The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association represents a wide cross section of the “Smoke- Free” or vapor products, industry including distributors, manufacturers, retailers and consumers of Personal Electronic Vaporizing Units such as electronic cigarettes and the liquid solutions they contain.  The vapor products industry is the embodiment of the American Dream; built by entrepreneurs and visionaries, this industry has grown organically and become a vibrant mutli-billion dollar industry that is constantly innovating the creating.

SFATA membership is comprised of responsible business owners who understand that model corporate citizenship is vital to gaining the acceptance of the skeptics who believe the industry is driven or influenced by big tobacco and to ensuring a path for the continued innovation of products that researchers worldwide have agreed could eliminate the public health hazards caused by use of combustible tobacco cigarettes.

Through data gathering and information shared by distributor and manufacturer members, SFATA believes there are as many as 15,000 vape stores operating currently, 1200 manufacturers of e-liquid and 22 manufacturers of hardware and 13 assemblers of finished products in the United States; representing over 70,000 jobs and that there are as many as 1000 established distributors of vapor products representing thousands of jobs as well.

The vapor industry was built by small and mid-sized businesses, the common misconception that “big tobacco” somehow fueled its’ growth is a disservice to the very hard working people who started their businesses as a way of offering an alternative to combustible tobacco cigarettes.

Statement of Principles

SFATA is committed to providing an alternative to combustible tobacco products for adult smokers.

• SFATA and its members sell only to adults
• SFATA and its members have not and do not market to minors
• SFATA and its members support a national age standard on the sale of vapor products and e-liquids

In order to provide the high-quality, reliable product the industry strives to create, SFATA has instituted the following standards in order to assure vapor products are appropriately marketed, packaged, and sold:

• SFATA and its members do not make any health or cessation marketing claims not appropriately supported by science
• SFATA and its members support packaging all e-liquids in child resistant caps, consistent with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act
• SFATA and its members support appropriate labeling – including nicotine strength, ingredient listing, and all appropriate warnings
• SFATA and its members support the development of industry consensus standards that are consistent with the American National Standards Institute requirements

Additionally SFATA encourages its members that produce e-liquids to:

• Agree to only use FDA certified “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) for human ingestion products in their e-liquids
• Institute expert mixing processes – including employee training and the use of clean rooms

SFATA also recognizes that the science behind this new industry is not yet settled. We believe that the science will confirm vapor products are an innovative and disruptive force in the marketplace that provide the potential to transition millions of Americans away from combustible cigarette smoking. Additional research must be performed in the following areas:

• The relative harm reduction potential of transitioning away from combustible cigarette smoking to vaping
• Nicotine toxicity and exposure studies
• Behavioral studies reflecting the role of customizable products in cessation effort; and
• Additional studies on adult flavor preferences and their role in smoking cessation

SFATA supports a public education campaign – both to highlight these products are intended only for adult use and to highlight their potential for adult smokers.

The Long Term Goal

Our long-term goal is the promotion of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes as separate and distinct from tobacco. SFATA believes appropriate and proportionate regulation is pivotal to the success of the industry. We support the implementation of high quality standards of manufacturing and quality control and believe these standards should form the basis of a reasonable regulatory scheme for vapor products.

SFATA firmly believes a proactive approach is necessary because it is imperative for industry representatives to actively participate in a dialogue with the public as well as with the FDA.

In the aftermath of the Sottera decision, SFATA has established a strong line of communication with the FDA, and is advocating before the agency to provide a carve-out designation for vapor products – separate from tobacco regulation.

Click here to view SFATA’s comments to FDA


SFATA supports the creation of state and local chapters as a way of consolidating resources and working toward mutual goals.  Many states and localities are fighting the same fights; SFATA chapters work together to foster education and acceptance in their communities. Please contact info@sfata.org for more information on chapter polices and formation.

The Bottom Line

If vapor products are ultimately regulated as if they were tobacco, this new and innovative industry will be squelched, the marketplace will be less vibrant and consumers will lose. SFATA is working tirelessly to prevent such costly regulation from being implemented at the national and state levels.

Download a PDF with information about SFATA.

SFATA asks for your support. Become a Member Today!


Non-Profit FAQ’s

Is SFATA A Charity?

No. SFATA is a 501(c)(6). Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

A business league is an association of persons having some common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. Trade associations and professional associations are business leagues. To be exempt, a business league’s activities must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business as distinguished from performing particular services for individual persons. No part of a business league’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual and it may not be organized for profit to engage in an activity ordinarily carried on for profit (even if the business is operated on a cooperative basis or produces only enough income to be self-sustaining).  The term line of business generally refers either to an entire industry or to all components of an industry within a geographic area.  It does not include a group composed of businesses that market a particular brand within an industry.

Chambers of commerce and boards of trade are organizations of the same general type as business leagues.  They direct their efforts at promoting the common economic interests of all commercial enterprises in a trade or community, however.

What is the difference between nonprofit and tax-exempt status?

Nonprofit status is a state law concept.  Nonprofit status may make an organization eligible for certain benefits, such as state sales, property and income tax exemptions. Although most federal tax-exempt organizations are nonprofit organizations, organizing as a nonprofit organization at the state level does not automatically grant the organization exemption from federal income tax.  To qualify as exempt from federal income tax, an organization must meet requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. See Types of Tax-Exempt Organizations or Publication 557 for more information.

Trade associations that meet the requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(6) are exempt from federal income tax as business leagues. The same provision extends exemption to chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and professional football leagues.

What Is The Difference Between A Charity And A Non-Profit?

A charity needs to be non-profit, but not every non-profit organization is automatically a charity. A charity is involved in activities such as relief operations or to fight against illiteracy, ailments, and other social cause. The money at the disposal of a charity is used on these social causes.

What Qualifies As A Charity?

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a detailed discussion, see Political and Lobbying Activities and this list for an example of 501(c)(3)charities.

Can A 501(C)(6) Lobby?

One of the advantages of the 501(c)(6) tax status is that it allows organizations to engage in unlimited amounts of lobbying. Indeed, legislative and executive advocacy comprise a significant portion of the activities of many business leagues. Although these organizations are not subject to restriction on the quantity of lobbying they do, they must abide by certain IRS rules and requirements. Most significantly, although business league membership dues are generally deductible as an ordinary business expense, the portion of dues payments attributable to lobbying expenditures is not (with certain exceptions).