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From The Editor

THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY “The Definition Of Insanity Is Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting Different Results,” -Albert Einstein.

O

ur industry is blessed to have such passionate advocates. These individuals and groups, despite being underfunded and under appreciated, have fought valiantly and tirelessly on behalf of an industry that truthfully didn’t always deserve saving.

Despite their best efforts, arguably the worst case scenario was handed down in May with the release of FDA regulations that could literally destroy our industry. How are we as an industry handling the coming Armageddon? By proving the validity of of Einstein’s quote. The same advocacy groups that we had in place to keep the regulations from happening are now charting our course to fight these same regulations. And the industry as a whole is once again not supporting their efforts to a level that will give our industry a chance for success. I recently attended several advocacy panels that were somehow even less attended than pre-regulation panels. In other words, nothing has changed. So why should our expectations for success change? I was recently at an event and a hypothetical question was asked from a vendor who wanted to make a sizable donation, but did not know where to put his money. Every group present had perfectly solid explanations on why they were the correct choice for the money - but that attitude is exactly the problem.It is not that no one group is worthy of our money, it is that every group is worthy of our donation. And that luxury is a double edged sword. By having too many choices and strategies, the industry at large does not know what to support. What this industry needs is a leader. Someone to unify, if not the groups themselves but public sentiment so that the industry can be persuaded to get behind the most important battles While we can’t just fight one battle at a time, the industry does need to be able to prioritize fights and allocate resources so that we can put our resources where they are needed most. But that is not happening. Instead, we are giving the same speeches to the same empty crowds and at this critical juncture that is insane. The result of that insanity is that we have all but guaranteed that these are the last two years of vaping as we know it. Sincerely concerned, Gabriel Benson The Vaping Advocate

6 | Vaping Advocate


Drizzle


How ending innovation is not necessarily a bad thing By MIT Brickman

STANDING DOWN

A

ny good Risk Manager who sees a growing cascade of problems knows that a time-out is usually the best option. It’s not uncommon for errors or at-risk behaviors in any organization to grow exponentially if left unaddressed. It usually starts as just a few bad choices and simple mistakes, but then everything inexplicably spirals out of control – sending the entire organization crashing spectacularly to the ground. The idea behind a time-out is to freeze all of the frantic momentum before you have your own Hindenburg moment; to make everyone just…stop…moving for a few minutes and take a deep breath. In the aviation world it’s called a Safety Stand-Down, and it’s the best option when you find yourself running downhill too fast to watch for rocks – or perhaps even to stop. That’s where the current vapor industry is at – both the businesses and the customers are running too fast to stop. They’re like a burst of sparks, flying out in all directions, careening off of one other, multiplying, and then exploding in new directions. No control, no strategy, and in many cases – no purpose, other than to win the what’s new today? contest. They are increasing the power, reducing the resistance, multiplying the coils, enlarging the tanks, adding more air vents, and releasing yet another rum glazed donut lychee liquid (only this time with a teriyaki beef exhale) solely because it’s new. Not because it’s needed, or even better. Just…different. It reminds me of that iconic scene in This 10 | Vaping Advocate

is Spinal Tap, when Christopher Guest explains that his guitar amplifier is special because whereas most amps only go up to ten, his goes to eleven. 200 watts, 300 watts, 1,000 watts – at some point it just doesn’t matter anymore. Especially not to that huge segment of customers simply trying to manage their nicotine in a less harmful way. Far too many vapor businesses (run with little to no actual business experience) have gotten into that market-driven trap of innovating for the sake of innovation. Just to be able to say that theirs goes to eleven. Vape shop owners and customers all over the country are being driven to the point of distraction by the sheer volume of choices, options, and incompatible (or not safely compatible) products flooding the market. Not to mention the thousands of liquid brands and flavors, most of which actually taste the same. It’s been interesting to observe the overall vapor market during the past couple of years. I haven’t been able to figure out if the businesses created the environment of tweaky, schizophrenic customers always scrabbling for whatever is new and different, or if the environment of tweaky, schizophrenic customers pushed the businesses to accommodate their frenetic behavior. It probably doesn’t matter – either way, it is now self-perpetuating and has reached the point of ridiculousness. Whether business owners or vapers realize it or not, this FDA mandated stand-down is actually going to give them all an opportunity to stabilize.


of legitimacy. The benefit of course, is that it will bring great growth and opportunity through acquisitions, access to venture capital, and increased market respectability. And since the end goal should be to bring quality vaping to the tens of millions of current cigarette smokers who wish to quit, professionalism and legitimacy are going to be key.

AND WHAT OF THE FUTURE?

WELCOMING AUGUST 8TH The biggest short-term benefit that I see in life after August 8th will be the moratorium on all new products and flavors. The cost of entry into the vapor industry has been far too low up to this point, allowing every asshole with access to either machining tools or a kitchen to start a company, and begin promoting themselves (usually poorly) on Instagram. For the good of the industry’s future, there needs to be a period of equilibrium; an opportunity to normalize. Professional companies that make solid, quality products need to be able to find their footing in what has been a hurricane of noise and constant distraction. And the customers need an opportunity to discover brand loyalty, and to find out which products actually benefit them… and which ones are going to stop working after twelve days. It will be a period of industrial Darwinism, and it’ll ultimately be good for both vapers and quality vapor businesses. In addition to weeding out the garbage, this maturation period will also force necessary improvements between manufacturers/ suppliers and retailers. The relationships and synergy with the retail shops will become significantly more important to the survival of suppliers; leading to better business-to-business customer service, reduced MOQs (minimum order quantities), and a reduction in direct competition (suppliers undercutting the retail stores who carry their products). I even anticipate the rise of a strong Retailer Association, pooling the influence of hundreds or even thousands of independent shops to force further improvements on the industry’s production and distribution side, who to this point have controlled the entire game. As overall product quality increases, so will the wholesale pricing – since quality obviously costs more to produce than crap does. Add to that the various “tobacco” taxes and fees that are going to start raining onto the industry, and you will see margins shrink from their currently unsustainable 50%-150%, to a more reasonable retail benchmark; which will benefit the industry and the end customer by forcing good businesses to improve, and bad businesses to disappear. Woe to those who that think they are simply going to pack higher costs onto their customers in order to maintain stupid margins. As I wrote in a previous article, the adults are about to take over the vaping industry. But this purification by fire, which is going to be painful, is a necessary step if vaping is ever going to move on to the next level

As I am introduced to new people daily and learn first-hand of the growing support for vaping within the halls of government, my opinion is changing – I’m now leaning more confidently towards a change in the predicate date on the FDA’s PMTA process prior to 2018. I would even go so far as to discourage manufacturers from wasting time on the PMTA process for current products over the next twenty-four months. Hell, even if I’m wrong it’s not like the FDA will approve any of the applications anyway – so you might as well save yourself the time, money, and frustration in the coming two years. Of course, even a predicate date change won’t stop FDA product registration and industry oversight, but it will avoid the prohibitively expensive and nearly unpassable Pre-Market Approval process for products available prior to August 8th of this year. In order to fully get out from under the tobacco thumb of the state and federal governments, it’s going to require wide political and public support. Which means that just as vapor companies will need to improve to survive, so will the industry’s advocacy groups. It’s going to become much less about noise and indignation, and more about strategic relationships and targeted money; supporting the right candidates, pushing the right messages, and drafting the right policy. The associations will have to put Chutes and Ladders away and pull out their chess boards. I sincerely believe that the best days for the vaping industry are still ahead, which is great because you are in the ultimate win-win situation; financial success for properly motivated businesses, and significant public health and economic success for the community. One couldn’t ask for a more compelling mission.

BYLINE MIT Brickman is a writer living in California. His blog on the vaping industry and the politics of freedom, popular in more than 120 countries worldwide, can be found at MITBrickman.com. Vaping Advocate | 11


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8/9/16 - THE VAPERS ARE COMING! By Patrick Riffe (Nacht Noir)

It doesn’t matter what symbolism you use. “The sky is

falling!.” “Wolf!” “Winter is coming!”

8/8 has become the rallying cry for the vaping industry or “community” since the final rule was issued in May. 499 pages of the most confusing and contradictory language any of us have ever read began to be dissected and many people started telling other people what it all meant. There are plenty of misinformed people screaming that there will be no 8/9 because the FDA is going to tear it all down. Others saying that it will never happen and they plan on doing nothing about it. Both types have their heads in the sand.

For the ones crying that 8/8 is the end of vaping.

