Standing Together – Killing our Own Movement

Recently we published a series about Standing Together as a community. We discussed different issues that, as a community, could negatively impact our ability to fight for our right to vape. We didn’t stop there, but also proposed options to work to correct those areas within the community and what we can do together to keep vaping accessible. While within the community it seems as though vaping is mainstream, the reality is we are a very, very small fish fighting in a very big pond. The only way we can hope to survive and maintain our vaping freedom is by standing united and speaking out together. 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. However, recently a new trend has arisen, or at least come to my attention, within the community that I feel needs to be addressed.


Take a moment with me and look at the picture above. That is where we are right now, the King (Big Tobacco) and Queen (Big Pharma) are looking down on this pesky little movement of vaping that is costing them money and watching with enjoyed entertainment as we fight amongst ourselves. We should be fighting against them, but we’re too busy getting caught up and focusing on things that, honestly in the long run do not matter when it comes to the future of vaping. We need to take a moment to step back and realize that this portrayal above is what we’re doing to ourselves, which ultimately results in the possible death of the industry.

So, what could be so bad within the community to evoke this much passion in my response? In answer, all I can say is the extreme reaction of inconsequential details by the community and the lack of reaction to the vital aspects of our battle. Allow me to provide a couple of examples to more clearly explain the issue.

When one of our policies changed, specifically only offering 0 nicotine free samples, there was quite a bit of feedback from the community. People were genuinely angry and stating they would no longer be willing to do business with our company because we no longer provide a free sampling created to their exact request specifications. The change in the policy has allowed us the ability to provide many additional things for the community, including the speed of our shipping, the price-point of our e-juice and more. However, none of that mattered to those who could not get exactly what they wanted how they wanted, for free with their order. While I understand that change is hard, and for many of us, we will not consistently vape 0 nicotine because the point of vaping is the nicotine. This was a major talking point across several social media channels for weeks. At the same time, there were news articles stating that in order to learn more about the vaping community, groups were receiving grants to scan social media and learn about who we are and why we are so passionate about vaping. What do you think they saw when they looked at vaping during those two weeks? Did they see people who were thrilled at the positive changes in their lives due to this new and innovative alternative to smoking? Or did they see a group of people who were content to fight amongst themselves over who likes which company best for whatever reason?

Allow me to provide another example. Recently we have been publishing a blog series entitled Meet Mt. Baker Vapor. We as a company are a part of this community, and wanted to be able to allow our customers to get to know us as people, not just an online business. In this series, a few of our employees mentioned that they were not previously smokers, and do not vape. The result from some of our customers honestly shocked me. More than one member of the community stated on our blog that they would no longer do business with, or trust our company because some of our employees do not vape. Leaving the blatant discrimination argument out of the equation, I for one am proud to have people who are not using the product believe in it so much that they are willing to fight for it’s existence. Imagine you own an auto repair shop. Do you require that the person you hire as your Human Resources Manager know how to take apart an engine, fix it and put it back together? No, the qualifications for hiring a person in that position would be based on whether they know anything about Human Resources. To expect that we, as a vaping company would only hire former smokers or current vapers for any position is counter productive to the ultimate goal of our business. The owners of this company started Mt. Baker Vapor because vaping changed their lives. In building the company they have brought on people who are best suited to the positions that need to be filled. Just because you vape doesn’t mean you are then an expert at legislation, lobbying, advertising, or customer service. Vaping simply means you have found something that offers you a positive alternative to smoking. However, not vaping does not mean you don’t understand the industry, or that you don’t believe in the positive alternative for those who would benefit from it. I’m proud that people who don’t personally have addictions believe so much in the product we offer that they are willing to fight for it right along side us addicts.

As I have said previously, I am an avid vaper. I was a smoker for years, and was absolutely astonished that I was not only able to quit, but to enjoy the process! That would never have happened had I not started working here at Mt. Baker Vapor. Yet, the reactions I have seen recently from members of the community have honestly made me embarrassed to be a part of it. We are fighting battles on all sides against bans, restrictions, the possible closing of businesses and inability to even have vapor products accessible at all. Why in the world are we fighting amongst ourselves over such trivial matters?

