Much of life, as I see it, are snapshots of moments in time in history. If you look back at your snapshots and the snapshots of history, collectively they tell a story. They tell a story only you can tell. What story would each of our snaphots in time tell? And depending on the photo, would we be proud to show that photo and tell that story? I can name several shots, I would want to keep out of that story, as I am certain all of us would, because to regret and show the proof of that which we regret is not pleasant. But we lead singly reflective lives and many times we can right the ship and push forward. We can make history wash away, or at least mask, much that has been done and improve upon with what we have learned. But what if you couldn't? What if your snapshot depicted a train rushing toward the driver side of your car? What if your snapshot showed your loved one on a roof hanging Christmas lights right before they fell? Or what if it showed the beauty of a shark in a shallow pond, just prior to it's attack? Snapshots...moments in time... collectively they make history and tell stories. Will we be the industry that looks back and tells the story of the train or the victory dance at the top of the mountain? We....you decide that. Your actions are reflective of this moment FOREVER, written in history with this industry NOW. Will you be the one with the snapshot that reflects one standing at the podium in a hearing telling your story, or will yours be one where it is a screenshot of a facebook post that you're not so proud of, that is divisional or combative, or one of you sitting in your office on the day of a rally that you decided others could shoulder without you? And at the end, what story will be told and how did that snapshot document you? How did it document your contribution to history and it's one moment in time?
History; I don't know how many times, ways or in how many languages I can say it. We are making history NOW folks. This is your moment. This is your snapshot in time and it is cruel. It will not wait on you to tie up those loose ends. It will not wait on you to get out of the car and push it over the track. It will not wait. This is rush hour and you are stuck in traffic. And that traffic is ugly, intense and all going one direction. We have to change the flow. We have to change the direction. YOU can't do it alone. Neither can I. But when we have a showing at the capital or City Hall or even A Billion Lives local film and you don't support, you don't show. That is YOUR snapshot.
This is your history. If 10 years later if you look back and find that the FDA regulations never changed, you were forced to close your doors, you are purchasing products off of convenience store display cases or underground and you find that big tobacco owns the market, what footprint did you leave?
I don't pretend to know where this will go. I only know that people I love, people I respect and people I have yet to meet will be affected, will suffer, will die. Why do I know this? I had a very dear friend ask someone just recently why they don't vape and still smoke.... their answer? "No way, man...they just ran a report that those things are killing people" Wow. and we wonder why we are losing. We wonder why we we should be scared. Money. Greed. Power.
Make your history. Make OUR history. Stop attacking people on social media and instead engage them. Stop giving excuses as to why you can't give funding to advocacy and do your part. You ask where those funds go... let me tell you. Press releases to combat the negative are outrageous to get out on all news platforms, (1000 plus each). Travel to these hearings, conferences to educate, legal teams to interpret language, video techs for video education, and the list goes on and on. The average negative press that has gone out about ecigs is an estimated 400 per year. That equals 400 thousand alone in press releases to combat each one... and I didn't even add in the amount it cost to write them. So, don't ask where it goes... add it up. It is mind blowing.
In closing, I can picture scientists, medical schools and history books depicting an industry that fought long and hard, gave it their all, and caused congress to change the predicate date. OR, I can read about our fight being bloody, nasty and disorganized because we were too busy fighting ourselves or making excuses as to why we can't pitch in and help.
This is YOUR history... you are making it as you go along. Let's do it with some class, some decorum and good grief some heart. If your HEART is in this industry and you really want to save lives..... show it. Show you care and are ready to help influence and change the minds of those they have tainted. Energy lost on silly exploits and attacks puts us 10 steps back.
Hats off to those doing their part. A huge thank you and God bless to those who are staying the course and staying focused. To the others intent on siphoning funds for your benefit, fighting or attacking each other or leading others astray with a hidden agenda...well, it's as I say.... it will come back to you and I pray you don't take innocents in your wake.
One moment in time.... that's all we have.