The Ring of Truth
If you listen, you can hear it. The ring of truth. My music history tests in college were made up entirely of essay style answers. My college professor, when handing out the tests, would always say he was looking for “the ring of truth” in our statements. I was reminded of this, as I listened to the House Commerce and Gaming Committee hearing on Monday at the Washington state capitol on HB 1645, which if enacted, will decimate the entire electronic cigarette industry in the state. I say will, because the bill is not entirely dead. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the bill can still be acted upon until Sine Die of the Washington legislature. This could be late April to early May, so vapers in Washinton state must remain attentive and vigilant. Now, when ecigs aren’t part of the active docket, is the best time to have your story heard by your elected officials.
According to a tweet by Grover Norquist, of the American’s for Tax Reform, there were approximately 400 vapers present at the hearing. This, in and of itself, is a testament to the growth and efficacy of our industry. The entire, nearly impromptu, rally remained calm and respectful during the entire proceeding. I would like to commend you all personally for your solidarity.
The committee hearing, of course, had it’s fair share of public health officials speaking in support of the vicious tax-hike / product ban. Each of the supporters of HB 1645 trumpeted nearly the same line of arguments about concerns with the growing use of electronic cigarettes among youth, the toxic chemicals argument sans divulging of levels found and the all-to-familiar blaming of the industry for not being regulated. Tell me again, how is the electronic cigarette industry at fault for the inaction of it’s federal government? I’m absolutely appalled at anyone who comes close to muttering the words “no electronic cigarettes have attempted to become a smoking cessation product”. For those of you who are new to advocacy, it is impossible for ecigs to become a smoking cessation product because the FDA lost in the Supreme Court the ability to regulate them as such. This type of retort has become something I have become accustomed to, and it becomes a sort of droning drivel. I’m not even affected by it any longer, to tell you the truth.
But, there is one that got to me; he made me upset. The ring of truth in his statement was undeniable. Representative Paul Harris of Vancouver stated “I decided to start taking some of the phone calls [from vapers] personally. I handled 50, and the more I listened to these people, the more I realized how addicted they were, and how sad it was”. Representative Harris’ truth wasn’t of what he said literally, but personally. The statement wasn’t one attacking anything of substance or science. Rather, it is one of pure vile hatred and immoral bullying of approximately 400 of “these people” in his own general vicinity.
The true and just ring of truth came from every single person who showed up, who spoke, who wrote in and who help others around them every single day in our industry. The moral and ethical ring of truth belongs to everyone in Washington state who are truly free; free from hatred, free from torment and those who have proclaimed their freedom from combustible tobacco. Every single person who went to the capitol has already claimed victory for themselves, and went there as a selfless act to fight for the next generation of vapers to retain the liberties of use and accessibility to purchase the products they have subsequently had the opportunity to use and purchase.
I’d really like to point to one person who stood out and potentially “saved the day”, but I honestly believe each of you brought an equal and substantial voice to the committee.