As vaping has come under fire from all angles, there has been a big shift in the vaping community. Vapers who once saw their ecigarette use as an individual, personal choice are now becoming activists and fighting for their right to continue vaping.
People who were once free to vape in their favorite parks and bars now have to take an active role in their local politics if they want to be able to continue to vape peacefully in public. Right now is a difficult time for vapers, and we can use all the help we can get.
That’s why it is fantastic news that a new pro-vaping organization has formed to help e cigarette users and pro-vaping activists fight back against the opposition.
A new website recently launched by Consumers for Advocacy aims to be “an information hub for advocacy, taking action, troubleshooting, and education” and could be an important tool for vapers and non-vapers alike who want to advocate for the positive impact of vaping in their community.
Consumers for Advocacy: A New Pro-Vaping Resource
“Many vapor shop owners were former smokers hoping to help others kick the habit and make a positive impact on their communities.”
Although other consumer advocacy groups, like the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives (CASAA) have been around for awhile, Consumers for Advocacy is unique because it focuses on the ability of consumers to educate others about the benefits of vaping in the aftermath of the FDA’s new deeming regulations.
Consumers For Advocacy urges vapers to fill in the gap left now that vapor shops, which have traditionally played this role, can no longer advocate for the safety or health benefits of vaping. Their website offers knowledge tools for education and information on active consumer movements that pro-vapers can take part in to make a difference.
They even have a “Health Studies” page with links to research studies and articles about the health effects of vaping to help advocates gain the knowledge they need to educate others and rebut anti-vaping claims.
In the “Advocacy and Movement Information” portion of their website, Consumers for Advocacy offers several ideas for how vapers can share their stories and have a positive impact on their local communities.
Their Be Their Voice campaign urges vapers to spend time at local shops sharing the potentially life-saving information that vapor shop workers can no longer share. The idea is to provide one-on-one, personal guidance to smokers and new vapers so that they have the greatest chance of successfully making the switch.
Consumers for Advocacy also urges vapers to take to social media to share their personal stories about how vaping has made a difference in their lives. They created the hashtag #VapingSavedOurLives to encourage people to post video testimonials to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social website.
With so many untruthful anti-vaping messages circulating the internet, it’s important for vapers to put as many positive counter-messages out there as possible. As Consumers for Advocacy says on their website, “your heartfelt and meaningful story IS important and needs to be heard!”
The Evolution of Vaping Advocacy
Consumers for Advocacy is part of a new wave of grassroots vaping activism that has grown out of the recent war on vaping, and marks the latest major shift in the character of vaping advocacy. At the beginning, the first wave of vaping activism happened within the vaping community.
It was non-political and personal, and focused mainly on advocating the benefits of vaping to smokers. Vapers shared with others how giving up smoking for ecigarettes had affected their health and lifestyles, and were passionate about urging smokers to make the switch.
Many vapor shop owners were former smokers hoping to help others kick the habit and make a positive impact on their communities. The early vaping movement was fueled by this kind of vaper-to-smoker advocacy, and it often happened inside brick and mortar ecigarette stores.
The second wave of vaping activism was directed outside of the growing bubble of the vaping community, at the general public. As the popularity of vaping grew, and more and more people made claims about the possible role of ecigarettes for smoking cessation and public health, vapers saw a huge push back from the government and anti-vaping activists.
States and local governments began instituting public vaping bans and launching anti-vaping misinformation campaigns.
The public debate shifted from a focus on potential benefits to potential harms, and the US Government sent a clear message that ecigarettes were guilty until proven innocent. In response, vapor manufacturers and small businesses sprang to action, forming pro-vaping coalitions and getting doctors and politicians on their side.
As anti-vaping activists spread fear, half-truths, and exaggerations, the vapor industry worked hard to counter their claims with research and spread information about the benefits and safety of ecigarettes far and wide.
Eliquid manufacturers and small businesses joined trade associations and urged their customers to talk to their representatives and city councils. This second wave of activism was led primarily by the vapor industry, and it played an important role in challenging anti-vaping propaganda.
Now, since the FDA passed the tobacco deeming regulations and many government bodies are restricting vapor products in every way they can, a new chapter of vaping activism has begun: consumer advocacy.
Now, instead of the business owners, manufacturers, and politicians dominating the debate, the consumers—vapers—are having their say. The voices of vapers and ecigarette users are more important now than ever, since the FDA has silenced the vapor shops and manufacturers that were the primary vaping advocates in the past.
The new deeming regulations placed severe restrictions on what vapor product sellers can say about vaping, so vapor shops are no longer able to do the kind of vapor-to-smoker advocacy that kicked off the beginning of the vaping movement.
Vapor businesses can no longer say that vaping is healthier than smoking and they aren’t allowed to tell smokers that ecigarettes might help them quit. Because of this censorship, now more than ever it is up to the vapers, cloud-chasers, and former smokers to step up and spread the truth.
It’s Your Turn to Be an Advocate
With vapor businesses and manufacturers unable to talk about the issues facing vapers openly and honestly, it is up to you, as the consumer, to spread the truth. One way you can do so is by utilizing the resources offered by Consumers for Advocacy.
You can find research studies and facts, join online and local campaigns, and even contact your members of congress through their website. You can also help others understand the impact vaping can have in people’s lives by helping new vapers at your local shops or participating in social media truth campaigns.
There are a lot of different options, and everyone can find a way to contribute to the movement in their own way.
Previously on our blog we’ve kept track of pro-vaping politicians, offered tips for becoming a vaping advocate, and followed the burst of grassroots activism that followed the FDA’s deeming rule announcement.
But now with many resources like Consumers for Advocacy available, it’s time for vapers and ecigarette users to take on the responsibility of educating others about vaping. The power and the future of vaping rests in the hands of the consumers, and it’s up to you to ensure that we can always continue to vape on.