Ninja Tactics To Help You Face eCig Legislative Bills
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” ~ Dalai Lama
The truth is there are many states right now that want to take your right to vape away and if you do nothing about it that may just happen. You may think that as one person your voice cannot make a difference, but you are wrong. Believe in what the quote above says YOU can make a difference in the laws and legislations that your state passes—you just need a little work and some tactics to put you in the right direction.
So thank you for wanting to make a difference in your state’s decisions when it comes to passing laws, we hope the few tips we outline below will give you the knowledge and confidence to get out there and voice your opinion on the anti-vaping legislations and laws your state government tries to pass. Every vaper who decides to become involved in e-cigarette advocacy is a great benefit in the battle for reasonable regulation of the vaping industry.
How YOU Can Get Involved:
First, find out who your local legislators are.
Check out OpenStates.org where you can simply input your address, or pick your state and they will show you who your representatives are for both the House and the Senate. When you click the link on their name it brings you to the representative’s summary page where it shows their contact information, their campaign contributions, the bills they supported and voted on, and direct links to their page for your state’s capitol website.
On to the Ninja Tactics On How To Be An Effective Advocate:
Learn How to Write Emails & Letters To Your Legislators:
Writing an email or a letter to your state representatives is a great way to express your opinions on bills if you find that you are not able to testify publicly at a bill hearing. Even after you send your email or letter make sure that you follow up with a phone call and even if you do want to publicly testify it is still a good idea to send them a letter or email to back up your opinions.
Tips To Write An Effective Testimonial Letter:
- Be clear and keep it brief. Limit yourself to one page.
- Introduce yourself and if you represent a business
- Add your contact information & address
- Day and Date of the Hearing of the Bill
- State your opinion on the bill (if you support or oppose) and make sure to list the name of the bill that you are writing about.
- Write out your arguments to reinforce your views on the bill
- Make it personal, if you can but writing YOUR story on why you have the views you stated above regarding the bill.
- State your position again.
- Include your contact information and ask them to follow up with you. Offer to meet up with them so that you can educate them further on the topic and so that you can answer any additional questions that they may have.
- Make sure that you include your full address and zip code so that they know you are a resident of your state.
Ninja Tip#1: Don’t use casual language. Be as professional as you can be so that you can express your message and opinion in a clear and concise manner.
SAMPLE WRITTEN TESTIMONY:
Representative Jason T. Elson, Chair
Representative Macy H. Bloomwood, Vice Chair
Committee on Ways and Means
Michael S. Drake
(Name of organization or business if you represent one)
2312 Franklin Street
Mason County, NJ 08243
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Opposition to SB3212, SD 1, Relating to Electronic Cigarette Ban
My name is Michael S. Drake and I was a smoker for 35 years. I am writing to you because I very much oppose SB3212.
If this bill is passed it will require me to stand outside with smokers in order for me to use my vaping product. Because of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products I have been successfully smoke-free and tobacco cigarette free for the past two years. I choose to not be around cigarette smoke any longer as the smell of burning tobacco bothers my senses now and forcing me to place myself in an area that will expose me to secondhand smoke is unfair and puts me at a health risk.
I finally decided that I needed a smoking alternative after I watched my father die of lung cancer in front of me due to his 60 year habit. I did not want to suffer the same fate. I tried everything that was FDA approved, nicotine gum, the patch, NRTs and even quitting cold turkey, but to no avail. All of these products were proven unsuccessful that was until I found out about vaping products. With electronic cigarettes and e-liquids I was finally able to get away from smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Again I’d like to state that I oppose SB3212, the ban on electronic cigarettes and I urge you to vote against it. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
If you would like to meet with me, I would be more than happy to share some information with you on these life-changing products. You can reach me at 555-515-5555 or at Mike.Drake@urmail.com.
Michael S. Drake
Prepare For A Public Testimony:
If you are like most people, you prefer not to have to speak in front of a group of people. Glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public happens mostly because you are not sure what to expect, that you may make a mistake or you are afraid that people may judge you. In reality, no one wants to see you mess up, they are there to hear your opinions, especially the legislators, because your opinion is important to them.
- Keep your testimony short, between 3-5 minutes only.
- Speak from your own personal experiences
- Make sure that you print out copies of your testimony as you will need to give copies to the legislators present at the hearing
- Keep your testimony’s length to one page, type 1.5 spaced or double-spaced and use large font that is easy for you to read
- Tell them who you are and if you represent an organization or business
- State your position on the bill, do you support or oppose?
- Identify the bill by name
- Summarize your opinions on the bill and then add your explanation for your position
- The more personal, the better
- State your position one more time at the end of your testimony
- Thank the committee for the opportunity they gave you to testify
As they say practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the more the material you have written down becomes like second nature to you and in turn making you more confident.
Ask a friend to listen and time you or record yourself while reading your speech out loud.
Do you look nervous to your friend or on the video?
Do you sound confident?
Are you rushing?
Are your words clear and concise?
Need more help? Check out this handy guide from eHow.com on how to write a 3 minute speech.
Ninja Tip #2: No one will know you are nervous unless you show it!
Prepare Before Your Testimony Date:
- Dress appropriately. Business casual is always the best way to go. But you can always contact the capitol ahead of time to see if there is a dress code.
- Keep your body language in check. Be open and friendly and don’t argue—that’s not what you are there for. Representatives or people in general are less likely to listen to others who look upset.
- Use the correct etiquette while waiting your turn. Do not vape, be courteous and use your manners.
- Know how to address the representatives by familiarizing yourself with the committee members. Do your homework on them and learn as much as you can about their political positions and what they do for your state.
What else you can you do to get involved?
Join advocacy groups and get active and stay informed with their help! Advocacy groups have great resources to help you learn more about the representatives in your area. Also by getting on their mailing list you will be notified when there is a new bill or legislation that needs attention in your state.
Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association – SFATA
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives – CASAA
American Vaping Association - AVA