DOOMSDAY. Armaggedon. The Vape Rapture. 8/8 means a lot of things. But, the “End Times” it is not. Vaping will change on that date, but it will go on. That date will begin the phased regulation of our industry. After 8/8 you can’t sell to minors. (I sure hope that none of you 14 | Vaping Advocate

were doing that anyway.) You can’t bring new products to market after 8/8, so that will mean the end of new flavors unless the manufacturer seeks pre-market approval, not an easy task. Free sampling will be a thing of the past. I have a personal opinion about the nature of the “trick or treat” aspect I have seen in vaping over the past anyway. Sure it will be harder for smokers to find that perfect flavor that will make it easier for them to be successful, but if they are new to vaping after 8/8 they didn’t walk into your shop with the expectation of free stuff anyway. We are in this for them, the smoker. As long as vaping is here to save their lives, there are millions of potential customers for the industry. Crying that we can’t have free testing is small compared to that. I imagine that most of the complaints about the loss of free testing will be from long term vapers who will miss their chance to try before they buy. I’m an old school vaper who didn’t have access to vape shops for the first 3 years of vaping. I used to have to spend a lot of money ordering online and had hundreds of bottles of e-liquid that sounded awesome on the website but did not live up to the descriptions. I get it, but it isn’t the end of the world if you have to pay a buck to sample e-liquids.


“THE SKY IS FALLING!” The worst aspect of 8/8 is the prohibition on bringing out new products. This industry has become a victim of success and innovation. The consumers have gotten used to there always being something new to buy or try. “I want that new atomizer.” “I want that new 500 watt box mod.” “What new flavors do you have?” In a world addicted to gadgets and new tech items, a halt to innovation is the first nail in the coffin lid. The vaping industry has only grown as large as it has because of rapid innovation. With new hardware seemingly everyday the larger companies were driven to create new, more efficient and flashy devices and atomizers to sate the thirst of eager vapers.

The cold will hit but it comes later, and 8/8 is just the Autumn. We can still start preparing and continue to thrive while those that stand watch on the wall keeps on eye on the coming storm. If you want to be protected now is the time to stand up and help. On 8/9 we should re-cinch our belts and renew our efforts to prep for the storm, keep the wolves from our door and prop up the sky. The rallying cry should be…..

“8/9! THE VAPERS ARE COMING!” and it should be our enemies crying it in fear of us.

We often describe vaping as a “Disruptive Technology.” It is disruptive and there are plenty of people that want it to fail. Tobacco companies, pharmacy companies, and even the government has had money taken out of their pockets because of vaping. It has disrupted the status quo and the FDA is there to try to fix the problem for its friends. But, running around saying it will happen on 8/8 has caused many to ignore the cries of advocates trying to fight for you.

“WOLF!” Ok there is a wolf huffing and puffing and there are some things we need to be alarmed about. After 8/8, the FDA will start sending compliance officers around to make sure you aren’t breaking the rules. You won’t know who they are and if you aren’t breaking the rules you will never know they were there. The real BIG BAD WOLF you should really be concerned about has nothing to do with 8/8. What is worse is that there isn’t just one wolf. There are thousands of tax money hungry wolves in the state houses and local city council chambers all over America. They will come and eat your grandma and lay in wait to take a bite out of you. There is an axe wielding woodsman, but he won’t come to help you if you don’t let him know where you are. The woodsman comes in the form of your state trade associations. They are there to help you, but if you aren’t in the loop and participating in protecting this industry - you won’t even know when to ask for help.

“WINTER IS COMING!” Ok, yes there will be plenty of cold nights to come. The industry will have hard times ahead, and yes, some will die from the cold. When roughly 1% of the industry is doing all of the fighting for the industry some should probably die off. Those that have been fighting and preparing for the survival of this industry should be the ones with a future in it. There are many in this industry that have done nothing but give lip service to advocacy. Telling people you have a connection with the FDA, saying that you are a member of a trade organization and aren’t, telling customers that nothing is happening and not to worry while someone else busts their ass going to the Capitol and fighting is a cowards way out and when the cold hits you deserve to get frost bite. Vaping Advocate | 15


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VAPOR TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION How The VTA Is Changing Vaping Advocacy

National Legislative Director, Vapor Technology Association (VTA)

I

t is no secret that vaping is under attack. By the time you are reading this, August 8th has come and gone. The most negative among us are predicting armageddon. Even the most positive among us are predicting a slow decline of vaping. As the reality of the FDA Regulations have set in, it has become clear to many that a National strategy had be built on two pillars. One pillar would be the legal strategy of filing a comprehensive lawsuit that would challenge the very basis of the regulations. The second pillar would be a comprehensive legislative strategy.

While the industry has alway been aware of HR 2058 and more recently the Cole-Bishop Amendment, with all due respect to other trade organizations, there has always been a mixed message on the best way to outmaneuver our enemies and the political system in order to pass a law that would change the grandfather date. From mass confusion has emerged The Vapor Technology Association. The VTA was originally formed by two former SFATA members, and has grown into a association with members ranging from large and small manufacturers, single owner vape shops, as well as state trade associations. VTA has two interesting aspects that make it worth paying attention to for our readers; 1. They have a dedicated Washington, DC public affairs team whose sole purpose is to redefine the debate and promote VTA’s legislative strategy. 2. Their relationship with West Front Strategies. West Front Strategies is known for being “The Vaping Lobbyists,” and have been at the forefront of the national fight for sensible regulations. Vaping Advocate | 17


“The primary reason the VTA was created was the need to pursue aggressively and without question, the changing of the predicate date,” VTA’s National Legislative Director Tony Abboud recently told The Vaping Advocate. “Secondarily to that, we want to demonstrate that the vaping industry can promote responsible manufacturing policies that we are ready and willing to put our names on.” One such piece of legislation was HR 2058, which was an impetus behind the forming of the VTA. “HR 2058 was difficult, because as a stand alone bill it never had a solid chance of being viable,” continued Abboud. “With the ColeBishop amendment we were able to find the right vehicle that had a chance of moving through Congress.” The vehicle that will hopefully chauffeur Cole-Bishop through Congress was the yearly budget appropriates bill, the legendary document that they alway show on the news that is twice as big as the NYC phonebook. While the timeline is still up in the air, Tony believes that action will be taken on Cole-Bishop before the next Congress is sworn-in during January 2017. “The VTA goal is keep the industry viable. Right now without a predicate date change, the industry is stagnant and not just in the ways you think,” continued Abboud. “Business’ hate uncertainty. 18 | Vaping Advocate

Right now it is nearly impossible for a business owner to know where to put their money. It is our goal to change the predicate date in order to offer more certainty to the business owner, which will allow innovation and to keep this industry viable.” However, like a good war general the VTA is looking beyond just moving the predicate date. Without a system in place for approval of new documents, even moving the predicate date will only be a short-term fix. “We really do have bigger plans than just moving the predicate date. Our goal is to really impact the regulatory scheme and create a system that actually works for vaping products. The laws as written will not work for our products. We need to address the issue of an antiquated regulatory scheme. We need to keep companies in business to save vaping.” To learn more about the VTA and how to become a member, please visit http://www.vaportechnology.org


Vaping Advocate | 19


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W

ithout a doubt, the landscape of our industry is changing by the minute. In the last few weeks there has been an insurgence of new products that have made it to market. It’s clear that every manufacturer is trying to preserve their spot in the vape game before August 8th, but at what cost?

Unless you have been living under a rock, social media has become our main source for marketing. Every day when you wake up and open Instagram you are sure to see a plethora of new items that weren’t available the day before. Normally this would be a good thing, right? I mean, it’s a free market, why not try to cash in? Wrong! Over the years, branding has been one of the biggest problems our advocates have been the most vocal about. To be honest, it’s becoming that ‘zit that you can’t pop’ all over again. In the last few days I have seen e-liquid bottles that are infringing on intellectual property, too childlike, or that resemble a grenade. You read that right, a Flash Bang Grenade! Can anyone honestly think that this will be ignored? Our industry has been looking for a savior for quite some time, and we found him. His name is Senator Ron Johnson. Can you imagine the Senator’s reaction to some of these labels? Do you honestly think he would continue fighting for us if he knew that there was a bottle in the shape of a grenade? You already know the answer to these questions, so let’s move on. At this point, August 8th doesn’t really mean much to me anymore. I’m more worried about December 31st. If you are one of the careless manufacturers that continue to produce these offensive labels or bottles, chances are you don’t know what’s going to happen on December 31st. Or do you? On December 31st, the registration of establishments engaged in the manufacture, preparation, compounding, or processing of a tobacco product and product listings, is due. Will these companies even bother with the registration, or are they in it for a quick ‘smash and grab’ for the next 4 months? If this is the case, we, The Industry, kindly ask you to make your way to the exit NOW! You know that you will not be registering a bottle that looks like a bomb or uses foul language in your branding. Now that I got that off my chest, lets talk about October 19th. On this day in Washington DC, 2 of the biggest lawsuits filed against the FDA will be heard in court. The suit filed by NicoPure and The Right To Be Smoke Free Coalition was combined to make one massive lawsuit against the Federal Drug Administration. This by no means is a cause for celebration. It should actually scare you. The FDA is watching our every move. They are scanning social media just as much as a purchaser at any distro. You have to know that they will be coming to court with examples of the products that we continue to sell at market. Will any of these last minute entries in to the market be an example? I believe they will. Listen, we get it. We’ve created an industry that for the longest time has accepted these brandings. We also understand that you are just trying to make a quick buck before December 31st, but we do not want you hanging around anymore, making it harder for others to weather the storm. If you are purchasing these products for your store you are just as guilty. You are enabling these manufacturers to continue littering our marketplace. Please think twice about what you are doing. I speak on behalf of many in this industry when I say this; this has to stop! Brian Michael Walters Vapor Shark, Director of Communications The Right To Be Smoke Free Coalition, Secretary Vaping Advocate | 23


