SFATA Member Debunks Common E-Cigarette Myths In NY Times

SFATA founding member and co-founder of VMR Products LLC, published a full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, October 14th.

In an open letter to elected officials and FDA regulators, thought leader and CEO, Andries Verleur, dispelled common e-cigarette myths while encouraging fair and common sense regulation.

With anti-electronic cigarette and big tobacco groups pressuring the FDA to regulate the e-cigarette industry by the end of October, VMR thought it was imperative to get fact-based information to the officials in charge of monitoring and regulating the industry. In the letter, Verleur focused on three primary myths that are commonly misunderstood by many outsiders who are not familiar with electronic cigarettes, stating, “while the two look similar, their differences are tremendous.”

SFATA continues to promote this same philosophy– how can e-cigarettes be classified as a tobacco product if they do not possess any tobacco?  In addition, well-respected public health experts are advocating for the electronic cigarette industry based on the fact that e-cigarettes contain zero tobacco and are a truly reliable combustion-free, adult alternative.

Following an extremely misleading report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which falsely claimed the percentage of minors using e-cigarettes has more than doubled, Mr. Verleur also offered up facts as to how the e-cig industry purposely does not sell to minors. “We voluntarily label our products ‘Underage Sale Prohibited’ and fully support youth bans, the We Cart initiative and age verification laws for online e-cig sales in all 50 states.” In addition, VMR’s CEO stated that because there are almost 50 million active smokers in the United States, “the need to sell or market to the youth is not necessary.”  VMR, along with other industry leaders and other SFATA members do not conduct youth-oriented marketing promotions and continually enforce that policy.

Please share this blog post in an effort to promote the truth about electronic cigarettes and debunk inaccurate myths. As SFATA gears up for the first-ever Fly-In Event in Washington D.C. on November 4th & 5th, e-cig advocates are encouraged to contact their respected elected officials by telephone, email, standard mail and social media to tell them to not implement harsh regulations on the industry.  To take action, please retrieve the appropriate congressmen and women’s contact info from this post. Make sure to follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” SFATA’s official Facebook Fan Page for daily e-cig industry updates and news.

The E-Cigarette Industry Achieves Regulatory Victory in Central Europe

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in Strasbourg, France declined to impose stringent regulations on the electronic cigarette industry this week.  Although the law isn’t final, as it still has to be reviewed by other branches of the European Union’s government.  This is positive news for electronic cigarette business owners and advocates worldwide. While e-cigarettes will not be categorized as medicinal products, sold only in pharmacy’s, under this new regulation, e-cigarette companies in Europe will face stricter advertising regulations, which may prevent millions of people from learning about e-cigs as a reliable, smoke-free alternative.

Various groups spent millions of dollars trying to persuade the MEP to regulate e-cigarettes as nicotine replacement therapies (i.e. patches and gum), but those efforts were rejected. According to The Independent, a popular UK media outlet, the lack of tobacco in e-cigs is one of the main reasons the proposal did not move forward: “Cancer Research has proven that the lack of tobacco in e-cigarettes means they are ‘almost certainly’ a much safer way of getting a nicotine hit than smoking cigarettes.”

The MEP ruling resulted in a successful outcome for the e-cigarette industry because European citizens contacted their elected officials and let their voices be heard. Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat MEP, told The Verge, another prominent UK media outlet, “E-cigs can be a game changer. Hundreds of former smokers have written to tell me that they have helped them give up cigarettes when nothing else worked. They are successful because they are not medicines but products that smokers enjoy using as an alternative to cigarettes.” Using this strategy in the U.S., SFATA is working to rally e-cigarette advocates to inform and educate elected officials.

Despite this apparent win, there are still many battles to fight in Europe and in the U.S. Individual nations in Central and Eastern Europe are free to impose tighter e-cig regulations, but must meet minimum standards set by the EU. Although the U.S. government is not looking to classify and regulate e-cigs as medicinal products, there is quite a lot of pressure to regulate them as if they were traditional cigarettes, which would be detrimental to the industry and consumers alike.

SFATA hopes U.S. regulators will look at Europe’s regulatory decision on e-cigarettes and use the same strategy for the U.S. It is inappropriate to categorize e-cigarettes as medicine or traditional cigarettes because this innovative technology is neither. E-cigarettes are a separate entity and deserve separate and sensible regulation. As a tobacco-free adult alternative, e-cigarettes are a useful option to people worldwide.

