Lights, Camera, Call to Action! – Cole & Bishop Need YOU!

Posted by Mitch Clarke on 5th Apr 2017

A new avenue for success has suddenly presented itself for vapers across the country, but we need YOUR help (yes, you!) before time runs out on this opportunity to reverse one of the largest roadblocks preventing the e-cigarette industry from blossoming as it would (and should)!

This recently realized path to victory? The Cole-Bishop bipartisan bill making its way through Congress—this piece of legislation has just received a shortcut to fruition by way of the 2017 US Budget. As opposed to undergoing the risky, time-consuming, and tumultuous path of being approved by both the Senate and the House as a standalone piece of law, the language of Cole & Bishop’s bill—otherwise known as the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 (HR 1136)—is being considered for inclusion in the federal budget for this fiscal year. This language would adjust the predicate date—a set date after which all products released to the market for sale are liable for FDA regulation—from early 2007 to August 8th, 2016. This would be a huge load off of retailers and manufacturers alike across the globe, preventing needless fees and dues from making their way to the consumer in the form of raised prices, retrograding technologies, and greatly reduced options in products—nearly every flavor imaginable and every model of e-cigarette under the Sun would be subject to these unfair and clearly biased regulations.

Countless stores have already closed their doors in mere preparation of the incoming PMTA applications and the associated $1 million+ fees for each product application—countless more are sure to follow if we don’t do all we can to ensure the Cole-Bishop bill will make its way into law. So far, 41 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle have come together to show their support for such an obvious move towards positive public health, but it will take the active efforts of as many vapers as possible reaching out to their corresponding representatives in Congress if we hope to achieve our goal.

Already, the inclusion of innovative legislation has anti-vaping groups up in arms and shaking in their boots. Suspiciously, the organizations with the loudest voices are the ones with the most to lose, not gain, from setting back the predicate clock. These are the ones who receive a vast majority of their funding from some sort of tobacco- or pharmaceutical-related revenue, whether it be from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, state tobacco taxation, corporate donations, or inter-organizational transfers of funds. These groups include the:

Clearly, should the actions of these groups prove successful, these “public health" groups more concerned with the longevity of their bank accounts than they are with the health of the public will only have that much more justification to continue their underhanded practices, assert their financial disinterest in the public, and persuade even the most casual of observers (such as myself) that we’d be better off without them serving as Big Tobacco’s third arm. 

I sincerely wish it weren't this way, seeing as names like "American Lung Association" and "Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids" sound entirely benign—benevolent, even—but their behaviors, especially the ones not outright trumpeted by the media, are truly despicable. Did you know that when the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was lobbying against flavored cigarettes, at the time, there were no flavored cigarettes whatsoever? No grape, no bubble gum, no gummy worm, only smoke and mirrors. The only flavor available at the time—menthol, the substance proven to increase nicotine addiction—is exactly the flavor they actively lobbied FOR. In a report made over a decade later titled "Flavor Trap" in which they condemned all flavored “tobacco” including e-cigarettes, they innocently state "use of menthol cigarettes, the only remaining flavored cigarettes, increased significantly after the ban." And this is only the tip of the iceberg: countless other “public health” groups will be writing in opposition of the Cole-Bishop bill, so we need to beat them to the punch!

As it stands, current and future smokers, not vapers, stand to lose the most. The only types on the market would be the earliest models of e-cigarette (think cigalikes, then take a technological step backwards); these types have been proven by numerous studies to be nowhere as effective at delivering nicotine as newer models. If subpar models of e-cigarettes are the only ones on the shelves, this may accelerate another normalization of cigarette smoking with Big Tobacco’s subsequently ironic stranglehold on tobacco control returning in full force.

But on the other hand, we have an army by our side, too! (Sometimes, I doubt if anyone catches even half of my puns) Across the country and around the globe, vaping advocacy groups are joining hands Red Rover–style in order to prevent dishonesty and greed from marring this legislative process. Such groups include the:

All of these groups and even more are working together to ensure that fair regulation is put in place and any unfair market advantage is prevented. But as vapers, we need to do our part as well!

“But Mitch,” you may ask, “how can I even help?”

To which I would reply, “’d you learn my name?”

Oh, it’s right there at the top.

Well, helping is easier than you think! The first step is finding your local & federal representatives: these are the people who vote on these issues on your behalf everyday—but if you don’t let them know what you think about upcoming issues, then they’ll never know! An easy way to find your corresponding members of Congress is by following any of these links, entering your zip code, and figuring out which old dudes live closest to you!

Then, you can feel free to pick up the phone and give them (or most likely, a member of their staff) a piece of your mind! Or if you—like a normal human being—would rather eat hot nails than actually talk on the phone, you can send them a quick, easy, and socially non-threatening email: some of these are already filled out, so all you need to do is add your personal info and send it on its way, but a self-written letter is always a nice touch.

With such a monumental event heading our way with a very short ETA, it’s paramount to success that we band together as a whole—consumers, retailers, and manufacturers alike—and do all that we can to help this groundbreaking piece of legislature pass. So make sure to call, email, and vapor-signal your way into your Congressmen’s hearts before this Thursday—only then will we have a real chance to keep the vapes we love! Make the voices of vapers be heard by being a vaper who raises their voice!