Let’s all take a breath and step back for a moment. We started vaping because we wanted an alternative to smoking that didn’t have the thousands of chemicals and carcinogens. Right now Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are doing everything within their power to restrict or eliminate this alternative all together. We, a tiny group compared to their resources and reach, have the nerve to cost them money and feel healthier without them. Sadly, with things like those I’ve described above, we’re doing a lot of their work for them in destroying the movement. The only way vaping as an option will survive is if we all stand together against the waves of misinformation and overbearing legislation crashing against us. So, let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves and helping them in their efforts!

Something to think about:

The majority of voters don’t smoke or vape. The only thing they know about our industry is what they see online and in the news. How are our actions affecting their perceptions?

 Written by: Michelle Harnden

Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Kurt A. Rasner says:

    I guess you’ve excluded from mention that both the “King” & “Queen” have been feeding states with HUGE kickbacks based on the amount of smokers in their respective state. Many of these states and the Fed is getting upset because they’re not going to get as much of a kickback do to the decrease of people smoking. Largely due to people that stop smoking with the help of Vaping.
    Lastly, if someone doesn’t like, “Free 0 nicotine sample freebies” Maybe you should suggest either they purchase some pure nicotine or opt out of the free samples with purchase ? I mean, how much can they really ask for, for free ?

    • Honestly, if I started getting into the money motivations the blog would have ended up being more of a book, so I tried to keep it simple. Money is a huge factor in the fight though, you are absolutely right about that. Vape on!

  • Josh says:

    Very well said, couldn’t agree more.

  • Sharyn says:

    I have to agree with you! You forgot to add the intimidation of this industry, I go into many B&M shops and am astounded by the atmosphere going on. Seems like a new place for many young people to hang out and completely fog up the entire room, sales people blowing vape in your face while you are trying to figure out what products you need, not what I was expecting when I needed to step up my vape gear. Luckily I am a biker and used to being around the fringe, but many people looking for help would run from these stores. Not very friendly or helpful in these places so that brings me to Youtube- countless reviewers cursing and swearing, trying to find out about the eleaf10,20,30, and 50 or latest ejuice reviews, and click through so many horrible nasty,vile, and some look way to young to be using these products giving reviews. I just shake my head.
    I use ecigs and liquids to save my life and those around me, I have fun and am in no way a prude but geez, no wonder vaping has a bad rap. Then pile on the media with their slanted view points and state politicians and I am sad that the true people like me vaping to stay off of cigs. B&M shops mixing eliquids in a back room, no sterile surroundings, quality control, safety or sure that customers are getting a safe product.
    I know cigarettes have killed more people, by smoking, second hand smoke and fires, but have one ecig blow up, or a kid caught with one at school, or a tot dies from eliquid and it makes the Nightly News. And don’t get me started with eliquid flavors enticing kids. I was a kid smoking cigarettes, menthol and regular and I still smoked, don’t tell me that candy flavors and such entice the young into vaping. To limit the flavors to menthol and regular tobacco is just trying to keep people addicted to the taste of real cigarettes and this doen’t make sense to me. I like the many flavors to get away from the taste of of a cigarette. Maybe parents need to take responsibility and not leave eliquids and batteries laying around, all of these products are illegal under 18 in NY where I live, and I don’t think kids have credit cards to order these products online.
    Legislations to save the youth? Government doesn’t care about anything but their tobacco money. Keep more useless people in government employed by attacking ECigs instead of looking at the benefits of it and stopping adult smokers with a healthier alternative. I am just scared for the future of Vaping.

  • Brian says:

    To the author of this blog post/article, I say to thee…hear, hear!!!

    I received my first package from you today. All in the DIY dept. I had to call and see if my “freebie” was concentrate or ready to vape. I added what nic I needed to the 0% nic solution, and dang it was good. Had I not had nic, I would have dripped it anyway. The thawed sauce is the bomb, if I cant make its equal, I will order it. Everything I have made in the past sucks, I am not a mixologist.

    In regards to my free sample, I WILL ORDER AGAIN due inpart to the great prices, fast shipping, and dang good customer service. I had to call and see if the “freebie” was ready to vape, I am a noob to vaping.

    One month ago I quit smokeless tobacco, “dipping”. Vaping has stopped my habit of smokeless tobacco. I need thousands of dollars of dental work due to my 20 year old habit, and I decided to recently start doing something about it. Should hae started sooner.

    Thanks MVB and hope to see another freebie in the next order.!!!!!!!!!!

