Welcome to the sixth edition of the Standing Together blog series. Last week we talked about standing together and picking our battles. As I reiterated last week, I realize I may end up stepping on a few toes. I will be as tactful as possible, and genuinely do not mean to offend. That being said; there are things I believe need to be said and discussed as a community. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at what speaking out means and why it’s important.
Whether we like it or not, we are currently under siege. There has been a national wave of bans and requests for legislative governance over e-cigarettes. I believe some regulation can be a very good thing for our community, while some could limit our ability to vape as we choose.. Let’s look at the positives first:
By having legislative requirements for child proof packaging and safety standards in the creation and distribution of e-cigarette products (especially e-juice), we can ensure a safer product across the board for our community. This type of safety regulation is for the benefit of everyone involved and I believe should be enacted.
However, there are currently several legislative drafts being considered in several states, including right here in Washington. As you may have seen in our Call to Action blog, the WA bill specifically wants to ban online sales, impose an exorbitant tax rate, ban flavors, and place many more restrictions on the industry in the interest of protection. The question is, who are these legislators working to protect?
The reality is, vaping is costing pharmaceutical companies, big tobacco, and some states, quite a bit of money. We have all seen, and probably shared, the stories of our success in quitting smoking by vaping. That means that the sale of nicotine replacement therapy (pharmaceutical companies) is going down, the number of people buying cigarettes (big tobacco) is going down, and for those states that receive a large amount of funding from the tobacco tax, the states are losing money as well. Money is a powerful motivator my friend, which means that vaping has been thrust into the spotlight as a danger to these companies. The result; media propaganda and lobbyists fighting to restrict and even diminish our ability to continue to vape. The only way to combat this is with a united front and a unified voice being presented to our legislators.
I know what you’re thinking, “I already know all of this, so why are we going over it again?” Well, I’ll tell you. One voice is never enough to be heard when money is involved. It is sad, but true. It takes a multitude of voices all saying the same thing to impact the end result in this legislation battle. We here at Mt Baker Vapor are standing up and fighting for our rights to vape, but we can’t do it alone. We need each one of you to stand up and speak out as well. We all have different roles in this battle, based on the current thoughts and actions of the state we’re in. Yet, that does not mean if your state isn’t pushing legislation like the one here it WA that it won’t happen at some point. Stand up and speak out now, before the laws have been passed and the limitations imposed. Let your legislators know what vaping means to you and how important it truly is.
Now that you’re ready to stand up and speak out, how do you go about it? We have put together a few tips for approaching your legislators in our Political Etiquette blog. Remember, it’s important to share our passion in a positive and productive way. When anger is presented first, that is all that ends up being seen and heard and the very valid points get lost. Most importantly, don’t sit back and hope for the best. Don’t expect that all the vape companies will have a loud enough voice to combat this on their own. We need you, your voice, and your actions to truly make a lasting difference.
Come back next week when we take a look at preparing for legislation within the community. Until then, let us know your thoughts. Stand together vapers and vape on!
Written By: Michelle Harnden