Embracing A Tough Fight Key Lessons for the Vapor Industry By Murdoch McBride

F

or the past few years, the vape industry has ridden a wave of promise. Manufacturers, suppliers and customers alike have surfed what they considered to be their own Pipeline, to borrow the name surfers give the distinctive and challenging surf on Oahu’s North Shore. With the alacrity and commitment you might expect from competitive surfers bounding into the waves, the players in the vape industry jumped in and exploited an opportunity to participate in what was essentially a tobacco do-over. The water was fine, they said, and many heralded the past few years as a period of innovation and progress—an altruistic disruption and a welcome redefining of the tobacco industry in the postMaster Settlement Agreement world. The tone was often friendly, positive, creatively rebellious, high-energy, and almost always entrepreneurial—if a given member of the vape community was not an actual change agent, then you could bet they considered themselves early adopters who had embraced the movement. Before the FDA’s recent rules and regulations were announced in early May, the anticipation of its cumbersome and onerous regulations was a theoretical abstract that could be discussed, dreaded, derided and dismissed, even as the industry’s best advocates tried to deal with raising public awareness and inspiring industry involvement

in the effort to lobby for more favorable footing. There was always the chance, or at least the hope, that the FDA would come down favorably on the side of vapor. Ideally, the FDA would have ruled that by comparison with traditional tobacco the vape industry’s alternative and emerging products promoted the public weal. From e-cigs and mods and right through vapor’s early years, alternatives were all about the gradual but steady decline in combustible cigarette use and the resulting rise in emerging products—and this new wave was clearly a better choice for consumers. That was one of the thrusts of vape marketing. But one problem with marketing, and the thinking behind it, is that its practitioners believe that shaping reality is within their control, just because they can create language to help describe a hypothetical scenario that is desirable within the scope of their business plan. It can be quite unsettling when things don’t go the way you planned, but news of the imminent implementation of the FDA rules and regulations by August 2016 sent veritable shock waves through the vapor world—for many, such regulation-laden and burdensome pathways to market might just as well have been what surfers call a wipeout. Vaping Advocate | 25


“Rollercoaster,” said Cynthia Cabrera, now head of the Cating Group, which consults, lobbies and advocates for clients in the field. “A twisting, plunging and scary rollercoaster. That’s the single word I would use to describe the mental state the vapor industry has been experiencing since the deeming regulations came out.” Cabrera is familiar to the vaping community as the former executive director of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) where she did much of the groundwork to establish SFATA’s essential industry alliances and to create that organization’s central strategy. “The day the deeming regulations came out I spent the day giving television and print interviews, and popping in and out of an industry conference between those interviews,” Cabrera said.“It was an exhausting day that set the tone for the next two years.Vapor is now tobacco and the vapor folks are expected to get with the program. The combusted tobacco people were far more sanguine about the situation; they’ve done this before. That’s something the vapor industry needs to remember. Despite the fact that the majority of the vapor industry are vehemently anti-combusted tobacco products, it’s worth keeping in mind that Big T plays the long game. Regardless of whether anyone buys that Big T is now in the harm reduction game or 26 | Vaping Advocate

not, the fact is that they stand to lose a lot if innovation is stifled. So, for the foreseeable future we’re in it together.” Cabrera’s website [fdaregs.info/tag/cating-group/] offers some wisdom on the situation as it stands: “On the legislative front we have HR 2058 (The Cole Act) and the Cole-Bishop Amendment. In truth, HR 2058 is a far better alternative for the vapor and e-cig industry because all it does is move the predicate (date) from February 2007. The Cole-Bishop amendment moves the predicate date but also adds regulations in addition to those already specified by the final regulations and implements them sooner. Neither of these solutions fixes the long-term and inescapable challenges created by the final deeming rule, which means we have to keep working toward the thing that does. Finding the right vehicle (maybe it’s HR 2058), gaining the right critical mass and pushing the right pressure points is the only strategy we have.” This is a shakeout, pure and simple. Some companies will survive and others will not. One hopes that the good people in the industry will adapt and evolve into new roles. Part of that will be about adjusting to life under an FDA microscope. Yes, the vapor industry must learn to embrace new rules and limitations that could force many out of business, but even the toughest scenario provides opportunities. The shakeout will eventually pass and the


successful vape and alternative product manufacturers will not only be developing their own industry anew but will find themselves working in different ways with each other and with Big Tobacco. It is important to remember that traditional tobacco companies have long experience in this difficult game and much can be learned (meaning both what to do and what not to do) by studying that model. Look at the short list of companies that have filed suit since the shakeout began—you’ll see Altria’s name right there alongside dedicated vapor companies. As the vape world cinches its belt and prepares for its long contest, the FDA rules will become effective and there will be no turning back. The days of being able to dismiss the thought of a harsh regulatory reality are over, and for vape industry survivors, that kind of thinking—like our Pipeline metaphor above— will be a memory, a thing of the past. The next pipeline that the vape industry enjoys will be one that it fashions on its own and as the result of collaboration, good planning and sound business decisions. “August 8th 2016 will change the vapor landscape forever but it won’t stop there,” Cabrera said. “If the vapor industry is to survive, more intact than broken, we need to make friends with our adversaries and learn that even though we’re regulated, the battle is just beginning.” As a consultant at The Cating Group, Cabrera says she works daily to enlighten vapor and tobacco companies about the way forward. “It’s about addressing strategies for legislative relief, litigation successes and the regulatory challenges we all now face,” Cabrera said. “Too many lives and too many businesses are at stake to curl up and hide. I fight for my clients and the vapor industry, we all need to fight together.” As the vape industry digs in, disabused of assumptions borne of an unregulated and unrealistic model, traditional tobacco may hold many lessons about managing resources and strategizing despite withering opposition. Cigarettes have gradually come down over the decades from being the most successful consumer product ever to being all but socially unacceptable. But a market exists for tobacco and consumers still want their tobacco products. The vapor industry offers tobacco products in a fine, alternative form. Over the past few years it has been fun to write about vape with all the innovation, sometimes an exclusive franchise, always the entrepreneurial chutzpah and sometimes the bold adventure of a business starting on little more than a dare. Sure, there was a cloud or two over the beach, like the FDA regulations, but it was promising and, in some ways, still is. But promise does not necessarily mean progress, not without hard lessons being learned and not without tremendous effort. In the past several weeks, people have thought along these lines, reflecting on their lessons and thinking about things with the benefit of a new perspective. It may sound crazy, but maybe the best lesson the vape industry can take from the Summer of 2016 is that it is better off now, with regulations, than it was before—because you are always better off knowing where you stand rather than wondering whether or not the hammer is going to fall. Isn’t it better to engage a tough fight than it is to speculate and embrace false hope? And as any surfer will tell you, riding those waves can really feed your Zen, but they can also be disruptive—and no matter how careful you are, they often come back to knock you flat on your ass. The key is how many times you pick yourself up and head back into the surf.

Are We All in the Tobacco Industry Now? Mistic’s Justin Wiesehan Comments on the New Regulatory Environment We are learning that getting a product approved through the PMTA is a lot more onerous than we thought. One of the main things that we’ve learned in the last two to three months since deeming came out is a new understanding of the complexity of the questions that the FDA asks and how complicated the PMTA approval process is going to be. In terms of the tests and studies about everything from flavors to toxicity, it is a difficult process and a lot goes into deciding whether the FDA finds that a product is appropriate for the protection of public health. We have been good about finding the right partners and surrounding ourselves with professionals who know the landscape and the environment, including an outside counsel who used to work for the FDA, and a lobbyist who can advise us on legislative efforts. Basically we are moving forward on the assumption that the predicate date will not change and that the worst case scenario is most likely, which means that our products will all have to be approved through a PMTA. I recently heard someone share their research and they reported that as a result of the regulations as many as 65 percent of the vapor companies he had spoken to were planning to ride out the existing twoyear window ahead of mandatory compliance before shutting down their business altogether. I was at a conference this week where someone said, “We’re all part of the tobacco industry,” which took everyone aback. The fact is, we all worked to not be part of the tobacco industry. At Mistic, we still look at vapor products as if we are an alternative to combustible tobacco, always putting products into the market that give the consumer economic value and an alternative to tobacco while satisfying their craving for nicotine and the habit that they have gained over a lifetime. We try to get them away from tobacco. We can’t say our product is healthier and we certainly cannot advertise that it is a healthier choice, but I think that one result of all the onerous regulatory approvals and everything else that the FDA will put us through will be that on the other side of it all, it will be confirmed that our products add value to the public safety and that at the very least it will be shown to be a less harmful alternative to smoking, confirming what the majority of scientists already have stated. Vaping Advocate | 27


THE VAPERS DEPOT

In A Time Of Turmoil, Nick Orlando Has Created A Haven For Vapers By Nick Orlando

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n 2008 vape products were few and far between. I had seen the guys at the mall with their cig-a-like set-ups and direct mail refills and became curious. I had wanted to quit smoking and when I found this new device I did vast amounts of research until I found the right “set-up” and got started. After the initial getting to know the device, yes, this was working. Less cigarettes, more vaping…. equal time vaping vs. smoking…. then it was doable, all vaping, no smoking. After years of trying the patch, pills, cold turkey, gum… I couldn’t believe this habit was gone after 30 years. No more, smelly clothes, polluted car, stinky house, blowing second hand smoke without regard.