Help share SFATA’s message by sharing this blog post with colleagues, friends and family members. To get regular updates on the latest e-cigarette industry news, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page.

Is the E-Cig & Alcohol Regulatory Arena a Leveled Playing Field?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, the food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation.” In doing so, they monitor and regulate various industries including cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco as well as most food products and dietary supplements. Alcoholic beverages in particular are monitored by several different federal agencies including the FDA. Other agencies that also monitor and regulate various aspects of the alcohol industry include the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Although the food, alcohol and narcotic industries are regulated by different federal agencies, they all have one end-goal: to keep Americans safe and to promote innovation.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examined the alcohol industry’s booming popularity in sweet and candy-flavored alcoholic beverages. Not only does the federal government permit various flavored alcoholic beverages for public consumption, but they also allow them to be readily available at a diverse set of public places including sports events, concerts and other entertainment events. In addition, alcoholic products are also being marketed with the help of millions and billions of dollars across mass mediums including cable television channels, social media, radio and print outlets.

For many e-cigarette consumers, business owners and advocates, the playing field for the consumption and promotion of alcoholic beverages appears uneven compared to the nicotine industry. Although tobacco, nicotine and alcohol products are all legal in the United States (in limited amounts), alcohol brands are allowed to market and revolutionize their products in many ways that e-cigarettes cannot. This point alone has many wondering why one industry is allowed more freedom to promote and sell while the other is not.

Elected officials in Washington D.C. are currently taking the next few months to review the e-cigarette industry in preparation for possible regulation. During this time, many electronic cigarette advocates are concerned that certain anti e-cig groups that have proposed and encouraged e-cigarette bans will cause negative implications on the entire industry. In particular, some groups are proposing that flavored e-cigarettes become banned, except for Menthol and Tobacco flavors. This model is not random at all and is the precedent of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which bans “characterizing flavors of tobacco cigarettes.” SFATA and other e-cigarette advocates are questioning why the government would ban e-cigarettes with “characterizing” flavors but not sweet flavored alcohol products?

Although some uninformed outsiders are claiming that flavored e-cigarettes are appealing to under age users, the same argument could very well go for flavored alcoholic beverages. SFATA believes the opposite is true for this argument when it comes to the e-cigarette industry. From state regulations that prohibit minors from buying e-cigarettes in retail stores, to age verification software for online e-cigarette purchases, as well as voluntary age restrictions imposed by many e-cig vendors, there is little room for minors to access electronic cigarettes.

Many traditional tobacco cigarette users have stated that in the absence of flavored e-cigarettes, they would continue using tobacco containing cigarettes rather than its combustion free, smoke-free alternative.  By imposing a ban on various flavored e-cigarettes, the government can also potentially impair domestic and international economic growth and take away a useful product that millions of people have found to be reliable and useful.

SFATA urges elected officials and the FDA to implement common sense e-cigarette regulation in the U.S. by allowing innovation and access to this technology. SFATA believes parallels exist between the e-cig industry and the alcohol industry and calls for a judicious and cautious legislative movement by the federal government. For more e-cigarette industry tips, advice and updates, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the official SFATA Facebook Fan Page!

Clear the Haze About E-Cigarettes & Help SFATA Educate Elected Officials

The e-cigarette industry, including business owners and consumers are constantly required to combat misinformation and flawed data; resulting in grave concerns about the future of this innovative technology.

As SFATA prepares for the first-ever Fly-In Event in Washington D.C. on November 4th & 5th, the time has come to Clear The Haze and dispel popular myths regarding electronic cigarettes and the personal vapor device industry. As a part of the Clear The Haze initiative, SFATA is encouraging e-cigarette advocates to voice their support for electronic cigarettes to their respected state and local elected officials.

Starting now, it is up to e-cigarette stakeholders to let their voices be heard! Take a stand and tell your state and local government officials how electronic cigarettes have become a reliable adult alternative for you or a loved one by calling, emailing and messaging them via Twitter and Facebook.

We encourage you to provide additional support to the companies participating in the fly-in and make sure Capital Hill knows they are coming; voice your concerns and ‘Clear the Haze’ on a daily basis from now until November 5th.

