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Posted by AES Web Team on January 07, 2015
There are a lot of reasons this is being written, but the first is the most important. The people who need to be convinced vaping is safe aren’t lawmakers. They aren’t doctors, regulators, or any other type of specialist. They’re your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, and your family. The people we walk among every day who eye us suspiciously when we pull a humongous MOD out of our pocket and blow a massive cloud in the parking lot.
Every family member who has seen someone quit by vaping can become an advocate. Every co-worker who notices you don’t smell like smoke anymore can be an ally, but it’s our job to arm them with the right information. That means we have to be smart about what we advocate to each other and where we get our information. Perhaps most importantly, we have to give a positive face to vaping. We exist in a contentious industry, and staying clean is important if you want people to listen to you and have faith and trust in what you say. Picking the battles that matter, and winning them in a way that we don’t fall into partisanship, bias, and anger is how we all get ahead, vapers and non-vapers alike, for good.
This piece is about being an all around smart vaper. It’s about realizing that people judge us without ever speaking to us, by the way we act and speak about vaping. One bad impression can keep someone from picking up a vape, or worse yet, get them to influence who knows how many friends or loved ones not to. In a world where it seems like the only ones who see the “truth” about vaping are vapers themselves, there are avenues of support many of us have overlooked, grassroots ones. The whole e-cigarette industry is one where every side preaches to the choir constantly. If you want to change hearts, habits, and minds, you have to step outside of your comfort zone, and speak to the people who can help without having anything to gain, except a better world.
Remember the Truth campaign? I do. As a smoker, it was an uncertain time. The evil of smoking is that the damage is hidden, and that forced a lot of us to ask ourselves questions about what was actually being hidden. Even bigger than that, the truth campaign stirred a largely ambivalent audience against smoking, and more specifically, against big tobacco. Most of those it reached were non smokers, who rose up; convinced smoking was going to kill them. It created a swell of public opinion that not only crippled Big Tobacco, but gave prompt rise to the e-cig industry. It’s only logical, after all, that if cigarettes are evil, cessation methods will bloom.
Boy did they. I knew people who tried Chantix, patches, gums, etc. All of these were approved methods for smoking cessation based in existing pharmaceutical markets. Consumers felt safe with respect to them. Vaping is a new thing, and quite frankly, one that does not put money into FDA, FTC, or any other regulatory group’s coffers. That’s a real obstacle, because agencies like the FDA are largely funded by Big Pharma. Which voices we hear these days depends largely on money, and the Truth campaign spent a truly staggering amount of it, in fact, it still does, funded by Big Tobacco itself, at the requirement of a civil settlement.
This brings us back to the original point. How do you fight against money without money? There are tons of tobacco interests, and all of them have a stake in the game. If tobacco goes away, so do they, and they have no chips in the vaping game. That means in order to combat their agenda; we need to do it with the kind of information that isn’t put into TV commercials or crazy expensive billboard campaigns. In this battle, every vaper has real impact and a role to play. We teach those around us about vaping by what we know, how we speak about it, and most importantly, the respect we CHOOSE to show. Many of us carry that smokers chip after years of being forced outside and demonized, and want our due now that our preferred nicotine delivery system is safe for those around us. That doesn’t mean we’re owed it, it just means we have a few more years to work on helping others learn that.
Many of us want to be advocates for vaping, and that means being respectful, knowledgable, and current. Here’s a list of links and resources we think should be daily visits for any vaper looking to learn, network, or help others by sharing their knowledge and experience.
(NOTE: We were not solicited to post these nor are we being compensated. This is just a good honest list of sources and communities we trust and think represent the best spirit of education, cooperation, tolerance, and debate in the vaping community. )
ECF (The e-cigarette forum) – This is a vaper fueled community. They have ads on the forum, but pretty minimally. As to the quality of the information, it can be variable, but it’s a place where most knowledgeable vapers either do interact, or have at some point.
ECR (Reddit e-cigarette subreddit) – If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s time you get acquainted. It’s the best place to stay up to date on fast moving news and keep tabs on what interests you right now. The community there is hugely knowledgeable and active, if sometimes sophomoric, but always helpful. In terms of internet experiences, it’s probably the most like chatting with people in a B&M about whatever topics you’re into.
Vapordigest.com – This is the leading industry trade magazine for the e-cig and vaping industry. You can find everything from equipment reviews, to tutorials, to legal notices and networking here.
CASAA- The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association is a non-profit focused on coordinating legal information and networking between vapers and shops looking to contribute to the various legal battles that are going on in the vaping world.
The Vape Book- This community site has just about everything a vaper needs to vape right. From reviews and news to homemade juice recipes, they cover reliable and trusted info from tons of sources into an easily readable collection great for vapers of any experience level.
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