Last week, Von Vape had the opportunity to sit down with Congressman Vern Buchanan’s staff, to discuss the FDA’s “Deeming Regulations” and House Bill 2058, both of which are designed to amend the agency’s regulatory authority over a variety of tobacco products. “We took the opportunity to educate Congressman Buchanan’s staff on Von Vape’s business operation,” Joshua Unger said. “We took the time to showcase our manufacturing facility and explain that the resulting sales of e-liquid had an economic impact on the local, state, and national economy that was worthwhile.”
Von Vape’s conversation with the Representative Buchanan’s staff was educational for all parties, and they were able to further inform Buchanan’s staff about e-cigarettes, e-vapor and e-liquids. As of now, they have not taken the position of supporting HR2058 and defending the e-vapor industry. Congressman Buchanan’s district director, Sally Dione, committed to learning more about HR2058 and educating others about the industry’s small business, e-vapor, and Von Vape’s concerns about the industry.
“There is plenty that everyone can do to help ensure that e-liquids and vaping products are an available alternative for the millions of smokers who are struggling with addiction,” Francis Suits III said. “Industry stakeholders need to do more than send emails and talk to receptionists. We need your help!”
It is widely recognized that politicians and elected officials often take the concerns of small business owners more seriously than the typical constituent, so Von Vape encourages you to take extra steps to ensure your collective voices are heard.
If you are interested in helping get the word out, here are a few things you can do:
1. If you sell direct to consumers, print out copies of Not Blowing Smoke and/or CASAA’s flyers urging consumers to take action in support of HR 2058. The link on the flyer directs customers to a web page with a simple, easy-to-fill-out web form. This will send a letter to each customer’s US House and senate representatives. To motivate customers to act, perhaps consider providing an “I Took Action to Save Vaping” billboard in your store where people can sign their name.
2. If you are a wholesaler, try to get the vape shops you sell to, engaged on this issue. Help them see that that the FDA regulations threaten the future viability of their vape shop(s).
3. This is your livelihood—it is worth taking the time to understand this issue. HR2058 would give vapor companies a fighting chance in a post-FDA world. It may take some time to get through, but it is worth the investment if you want to still be in this industry in 2018.
4. Consider calling your US House representative’s district office to request a meeting, or phone call with a staff member, or the representative to explain why you and your customers are asking that he or she become a co-sponsor of HR2058. In-person meetings are better, but phone calls with staffers (not just the operator that answers the phone) can help too. Make it clear in your phone call that you own a business in the representative’s district.
5. Remember, if you do have an in-person meeting, dress and behave professionally. Be prepared, but don’t hesitate to say, “I don’t know. I will get back to you with an answer.” You are representing the entire industry, not just your company. Don’t hesitate to contact Greg Conley of the American Vaping Association if he can be of assistance to you prior to your meetings, so that you can provide the most current information. You do not need to be an expert to have a successful meeting. You just need to understand what HR2058 would do, and why it is critically important to the future of thousands of small business.
Everyone in this industry needs to become informed and actively involved in order to preserve the vaping industry. Von Vape expects to follow up with representative Vern Buchanan’s office later this month. They will make every effort to keep you informed on the position, and if he decides to take on HR2058, and how that will affect all of us.