In early 2013, I reached out to every wholesaler I could find. I started building relationships and made friends in the industry. And then the final step, opening a store that would be the type of place where smokers could come in and learn how to quit. With the support of family and friends it happened. The Orlando family is now owner/operators of three stores in the Clearwater/Largo area. Even in the face of deeming regulation, opening a new store is a logical thing for me. My passion for the product and my drive to help people kick the habit is worth all the regulatory red tape. Health and lives are at stake. Now is the time to make a difference and to get involved and show others that they can make a difference too.

This device has saved my life. Fast forward two years, and vaping had now become the norm. Good products are hard to find and the cost was too prohibitive for the average person trying to quit. At that point I made it my life mission to offer a better product at a better price - and help people quit! But I needed to find the right product. 30 | Vaping Advocate

With our latest venture, we wanted to make a store that was a little different. I had determined there is a need for affordable, name brand juices and coils of all kinds. The goal is to allow vapers to keep vaping and to convert smokers, one at a time. A store opened for vapers by vapers. The Vapers Depot is our passion project and it is now a reality.


working 365 days per year to protect the rights of vapers. I am also involved with the Vaping Militia, a member of CASAA and wholeheartedly supports the efforts of AVA, VTA, SEVIA, CFA, R2Bsmokefree and the “A Billion Lives” project. My vision is to bring the community together and educate everyone, vapers and non-vapers alike, about the plight of the vaper. The understanding of vaping has been so skewed by the media and other outlets, that facts are hard to find and even harder to refute.

The Vapers Depot has developed a model where all 30 milliliter e-liquids are $15 or less. Smokers are offered a free kit with battery, charger, tank and e-liquid free of charge to give vaping a try as a healthy alternative to analogue smoking. The revisit rates for these customers are about 90% to purchase more e-liquid to continue their journey to be smoke free. Also, The Vapor Depot encourages all who visit to have a strong presence in advocacy; to empower each vaper with knowledge of the industry and the guidance to get involved. As many of you know, I was involved in state advocacy from the beginning and I was so proud of Florida Smoke Free Association, which is the only advocacy organization in the state to have an active lobbyist

Nick and his family have a business mission statement – “To get as many people off of combustible tobacco as possible, even at a cost to the company.” “There is a point where the passion overrides the pocketbook.” “We truly believe that this product is saving lives and the Orlando family will do our part to get it in the hands of the people who need it”.

Vaping Advocate | 31


ADVOCACY’S ADVOCATE W

hen Austin and I were discussing who should be featured in the next issue of The Vaping Advocate, we both agreed that we wanted to tell a different type of story. Since the regulations came down, we have been disappointed by how many fingers have been pointed at our advocates for not doing enough on our behalf.

What goes unnoticed is that most of our advocates are volunteers and that they do what they do at the expense of their families and their businesses. So when it came to make a list of vapingleaders who put advocacy first, we could think of no better example than Schell Hammel. Schell Hammel opened The Vapor Bar, which was just the second vape shop ever in her home state of Texas, in McKinney, (north of Dallas) in January 2011. Sev-eral years later, The Vapor Bar has six locations throughout Texas, and two more in Virginia and West Virginia. But while the The Vapor Bar, and her wholesale liquid line are vaping success stories, Schell is more well known for her role as Texas SFATA President and newly appointed Vice President of SFATA National.

Somehow, Schell does all of this and is a wife and mother of two boys. When I approached Schell, she asked me to send her a list of questions - which I did, but it was my first question that was the most out of the ordinary. I wanted to see how she fit being a mother, a wife, a business owner and an ad-vocate into a single day.

What follows is a breakdown of the typical day of this advocate, business owner and wife and mother of two.

• • • •

5:30 am - Alarm goes off, I’m ready for some coffee. 5:40 am - Making lunch for my son 6:00 am - Quick email to my lawyer about FDA meeting 6:15 am - Quick Text to a friend who had been feeling under the weather • 6:30 am - My son Scott comes down and we talk about his homework assignment.

One of the many things that unite us as a group is that everyone has suffered a loss due to the horrors of cigarettes.

Vaping Advocate | 33


Schell had spent her pre-vaping days working in marketing and business devel-opment, including administrative positions in occupational medicine an bariatric weight loss. Confident that there was both a business in vaping, and after re-searching and talking to other e-cigarette users, Schell and her family ventured into business opening their own shop, The Vapor Bar.

• 1:30pm - Set late night conference call with four state SFATA chapter groups. • 1:45pm - Mailed and paid bills • 2:15pm - Pre-set conference call with an individual about a plan of attack for advocacy on a state-by-state level. • 2:30pm - In the car. Going to get something to eat. I remember I need to order tanks and batteries for The Vapor Bar. “I was raised by grandfather in a smoking household. Everyone smoked. It was just the way it was. I eventually lost three grandparents to lung cancer, including my grandfather who was the one who raised me. My grandfather begged me to stop smoking right up until the day he died,” Schell told me recently. “And I tried everything. Chantix, nicotine patches, Zyban. But nothing worked.” “Then one day in November 2009, I tried an e-cigarette. It was immediate. This was what I needed to quit, and I was so lucky that I never went back,” Schell con-tinued.

• 8:30 am - Email exchange regarding the Right To Be Smokefree Lawsuit • 9:00 am - Meeting with Texas SFATA lobbyist about a symposium in Fall 2016 for • state legislators. • 9:45 am - Had meeting with local vape business owner to educate on FDA regulations. • 10:30: Starbucks! Finally. Recharged and revived. • 11:00am - Conference call with my Vapor Bar team. Issues discussed included con-struction on our new and expanded lab, creation of new lines before August 8th dead-line, and overall advertising plan. • 12:00pm - SFATA software conference call while loading the dishwasher. Sometimes you have to multi-task. • 12:30 - Conference call with SFATA board member about upcoming committee meet-ings. I packed for a trip during the conference call - don’t tell anyone. 34 | Vaping Advocate

From the very beginning The Vapor Bar was different than your average store. While it had a variety of devices for all experience levels, The Vapor Bar was al-ways particular about the products it carried. “With any product I carry, my first concern was safety and education,” said Schell. “It was important to me that a first time visitor to my store would feel immediately at home. And while I appreciate and love many of the more advanced devices, I wanted to have products in my shop that were reliable and easy to use, so that is why we always had a variety of starter kits available.” In addition, Schell focused from day one on battery safety. All her stores required customers to sign a waiver form stating that they had read the battery safety protocols. “These devices are amazing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have risk,” Schell continued. “But through education you can help eliminate the dangers to yourself and your customers.” Another way that The Vapor Bar stood out was her early adoption of AEMSA standards, and her insistence on having all her products tested for Diacetyl/AP very early on. “It would have been easier in a way to carry outside lines, but I wanted to make sure that i knew 100% what was in my products. I spent a fortune testing and re-testing and reformulating our flavoring until I had test results that I could proudly display.”


“I needed to feel confident that the product I was offering was a product that I was 100% comfortable selling someone,” Schell said. “If I sold something that I couldn’t believe in, than I always felt that I was doing that customer, who had put their faith in us to help them, a disservice.”

• 3:15pm - Another phone call with a board member about upcoming meetings, agen-das and credit card processing on our website. • 3:45pm - Convention presenter calls me to discuss attending a convention. • 4:00pm - Fed my dogs, and took them outside which was the perfect time to email the Texas SFATA board an agenda for our next meeting. • 4:15pm - More coffee. Yes. More laundry. Why is there always so much laundry?

While The Vapor Bar continues to expand, Schell and her team have also branched out into the wholesale market with her new wholes lines.

“I have been asked about wholesaling our line so many times in the past, and I never wanted in that market. Just recently we decided to go ahead with it, but only select ones we felt were complex and noteworthy,” said Schell. “I think everyone knows how compliant and strict I am regarding ingredient test-ing, safety and regulations, that it has been received well. Besides, they’re amazing.” • 4:30pm - Time with Family. • 7:00pm - Conference call with Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma regarding regula-tions. • 8:00pm - Answer questions for article, and respond to emails. • 9:00pm - Start Texas initiative to promote Texas shops that support advocacy.

