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.

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/.

Vapor Dynasty Expo Storms Phoenix Oct. 24-26

VaporDynasty2014The Phoenix Convention Center is going to be even hotter in late October when the Vapor Dynasty Expo comes to town. Oct. 24-26 will be filled with featured guest speakers, including Michael Guasch of Molecule Labs, Lou Ritter of AEMSA and Joe Barnett of The Vaping Militia. B2B and B2C sessions, a Modder Kombat tournament and a cash grab booth will be on hand for the public. More than 150 exhibitors will fill the expo floor, the first of its kind to come to Phoenix.

Since the expo is so close to Halloween, wear a costume and win a prize! All-day costume party participants will be entered to win juice, mods and more.

For more information, visit http://www.vapordynastyexpo.com/.

Utah Cracks Down on Online E-Cig Marketers, Claims False Advertising

UtahConsumerProtectionThe Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has filed charges against Vapex LLC, Sinless Vapor LLC and OZN Web LLC  for violating the Sales Practices Act.

According to the entity, the companies made false claims and offered free product trials, “which in reality were not free as the online marketers racked up pricey automatic shipments to credit cards without consumers’ knowledge or their consent.” This consisted of 451 claimed violations.

The three companies face fines of more than $1.1 million.

For the full story, http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58343358-79/utah-act-consumer-llc.html.csp.

Can You Name the Next Big Vaping Trend?

Photo by CityLab.comThe vaping industry is moving at lightning speed, and even though there are daily changes, everyone always wants to know what the next trend will be.

Cspnet.com and Tobacco E-News also took a closer look, stating that tanks and liquids were all the rage in 2014. But, what’s the new thing going to be?

Management Science Associates senior vice president Don Burke said during the annual CSP Tobacco Category Review Meeting that noncombustible actual tobacco products will be the “in” thing next year. Vaporizers will be used to heat tobacco, but not make it combust. Naturally, Phillip Morris and other Big Tobacco companies agree.

For the full story, visit http://www.cspnet.com/category-news/tobacco/articles/vape-update-heat-not-burn-tobacco.

VAPE Summit Houston Offers Early Bird Pricing

vapesummit_logo_mediumThe Vape Summit in Houston, Texas will be held Nov. 7 and 8 at The NRG Stadium. This just happens to be where the Houston Texans play!

The last Vape Summit, held in Las Vegas at The Hard Rock Hotel on June 13 and 14, was a success. More than 250 vendors exhibited to an attendance of more than 15,000 people. More than 1,000 of those were confirmed buyers and decision makers. Vendors have acquired numerous accounts, multiple pre-sale orders and valuable networking opportunities with manufacturers, distributors and retailers around the world due to Vegas’ Vape Summit.

In addition, the Las Vegas show served as a platform of information. Advocacy leaders in the vaping community were able to speak. Those speakers were Grey Conley, legal counsel for e-cig regulations; Oliver Kershaw, founder of www.e-cigarette-forum.com and a major proponent in combating Regulations in Europe; Doug, Brent, and Cynthia, President of SFATA; Dimitris, “The Vapingreek,” a reviewer and member of multiple advocacy groups; Phil Busardo, a pioneer in the vaping community; and Roy, of Vapelyfe, a profound enthusiast group.

Want more reach?  We are going to be partnering up with SFATA, which provides access to over 60 percent of the vaping industry’s market share.

For a booth space with the Early Bird Special Price, click here:

Sponsorship opportunities also are available.

Former Smokers Unite in E-Cig Solidarity

spikedLogo2013_for_facebookA recent opinion piece in the British publication www.spiked-online.com touts e-cigarettes as “one of the greatest inventions ever.”

The columnist smoked for 20 years before quitting, and he praises vaping as the result of giving up his smoking habit. He calls the campaign against e-cigs “ludicrous” and a symptom of a ban-happy culture that wants to hop too quickly. His argument goes on to say further that e-cigs do not glamorize smoking, in fact he calls them a “miracle cure.”

After a Twitter inquiry, the columnist received tons of feedback from smokers who have turned to vaping to kick the habit.

For the full story, visit http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/e-cigs-one-of-the-greatest-inventions-ever/15764#.VBiZrYUmXx1.

Wyoming City Teens Receiving E-Cig Citations

sheridan2Ecigadvanced.com has news coming out of Sheridan, Wyo. There is a new city bill in effect that makes possession of e-cigarettes by minors illegal.

This is a win for the industry that largely only wants to promote its products to those 18 and over. However, reasoning behind the citations, according to the article, include e-cigs looking like drug paraphernalia and an effort to curb traditional smoking.

So, this begs the question: Would these same teens be cited for smoking analog cigarettes?