We are fighting for fair and reasonable e-cigarette legislation but that will only happen if e-cig stakeholders band together and take action. It is the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Associations (SFATA’s) mission to provide and promote the truth about e-cigarettes and the industry as a whole. It is also SFATA’s priority to fight on behalf of the e-cigarette industry for common sense legislation. Currently unregulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the e-cigarette industry has been facing a recent onslaught of regulation pressure from big tobacco and other anti-electronic cigarette lobbyists and groups.

By using every form of communication available, together we can spark a real and honest conversation about electronic cigarettes and the industries needs. This is your opportunity to single-handedly save the electronic cigarette industry from potentially being unfairly regulated in the United States. It is important for you to know that we are fighting a huge fight, so your support, no matter how small, is essential to the success of this movement.

If you love your flavored e-cigarettes or run a successful e-liquid or e-cigarette business in the United States, you should know that big tobacco companies have recently asked the FDA to regulate flavors in the e-cigarette industry as it does with tobacco cigarettes. Even worse, the FDA is receiving immense pressure from anti-electronic cigarette groups to implement regulations by the end of this year.

With roughly a month left to fight this huge battle, SFATA will be launching a series of facts and talking points via email and social media over the next few weeks. In return, we encourage all e-cigarette advocates to share and promote this content in any way possible.

It is also important to educate elected officials about e-cigarette fundamentals. For example, there is a difference between “tobacco products” (i.e., a “product made or derived from tobacco”) and electronic cigarettes (an electronic product that produces nicotine food-flavoring vapor). The principal components of an e-cigarette consist of non-tobacco manufactured parts, so it only makes sense that the FDA regulates e-cigarettes on their own and not in conjunction with tobacco products.

Overall, SFATA wants consumers and business owners to do their part to inform themselves and elected officials on the truth about e-cigs and the overall industry. The clock is ticking and we only have until November 5th to speak on behalf of the electronic cigarette industry, so make sure to follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page for daily facts, tips and specific call-to-actions!

How Do Tobacco-Free Hiring Policies Affect E-Cigarette Users?

Have you heard about the latest trend affecting professionals in the healthcare industry? Many hospitals and medical institutions across the United States are refusing to hire individuals who use tobacco products. One of the biggest clinics in the country, the Mayo Clinic, is likely to have started this trend in 2007. Other major health care institutions, including the Baylor Health Care System in Texas, followed suit shortly after, banning tobacco use among employees in 2012. The Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this year that the Orlando health group, which operates seven different hospitals, implemented a tobacco-free hiring policy in April. Penn State University’s medical centers also implemented the same policy just two months ago.

According to these organizations, the goal behind implementing tobacco-free hiring policies is to improve the overall health of its workforce while reducing health care benefit costs and increasing productivity. Although this position may make sense to some, many e-cigarette advocates are pointing out that there is a thin line between wanting the best for your employees and dictating the way they live their lives. When did it become acceptable to treat tobacco products as an illegal substance? Many e-cigarette advocates are posing that question because of the widespread popularly of this new hiring rule. The truth is, everyone does things in their private life that may negatively affect their health. We all have our vices — some drink too much when they go out with friends, some overeat, and some do not exercise as much as they should. Regardless, those aren’t reasons to implement controlling policies in the workplace that essentially infringe on people’s freedoms.

As this new hiring policy becomes the standard among medical institutions, many e-cigarette users and advocates are wondering whether it will affect them. Will this hiring trend spread into other industries? Depending on what state you live in, the chances are no. According to an NY Times article written earlier this year, “29 states and the District of Columbia passed laws, with the strong backing of the tobacco lobby and the American Civil Liberties Union, that prohibit discrimination against smokers or those who use ‘lawful products.’” The downside is that most of these state laws exclude health care industries.

Fortunately for e-cigarettes users, these tobacco-free hiring policies should not affect them at all. E-Cigarettes contain zero or less than one percent tobacco and produce no actual smoke, marking these hiring policies irrelevant to e-cig users. In addition, e-cigarette users should feel even more at ease knowing that these tobacco-free hiring workplaces reference tobacco products and traditional cigarettes and do not mention e-cigarettes at all.

To get more tips and updates on the electronic cigarette industry, “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page and follow SFATA on Twitter