Why The Deflection, Irresponsibility, Indifference and Fighting?
It's been said over and over in our industry. What is going on with the immaturity, lack of interest, deflection and immorality in the e-cig industry? We could not have written an instruction manual better for destruction if we tried. If we don't wake up now and do something about it, it will be as disastrous as it is said to be and the only place we have to look, is in the mirror.
What do I mean? Many things, and I will lay them out carefully below. And the answer is something everyone can do in their own home, be it manufacturer, retail shop, or consumer. We have the power now, pretty soon that may not be the case.
Such a simple thing. It's paper, people. It can change. Labels all over the e-liquid industry are out of control. Accused of marketing to kids. Now, let me throw this out there. Ok, "Adults like cereal too", "I like the cute, funny cartoonish labels, they're fun.", "Just because there is a bunny, kids paint, cookies, in or on the packaging, doesn't mean we are marketing to minors." So, you can be a right fighter and stand up for what you believe looks cute, funny, sexy, appetizing, and "just" according to your marketing plan. Where will that get you? Nowhere. Ever. Because it doesn't matter what you think. It matters how it appears and how it is perceived. We are perceived to be marketing to kids. Why do you think you are being targeted differently? You aren't. Everyone is regulated in the world. Cereal boxes, organics, liquor, pharmaceuticals. They all have to jump through hoops that they thought were ridiculous and over kill. They did it...They survived. They didn't go to the government officials, stomp their feet and say, "That's not fair." Tough...get over it, fix it to survive. It has long lived throughout history and it's not a fight you will win. Just do it.
What can you do as a consumer or a retail store to help send this message? Don't buy it. Don't purchase e-liquid from the manufacturer or brick and mortar stores that seem to entice minors in any way. If you refuse to support these companies, you send a clear and concise message it is not wanted or welcome in our industry to help kill us. Unacceptable, period. If they would like to continue to do so, great, but hopefully they will not take your money to help fuel their fire, intent on bringing us all down.
Unwanted, Damaging and Harmful Chemicals:
Are you kidding me? I am so tired, sick and disgusted by the numerous companies and industry leaders making excuses to not do this right. We have been screaming this for years now. Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl are added chemically at the manufacturing process and they CAN be avoided. They DO cause harm. Stop listening to these companies that make excuses, deflect, ignore, and dispell science, data, NIOSH, CDC, FDA, and the medical community. Wow, If you can stand on your soap box and cry, "We don't know.", or , "That's misleading" well, you will be out of the game forever once the hammer comes down. Is it expensive? Yup. It is. Tough. You got into manufacturing e-liquid, you drank the poison, you take the good with the bad and that means responsibility. If you can't handle the pressure or the responsibility that that torch bears, get out. I'm sick of hearing the excuses. You make plenty of money from those funding your half cocked horse stories, make it right. Do right by your customers to shield them from these harmful chemicals, and save them your excuses, because all those excuses say to me is, "I want your money and if I don't add these harmful chemicals, I may lose your money." Greedy, big tobacco type thinking. Imagine years ago a big tobacco corporate official saying, "If the cost of paying off one large medical lawsuit is less than the cost for keeping this chemical in due to the sales it will create, do it. We will settle out of court with the family and still make a killing." Big tobacco. You are thinking like them already. And spare me the, well it's better than what I was smoking before. You won't be singing that song if you or your customer comes down with COPD, emphysema, or worse. You'll be living daily knowing that YOU did that to that individual because you knew, you were warned, and you continued to sell it.....because it made you rich. Go you.
There is a plethora of science, data, and medical resources and studies that prove these chemicals are harmful, even lethal. Why, why, why would you continue to mislead, deflect and lie to your customers or yourself. It's avoidable and the more you defend your right to manufacture it or use it, the further you drag down the industry. You will be our destruction.
What can you do? ASK. Don't ask if it contains these chemicals. Demand testing. Look for lab reports. Look for the AEMSA certification and ask where they are on their DA/AP initiative in that process. Don't take one person's word for it. And support buying e-liquids from those that provide. THAT is premium liquid. Testing, Safe manufacturing practices, such as AEMSA certification...demand it...they will have to comply if enough demand it.
