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.

Vaper Expo UK Chooses NEC, Announces Diamond Sponsors

Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has been chosen as the host of a brand new show—The Vaper Expo—dedicated to the fast growing e-cigarettes and vaping industry. The public exhibition will take place in the NEC’s Pavillion July 11 and 12.

The show will bring together members of the vaping community, including vendors and consumers, to showcase the most sought after products in the industry. It will benefit from the NEC’s unrivalled connectivity by road and rail and its location within a three hour drive time of 75 percent of the U.K. population to reach a national audience.

Lee Skelding, show director, said in a statement: “We believe we have secured the best possible and most suitable venue here in the UK to host our own much needed trade and public vaping exhibition. The NEC is one of the U.K.’s biggest exhibition venues and offers the space and amenities needed to bring together industry retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. We have some fantastic exhibitors lined up for the show, including; our official sponsor, Cutwood; our platinum sponsor, Diamond Mist; and the U.K.’s biggest vendor, Totally Wicked.”

David Gallagher, the NEC’s new business development manager – exhibitions, said in a statement: “At the NEC, we aim to give our visitors the opportunity to learn about new industries and we are always looking for new markets to explore. The Vaper Expo UK is one of the first of its kind in the U.K. and caters for a relatively new market so it’s a perfect fit for the NEC.”

For an exclusive look at the Vaper Expo UK, make sure to pick up VAPE Magazine’s Europe issue, out in late March.

New Surgeon General Desperate for E-Cig Clarity

mainLogo_480X91The United States appointed a new surgeon general in December, and Dr. Vivek Murthy says that public health officials are “in desperate need of clarity on electronic cigarettes to help guide policies,” according to a story on SFExaminer.com.
This statement and the subsequent surgeon general’s worry came in Richmond as part of a cross-country “listening tour.” Murthy says that there are too many unknowns with e-cigs. Are they a gateway to smoking? Should the rapid growth of e-cigs be of a concern? What contents are exactly in an e-cigarette?
The Examiner reports that scientists haven’t finished “much research on e-cigarettes,” and studies that have been finished are “inconclusive.”

Maryland County’s Ban Efforts Receive Mixed Reviews

gzlogo2012Bill discussions late last month in Montgomery County, Maryland to treat e-cigarettes like analogs is up for debate. The new bill, proposed by Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At Large), also prevents the sale of vaping products to minors, according to a story on Gazette.net.

The public isn’t exactly on the vaping ban bandwagon, in a county that prohbits smoking in various public places. “Opponents of the bill included people who have used the products to stop smoking tobacco,” the Gazette story read. Opponents fear that banning vaping will hurt public health, since vaping is a healther alternative to cigarettes.

Those for the ban say that vapor is not pure, and is a public health nuisance, and that there is too much unknown. They do not want to wait for the FDA to make regulations, they want to self regulate at the county level.

For more on this story, visit http://www.gazette.net/article/20150127/NEWS/150129421/1124/public-reaction-to-limits-on-e-cigarettes-in-public-mixed&template=gazette.


FAA Says Don’t Check E-Cigs, Carry On

Vapes-on-a-PlaneEven though you can’t puff on a plane, the Federal Aviation Administration wants you to be able to carry your e-cig on instead of checking, according to a recent story in the Washington Post. In fact, they want it to be a requirement.

E-cigarettes in checked bags seem to be more hazardous, according to the FAA, after two incidents where e-cigs caused checked bags to catch fire. One was at Boston’s Logan Airport and the other at Los Angeles International Airport. The Boston incident caused the aircraft to be evacuated, the other happened in a luggage area in a bag that missed its flight.

The Post reports that U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) took the first step by asking the U.S. Department of Transportation whether e-cigarettes should be allowed on airplanes at all. He and other senators also had urged the USDOT to ban e-cigarette use on board airliners.

While this isn’t a hard and fast rule yet, the FAA wants airlines to publicize the potential problem on web sites and at airport check-in counters.

For the full story, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2015/01/26/the-faa-wants-you-to-carry-on-your-e-cigs/.


Saskatchewan Adds Itself to Booming E-Cig Industry

map-saskatchewanOur friends to the north love vaping, and comes as no surprise that they are dealing with the same regulation and public health battle that we are stateside.

Adam Churchman, owner of Vapourdawg in Saskatoon, told GlobalNews.ca that business is booming and that many Canadians are trying to kick the smoking habit. He also said that vaping is “the new trend.”

The Lung Association of Saskatchewan does not recommend vaping to quit smoking mainly due to the fact that they aren’t regulated and that their hasn’t been enough research to see what exactly is “in them.” A nurse speaking for the organization said that she can’t recommend them to patients until both long-term and short-term effects are known.

