Take A Stand & Be A Vape Advocate During This Year's Legislative Sessions
The 2016 Legislative Sessions have just begun, you should expect that the same e-cigarette and vaping related bills that we were able to quash down last year to pop up again during this year’s legislative sessions.
Your voice and opinion counts and the best way that you can help defend our right to vape is by being prepared to defend against the slew of bills that are set out to label, tax and limit our right to vape. Below we have compiled a helpful list to get you informed and keep you up to date on the latest news and bills that will be coming up in your state during the 2016 lawmaking hearings.
Do Some Research & Be Prepared to Defend Your Way Of Life
The best thing that you can do is to gather knowledge for yourself about the vaping products that you enjoy everyday. The more information that you have in your arsenal the easier it will be for you to defend your stance on the e-cig industry. There is a lot of information out there and it is truly at your fingertips as the Internet brings you knowledge within a few keystrokes and clicks of your mouse. Here are a few great resources to get you started.
E-Cigarette Research.org (Led by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos)
Tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com (Led by Dr. Michael Siegel)
Join A Newsletter & Stay Up To Date On The Current Happenings In The Vaping Industry
Don’t let information slip out from right under you, so keep up to date and informed on the current news and happenings in the ever-changing vaping industry. Keep on top of the media’s propaganda, backlash and positive news on vaping products by joining an informative newsletter. Newsletters are the perfect and easy way to keep yourself in the know for the latest information on the e-cig world.
Newsletters You Should Join:
CASAA: The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (Subscribe)
SFATA: Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (Subscribe)
VOLCANO’s Newsletter: (subscription link located at the upper right corner of this page)
AVA: American Vaping Association (subscription link located in the lower left hand corner of the homepage)
Know Who Represents Your State
Locate your State’s Representatives and do some research on the issues that they back in your state. You are equipped with the ability to reach our and contact your state representatives because your opinions on topics and the actions you take can have a very direct influence on the way that they vote and on laws that they present. Take the time to reach out to your representatives and tell them to push for laws you care about and to nullify others that you feel aren’t correct.
Find your State Representatives with SFATA’s Representative Locator
Keep Yourself Up To Date On Public Hearings & Testimonies Happening In Your Community
The easiest way of staying informed on upcoming testimonies and public hearings that you can attend in your local legislation is by looking up the website of your local lawmakers. On their pages are great resources where you can sign up for alerts to upcoming testimonies. You can also take a look at the legislative calendar for your state and also utilize the RSS feeds and get immediate alerts on your state committee’s daily agenda.
What is an RSS?
RSS is simply an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds on sites are an easy method you can use to receive the latest information on a specific topic as soon as it is available to the public.
How Can I Subscribe To An RSS Feed?
Stay Informed About Your State’s Current Vaping Laws
The last thing you want to do is give vaping a bad name by accidentally enjoying a puff from your device in an area where you aren’t allowed to use your e-cig. So keep yourself in the know about the local ecig laws that have been passed in your state and in turn it will keep you aware of what to expect in terms of pending legislations. Vaping may not yet be widely restricted, but there is a great chance that it may be coming to your area soon.
Take a look at these up-to-date legislations on vaping per state created by the ANRF (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation)
Be Pro-Active For The Vaping Community
Show your support by attending public hearings of bills, share your testimony during hearings or take the time to write to your state representatives. Remember that bills are given a small window of time from when they have been introduced and are open to public opinion. By joining newsletters and being active in the vaping community in your town you’ll always be ready when a new vaping bill is up for public testimony.
Join Your Town’s Vaping Scene
Seek out a local union of vapers from your town, if your town doesn’t have one consider creating your own. You can also create a Facebook page to call out to your local vapers, or find ones that are already established. Interact with the vapers in your community so that you can rally together when the time is needed.
Take a look at these great forums / sites below that already have a great foothold in the vaping community. It is chock full of passionate vapers like you and can be a great informational and support system that you can turn to.
Now’s Your Time To Get Active:
Help the vapers of Hawaii defend their right to vape by submitting your testimony against bill SB 2691.
Bill SB 2691 is set to place a tax on e-cigarettes and would be tied to the same tax rate that tobacco cigarettes already have placed on them. This means that any tax hike that is placed on tobacco cigarettes would automatically apply to vapor products.
How YOU Can Help:
1. Submit your testimony through Hawaii’s Legislative site: Link
You will need to create an account on the website before you will be able to submit your testimony. Afterwards, the submission process is easy to finish.
2. Write and send an email to the members of Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection & Health (CPA): Link
Suggested Talking Points Via CASAA:
a. Ostensibly, taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. However, due to the fact that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.
b. Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).
c. Tell your story about how vaping has helped you.
d. Sin taxes are regressive. The smoking population, those switching to vaping, is disproportionately made up of poor and low-income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group.
e. Imposing an extra sin tax on these products will encourage consumers to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the state and will result in less revenue, not more.
f. It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.
g. Taxing e-cigarettes in a manner similar to how cigarettes are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks. The result of this message is that more people, those who otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.