As a lot of you know, the United Vapers Alliance (UVA) is hosting a rally on November 9th, 2019 from 12 PM until 4 PM at The Ellipse at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW., Washington D.C., 20230.
Unfortunately a lot of us are unable to go, whether it be other commitments, finances, disability, what have you, but there is a lot going on right now that can have a direct impact on every adult who relies on vaping as an less harmful alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes. As a vaping community, we do need to band together and fight for our rights to vape, but in order to do such, we need to have presence.
Presence. While for the every day individual making their voice heard can seem like an impossible thing to do, together through various means (including but not limited to making our voices heard via social media and contacting our representatives) we can make every voice count toward our goal of a healthier lifestyle than is provided via combustible cigarettes. Flavors and a variety of choices has provided a better alternative for thousands of adults. Now, more than ever, we need to protect our right to a less harmful alternative.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BE PRESENT IN THE VAPING COMMUNITY:
1. Phone Calls
Phone calls have been known to be quite effective in this situation. Call everyone. Here are some important phone numbers for you all, and some resources to find who you need to call.
Tell the White House that you oppose all flavor bans.
(202) 456-1111 OR (202) 456-1414.
You may get the operator. Keep it short and sweet.
"Hello, my name is _____________. I am calling in regards to the flavor ban that will cause thousands of people to lose their jobs, and millions of people to resort to black market e-liquids. As an ex-smoker who has successfully quit smoking cigarettes, I am 100% in opposition to the flavor ban. I smoked (insert cigarette brand) for (insert length of time). I now vape (insert flavor here) at (insert nicotine level here). Vaping has saved my life. Thank you for your time."
To find your Congressmen and Congresswomen: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Enter your zip code here. It will give you who your Congressmen and Congresswomen are, call them.
To find your State Senator: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=PA
Choose a State. Call them.
To find your State Governor: https://www.usa.gov/state-governor
Choose a State. Call them.
For each of these, you may get the secretary. They will record all that you have to say. Here is what I told my State Governor's secretary.
"Hi, my name is ________. I live in ____________ county. With all of the news lately, I am concerned about my access to legal, regulated flavored nicotine e-liquid. As a former smoker, I can tell you that vaping has changed my life significantly. I was a 2 pack a day smoker of Marlboro Menthol 100s. Six months after I quit smoking and started vaping, I ran a 5k. I've been smoke free for almost six years now, have worked in a vape shop for four years now, and have watched thousands of people in our state quit smoking cigarettes successfully. I understand that we need to protect our youth from gaining access to flavored nicotine e-liquids, and support that, but banning flavored e-liquid isn't the answer. Our industry has been self-regulating for years prior to the FDA stepping in. We are in support of reasonable regulations, such as being 21 and older, having age verification ID scanners, limiting the advertising on social media, billboards, radio, and the like, as well as ensuring that products cannot be accessed by the youth via third party websites such as Ebay or Alibaba. Please don't let us go to the black market for e-liquid. I will NOT return to smoking combustible cigarettes. If a flavor ban were to go into place, a black market would erupt, and cause more illnesses and deaths. We've been an industry for over fifteen years, don't let us lose access to our flavored nicotine e-liquid products. Thank you for your time."
I know, a lot of people are anti-social media. I understand. Our officials are on Twitter and do see the Tweets that we create. It's free to sign up, and takes maybe ten minutes a day to get the work done.
To sign up for Twitter: Go to www.twitter.com. Put your name in, and your cell phone number or click "Use email instead" and type your email in. Then add your date of birth. This is to ensure that you are over the age of 13. If you use your cell phone number, you'll receive a verification code. If you use your email, you'll receive an email to verify that this is you creating the account.
It will ask you to create a password. For the safety of your account, follow these guidelines for creating a password:
1. Eight characters or longer
2. A capital letter
3. A number
4. A special character (such as @, !, #, etc.)
Once you've created your password, it will ask you to upload a profile picture. Either add a photo of yourself, or a photo such as this: https://twitter.com/BristowChriss/status/1191793846608449537 (credit: @bristowchriss) Right click the image, download, then upload to profile picture on Twitter.