  • Diane R says:

    I agree with all points. First, you are not obligated to give us anything free with our orders, plain and simple. Therefore, we do not have a right to complain about what size bottle or if there’s nic in it or not. I, personally, want to thank you for sending me my requested sample in my nic strength all this time!

    Next, how childish is it for vapers to be arguing which vendor is better! If you’ve found a favorite vendor that you support and you love their products, why not just boast about all the good things you like about that company instead of arguing! Not everyone is going to like every vendor! I have I’ve been with MBV for 2 years? I always tell everyone who good your juices are at a good price. I’ve seen others say they don’t like your juices. But I’m not going to jump down their throats about it. Tell me what you like about *your* vendor instead.

    Next, how absolutely positively ridiculous is it to make an issue out of the fact that a vendor has hired someone who isn’t an ex smoker or a vaper? Really, *this* is the issue you need to complain out? Another example could be a dispatcher at a police department. Do these complainers expect that this person could strap on a gun and go on patrol???

    And I have read online several times where a smoker will go into a B&M and be totally bullied into buying something they really didn’t want just so the shop could make a few extra bucks. NIce, not. And blowing all that vaper is not the way to help transform a smoker into a vaper. Have some consideration for your potential customer.

    And another point we keep trying to tell cloud chasing vapers, don’t blow it around in public!!! Did you do that when you were a smoker? No, so don’t do it as a vaper.

    This is still a baby industry, why do some vapers continue to do as they please and give our community a bad name? We’re still walking on eggshells! Some vapers are stomping all over them. Non smokers will view the whole vaping community by just one bad apple.

    Once again, a very to the point article filled with current information all of us vapers need to hear and adhere to! Thank you!

  • Astonished says:

    I am AMAZED at the “entitlement” attitude of a lot of people who vape. People want everything for free. If you can’t afford to buy a bottle of juice without “sampling” it first maybe you shouldn’t be vaping. I know I have spent more than what it costs to buy a bottle of juice on things and not been happy with it and I just chalk it up to a loss. Like if I go out to eat or buy some food and don’t like the taste of it I don’t get to bring it back. I just don’t buy that product again.

  • Crashtestjeep says:

    As a veteran vaper of 8 years, I couldn’t agree with you more.
    I remember when ECF started and this was a place I could go to help educate others as well as myself. It was also a place where I fell in love with the vaping community. We were a people who helped one another. You are running low in cash and out of juice? Send me ur address and I’ll send you some juice and an atty. However, as the years went by and as vaping evolved, I didn’t have to go online to “talk vape” anymore. There are vape shops on every corner and I see people vaping all over. However. This growth also changed the community. People arguing over the place, juice vendors, brands, clone vs authentic….what happened?

    This blog addressed many of these issues. Very valid.

    If you’re new or old to vaping, I encourage you to read and reread this blog, think hard and clean ur slate on social media.

    We ABSOLUTELY MUST stop the bickering and complete the movement.

  • Brian Barlow says:

    GREAT article! Very valid points, kudos to you for having the fortitude to say it, we are indeed our own worst enemy in many ways. If folks don’t wake up we are in trouble.

  • Jack Faxon says:

    I can’t agree with you more! I smoked for 59 years. Non filtered. I found vapeing and quit them butts. I don’t know where the vaping community is trying to go. Bigger clouds, lower ohms, more watts, larger battries. For what? Just to say you can?
    I think the laws should be the same for vapeing as for the purchase of any nicotine product.
    Just a couple of obsevations. I believe the B&M stores should have a set of laws just as the restaurants do for safety sake.
    Ithink you should find a supplier you’re happy with ,reguardless of a freebee.
    We gotta stick together, or we won’t have it at all!

    • While I completely agree with everything you’ve said, your last sentence sums up everything I’ve been trying to say perfectly! Thanks for joining your voice with ours. Vape on!

  • Lucy says:

    I totally agree with all the positive comments on here. I had a sort of off topic question to ask anyone who knows though. The legislation that is apparently passing on May 30 th regarding the hoops that online vape shops will have to go through to verify people’s ages? Does that apply to ejuice that is bought with no nicotine as well? And what will this shop do about it? Will we gave to send copies of our drivers licenses? Or what?