Other areas of Saskatchewan agree, starting to self-regulate with anti-vaping bylaws similar to those in various cities and counties in the states. Vaping is treated like smoking in these areas, and prohibited as such.

For the full story, visit http://globalnews.ca/news/1794464/advocacy-groups-take-notice-of-e-cigarettes/.

Vapor Hub International Launches Social Media Campaign

vaporHubLogo_mediumVapor Hub International Inc. announces the launch of a worldwide social media marketing campaign to increase both its retail and wholesale sales.

“The e-cig, vapor industry is driven by a younger demographic of retail customers, vapor store employees and owners who are constantly on social media. We get both exposure and new customers from our social media marketing,” VHUB’s president said in a statement.

“We will continue to use and increase our social media efforts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as it is a proven way for VHUB to increase revenues,” Jake Perlingos, president and chief technology officer, said.

For more information, visit www.vapor-hub.com.

E-Cig Global Interviews Altria Group Director of Public Affairs

newlogoWith the FDA still locked in reviewing the thousands of comments given in response to proposed regulations, state policymakers are rushing to fill the regulatory void, with often strict and potentially damaging laws.

What can the industry do in the face of these rapid changes, and should it be viewed as a threat, or can it be turned into an opportunity?

E-Cig Global spoke with Steve Callahan, director of public affairs of Altria Group, about these challenges and what trends will affect your business in the coming months and years.

Download the interview here: http://bit.ly/1wiJyZC.

Don’t miss your chance to speak with Callahan and hear from Pamela Gorman from NJOY; Michel Zampa, director, Flavour Power; Steve Hong, principal, Roebling Research; and Geoff Habicht, COO, Smoking Vapor; among others as they discuss the state of the e-cig market and give you the strategies to shape the future of e-cigarettes.

For more information download the agenda here: http://bit.ly/1DtCoa0.

Chemist Who Found Formaldehyde Asked to Further Study

Photo by OregonLive.com

Photo by OregonLive.com

OPB.org reports that a Portland State chemistry professor, David Peyton, found formaldehyde in one e-cigarette vapor’s solvent. Since that study, Peyton has been asked by liquid producers to further test their products. The story did not cite which companies have reached out to Peyton.

“Peyton found the carcinogen in vapor drawn at a high temperature from the Halo brand cafe mocha e-cigarette,” the OPB story reads. “Now he wants to see if anything else is contained in the vapor’s nicotine or flavoring.”

Peyton told OPB that we got “distracted” by the formaldehyde, and now it’s time to study vapor even further. The e-cigarette industry, including leading e-cigarette researcher Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, have dismissed the formaldehyde study.

Peyton’s findings are described in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the full story, visit http://www.opb.org/news/article/psu-chemist-says-e-cigarette-producers-want-him-to-test-their-vapor/.

Save the Date for SFATA Event!

SFATA_Capitol-Hill_LOGO1113-A1“Evolution & Revolution: Next Steps for the Vapor Industry” is coming to Chicago May 4 and 5, courtesy of SFATA.

The vapor industry is facing its most crucial year yet. In 2015, vaping will face significant challenges from federal regulations, taxation, legislation, prohibitions and bans.

Join SFATA—the leading and largest vapor trade association—for a two-day event designed to provide attendees with the information and tools needed in 2015 to make the right business and investment decisions for the states where you operate and in advance of the FDA’s final deeming rule.
Some Presentations Include:
  • FDA and Intellectual Property Litigation Options
  • Anticipating FDA’s Final Rule: What to Do Now and After
  • Taxation: Tactics and Strategy for Fighting
  • How The Tobacco War Became the Vapor War
  • Meeting E-Liquid Quality and Standards
This conference is a unique chance to meet vapor industry leaders who will share perspectives and information to help you build institutional knowledge of current policies and regulation.

Who Should Attend:
Vapor storeowners, manufacturers, distributors, investors, wholesalers, legislators, and other industry interested parties.

SFATA Chapter members are invited to attend a chapter networking event on May 5.
Please email info@sfata.org with questions.

Washington State Looking to Raise Smoking Age to 21

Photo by Tobacco21.org

Photo by Tobacco21.org

Since e-cigarettes are being lumped into smoking rules in many states across the nation, it’s important to keep a watch on Washington State. KentReporter.com reports that state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced a bill that would make the state the first to raise the legal age for purchasing and possessing tobaccor and vapor products to 21.

The bill, named Senate Bill 5494 and House Bill 1458 is sponsored by Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way) and Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines).

The story says that the percentage of middle and high school students who have used vapor products has more than doubled in recent years, and 17 percent of high school seniors have tried e-cigs. The story does not say where that data came from.

For the full story, visit http://www.kentreporter.com/news/289359641.html.