There are lots of things vapers can do to make a difference that won’t cost anything, or even be especially time consuming. The key is to get involved and to remember to advocate. Here are 10 things every vaper can do to help!
1. Learn everything you can
It’s great to know a lot about the exciting devices we use and the liquids we vape, but until we get beyond the current threats to vaping, it’s crucial that all vapers know something about the science, the law, and the politics. Every one of us should be able to briefly (and correctly!) answer basic questions and correct misunderstandings. We represent vaping to non-vapers. We need to know our stuff.
The Nicotine Science and Policy site is a great source for science links and news stories (be sure to sign up for their email news digest). Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos’s site contains his research, along with comments on other studies. ECITA maintains a list of research links, as does CASAA. The groundbreaking 2015 review by Public Health England is a must-read for all serious vapers. Chris Price’s site has lots of news and commentary, including links to Bill Godshall’s weekly collections of news and policy stories. Vapers.Org.UK has an excellent news section, and they offer have a daily digest available via email.
A lot of vaping advocates use Google Alerts to find stories about vaping around the world. It’s a handy way to catch news about legislation and regulations early, and to see trends in news coverage.
2. Teach non-vapers the facts and gain their support. We need help!
Ten million American vapers is a lot, but we need political strength and press coverage that will only come from having non-vapers on our side.
So post links to positive news and science stories on Facebook with some basic comments that will educate your friends who don’t vape. Talk to them. Get your non-vaping family and friends to see how important it is to offer smokers safer alternatives. I think this is the most important vaping advocacy of all. When you improve your own life with vaping, you’re also improving their lives. If they appreciate that, you’ll have them telling others about it too. We aren’t going to get anywhere just talking to each other!
3. Write a letter to the editor for your local newspaper
Write a polite response to an anti-vaping article, or proactively tell your story and tie it to an event in the news. Be polite, be persuasive, and be positive. You should stay under 150 words — so focus on the topic you choose and stick to it. Remember: we need non-vapers on our side,
so find things to say that anyone can relate to.
4. Register to vote. Then do it!
Find out which candidates support your right to vape and get behind them. Find out which don’t, and let them know why it’s so important to you, to local businesses, to 10 million American vapers (or however many there are in the country you live in), and to forty million smokers who haven’t had the chance to try vaping yet. Remember that politicians are used to passing laws restricting smoking. They need to understand that vaping is not smoking, and also that vapers are going to be involved and keeping score. If they know you care, they know you’re watching them. Be a squeaky wheel!
5. Recruit smokers!
We need more vapers. The more vapers there are, the harder we will be to stop as a political and economic force. Also, isn’t this what it’s really all about? When you run into a smoker, ask if they’ve tried vaping. If they’re interested, recommend a shop to visit. Offer them help if they have questions.
6. Patronize vendors who are involved
Ask vape shop owners what organizations they support and what their plan is after the deeming regs go into effect. If they aren’t knowledgeable or involved, help them learn and get active. If they are, thank them and send more business their way. Vape shops and e-liquid manufacturers, at this point, should already be supporting their state associations and a national organization like SFATA or the VTA. Also, CASAA has nice shop displays with handouts. There’s no better place for vapers to get interested and involved than in the shops they support. And there’s no better way for shop owners to help themselves.
7. In the U.S., join CASAA and visit August8th.org
Do it right now! After all, it’s free, and you’ll be part of the largest pro-nicotine consumer group in the world, with over 200,000 committed members. CASAA will send you information when legislation arises that threatens vaping in your state or city, and also calls to action on national issues. They need our financial support too, so consider that the next time you have vaping cash to burn.
Visit August8th.org to e-mail and call your elected officials. We’re in a fight for our vaping lives with the FDA. If we can’t get Congress to fix the deeming regulations by next year, there will be no vape shops, no e-liquid manufacturers, and no more smokers saving their lives with this thing that’s helped us all so much.
8. Worldwide, vapers can and will make a difference
The Nicotine Science and Policy site has a list of consumer organizations you can join. And the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations (INNCO) is an umbrella group that represents many consumer associations around the world. Check their website for a group to join in your country. If there isn’t one, start one yourself! All of these groups were started by individual vapers or snus users who decided it was time we had some representation in the debate about low-risk nicotine products.
9. Get involved in vaping advocacy on social media
Vaping needs you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Much of the communication between advocates, politicians, scientists and journalists happens online, and we can all be online ambassadors for vaping. It’s actually fun too! Just remember not to be, you know, that guy – the obnoxious name-calling loudmouth that hurts his own cause.
If you’re on Twitter already, you can follow us @ and say hi. If you’re not, what are you waiting for? A lot of good discussion is happening there! Online vaping advocacy has the same goals as the personal kind. We want to improve our reputation among non-vapers by being intelligent and persuasive. The beauty of the online version is that we can instantly communicate with people anywhere in the world.
10. Be proud!
By quitting smoking, you’ve done something important and positive for yourself. But by fighting for vaping, you’re doing something to help all of those smokers that haven’t yet given vaping a chance. You’re standing up for their chance to help themselves. You’re advocating for something that saves lives. Thanks!