    • The way the age verification service works is that you have to be at home when they arrive to deliver the package and show your ID to the delivery driver. He verifies the information before giving you your package. The current age verification policies with all delivery companies is 21+, meaning anyone 18-20 would not be able to accept their purchase delivery. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important that we let our legislators know how these restrictive regulations will negatively impact your ability to vape.

  • Paula Bryder says:

    Well done, Michelle. I had the same experience with quitting smoking as you did, & fell in love with MBV early on. This post is another reason why I am prob a customer for life! Great products, excellent cust svc, smart people – what’s not to love?

    • Well, as I blush and completely agree with you, thanks 🙂 We love what we do, it makes it so much easier to actually take care of our community when it matters to us personally.

  • Professor Gadget says:

    Michelle, I hate to call you out but I feel you are talking out of your ass. We, the people, would like to know the qualifications of the so called Executive Asset Manger. You know the softball kid that does not smoke or vape, and is in charge of important government advocacy affairs. According to your blog, “the company hires canidates based on their qualifications”. Ok, so
    What are his qualifications? What year did he receive his ged? Does he plan to attend the FDA work shop coming up? What non- profit organizations is he involved with. I am asking a simple question here that you are dancing around. This guy is going to get laughed right out if the court room. You guys are a bunch of Bozo’s!

    • I am not dancing around, I am flat out refusing to provide you with private and personal information about an employee in the company I work for. How many company managers have you requested this information from at the vape shops in Florida, or frankly any other business? As a company, we hire who we believe in. Kenny is not only amazing at his job, but fighting for people like you to maintain your right to vape. I’m proud to have Kenny on our team. This is the exact issue I am trying to address. Fighting amongst ourselves that is fueling the fire of those who are trying to ban vaping. What is more important, arguing over private and personal credentials or fighting for our right to vape?

  • John McGregor says:

    Well put Michelle, however the question remains; we as a community need to pull together and fight alongside one another, but when you have individuals that look the other way, how do you fight the fight that needs fought? I for one am all for advocacy here in my state, and I am sure I am not alone, but it sickens me that not one soul I have spoke with is interested in spreading the news and advocating the cause to make this wonderful innovation go beyond what it is now. How do we as a community make others understand that it is not just a single person that can make this go away, but a whole force that can make a change? Just my thoughts and questions. Thank you and vape on!

  • Curious George says:

    Michelle, can we can least hear the bio about an employee that vapes in the next blog, if ther are any at your company.
    We do appreciate that you are fearlessly willing to post all comments, good or bad. You are basically putting your company in the arms of your asset manager to help save the future of vaping and your company exsistance. Lets hope that he is well qualified like you stated, for this important job . Also, the age verification will not work because the Chinese online vendors will ignore the law in their country and send the ejuice to anyone. They already ship fake replica Rolex watches and anything else that is illegal. U.S. vendors will not stand for the Chinese making all the money and they wil break the law too. Also, I can argue the issue of shipping the free ejuice samples with nic, one way or another. Nic base juice is cheaper than ever now and a 0 nic ejuice is not going to taste the same as a 12mg ejuice. So, if you are giving away free samples are the hopes of gaining future sales, this may not be an effective approach. Just because your 0 mic ejuce flavor taste great does not mean it will taste great in my preferred nic level. I suggest you match a small sample of 5mil closer to their preferred nic level or give nothing! I would just throw out 0 nic ejuice if I did not have nic base. Vapors want the true experience of tasting the ejuice in their nic level that is properly steeped before they commit to a new flavor in a bigger bottles, at full price

    • Sir. I appreciate that you have concerns, but utilizing several different names and email addresses under the same ip address to post comments is not the best way to get your concerns across. At this point, I believe we have been as clear as we can in addressing your concerns, and I ask that you not post any additional comments on this subject. Thank you.

  • Maria says:

    Michelle, you articulate your points very well… The posers are easy to spot by their negative blathering. ((wink, grins)) The best we can do is try to not engage the negativity & become distracted and divided. Remembering that “united we stand!”

    Thanks for such a good, thought-provoking blog. I never came for the samples, anyway. lol I know when I order from MBV, I’m getting some of the best for the best prices around.

