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.

Barbados E-Cig Laws May Change in 2015

BarbadosIf you’re planning on vaping during your island vacation to Barbados next year, take note that the rules might be changing. BarbadosAdvocate.com reports that the Minister of Health revealed the new plan at the subregional workshop on Tobacco Taxation for English-speaking Caribbean countries.

E-cigarettes would be regulated under the new draft of legislation, along with legislation to “adopt the Caricom Standard on Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products.”

Both amendments, which will go into consideration in the New Year, were prompted by the recent World Health Organization report urging for governmental regulation on tobacco products. E-cigarettes, for now, are grouped into that category for this purpose.

For the full story, visit http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=local&NewsID=39639.

Wanted: VAPE Writers

hiring-writersWe had a great 2014, due in part to our wonderful core team of writers who made it all possible. We’re looking to add to this team, so we’re seeking stellar vape wordsmiths who can craft a well-written story and submit photos along with his or her work.

We’re looking for:

  • regular columnists
  • feature writers
  • technical experts
  • events coverage writers/photographers

If you display vast knowledge of the industry and wish to join the VAPE team as a contract writer, please send a resume, your area of expertise/interest and some writing clips to content@vapemz.com with “writer” in the subject line.

We thank all who apply, however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

‘Vaping Brain’ Study Takes a Look at Addiction

Photo by http://www.icbs-peclub.com/imperial-college-facts/British scientsts are researching the effects of smoking on the brain, according to FoxNews.com.

The pilot study used e-cigarettes and functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan vapers while they took puffs. The aim is to understand why smoking is addictive. The lead scientist, Matt Wall from Imperial College in London, says that since other nicotine replacement therapies havent had the success to kick the smoking habit like vaping has. Therefore, he’s digging a bit deeper to see where the addiction(s) are coming from.

While there are no specific conclusions of the study yet, Wall says that there is somewhat of a link in the brain area that controls taste and smell with reward and addiction.

Wall plans on conducting larger vaper studies in the future to learn more.

For the full story, visit http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/11/11/studies-vaping-brain-may-offer-clues-on-smoking-addiction/.

Starbucks Bans E-Cigarettes

StarbucksMorning coffee and a cigarette, or an e-cigarette in our world, is no more inside of the walls of the popular chain Starbucks. UK site Metro.co.uk reports that the move stemmed from the recent World Health Organization claim that e-cigarettes may not be the healthy alternative to analog cigarettes. The report also attacked the vapor emitted from e-cigs, saying that it contains toxins that create a health risk to second-hand breathers.

For more information on the Starbucks ban, visit http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/19/starbucks-has-banned-e-cigarettes-after-health-worries-4912414/.

Registration Opens Dec. 1 for Paris Innovaping Days

VAPEXPO_infographie_enVapexpo’s first Bordelaise edition (3.780 visitors from 25 countries) followed by its Parisian edition (6.431 visitors from 57 countries) have proven a real interest for this booming sector and the confidence of the prime actors in the expertise of the Vapexpo team.

In the increasingly dynamic and innovative market, it is important for manufacturers to be visible and stand out as often as possible. Facing this innovation and novelty race, Vapexpo wants to create a new event that will facilitate professional meetings. This event will take place in an exclusive and privileged framework between the two editions of the September exhibition.

“INNOVAPING DAYS” will unite national and international distributors searching for innovations and new partners. Following the same goals as Vapexpo, quality and qualified meetings, these two days will be an advantage for the commercial development of the manufacturers fostering innovation and novelties (e-liquids, equipment, modders, accessories…).

Two days where products innovation and professional contacts will be the key words.

- A 100 percent professional meeting based on innovation and novelty

- An accessible place, with elegant surroundings favouring negotiations

- Targeted visitors (distributors, resellers, importers, wholesalers…)

- An international opening with the presence of foreign visitors

- A reduced investment compared to a traditional exhibition

- Simplified logistic: no bare stands, only key-ready stands

- One place to display your novelties to all of your distributors

- The opportunity (option) for e-liquid manufacturers to test samples anonymously via a selected panel of

professionals (reviewers, distributors, medias…)

Are you marketing a new product, a new range, a new brand, a new equipment design?

Do you want to propose a specific commercial offer to your distributors?

Do you want to reach new prospects, French or foreigners?

Do you wish to reduce the cost of a product launch while exploiting your contact opportunities?


Registration opens Monday, Dec. 1st on www.vapexpo-france.com.

California City Raises Tobacco Sales Age

HealdsburgAnyone under 21 in Healdsburg, Calif. who smokes is going to have a rude awakening the next time he or she attempts to buy cigarettes. The Huffington Post reports that the city’s council voted 4-1 to raise the age of cigarette purchasers to 21. Electronic cigarettes are included in the new mandate.

The legislation will ban pharmacies and supermarkets that have pharmacies from selling cigarettes and also requires current retailers that sell tobacco products to obtain a new license. The new legislation goes into effect at the beginning of December.


Breaking Agent News: ‘Vape’ Named Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year

OxfordThe Wall Street Journal reports that the Oxford Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year. The Agent is excited to report that the word is “vape!”

For those word nerds out there, vape can be a noun or a verb, according to the Oxford.

vapeverb: Inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

vapenoun: An electronic cigarette or similar device; an act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

The article says that editors at Oxford have found a huge rise in the use of the word vape to more than double its use in 2013.

“Vape” beat out other words such as contactless, bae and slacktivism. Last year’s word was the ever-popular “selfie.”

To read the full story, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/11/18/vape-word-of-the-year/.



Reynolds American Bans Smoking in Own Corporate Office Areas

ReynoldsAmericanThe second largest cigarette supplier clearly loves smoking, except at its own home base. Bloomberg.com reports that Reynolds American has banned smoking in public at its own corporate offices.

Smokers now must retreat to designated smoking areas, however e-cigarettes still are allowed outside of those areas. The new rule will be “phased in” beginning in January, as indoor smoking areas must now be built to accommodate those who want to light up.

For the full story, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-23/reynolds-sees-irony-in-new-office-smoking-ban.html.

Virgin Vapor Releases Two New Flavors

Virgin_Vapor_logo6AAA-500x500Virgin Vapor has let the Agent in on an exciting update—two new flavors—RY4Play and Green Goblin.

RY4 is a famous tobacco flavor invented in China when electronic cigarette flavors were in their earliest infancy. Virgin’s sexier version comes on in layers of sultry caramel, tobacco and vanilla perfectly blended to create a rich, smooth vape that will most certainly seduce your taste buds.

Virgin’s famous honeydew flavor is intimately intertwined with thirst quenching, authentic cucumber to create a vape that is both sweet and bitter, cooling and curious. This is one little monster you will want hiding under your bed!

For more information, visit www.virginvapor.com.

Santa Monica Next to Offically Ban E-Cigs

Santa_monica_beach_dehkSanta Monica, Calif.’s City Council has voted, and it’s unanimous. E-cigarettes are being treated like cigarettes in the city of Santa Monica, banned in most public places.

The new ordinance, reported by LATimes.com, took effect this week. Vapor retailers also will have to obtain a tobacco license under the rules, and sales to minors are strictly prohibited.

For the full story, visit http://www.latimes.com/local/westside/la-me-santa-monica-cigarettes-20141016-story.htmlFo.