As anyone who has been on any of Schell’s webinars, seen her speak at a vape convention, or were lucky enough to see her in action at the Texas Legislature - you know she does nothing half-way. That is why she almost immediately took on a leadership role in Texas. Schell’s dedication to advocacy continued on a national level with her recent appoint-ment as Vice President of SFATA. In that role, Schell will not only help form a coherent national strategy for the reorganized advocacy group, but will also take her success as Texas SFATA President and be a liaison for the SFATA state chapters.

“Advocacy is tough. Nothing is a sure bet and sometimes you truly feel as if you work consistently and not a dent has been made,” Hammel continues. “I just know that if we continue to go at it with a pure heart, something has to work. That’s the only way I know how.” • 9:45pm - Work out time. • 11:00pm - Time to relax. Finally. Wait. I feel like I forgot something. • 11:30pm - Remembered to finally order the supplies I need for The Vapor Bar. • 12:45pm - Finally time for bed.

When I ask Schell about her family, she is quiet for a moment before speaking. “I have the most amazing family. My husband and sons are so very supportive and I know that has to be tough because they hear “hold on” or, “I’m on the phone” from me so much! I owe them a mountain of time when this fight has ended and no boys deserve it more. They are my heart.”

The day ends, and while it is impossible to say “all the work is done” when you own your own business and you are helping to guide hundreds of businesses through the hurdles of regulation, it is safe to say that the vaping world is a little better place at the end of the day, then it was at the begging of the day. Vaping Advocate | 35


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FFDA stands for Formulated For Dripping Atomizers. What did you think it stood for? BLUNT TALK with Michael Adams of Vapor Dynamix By Gabriel Benson

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here are two things you can say for sure about Michael Adams and the team at Vapor Dynamix. First, they are proud southerners and their never ending warmth and hospitality shine through in their products and convention presentation. Secondly, they are unabashed fans of vaping and vape culture. They have never shied away from telling it like it is, especially with the launch of FFDA last year. Now like so many the owner of Southern Traditions and FFDA is hurrying to launch new products ahead of the August 8th deadline, but The Vaping Advocate got Mike to take a few moments to reflect on the industry and its future. Gabriel Benson - Let’s start from the beginning. How did you end up here? Mike Adams - Our background is like so many of your other cool readers. I smoked for 20+ years, and then my road to here all started when I tried a e-cig in 2010. I felt like it was inadequate, yet saw a tremendous amount of potential as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. The cost at that time and the availability of a quality product was ridiculous, a starter kit was in excess of $100.00. Wanting to do better, we developed an e-cig in 201, which led to us

starting a wholesale business in the Oklahoma and Arkansas area that later led to our opening retail locations in Arkansas. I personally switched solely to vaping in 2011, after finding a liquid that was satisfying and a product that was consistent and affordable, I knew that if I could make the switch after a 2 pack a day habit for 20+years that this was a realistic option for anyone who had the desire. The best part was the support from my wife and children. That alone was enough to know this was the right choice. Vaping Advocate - Since you were an early adopter and opened your shops before the wholesale craze, you basically had no choice but to make your own liquid. Michael Adams - Exactly. We initially developed e-liquid for our retail stores when there weren’t other options and before premiums. If you owned a vapor store in 2011, 2012 and 2013 you made your own liquid and the success of your store was based on the quality of your liquid. A lot of people were selling Chinese made liquids and the quality and consistency was as expected. Our stores (and liquids) were successful because we all personally used our products daily, all our friends and family used our liquids, and if the quality was poor you can count on family to be your biggest critics. The other key point was we didn’t hire anyone to work in our retail stores who didn’t vape and weren’t mature adults with a certain level Vaping Advocate | 39


of communication skills. Every customer who walked through the door was an educational opportunity and if you didn’t properly teach smokers how to vape they would go back to smoking, This was and still is our focus. The best way to grow this industry is to teach smokers everything they need to be successful, because they you know they will return with their friends and family. Vaping Advocate - And then you made the inevitable move to wholesale? Mike Adams - Southern Tradition Premium Eliquid and FFDA Eliquid were developed in late 2014 and launched in 2015, we decided to pursue our passion in creating two very unique and recognizable brands based on our beliefs and what we preferred to vape daily. We had a square 30ml glass bottle molded specifically for us and built the look and the brand around our idea of a true Southern product. Southern Tradition comes in a square glass bottle, has a brown paper label and comes in a burlap sack..... doesn’t get more Southern then that. Realistic flavors like Grannies Cookies, Apple Pie Moonshine, Banana Pudding and Black Berries & Creme, not your typical candied or overly sweet flavors but rather true southern flavors you can vape all day.Along the same lines as Southern Tradition we recently launched the latest southern themed brand, “Farm Fresh” Eliquid, three incredibly accurate all day flavors, lemon Meringue Pie, Apple Pie Filling and Melon patch. A couple of these flavors were available for sampling in Miami and Chicago and the response was incredible. If you’re looking for a unique brand that’s consistently a top seller,you should try a bottle and see for yourself. Gabriel Benson - You and I met last year when “someone” told me that I could not invite you to a convention that Austin and I were running because of the “F” in FFDA. It is funny because now that has basically become the unofficial industry model? Mike Adams - FFDA “formulated for dripping atomizers”, is a federally registered trademark....well.....LOL... We developed the brand based on customer feed back and our personal feelings toward the Food and Drug Administration’s future plans for our way of life. I won’t give you a dramatic story rising from the ashes or some inflated miraculous 40 | Vaping Advocate

conception. Being asked regularly for a specific liquid designed for the advanced user coupled with the growing popularity of drippers and sub tanks we just did what we liked and other vapors liked. We kept hearing the same request, a high VG eliquid with bright “punch you in the face” extremely smooth flavors. Vapors, myself, friends, employees and family members wanting a dripper line they could “rip on” and the flavor wouldn’t fade or get harsh and so FFDA was born. Gabriel Benson - You and I have talked about the shell game that is “public perception” when it comes to vaping. You had to know that at least some in the industry were offended by your methods? Michael Adams - Let me start by saying not everyone was offended at first. In fact some folks who shared a similar lack of faith in the FDA, and could see the ghost behind the curtain loved it and to this day they still stand behind their opinions and support our brand. There certainly was another percentage of the vaping community that scoffed at such a name and it’s perceived meaning. Often stating it was politically incorrect, potentially offensive to politicians who didn’t know better on the off chance might rarely visit a retail store, expo or convention. Yet now we are told ignorance is no excuse on the deeming regulations and what we are expected to know and do to be compliant? My personal favorite, is the folks trying to convince me how we should be working with the FDA to bring sensible regulation to our industry. My response to the aforementioned sheep is simple, when in “HISTORY” has the FDA ever worked “with” or benefitted independently owned and operated small businesses..... always crickets. Some might agree, history repeats itself and historically the FDA has done nothing to support the lives and families this predominantly independently owned industry helps daily... so before you judge a brand by it’s name consider the big picture. Even to this day there are people who still share this belief scoffing at the name FFDA and to this sentiment I say, you can’t fix stupid! You are correct in saying a vast majority now have the same feeling, one might even say FFDA is a national motto. We were anti-FDA long before it was cool and will continue to be long after. It’s a southern thing I reckon.


Gabriel Benson - So another thing that makes some advocates crazy, are cloud comps and trick shows as many (myself included) feel that these events have become more important than converting smokers. Now, I know you are driven by converting smokers, yet you are a huge supporter of cloud and trick comps. What is your thinking? Mike Adams - As you know we are a big supporter of cloud and trick comps. We have given away a lot of money and product at various events over the last 16 months and I have no doubt that it is good for the industry. I’ll try to convey what this means to us as a company and individually the best I can. Vapor is a way of life for us.It is what we do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most of us business owners in this industry don’t have corporate offices or an army of employees,we do it ourselves. We answer phones, sign accounts, pack orders, drive across this country to Vapor shows day in and day out, it’s all we do. A lot of us have a small group of employees, “our crew” who live vapor and appreciate what its done for them and their families. We get home at 8pm every night and get on the computer until 1:30am and do it all over again the next day, everyday! So if a 20 year old kid comes up to me and tells me he quit smoking because he attended a cloud comp or trick comp and realized he could vape his nicotine and have fun then who am I to tell him this is wrong? I’m will tell him that’s awesome and anyone who tells him otherwise needs a reality check! Vaping is a lifestyle.Its not smoking.We enjoy our mods and our tanks and our authentic products no different than a guy who loves his hot rod and enjoys building it. If that means tricks or clouds can help anyone at any age enjoy vaping enough to walk away from traditional tobacco then how can this be bad? Can anyone intelligently quantify how an internet picture of someone blowing a cloud will genuinely affect the millions of lobbyist dollars buying the FDA regulations? Here again people are blinded in believing silly

nonsense like this truly has ANY effect on the big picture and takes their focus off the real problems. Gabriel Benson - How do you feel about the state of advocacy in this new era? Mike Adams - We are members in multiple organizations and donate to many groups, SFATA, OVAL, AVA, NotBlowingSmoke, and others. But at the end of the day if every company owner I talk to has the same reservations regarding transparency in these organizations it’s a systemic problem that must be fixed before everyone can work together as an industry. If all advocacy organizations provided some form of financial statement to their members showing what exactly was done with all dollars donated we’d have a lot more companies donating and helping support the organizations that can potentially make a difference in our industry. I am grateful for the growing support toward advocacy from a lot of people I’ve spoken to but I also understand these voiced concerns and can see both sides of the argument. I read and hear a lot of talk in a wide variety of groups and the biggest concern I hear is understanding whats being done with all dollars donated, if everyone understood what was being done and the positive aspects of becoming a member the outcome would be ten fold the current participation. Better educating business owners on what their advocacy dollars are being used to support would benefit the industry greatly and the end result would be converting more people from tobacco to vapor. This should be the main goal for everyone in our industry, saving the lives of the ones they love, their friends and family members. The easiest way to do this is through example and communication. The next time you see someone smoking tell them how vaping has changed your life in a positive way and direct them to a local shop that can properly educate them on products and what they need. Vaping Advocate | 41


