This morning, CBS Sunday Morning ran an article focusing on rising suicide rates and suicide prevention (I promise this will relate to vaping). One of the key points made in the article was all about just how far a simple gesture can go toward preventing tragedy; like asking if someone is okay or acknowledging the pain they might be feeling. We may often take for granted these tiny moments of outreach, but for those on the receiving end of compassion and concern these interactions can literally be the difference between life and death. I immediately made the connection between the significance of these brief connections that can prevent suicied and similar maybe even smaller moments that we experience in vape shops every day.
As many state legislatures begin their 2020 session this month, we are seeing an all-out assault on access to the diverse range of flavored vapor products. These policy assaults directly affect our access to vape shops too. Specifically, we are tracking at least 50 bills across 18 states that would prohibit the sale of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco and menthol (a few states are going as far as banning menthol too). A flavor ban doesn’t just make it more difficult for people to switch to vaping, it means that dedicated vapor retailers will be forced out of business. Shutting down vape shops is a direct assault on our community and the informal support system that we have built.
When CASAA issues a call to action, we provide suggested talking points to help our members make personalized and compelling arguments to officials. While we can’t tell you word-for-word what to write, I believe that one of the most compelling (but underrated) points is the free support that many of us have experienced by talking with other customers in a vape shop. Even if it’s something as simple as hearing “you can do this and I’m happy to share what worked for me.” If we lose the vape shop, we lose this peer-to-peer support.
New York, Washington, Florida, and New Hampshire are at the top of the list this weekend for states needing engagement from advocates. In your comments to officials, please take a moment to recount any experiences you’ve had in your local vape shop (or even in online forums and Facebook) where you received or provided support from a fellow vaper/someone who used to smoke. Our lawmakers still need to hear that vaping is a harm reduction movement driven by the PEOPLE who benefit from these products the most: Consumers.
- NY – Call to Action – Stand up to vaping flavor bans! Comment directly on a raft of anti-vaping bills.
- NY – “Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Third and Fourth New York State Deaths from Vaping-Associated Illness.” (Jan. 17)
- Related comment: CASAA’s CEO responds on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Hello_Alex/status/1218203616747622402?s=20)
- WA – Call to Action – The rally happened on Friday, but the legislation needs more comments. Comment directly on a permanent flavor ban bill.
- NH – Call to Action – Stop a flavor ban and temporary sales ban! Send a Message.
- FL – Call to Action – Stop an online sales ban!
- “The Help A Smoker In Recovery Project is looking for vaping products to give those entering treatment for addiction …” (Sept. 9)
- TAKE ACTION – US – VAPING PROHIBITION IS ON THE TABLE IN CONGRESS!
- TAKE ACTION – US – KEEP VAPE MAIL LEGAL! (Reject S. 1253)
- HHS .gov – “FDA Finalizes Enforcement Policy on Unauthorized Flavored Cartridge-based E-Cigarettes That Appeal to Children, Including Fruit and Mint.” (Jan. 2)
- Mark Herz (WGBH News) – “In wake of 4th Massachusetts vaping death, BU doctor says state failing to properly inform the public on cause of illness.” (Jan. 8)
- Convenience Store News – “FDA provides more detail on federal Tobacco 21 implementation.” (Jan. 16)