    PS: I love how MBV introduces their staff via blog-style. It’s really a cool idea. 🙂

  • James Cheyne says:

    Being a newer vapor I am appalled by the “fits” people are having. I have encountered issues at a local B & M because I have both clones and authentics. Sorry that you dislike clones. I don’t have $200-$300 per item to buy all the items I would like to have to vape on. The authentic’s that I can afford I purchase. The items I want that are way out of my budget I purchase clones of. IMO why does it matter what device people use as long as they are not smoking? I mean after all that IS why we vape is it not? As for e-liquids, I have found many vendors I enjoy. And with-in each vendors line I find juices I enjoy and juices I find horrid. But I don’t complain about it like some people do. I give it to another vapor that enjoys it. Just like the nic levels. I have multiple bottles of 12mg juice that I am looking to “pass it on to” because I am all the way down to 3mg nic. I made my first order from MBV this month and I enjoyed most of the flavors I purchased. Some more then others but still, I will not purchase the ones I am not fond of but others may enjoy completely. I wish people would understand that taste is subjective. I find Carrabba’s to have the best Italian food from a chain restaurant YET I have met many who dislike them and prefer Olive Garden or Johnny Romero’s. Is it a reason to fight over it? NO! But with vaping it is as it appears. I advocate to anyone who is willing to listen and learn about what I am doing and provide suggestions to them based on my experiences. Do I expect them to buy what I have? No. I see it is if I can help someone stop smoking or help someone understand the truth instead of the misleading information I have done well. You are correct that all this arguing is only adding fuel to the fire to make these products illegal except for what big tobacco wants to offer us. And I feel that if this type of behavior continues we will all be left with three options: 1) Going back to smoking 2) Vaping e-cigs like the Vuse, Mark-Ten, Blu, etc. 3) Not doing any of it. IMO people need to grow up instead of acting liek toddlers fighting over a toy. Be happy that we have this great alternative that has helped thousands to stop smoking and to be positive advocates so we do not lose it!

    • I agree, if you’re vaping, we’re happy. We actually have a blog about clones and how they are a good option for those who don’t want to invest in the cost of the authentic. Thank you for being willing to stand up and speak out with us and fight for our right to vape. We’re proud to have you as part of the MBV family.

  • Melissa Bishop says:

    Thanks for the great reminder! I have been off cigarettes for almost 2 years now and have successfully helped many others transition to vaping. I can’t think of one person who has returned to cigarettes. The key is finding the right flavor for you. On that note, I will never stop ordering from you unless you drop absinthe as a flavor.

    • You are very welcome! I’m am thrilled we have been able to be a part of your vaping journey and that you’ve been able to positively influence others as well. Congratulations and Vape on!

  • aikanae says:

    For some reason I was expecting this post to cover cartoon characters and trademark theft when it came to banding vape related products? That seems a very disive issue right now.

  • Aaron Witchey says:

    Vaping is great for all of us trying to stop smoking, but how good is it for all the children who will absolutely be drawn in by all the wonderful flavors? What we like so much about vaping is what is damning us…the flavors. If we all “REALLY” want to quit smoking/vaping, shouldn’t we all be more concerned with prevention than with fighting to blow clouds everywhere??? I love vaping, have been vaping for years. I have many mods and gallons of ejuice but I love my fellow man as well. Yes, we have rights….and so do the people that can not stand smoke / vape! If we do not respect their rights, how can we expect them to respect ours? We need a compromise, a way to meet on middle ground but as it is now, both sides are extremely angled to thier side and their wants. We need to stop being so selfish and think of others and the possible health impacts that could take place to ourselves and our kids because we really have no idea at all what all these different ejuice ingredients are going to do to us. What scares me the most is the fact that Michelle talked about so much bikering in the forums. This tells me that most of the vapors out there in those forums are underage, immature young people. Makes sense. Think the FDA noticed that too? Maybe before they stated: “this is an epidemic” Sorry if I offend anyone.

    • Kenny Spotz says:

      You never have to worry about offending anyone here, we like to keep this forum open to any person’s opinions. You are correct that the vaping community need to not be selfish and to understand the concerns of people who don’t want to deal with vapor in their public space. Everyone should have domain over what they choose to breath and if someone doesn’t want vapor around them then vapers need to be understanding of that wish. The more respect we give to people who don’t look kindly upon vaping, the more respect they will give to our cause.

  • Devonna says:

    Very well said

  • Robert says:

    There’s always gonna be that one person that never has positive things to say.This article was great and I agree with you 100%.

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