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ARE VAPE CONVENTIONS GOING TO GO EXTINCT? Convention Show Runner Roundtable

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here was a time not long ago when it seemed that vape conventions were happening every weekend. In fact it was not uncommon to have two events on the same weekend.

However, since the industry has become focused on preparing for August 8th 2016, less shows have been announced, several shows have been cancelled or moved, and show promoters are having a harder time filling spots. Is this a temporary blip? Or a new reality? To answer these questions, The Vaping Advocate reached out to four promoters of upcoming shows in an effort to clarify the place of vape conventions in a post-FDA world. Those who responded to our request included first time show promoters Dustin Griffith of Mid-West Vapor Expo an Fash Fadaei of OKC Vape Jam, and veteran show runners Sarah Brattain of Vape Blast and Steven Berry of West Coast Vape Expo. This article is about how the FDA regulations have affected the planning of your show? So, let’s start there. Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - Initially is scared me a lot, I had only been taking registration for 2 weeks and had secured 5 companies. As soon as the regulations were announced I went 3 weeks without a company signing up. I had already invested a large amount of money into securing the convention space and was very worried I may have to cancel. After about 4 or 5 weeks companies began signing up again on a regular basis. Although some companies have told me specifically they were going to quit doing conventions because of the regulations. So I did lose some potential exhibitors. Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast - So far we are on target for our event, admittedly we rescheduled our event from Fall 2016 to spring 2017, so all our exhibitors can focus on regulatory issues. 44 | Vaping Advocate

Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - The regulations have scared a lot of vendors from wanting to do trade shows out of fear of the future. they still want to be doing them but because of the unknowns a lot of people are more weary than before. 2) How are you changing your programming to keep your show relevant in this new market? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - I always look for new and upcoming companies, as well I focus a lot of effort on finding companies outside of the E-Liquid trade. E-Liquid is great but I have seen first hand at many expos that it is normally 90% or more of the exhibitors. I feel that in our current state as a industry advocacy is the most important. We will have as much advocacy as we possibly can at Midwest Vapor Expo. Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast - Our show has a great format, that we have found to be successful. We plan on moving forward as we always have, of course with the expectation of compliance from our exhibitors.


Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast - Preaching to the choir must stop, we need to continue to provide education, provide awareness and encourage positive experiences and willingness to answer questions. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - We feel that, it comes down to promoting. One thing that we always encourage, is that you bring smokers to our event. We have starter kits that we give to smokers.This gives them a helping hand right out of the gate, plus that allows them to enjoy the convention. Now they can try flavors and have a system of there own. 4) There seems to be a push to “clean up” vape shows, which to some means keeping out “booth models,” CBD and intellectual property infringement. While I certainly support keeping out IP thieves and I cringe at anything that brings bad publicity to vaping, there is an argument to be made that CBD is here to stay and that “booth models” are common in many other industries and should be allowed. Thoughts? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - Yes, we have turned away several companies who have products that obviously are marketed to appear like another major item such as candy, soft drinks, or other popular items. Dress code for models, keep it PG-13 any model who may be pushing legal limits of dress code will be asked to change or leave. CBD products were also something that I initially had on the contract as now allowed. We have signed on one CBD company who is from Kentucky and had proper license and permits to make and sell CBD E-Liquids. We will not allow out of state CBD companies due to laws regarding CBD in Kentucky. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - We have started our own promotion company to carry out this task of staying relevant, while changing the structure of trade shows to suit the needs of vapors and smokers (coming to vape). Keeping advocacy first is always important, you got to use your platforms that you get in this life to uplift and be meaningful. Getting the advocacy out there is a good way to do just that.We have implemented live music from the Berry Brothers which incorporates mc’ing and a live concert feel at the same time.We have came up with the idea to use ping pong balls that they have to take to the advocacy booth to receive there prize. This insures that dangerous merchandise is never thrown. Cloud comps and trick comps will be held in a separate room from the main hall. This allows to bring the community together, without distracting or offending the people who do not want to be apart of that scene. Vaping offers so many things for so many different types of people, we try to accommodate every one in our community. Spotlight specials is a plan to help promote every vendor at the event, while helping to move traffic through out the event.

Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast - Vape Blast has always been proresponsible vaping. We have had to include intellectual property infringement in our contracts as well as other “content that does not meet show standards”. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - It’s very important to us that we bring the entire community together, while respecting the ideas and morals of our community. We do not allow any marketing using shady forms of advertising.

3) While we certainly support including more advocacy at all events, one issue I see going to so many events is that they advocacy panels are attended by either the same vendors from show to show, or people who are already dedicated to advocacy. How can we use conventions to break away from “preaching to the choir”? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - Initially we were going to have free attendance to help pull interested individuals in. Unfortunately we must now charge a sampling fee at the door. One bonus we do have is being the first expo in Kentucky and the first large expo in the region. This should have a draw on individuals who would not go out of there way to drive hours to attend an event like this. Vaping Advocate | 45


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5) As many of you may know, even before the regulations there were vendors complaining about the amount of shows and the sheer time it takes away from being “in the office”. Let’s do a speed round that looks at some of the common complaints? 1. Complaint - “Shows are too long.” “Shows are too short and I’m not getting my money’s worth. Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - I have been to a 3 day show that had almost 40 hours of show time. This was very tiresome but we had a success full show. On some of the larger shows it can be hard for buyers to check out every exhibitors soI based the hours on our show on how many exhibitors and events we had to ensure individuals had enough time to experience everything the show had to offer. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - We understand how people can see how a three day show can be taxing. So we have made our event only two days. Where the morning hours B2B, and the evening we have live music and entertainment that is optional and free once your in the event. This allows a full convention experience, wile allowing you to get back home. 2. How much time should be dedicated to consumers? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - I feel having 1 devoted day to B2B and 1 devoted day to B2C is minimum. When I was a buyer It made it very hard to go to a show with 3-4 hours of B2B and then at 2pm public floods in and its hard to conduct business. You also found your self rushing during B2B and not spending enough time interacting with exhibitors. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - Its impossible to make everyone happy, however our experiences at trade shows, we can take the good with the good, and implement good ideas for the bad. We strive for improvement. 3. Rules against displaying questionable IP? Or displays with girls in scantily clad clothes?

Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast -It would be a great thing to have more active members, but lets face it not all companies need to represent the industry and not all advocacy groups meet the needs of all exhibitors. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - One thing that we try and do with our trade shows, is give the first opportunities of the trade show to local and upcoming vendors. This way we can uplift the community on a local level; which will strengthen our community on a national scale. 5. Final word - without bashing other shows - please explain why you suggest exhibitors pick your show over a rival show? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - Several reasons why our show has an advantage. We are within several hours of a dozen major cities. Some have never had a expo or even been near a expo. We have 360 degrees of land. We don’t boarder a ocean so consumers and buyers will be coming from every direction. I believe this will help us have great attendance. Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - Honestly we have put a lot of thought on how we can be different. We are going to have a great time, and raise money for advocacy. We are bringing the community together, and giving people a fresh experience! Lets rise up and show the world that we will not be defeated. Our goal is to offer another tool to quit smoking. The tools we offer is consumer built with a community of support. If your in the north west or want to be, please check us out at the West Coast Vape Expo. Sarah Brattain/Vape Blast - Vape Blast doesn’t claim to be the biggest show. Our show is about the people, about the exhibitors and the attendees. We are pro-advocacy and pro-education. We want to level the playing field and provide opportunity to the little mom and pop shops and the start ups as well as the big guys. Vape Blast is about industry building, networking and working together to educate anyone that is interested.

Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - I believe no tolerance for IP. Don’t steal others work or ideas. Models and or guest of the expo should keep it PG-13. Girls dressed in scantily outfits is nothing more than a marketing technique used bymany companies. I don’t have issue with this as long as the expo is 18+ and the girls keep it within legal standards.

