People have asked me “What does 08-08-18 mean to me?” I honestly do not have just a simple, one sentence answer. (Imagine that)
08-08-18 is a date that will live in infamy as the day that shook the vape industry to its very core! On 5-10-16, we had a very real and direct wake up call that threatened our very existence as we were told we were being regulated like tobacco of all things! On 08-08-16 we were officially under the tobacco umbrella with the FDA, and our regulatory pathway was unleashed upon an industry that was more concerned with selling cartoon labels, huge clouds, and devices that could power a small vehicle. It was a call to the industry to WAKE UP and learn how to become a professional business. Its funny, how an industry that for the most part started at the kitchen table for many, was now going to be regulated by a federal agency –– The FDA! We certainly didn’t need the federal government to start it, teach it or show us how to do it, but that didn’t stop them.
Since that day, people have been looking for “loopholes” or “ways around or to cheat” the system because they think that they are either bigger than the industry or rules don’t apply to them since there were no rules when they started into it. Some people used the fear of uncertainty to manipulate consumers and make them think the rules didn’t apply. All you have to do is look at the amount of liquids and salt liquids that were NOT on market prior to 08-08-16. Its enough to make someone who fights for the very existence and future of this industry to puke, want to pack up and go home.
Its at that point, I look to what the industry has done for me personally and it makes it all go away. For every “bad actor” in the industry, there are “good actors”. These are the people that give me hope for this industry! They give everything they have to the industry, they invest, they broker meetings with companies, they actually have proof that their products were not only on the market prior to 08-08-16, but they have proof of their registration info and their product numbers. These are the folks who market responsibly, call out the ones who don’t, and effect positive changes for the industry. We have national associations like VTA (Vapor Technology Association), State Associations like OHVTA (Ohio Vapor Trade Association), TSFA (Tennessee Smoke-Free Association), and KSFA (Kentucky Smoke-Free Association) that are comprised of vapor business that are investing in the future of the industry for their states and elect board members that are volunteers. We have leaders like Dimitris Agrafiotis, Fig Ramsey, and Phil Busardo that are out on the front lines and set the standard for what an advocate is and should be.
The most important piece of all of this is our consumer. They are the very reason we even exist, they are who we want to help and show the way to a successful transition to a tobacco free life. When at times the industry looked bleak at best, it was the consumer that came out to the shop to show their support for the industry and it’s the consumer that we need to be there to support in times of adversity within this industry. As a shop owner, it’s the consumer that builds the community. This community is amazing. No matter what you are going through, the community is always there to lend a hand, an ear or extend their feelings of support for whatever it is you are doing or going through. That is something that the FDA will never be able to replace! We are #vapefamily
So what did 08-08-16 give me? It gave me the opportunity to continue to do what I love by being able to positively effect someone’s life. What does 08-08-18 mean to me? It means that I am able to continue to do this, hopefully save lives, advocate for a life saving technology, advocate for the consumer, advocate for the community, and continue to spread the message that vapor is at least 95% safer than combustible tobacco!
WE ARE VAPE FAMILY!!