It will then ask you for a Bio: You have 160 characters to create a bio. A recommendation: Smoke free for 5 years. Vaping for 5 years. Fruity vape flavor all day long. #WeVapeWeVote #FlavorsSavedMyLife #VapingSavesLives
Then, it will ask you for your interests. I recommend Tech News, Science News, Gov Officials and Agencies. Then it'll suggest some people to follow. I'll also leave you a list of individuals to follow here.
Finally, it will ask if you want to allow notifications. That is up to you, I personally do not use notifications.
A list of individuals/groups/agencies to follow:
Of course, you're welcome to follow anyone you'd like. Just click "Follow" to do such. These are just suggestions!
Let's look at name change. Your account will be your name followed by a bunch of numbers (ex. Testacc43127959). In Twitter's eyes, you may be a bot, which is an "account" that automatically retweets and likes other Tweets. In order to ensure you are not a bot, go to "More" then "Settings and Privacy" then "Account" then "Username." Backspace the original name, and come up with something creative! Try to avoid numbers in your account user name. Your user name must be more than 4 characters and less than 15 characters. If you need help with creating a user name, follow this link: https://twitternamegenerator.com/
Feel free to add the information you want to this, it will create a user name for you!
Now, let's talk "@" and "#".
The "@" symbol will allow you to notify a certain individual about what you want to say. For example, you could write a Tweet that says: @realDonaldTrump I vape and I vote! This would send a notification to @realDonaldTrump.
The "#" is a keyword or phrase that is used to signify a topic. Some popular "#" are:
When you click on one of those "#" on Twitter, it will bring up other users who have used that keyword and/or phrase. A great way to follow new people!
Then, it's time to send your first Tweet!
You get 280 characters to send a Tweet. An example Tweet (or your first Tweet!) could look something like this:
@POTUS @FLOTUS @CDCgov @US_FDA I quit smoking cigarettes because of my flavored nicotine e-liquid. I will NOT return to smoking if a flavor ban goes into place. #WeVapeWeVote #VapingSavesLives #FlavorsSaveLives #IVapeIVote #Vape #Vaping
Of course, if you have any questions about navigating Twitter, feel free to contact me!
3. Sign petitions
Signing petitions comes with every cause. Whether it be political, personal, what have you, there are always petitions. Here are a few links to a few petitions that have gained traction.
4. Follow Vaping Advocacy Groups
There are groups that are out there fighting for our rights. Give them your support by following them!
These groups post a lot of incredible knowledge and news. Make sure to regularly check their websites for updates!
5. Support your Local Vape Shop
We know that ordering online is easier. It can all be done from your fingertips.
Right now, our Brick and Mortar shops are suffering. There are shops that are closing, shops that are trying to advocate, shops that are laying off employees, and shops that are limiting their hours.
The Brick and Mortar stores need your support. When you purchase from a Brick and Mortar store, that supports the people, not a algorithm. It allows for customer relations, originality, supporting each other in the fight, and feel apart of the community. The money is banked locally, your purchase allows the stores to continue purchasing products, and allows for accountability. Shop local! Shop small business!
Education is key in winning this fight. There have been a lot of people saying "You know, that vaping thing will kill you." That's simply not true. We are advocates for that. We are the story.
Use that as an opportunity to teach. Check out: https://www.yes-i-vape.com/post/let-s-talk-terminology and https://www.yes-i-vape.com/post/a-beginner-s-guide-to-vaping for information to discuss!
There it is, folks. A little advocacy toolbox for you to use if you're unable to attend the rally this Saturday.
To those who are able to go, thank you for representing us. We as a community appreciate your sacrifice from leaving family, friends, work, other commitments, etc.
Let's fight this fight. There is power in numbers, and we need your support now more than ever. #FightForOurLives