Steven Berry/West Coast Vape Expo - We understanding that we are a 18 and over industry. With some states 21 and over. It’s still important to understand how we are perceived, and how we want to be perceived. We want to be perceived as a community to help smokers quit…. 4. One idea I have heard is that exhibitors should require all vendors to be a member of the a trade association? Do you think this is a good idea, or an excellent way to shut out new vendors? Dustin/Mid-West Vape Expo - I definitely believe that exhibitors should be, although requiring them to be may prevent them from becoming a member. Conventions are a great opportunity for new companies to meet and sign up with a trade association.

Vaping Advocate | 47


E

VAPE-A-VET

very business owner in the vaping industry has a slightly different variation on their personal reasons for starting their business in this market. To most, it is a passion for helping people quit one of the most destructive habits known to man; smoking. For William Cohen, the motivation was the same - but it was also much more than that.

into the civilian workforce, Cohen noticed one common theme. They all smoked, and they all wanted to try vaping, but not one could afford to purchase the necessary products. To assuage the desperate situation, Cohen turned to his own collection, sharing his vaporizers and liquid and providing instruction on proper use. Thus began what would ultimately become The Vape a Vet Project.

Cohen started his career in social work. at a local family shelter. working with, underprivileged women and children on job skills, basic education and helping them study for their GED. From there, he turned his focus to workforce development and job skills training for previously incarcerated veterans. During the course of working with these men and women who were struggling to transition back 50 | Vaping Advocate

The Vape a Vet Project (VaV) was formally founded in July 2013, and its mission was simple: help veterans conquer smoking through the help, funding and donations of other like-minded businesses within the electronic cigarette industry. Completely independent of federal funding, Cohen created a vehicle for funding through Vape a


Vet’s sister company, BRV Liquids, and his annual fundraising event, Vapin in the Sun, held in Chandler, AZ every February. However, as more stores struggle to remain open due to market oversaturation and the ever growing trend of “hype” products, Cohen has been able to keep VaV strong without federal assistance, which would severely restrict aid based on veteran financial and/or discharge status. It is the generosity of the vape industry that has allowed VaV to become the successful company it is today and help thousands of veterans worldwide. To date, The Vape a Vet Project has provided assistance to nearly 20,000 active duty and former service members, a number that is updated daily on the front page of the VaV website (vapeavet. org). The sheer volume of products and packages provided costs the charity nearly $10,000 a month in shipping costs alone. This includes the two separate services that Vape a Vet provides. The first of which is the Starter Kit service. Every starter kit is standardized so every service member receives an identical product to anyone

else that applies. They are given a custom laser engraved MVP20W, two tanks, and one 30ml bottle of BRV Liquids in a flavor profile and nicotine level that the staff feels they would enjoy and would be most effective for them; additionally, they receive a thank you letter, and a list of every vape shop in the country that BRV or Vape a Vet works with. The reason that we send this list in every starter kit is to help refer those veterans on to a local shop in their area for assistance. While they are always more than welcome to call the VaV office any time, Cohen and his team feel that a vape shop will ultimately provide better customer service than what can be provided over the phone. We have found the degree of loyalty and support that these businesses are given by the men and women we serve is second to none. Additionally, one of the major issues with the men and women returning home from deployment overseas is trouble re-integrating back into the civilian world. This opportunity to spend time at a local vape shop,casually interacting with others over a shared interest, can prove cathartic to many men and women who are struggling with feelings of isolation and depression. The second service that Vape a Vet provides are care packages. Care Packages are small to large flat rate boxes filled with everything from liquid, to cotton, wire, batteries, mods, tanks, RDA’s, disposable e-cigs, and anything else that Vape a Vet currently has on their shelves that the individual requests. Often times one member of a unit will request a care package for their entire unitVaV will research the flavor and nicotine preferences of each unit member to be ensure that each person is taken care of without having to order additional products and endure lengthy wait Vaping Advocate | 51


times. While the starter kits only contain BRV E-Liquids, the Care Packages contain a host of products donated by some of the most incredible companies in the vaping industry. This support from e-liquid companies in the vape industry is what drove the explosive growth of VaV. While starter kits are limited because each one is custom made for the Project, Care Packages While the primary focus of the Vape a Vet Project is, and always will be, to provide services to veteran and active duty service members, the Project has recently become deeply and passionately involved in advocacy as well. VaV has a unique perspective on the industry as a whole, because of the clientele they serve. While smoking rates in the civilian population have hit an all-time low of 11%, smoking in the military is substantially higher, currently around 40-60% depending on the branch. To compound the problem of high tobacco use in the military, traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) are only half as effective in the military population (3% vs 6% efficacy). While ECs aren’t recognized as cessation products and many individuals maintain casual use, there is an avalanche of anecdotal evidence that proves vapers use them to reduce or eliminate their addiction to combustible tobacco 52 | Vaping Advocate

products. VaV feels a deep commitment to their current and future client, and so they have stepped up to advocate on their behalf. The organization has participated in congressional testimony and presentations to OMB/OIRA, meetings with local and state legislators, and educational campaigns with the Surgeon Generals of both the Army and Navy, numerous Veteran’s Affairs offices, Legion Halls, VFWs, and countless other Veterans organizations. This year, VaV has partnered with Walter Reed Army Medical Center on a new project in conjunction with Tripler Army Medical Center. This project was created to study the efficacy of EC in relation to Physical Fitness and Combat Readiness. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. To date, Vape a Vet has shown greater than an 80% efficacy rate in individuals who chose to use EC for cessation. Additionally, the physical fitness scores of all participants have shown significant improvement over the course of a year. Vape a Vet is also a huge supporter of the “Right 2 Be Smoke Free” lawsuit against the FDA and is currently working on an Amicus filing in support of all the men and women we serve, as well as the entire vaping industry. Every day the Vape a Vet Project struggles to fight for this industry, for a cause they are deeply passionate about, and for the rights to choose vaping as an alternative to combustible tobacco products. From advocacy to charity, the men and women at The Vape a Vet Project have devoted everything they have to assisting others. Please join us today by making a donation to VaV or any advocacy cause. Donations can be made here: https://vapeavet.org/advocacy-fund/ We thank you for your support.


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VAPING ADVOCACY DIRECTORY CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS

SFATA CASAA

CASAA’S mission is to ensure the availability of effective, affordable and reduced harm alternatives to smoking by increasing public awareness and education; to encourage the testing and development of products to achieve acceptable safety standards and reasonable regulation; and to promote the benefits of reduced harm alternatives. www.CASAA.org

The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association represents a wide cross section of the “Smoke- Free” or vapor products, industry including distributors, manufacturers, retailers and consumers of Personal Electronic Vaporizing Units such as electronic cigarettes and the liquid solutions they contain. The vapor products industry is the embodiment of the American Dream; built by entrepreneurs and visionaries, this industry has grown organically and become a vibrant mutli-billion dollar industry that is constantly innovating the creating. www.SFATA.org

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

AEMSA AMERICAN VAPING ASSOCIATION

The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for small- and medium-sized businesses in the rapidly growing vaping and electronic cigarette industry. We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about financial and public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. www.Vaping.info

AEMSA, the first and only Manufacturers’ trade association completely dedicated to creating responsible and sustainable standards for the safe manufacturing of “e-liquids” used in e-vapor products (aka electronic cigarettes). AEMSA is an all-volunteer organization, formed by American manufacturers of e-liquids, to promote safety and responsibility through selfregulation. www.AEMSA.org

VAPOR TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION

SEVIA USA

On January 20th 2016 over 100 ecig manufacturers came together at a conference in Shenzhen China to commit their resources and financial support in the fight against unfair and burdensome FDA regulations. SEVIA USA was created and looking forward to assisting various advocacy and litigation groups in the US. www.SeviaUSA.org

Right2B Smoke-Free Coalition

The Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition is a non-profit, industry-led trade association of e-vapor businesses dedicated to promoting the interests of the industry by advocating for reasonable and responsible laws and regulations, and fighting for the right of vapers to be smoke-free.

The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) promotes entrepreneurship, responsible public policies, and a high standard of safety for the vapor industry through the representation of manufacturers, wholesalers, and small business owners of innovative vapor products. www.vaportechnology.org

TSFA

The Tennessee Smoke Free Association is an advocacy group and trade organization with a focus on Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) and other smokeless tobacco products shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking. www.TNSmokeFree.org

Vaping Advocate | 57


VISTA

Vaping Industry Strategic Truth Alliance (VISTA Truth, Inc.) is a nationwide non-profit corporation formed in April 2014 that supports and advocates, on a state by state level, for the rights of retailers and wholesalers (both online and traditional) in the United States who offer less harmful alternative nicotine delivery devices to adult consumers instead of proven lethal tobacco products. Our goal is to have a professional lobbying firm in every state capitol; we will accomplish this by an alliance of vendor members, organizations, and individuals. www.VistaTruth.org

FSFA

The Florida Smoke-Free Association is a non-profit advocacy group comprised vaping businesses and consumers. The goal of FSFA is to support and protect the Florida vaping industry. FSFA works with Legislators and Florida Health Officials to reduce the devastating effects of combustible tobacco products. www.FLSmokeFree.org

STATE LEVEL ADVOCACY GROUPS SOUTH CAROLINA VAPOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

We are advocates for the Vapor Industry. We are consumers, vapers, and business owners with a passion for the industry both here in South Carolina and Nationally. We fight for your right to vape.

