By Susan Oser
I recently just got news about the death of my cousin’s father- in-law who died of complications related to COPD. My aunt has a niece on her maternal side of the family who recently got diagnosed with Stage-4 Lung Cancer. A neighbor that lives below her is just starting her lung cancer fight.
These are people, who if educated by the community, probably could have been saved and lived longer if they knew all the good things about e-cigarettes. Perhaps they probably heard, but got the wrong information. Maybe their doctors told them not to start vaping and that it was harmful. Maybe they didn’t get any information at all. Whatever the case, I almost feel like we’ve failed these people and countless others who are, have been, or will have a smoking-related disease, diagnosis, death.
These are the stories that should mean more to us than any vape drama, polarization between factions, being vape famous, self-proclaiming yourself as the vape savior, etc. These are the stories that to me are at the heart of what it means to be an advocate for vaping and why we are in this business. This is why I personally don’t want vaping to die.
Even my boyfriend who has been vaping for almost 2 years and my cousin who just started a few months ago share my personal stories and connections. I feel like from what I’ve done, I’ve made a difference in the world and a difference in someone’s life. We don’t have enough of these stories being told publicly.
But why should you take my word for it? I don’t own a juice company. I’m not a mod maker. I’m just an ordinary vaper with a vape show writing about vaping things. Granted, I have tried creating vaping accessories with which others have been successful, and I’ve failed. I’ve even tried selling vaping things for charity, with all the advertisement in the world, and no one has bought a thing.
Even vaping gear I’ve made ESPECIALLY for charity events have only brought low bids. And yet, because I’m not this “big name” in the community, the whole of the community feels like they should not give a damn about what I do and what I say because I’m not part of the “vaping establishment”.
Let’s face it. As much as we bitch about the greater establish, we have one within our own community. We just don’t see it because we are so blinded by the big names and the
Because I am that outsider. Your customer at your shop is an outsider.
The average viewer of my vape show is an outsider.
It’s why the greater public doesn’t know as much about vaping as they should, and we’ve failed at connecting with them.
shiny things. Most of us are too much above it or in the thick of it working for companies and having connections with the “right” people to go far in this industry. However, with the bans and rules coming into place, do those messages still mean anything to you anymore?
Now, let me be clear, I’m not whining saying I want to be famous or popular. I’ve been there done that. In fact, it’s a kind of strange dichotomy. Because even though people notice you, they notice you mostly for the wrong reasons and want to take advantage of your good graces and sometimes screw you over with a smile on their face. Sometimes it happens without you knowing it until it’s recorded on hidden camera, discussed on online vape shows and videos, and plastered all over the vaping section of the Internet.
What I am saying is that there are more voices out there than the “vape famous” who are saying what the big guys are saying and always have. People like me, the average vaper and the average observer tend to see things others don’t. It’s why my column has its name. Because I am that outsider. Your customer at your shop is an outsider. The average viewer of my vape show is an outsider. It’s why the greater public doesn’t know as much about vaping as they should, and we’ve failed at connecting with them.
Yet, if there’s someone like a VaperJoe’s, a GrimmGreen, Phil Busardo, and other big names and companies saying the SAME THING, they’re believed more than someone like me who’s been saying it for so long until I’ve been blue in the face. Sadly, we’ve become a celebrity culture in which unless you’re that next Internet sensation, no one is going to believe and listen to what you have to say.
Voices like mine are being drowned out by the vaping popularity contest, drama and bullshit that’s embedded itself within the industry due to lack of foresight and plain ‘ol human nature at its worst. This includes the cliques that I encounter, the big events that are more about show and money than people, the giveaway shows where you’re popular just because everything is free, and on it goes. It’s frankly why a lot of people within the industry, especially the veteran vapers and the advocates are bitter at this moment. The focus was lost and we got attracted to the celebrity shiny really quick.
Now, just imagine if I did have a juice line. Imagine if I made and sold millions of dollars worth of a product or idea that the vaping community could use and still continued to write. Imagine if I was connected to the biggest people in the industry and was on their shows all the time (which would not be a bad thing in and of itself). Would you still feel I had that hidden agenda? Would you still feel that I sold out to the community? Would you think I was getting too big for myself?
I hate to tell you, but just like anything else, fame is fleeting. Eventually, those numbers will go down and your popularity will become just another YouTuber story of the past. Your part in all of this will be ignored just as much as mine, but only because you’re no longer the flavor of the month. Voices like mine might just last a bit longer because I refused to fall into the trap and stuck to my own rules, not the rules that are dictated to me or rules that I “should” follow if I want to “make it.”
Having said that, don’t you think that now with everything that has happened in terms of the FDA regulations, a voice with no juice line or mod equipment label on back is NOW worth listening to just a bit more? I surely think so.
Who are you listening to now that so many things have and will change in the vaping industry? Are you willing to give the “little-guy-in-vaping” a chance?
Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and at her personal website http://www.angelwritercreations.com. If you like this rant and want to hear more, Susan hosts VapeTVLive on Thursday nights at 11pm – midnight EST.