No matter where you go in the world, tobacco is big business. It’s estimated that the number of smokers alive today exceeds 1.1 billion people – that’s more than one in seven of every man, woman and child walking the earth. As staggering as that number is, it’s expected to grow by another 500 million in less than ten years; which is interesting considering you can’t go one day without seeing an anti-smoking campaign on television or hearing a related public service announcement on the radio. Interesting, but not surprising. In 2015, the tobacco industry in the United States alone spent over $20 million on lobbyists to represent their interests.
With so much clout, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a world where tobacco companies would do whatever it took to maintain their market share – including targeting a product that many believe to be the successor of the conventional cigarette.
Thankfully, the vaping community has its own guardian angel of sorts in the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association – an association whose mandate is not to get cozy with lawmakers but rather to inform, raise awareness, and protect the right of individuals seeking to partake of reduced harm alternatives to smoking (isn’t it ironic that we need an association to protect our right to do less harm to ourselves? Sadly, the tobacco lobby machine has made it so).
Due to the incredible rise in the popularity of vaping, lawmakers have had their hands full trying to determine things like vaping in public spaces, the health effects of vaping, and perhaps most controversially, the where, when, and how proprietors of the local vape shop can sell vaping machines, e-liquids, and other accessories. Couple that with the fact that there seems to be an entire movement propagating misinformation about e-cigarettes and vaping (you needn’t look far for this erroneous information; you can find it in medical journals and your favorite news broadcast) and it leaves little wonder that the industry is in dire need of a platform from which consumers can collectively have a voice.
Since its inception in 2009, CASAA has partnered with vape shop owners and enthusiasts to deliver truthful information into the hands of lawmakers, which has resulted in e-cigarettes being excluded from municipal ordinances which would see them banned anywhere cigarettes were. Other successful information-driven campaigns throughout the United States have yielded similar results.
The not-for-profit organization even helped to convince lawmakers in Tennessee to repeal a complete ban on the sale of e-cigarettes within the state – a ban which carried with it a sobering $10,000 fine – making Tennessee a bit more vapor friendly in the process.
Where CASAA is probably most useful is its ability to rally vapers from all walks of life to a common cause. While vapers have witnessed some legislative wins over the last couple of years, vaping is really in its infancy which means that the fight for rights rages on. Wherever a new bill threatens to limit or prohibit the use of vaping products, CASAA sounds a call to action, inspiring local vapers to speak to their elected officials and spread the truth about vaping within the community in an effort to change minds as well as hearts.
CASAA: Get Involved
If you’re a member of the vaping community, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association wants you to get involved. If you choose to, you can donate funds to the cause, become a regional representative that may play a key role in determine the future of vaping in your community, or simply join the conversation.
Why It’s Important to be a Vocal Member of the Community
If things weren’t bad enough having to contend with the awesome might and influence of big tobacco, vapers also have to deal with the anti-tobacco groups. As far as some of them are concerned, vaping and smoking are one and the same (misinformation) and their crusade won’t end with the abolition of the tobacco filled cigarette. By becoming involved in the community, vapers are helping to spread accurate information to those who may otherwise become misguided – but more importantly becoming the voice for your peers sends a strong message to legislators that vaping and smoking stand apart, and very truly rightfully so.