Welcome back to our 4th edition of the Standing Together blog series. Last week we talked about creating a corporate free community. As I said last week, because of the nature of this blog, I realize I may end up stepping on a few toes. I will be as tactful as possible, and I genuinely do not mean to offend. That being said, there are things I believe need to be discussed and thought about as a community. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at avoiding internal witch hunts and focusing on the bigger battle we’re facing.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘pick your battles’; you fight the battles you think you can win, and concede in battles that you know you can’t. This strategy can apply to many different situations, but can it apply to vaping? Short answer: Yes. As a community we are constantly under fire, from the media, to different state legislations, and even in some cases from ourselves. Within this community we are, in a way, fighting many different battles, but have we ever stopped to think that maybe not all battles are worth the wounds? A common strategy in battle is to overwhelm the opponent by throwing so many different things at them from different directions that they are thrown into a state of confusion and disarray and are unable to effectively fight back. We are seeing examples of that strategy being used through the media against the vaping community with all of the different news articles ranging from attacks on open tank systems, nicotine use, battery safety, e-juice safety, etc. With the ever growing potential of legislation we need to take a moment and determine what really matters, and what is simply a distraction to prevent us from standing for the real issues.
Unfortunately, not only are we being pulled in different directions by those who oppose vaping, but a lack of information within the community is causing us to be divided amongst ourselves. Too often I see arguments over things that really don’t matter (i.e. dripping vs. tanks, which e-juice company is the best, etc.). The problem is not the arguments themselves, but the fact that they are causing dissension within the community and distracting us from the real concerns that we need to be united in, to address them effectively. Publicly sharing fear or hate about a specific company or product tends to create a mob mentality regarding that specific issue or company. While everyone is focused on that issue, other things, like the proposed flavor bans, excessive taxation, overbearing regulations, and more, slip through the background without being fully challenged. If we’re wielding our pitchforks over a company or juice that didn’t suit us then we aren’t fighting the overbearing legislation issues.
There are enough entities out there already on a vaping witch hunt, we don’t need to add fuel to their fire. So, instead of focusing on the small things and jumping down each others throats about preference and who does it better, let’s take a breath before posting angry or disparaging comments about others within the community. Comments are important, and sharing your experience is important, so I am not asking that you just let things go and never tell anyone. What I am asking is that when it comes to other vapers or vape shops that the information you post is fair and honest constructive criticism.
Like many of you, I’m passionate about vaping and how the success of putting away the cigarettes once and for all has changed my life in more ways than I thought it would. I will stand and personally work to choose my battles and make my vaping voice be heard by lawmakers. However, I can’t do it alone. One voice isn’t enough to combat the voices of big tobacco, pharmaceutical companies and the general public that doesn’t know much about vaping, but is afraid of another tobacco like incident. If we all stand together and speak out as a community we can educate, change public perception, and influence change with lawmakers.
Come back next week when we take a look at how to speak out as a community. Until then, let us know your thoughts. Stand together vapers and vape on!
Written By: Michelle Harnden