventige Media Group has contacted the Agent, and they are offering strategic consulting and industry insights to vaping business owners.

Eventige works exclusively with e-cigarette and vapor clients to determine the most cost effective path to elevated sales and sustainable profits. In addition, they take a look at the competition and see what you can be doing better. The company will build a custom solutions plan tailored to your marketing and media needs.

For more information, contact info@eventige.com.

Louisville City Council Votes Unanimously Against E-Cig Ban

Photo by wfpl.com.

Photo by wfpl.com.

In a move that isn’t following suit with the rest of the state of Kentucky, Louisville’s City Council voted earlier this month to not ban e-cigarettes, according to wfpl.com. The vote was a unanimous 8-0. Louisville has a smoking ban set in place since 2003, and one councilwoman said that grouping e-cigs in with the ban was not “on the to-do list.”

The site quoted the councilwoman as saying that there isn’t enough evidence that e-cigarettes put nonsmokers at the same risk of secondhand smoke exposure as cigarettes. Until there is refutable research that leans in the other direction, it looks like the council is staying firm on its decision.

To read the full story, visit http://wfpl.org/post/e-cigarette-bans-gain-steam-across-state-no-such-plans-louisville.

HookahFair Meets VaporFair in Frankfurt

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 11.37.11 AMJust announced: The International VaporFair 2015 will be held May 2-3 at the Trade Fair Center in Frankfurt, Germany. The self-procliamed No. 1 international trade show specializes in hookah and vapor/e-cig products. The show provides a unique opportunity for industry specialists, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors etc. to showcase new products, innovations, establish business contacts and broaden market share.

Show organizers said in a press release that the increase of exhibitors for 2014′s event climbed to almost 400 percent, and visitors increased 170 percent. For May’s show, they expect about 160 to 200 exhibitors and more than 9,000 visitors.

To register or attend, visit www.shishamesse.de, www.hookahfair.com or www.vaporfair.eu.

Parents Concerned Over Online Underage E-Cig, Liquid Sales

Photo courtesy of WNYT.com.

Photo courtesy of WNYT.com.

New York State parents have spoken out to WNYT.com, and they aren’t happy. While state law says that brick and mortar stores can’t sell e-cigarette products to underage children (18 and under), this isn’t stopping teens from finding their way to vaping.

Parents quoted in the article said that their children are buying online or getting products from underage friends, and with no national regulation as of yet, it’s an increasing concern. While there is age verification on sites, that doesn’t stop a teenager from lying and clicking the “yes” box, stating that he or she is over the age of 18.

For the full story, visit http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S3580995.shtml?cat=256.

Behavioral Cigarette and Tobacco Substitution Study Seeks Donations

Photo courtesy of whichecigarette.com.

Photo courtesy of whichecigarette.com.

Dr. Michael Siegel, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health has launched BSCiTS, or The Behavioral Study of Cigarette and Tobacco Stimulation, according to SFATA’s October newsletter. The new study is in response to the FDA’s deeming regulations that will require all e-cigarette products to demonstrate their public health benefits.

In order to meet this requirement, further research is required. SFATA reports that the aim of the research is “to study the effect of e-cigarettes on smoking behavior, using the nicotine patch as a comparison.”

In order to complete the study in the way Siegel intends, upwards of $4.5 million is needed. The study design and sample size will depend on the total amount of donations received, and could range from a complex behavioral study to a simpler survey study, depending on the amount of funds raised.

Siegel’s ideal study design would be a randomized controlled behavioral trial involving 800 participants given either the e-cigarette or the nicotine patch for 10 weeks with follow-up for six months. If funds are not met, the study will be altered and conducted with funds received.

To donate, contact Dr. Siegel.

VapeBlast 2.0 Video Hits Airwaves

San Antonio’s first big vaping convention came to town recently, and VAPE’s own Chris Bolton was on hand to cover every cloud comp, big name and goings on in the Alamo City.

Bolton took a stroll through the show floor, interviewing multiple vendors and attendees, highlighting what was brand new at the show for this year. Accessory innovations and new e-liquid flavors abounded at Vape Blast 2.0, as well as multiple advocacy groups sharing their visi

At the end, vape love seemed to be the theme, and Bolton had a “hell of a time,” as well as Phil Busardo, who as usual fit right in with the scene, admitting that he purchased a cowboy hat and rode a mechanical bull.

To view Bolton’s video, visit .

Child-Resistant Liquid Nicotine Bottle Legislation Passes

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1SFATA reports in its latest newsletter that last month the Senate Commerce Committee, approved legislation to require child-resistant packaging for any liquid nicotine sold to consumers. The committee voted unanimously on the change, introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

“S. 2581, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2014, requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue regulations to require child safety packaging for liquid nicotine containers,” SFATA’s report read.

Senator Nelson, as well as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and John Thune (R-SD) all spoke in support of the bill.

In addition, the newsletter says that Chairman Rockefeller also committed to marking up a bill by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), S. 2047, the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act, which aims to address marketing practices in the vapor industry before the end of the Congress.