BRAVE

Bistate Regional Advocates for Vaping Education or BRAVE, is a grassroots, not for profit organization, whose mission is to promote vapor and nicotine alternatives through advocacy and education. BRAVE partners with state legislators in Illinois and Missouri, and local councils in the greater St. Louis area, on both sides of the river. www.MyBraveAction.org

Our board seats are open to all SCVIA members. If your district does not have a chairperson, please contact us if you would like to make a nomination. http://www.scvia.org

OVAL

MSVAA

The Mississippi Vaping Advocacy Association believes vaping is a financial and public health boon for our state. The vaping industry is responsible for creating over 200 new small businesses (since 2012) that employ over 2000 people in Mississippi, all while facilitating a reduced-harm alternative for millions of adult tobacco users across the state. www.MSVAA.org

Oklahoma Vapers Advocacy League was founded in March of 2012 by your local Vape Stores to preserve your rights to access reduced harm alternatives to tobacco products. Ways we achieve that is by assisting and implementing proper legislation that affords consumers the right of choice at a local and national level. www.OvalOK.org

MASFA

GSFA

The Georgia Smoke Free Associationis consumer advocacy group and trade organization with a focus on Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) and other smokeless tobacco products shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking. www.GASmokeFree.org 58 | Vaping Advocate

The Masachusetts Smoke Free Association is a consumer advocacy group and trade organization with a focus on Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) and other smokeless tobacco products shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking traditional combustible tobacco products. www.SmokeFreeMA.org


BEAA

The BEAA believes vaping is a financial and public health boon for our state. The vaping industry is responsible for creating over 200 new small businesses (since 2012) that employ over 2000 people in Alabama, all while facilitating a reduced-harm alternative for millions of adult tobacco users across the state. www.beaa-al.org

NNA - Australia

The New Nicotine Alliance Australia is a not for profit organization working towards improving public health through a greater understanding of risk-reduced nicotine products and their uses. It receives no funding from tobacco, e-cigarette or pharmaceutical companies or their affiliates. www.nnalliance.org.au

KSFA

The Kentucky Smoke Free Association is consumer advocacy group and trade organization with a focus on Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) and other smokeless tobacco products shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking. www.KASmokeFree.org

NNA - UK

NNA UK is concerned with improving public health, through a greater understanding of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and their uses. www.nnalliance.org

UTSFA

The Utah Smoke Free Association fights for the rights of Utah residents wishing to reduce the harms to themselves and their loved ones from smoked tobacco usage through the use of electronic vapor products. www.UTSmokeFree.org

NZVA

The New Zealand Vaping Alliance is comprised of a group of New Zealand’s leading e-cigarette retailers and keen vaping enthusiasts concerned at the absence of a collective voice on e-cigarette use and vaping community issues. www.nzvapingalliance.co.nz

VSFA

The Virginia Smoke Free Association is about fighting for the rights of Virginia residents wishing to reduce the harms to themselves and their loved ones from tobacco usage through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes). www.VirginaiSmokeFree.org

INTERNATIONAL VAPOR ASSOCIATIONS

THE VAPING MILITIA

The Vaping Militia is a grass roots organization that believes that Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) is shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking. We focus on the prevention of tobacco harm and seek to cooperate with the Health Agencies to function for the greater health of the public. TheVapingMilitia.org

CVA - CANADA

CVA is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, responsible for the management of government and media relations on behalf of the Canadian Vaping Industry. CVA will represent the over 300 retail and online electronic cigarette businesses in Canada. www.canadianvapingassociation.org

If You Would Like Your Advocacy Group Listed, Please Contact Info@TheVapingAdvocate.com

Vaping Advocate | 59


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By Patrick Riffe (Nacht Noir)

T

he is LIFE or DEATH now, not just your life or death, but the life or death of an entire industry. The death of jobs. The death of choice. The death of a dream.

You might think it’s hyperbole. That vaping will go on in a black market, but the question still stands. Why should we be reduced to buying e-liquid out of a back alley when there was a chance, however small that victory was within reach? The magazine you now hold in your hands is dedicated to informing you about the struggle so that you can join in the battle.

You don’t have to be a the President of some advocacy group to be important or save vaping. Lets start simple.

August 8 is an important day in our history. It is not the day that vaping dies. It is not the end. The articles in this magazine prove that we are ready to fight.

There are a lot of people who have lost hope, been misdirected by people into thinking that doomsday is upon us and it’s time to move on. IT IS NOT!

Now is the time to refocus, redirect and energize.

Big changes can happen with small beginnings. Don’t try to move a mountain, start with a pebble.

Introductions always are the best place to start. We have to put the right face on vaping, not just a spokesperson but how society and especially politicians see the industry. We have tons of people who want to be the “FACE”, but what we really need is to put “a face” on the industry into the minds of those with the power to make changes. You can do that. A human face with a human story. Vaping Advocate | 63


Those organizations, people and corporations trying to destroy vaping have been very successful in their campaign to put a nonhuman Big Tobacco face on a small very human industry.

children and what benefits the state’s and the nation’s economy receives from it, they will kill an industry that potentially will save millions of lives.

It is not too late to correct that horrible mis-characterization. But you have to start now.

Let’s not forget the LIVES.Vaping is not just about the livelihoods of the businesses.

Politicians are very hard to pin down. Tools and help are available. You just need to ask, and you need to answer when the call is made.

It is also about the millions of lives already changed and saved by a simple decision to try an innovative product that offered a lifeline to all of us.

First, write a letter. It’s not hard. “Dear Sir, My name is X. I own a vapor product business in your district and would like to introduce myself and business to you. There are a lot of things about vaping that I think you should be made aware of that might effect your vote in future legislation. My business employs X people. We pay X in state taxes. We are an economic driver in our area and I am able to come and speak to you whenever you have available time. I look forward to your response and being able to help you understand what the vapor industry represents. Sincerely, X”

We have seen great results with these simple efforts. Greg Conley and AVA have worked tirelessly and seen success with these efforts. He has facilitated meetings and guided industry players resulting with huge benefits to the industry. You don’t have to wait until there is a problem and Greg has to put out a call to do these simple things. The best time to defeat a bill or ordinance is before it is ever written. If your representatives know more about vaping then they may not write or sponsor someone else’s bill that will harm the industry. If they know your face and see that we are not puppets for an evil industry then they may hesitate trying to kill it. But, if you don’t introduce yourself and let them see the real face of the vape industry, let them know about your employees, their

Vaping must still be around for the millions still smoking or those that will smoke in the future. Smoking will be around, they are protected. We can not let our failure doom future generations of smokers to a premature death. 64 | Vaping Advocate

We are all examples of the miracle. Most of us live a healthier, better life because circumstances put a personal vaporizer in front of us. One last try to quit a habit that was killing us slowly. This time it worked when all other attempts failed. Not when such a simple thing like introducing yourself can make a huge difference. Dear Sir, My name is Patrick Riffe. I am a user of vapor products. I smoked for 26 years. I knew that smoking would cause an early end to my life. I could feel what it was doing to my body. I had plenty of health issues, regular bronchitis episodes, shortness of breath, poor lung capacity and a horrible smoker’s cough. I tried multiple times and methods to quit. The patch, the lozenge, inhaler, counseling, pharmaceuticals and even hypnosis all failed me. When I found vaping, I immediately knew I had to try once more. It took many trials, flavors and hardware combinations to find what would work for me. I am now 6 years smoke free with the help of vapor products. My doctor is amazed at the changes in my health. My lung capacity is normal, my activity tolerance is normal and my lungs are as clear as someone who never smoked. I ask that you consider my story when looking at any legislative issue that would effect my access and choices of vapor products or that would put vapor products in line with traditional tobacco cigarettes. Traditional combustible cigarettes are responsible for a health crisis that caused the premature deaths of many Americans. Vapor products do not possess a risk profile anything near that. The UK’s Royal College of Physician’s comprehensive review concluded that vapor products were at least 95% less harmful than smoking. They should not be treated the same as cigarettes. Thank you, Patrick Riffe Corpus Christi, TX


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DISCOVER FLAVORS THAT NEVER FADE. Introducing a new, premium vapor for true enthusiasts. Unfading flavor in every drop, made with HydraVapeMAX Technology for a unique vaping experience. • NO KNOWN HARMFUL INGREDIENTS • MINIMAL ‘VAPE TONGUE’ • MADE IN THE USA • DESIGNED FOR SUB-OHM MODS • MADE WITH TOBACCO-FREE NICOTINE


The Vaping Advocate Issue 4