On Vaping: United We Stand
My vaping friends, there is something you must know.
You are part of a minority. And you are under attack.
Although it’s hard to know anything for sure, research and polling has indicated that approximately 10% of US Citizens are vaping. You can probably figure out from that number that that would automatically mean that 90% are not vapers. Simple math, right? That puts you squarely in the minority camp.
I would not presume to say that we have it so terrible, as far as minorities go. There have been many great men and women of history who have dealt with untold horrors in the pursuit of justice, freedom, peace and equality. Vapers are not slaves to tyranny, not mocked and ridiculed in the streets. Things could certainly be a lot worse, and have been a lot worse, for many people in many places long before vaping even came to be. Please don’t think I am equating our right to vape to the inherent rights of all mankind.
But the fact remains that when you’re the little guy, it’s easy to go unnoticed and unheeded. Oh, yes, minorities can be heard. But only i f they’re loud enough! Only if they are united in their cause and only if they push back against misinformation, stereotypes, and wrongful accusations. As part of a small group, you and I do not have the luxury to sit on our haunches, vaping happily while we can, convinced that someone else will take care of the problem for us. In any given population, the few often carry the weight of the many. If we let this be us, then our entire industry is doomed to failure. The most promising tool for quitting smoking that the world has yet seen will be reduced to a handful of products made by the very companies many of us are seeking to cut ties with. Certainly there will be those among us that can survive such a vape-ocolypse. Those that will go on vaping no matter what. But how many potential vapers out there will never quit smoking, due to lack of available tools? Smoking kills 480,000 people every year. Will you let that be on your conscience forever? Will you have no compassion on those who haven’t even had the opportunity to try vaping? Unmoved that they are stuck in the same dark hole you once inhabited?
Regulation has been a long time coming, but media sources are flooded with studies (many debunked) and misinformation that is hurting our cause. Regulation is welcome by reputable companies. Standards are not a bad thing. Precautions protect both businesses and consumers, and create better products. But what we face is not regulation and standards. We face the decimation of an entire, promising industry. One that is changing peoples’ lives and has the potential to help many, many more. The nay sayers cry “just quit, why do you need a substitute? Why do you need e-cigs? Just stop smoking!” Well, many have tried, and few emerge victorious. It is a vicious addiction and it’s hard to break. No one tells an overweight person to just quit eating. They say stop eating junk, eat healthier food. Vaping is a healthier alternative than smoking. Maybe it’s not 100% safe, but so what? If someone can’t quit smoking on their own, why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to significantly reduce the risk to their health? Why can’t adults make an informed decision about what goes into their bodies? We are already legally allowed to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Everyone’s aware that these products are harmful. Why is vaping being attacked?
People with a lot more money and power than we have are scared, that’s why. Smoking rates are going down and vaping is increasing. That means less money for Big Tobacco. Less taxes for the government. Do you think that the tobacco industry is going to just fade quietly into the night? No. They are going to kick and scream and claw their way back to their happy place.
Folks, we should be doing a lot more kicking and screaming ourselves, before we fade away into obscurity, and the future holds nothing more for us than missed opportunities. We need to educate others, vapers or not, about the merit of vaping. We need to support advocates of vaping like SFATA and CASAA and the AVA, who are lobbying for our rights and fighting for the cause. We need to practice common courtesy and respect those around us who fear vaping because they don’t understand it. We need to educate our own about the proper use and safety aspects of the various equipment that vapers use to prevent injury or harm.
Perhaps you think I am just fear mongering. Maybe you think it’s overreacting. But the truth is that vaping is in serious danger, and we need to, each and every one of us, do our part. Do not think that you are safe because you know how to mix your own eliquid. Do not think it’s fine because you have a friend that can make you a box mod. Please consider all those who may never have the chance to use vaping to quit smoking because it may no longer be an option. Please remember how vaping has changed your life. We deserve to have the freedom to vape, but freedom has never come free. We cannot afford to be a splintered group where everyone is only looking out for number one. Vaping needs you. Answer the call! Before it’s too late.
Renee is a painter of words, sharing the thoughts of an eliquid artist as she makes her way through the many paths life presents. As co-owner of Sarcastic Fringehead Vapery, Renee knows a thing or two about her art, her craft, and life. Renee is a regular contributor to Spinfuel eMagazine with her esoteric and eclectic column, Just Clouding Around™.