I'm confused. Did I just walk into a frat party? I have thought this many times when walking into the many vape conventions or meets. I get extremely confused about what we are doing in this industry more so from this type of marketing. What is our focus now? Our focus has always been about helping smokers choose a harm reduction method that could prove to be imperative to their quality of life. Addressing smokers that have spent years tied to tobacco, 30 year old, 50 year old, and 60 year old individuals who have smoked for years and now have another avenue that could prove to be hugely beneficial and successful to helping them. What does all this have to do with this? Do we not think that these things, along with massive clouds, scare tactics by the ANTZ, magazines showing playboy centerfolds and sexually exploiting the industry runs these people straight back to tobacco? Tobacco seems more mature and responsible to me from this angle as well. The only thing this shows the public is that it's cool and hip. When did we become Big tobacco? When did you allow your mission to become being cool rather than helping people. It is so flawed and disruptive that I can't even begin to tell you how many faux pas I see. And who do you think you're attracting? It's not the 60 year old who is considering switching so they can improve their life, I assure you. Those will be lost and we will be none the better. But...it makes you money. I guess that levels the playing field.
What can you do? Demand these facilitators tone it down, add advocacy, responsible business practices and for gosh sake, put some clothes on. I know, I'm from another generation...but we are not trying to impress the new generation and entice them to our side...we are trying to help people here, guys. Bring it back to what matters! And if you think government officials have not seen and said the same, you are delusional. You would have to be blind not to see how rogue it has become.
God Bless Greg Conley, Cynthia of SFATA, Dimitris, Dr. Farsalinos, Dr. Polosa, CASAA, The Vaping Militia, Doug Hughes and all those leading the front. Always professional, always leading the charge, even while e-liquid bottles fly past their heads at vape meets, women walk past them half dressed as they stand in suits and professional attire, and companies cut themselves at the knees with their marketing and rogue manufacturing practices. God Bless them, because I would have no hair left. Texas...said to have egos, high handed politics, disruptive organization. Yep, yep and yep. We were right in the middle of it. I have no ego. I have no ego in this industry. When I see government officials stand to shut us down, I strap on a pair of heels, pay the thousands of dollars it takes to fight and by God I fight while working with anyone who will help, not hurt. Why? Because when I see them trying to shut us down, I don't see my stores closing down. I see my grandfather lying in a hospital bed begging me to put down tobacco, as he takes his last breath from lung cancer. One of the greatest men I have ever known, fighting to breathe because big tobacco told him it was cool, sexy, safe and fun. If you ever knew him, you would fight too. No, I don't have an ego, but many did. Many walked in and shut themselves out by fighting consistently with the system rather than trying to change it, and then tried to disrupt our cause as well. But we stayed together and we fought as best we could....thank you to the 84 Texas members that worked as a group with us all, rather than try to flex muscle. Thank you for every time we had a meeting, you chimed in and voted with us on what was best for Texas consumers and businesses. Thank you for your time, donations, and emotional investment and support. Thank you for me, Frank, Steve, Keith, Sparky, Gary and the 60 yr old who found this to be their avenue to put down their oxygen tank. We want more...all of us to ban together. Please, let's all come together as a state and industry and fight together. We have so much to lose if we don't. Our customers deserve that. My grandfather and all your loved ones that have passed or become ill due to tobacco, deserve it.
In closing, I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Then again, I have never cared about that. I care about what is right. What helps our customers always have access to these products no matter what hammer may fall. It goes far beyond money, accolades, ego, power. This is about lives. This is about being part of the problem, or part of the solution. Prove me wrong. Give me facts that dispell any of what I have stated and I will always admit when I am wrong. Not opinion, fact. This is a blessing to so many and yet, the industry is taking it for granted and ignoring the issues. Greed. I am done with greed. My husband works a full time job so we can continue to survive as a company. This is something we believe in whole heartedly so that we can help people. I want it to matter to every company out there the same way. It won't, but I am a optimist advocate, I used to believe in this industry and I am praying you will take the steps as consumers, manufacturers, event planners and advocates to help us all truly believe again, not find the easiest way to circumvent, cut corners, deflect and make excuses for the lack of quality it has presented. Step up. We are better than this.