Meet Mt. Baker Vapor – Grant’s Story
As E-cigs have gained so much popularity with the people who see the beneficial sides to vaping rather than smoking, there are some who would argue differently. As the industry grows, so does the opposition. We see much false information and corporate influence when we look at the stack of evidence against us, and it seems quite daunting. Worst of all, governments are no longer serving the public interests or taking risk reduction seriously. The scary thing is that there seems to be a trend emerging with how lawmakers are hoping to regulate the entire electronic cigarette industry not just federally, but at the state level and other localities. The trend does not follow where the E-cig industry is taking itself, but rather, a place where new and upcoming technology goes to die: Congress.
It’s 2008, during the middle of the housing crash that sent the nation into a recession not seen since the early 80s. Millions of homes were foreclosed on, and thousands upon thousands of jobs were terminated. The heavy hit taxpayers of America bailed these institutions out of the hole they had dug themselves, but were left to struggle through one of the most difficult financial periods in modern US history. During this time, a new product was surfacing in the states that claimed to be an alternative to one of America’s most costly, and most dangerous habit; The tobacco cigarette.
I remember the first time I saw someone using one and thinking immediately that I wanted to try it. Before the opposition side takes that out of context, I should explain:
I started smoking when I was 15 years old. I had been exposed to cigarettes my entire life as many in my family were smokers. I even asked my mom to get me a pack when I was about 9, which she did under the condition that I smoked the whole pack all at once. Of course, I chickened out, and she threw away the pack. But eventually I ended up a smoker anyway. From the ages of 15 to 19 I smoked a pack a day. I desperately tried to cut back and quit when I realized I couldn’t go without a smoke in the morning and be anything but a grouch. So when I saw this new E-cig and heard that it was an alternative to the poison I was inhaling in a cigarette, I was enticed to try one.
My initial reaction was “Whoa this is funky. There’s no burn; there’s no feeling to this.” I was very disappointed with the money that I had spent. I wished I wouldn’t have wasted so much that could’ve been spent elsewhere, like cigarettes. I started with the cigalike generation mind you, Nautilus minis and 30 watt box mods are a thing of the future. We were stuck with disposable cartridge type e-cigs that didn’t work very well and cost hundreds of dollars to buy. What did I do? I kept on smoking that’s what I did. I smoked for another 6 damaging years. It wasn’t until a new opportunity presented itself that would allow me to try some of the technology recently released in the E-cig world before I finally quit. When I finally found a device that could satisfy what I loved about traditional cigarettes, I was able to quit overnight. It was absolutely astonishing how well they worked for me, and I quickly sought more knowledge. The more I read, the more I learned about all the aspects that go into a good vape. I learned about the risks, the rewards, and also about what people were doing to control this new product. What I saw, was that most of the oppositions for the e-cig industry had one thing in common: Lobby money.
I see a trend of states starting to adopt harsh regulations on our industry, regulations that would effectively snuff out a large majority of businesses in the economy. Again thousands of jobs would be at stake, and the efforts of so many individuals who are working off the aftermath of the recession would be in vain. I truly view the E-cig industry as a big part in rebuilding people’s lives, both financially, and through better health. Think of all the jobs in America that our industry has created. Electronic cigarette companies can teach the big dogs a thing or two about a market regulated industry like the one we have today. We as vapers have shown that by forming a community around E-cigs, we can keep up quality and safety standards. There are no set rules for this as we all know, but many companies take it upon themselves to go above and beyond what government regulation could do. Is it any coincidence that the companies that do take quality control seriously are the ones that are most successful? Companies that take the initiative to teach their customers how to use their products properly are replacing “in and out” tobacco shops every day! And I believe herein lies our dilemma. We are replacing a current product, one that already has a customer base of 41.2 million customers. That number has dropped since 2012 and continues to do so.
The question is, does the industry start running for the hills, finding safe haven states in which to do business? Are we going to witness buyouts of some of the smaller companies, possibly even by big tobacco? Does it make sense to assume that because one or two states adopt a harsh policy that the rest will follow suit? Legislation I-502 Passed in Washington, with a similar bill passing in Colorado. Since then, Alaska and Oregon’s governments have legalized Marijuana based on the huge taxes generated by Washington and Colorado. Is this something we can expect to see from other states when it comes to regulating e-cigs? Are they going to tax us to death, or can we hope to fight the legislation currently being proposed? I for one think that E-cig companies, as well as vapers, should stay their ground. If we run from regulation, we risk the chance that soon, there won’t be anywhere left to run.
We need to come together and oust the corporate control that makes it more difficult to get access to high-quality vape tech. If we don’t, we can expect to see many more stories like mine from the youth in our states and country as a whole. Kids who dabble in smoking and get hooked will have no alternatives to keep them away from the real danger. There will be no viable way for them to make a change and go with a safe alternative. Success in harm reduction and cessation alike is making the alternative more enjoyable. No one wants to use a patch or a piece of gum; they want a better experience than that. Trying and failing with these NRT products can often make a person smoke more as I did, rather than less. They want a safer experience than a cigarette. A product that is much safer than a cigarette but provides a better experience will reduce smoking related disease.
Whether or not companies will be able to provide that product is up to us. If vaping has changed your life significantly, we urge you to call your local and federal representatives and let them know how you feel.
Written by: Grant Collmann, MBV Marketing accounts manager
The views and opinions expressed on this Blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Mt Baker Vapor LLC, and/or any/all contributors to this Blog. Thank you!