There are lots of things vapers can do to make a difference that won’t cost anything, or even be especially time consuming. The key is to get involved and to remember to advocate. Here are 10 things every vaper can do to help!
1. Learn everything you can.
It’s great to know a lot about the exciting devices we use and the liquids we vape, but until we get past the current threats to vaping, it’s crucial that all vapers know something about the science, the law and the politics. Every one of us should be able to briefly (and correctly!) answer basic questions and correct misunderstandings. We represent vaping to non-vapers. We need to know our stuff.
The Nicotine Science and Policy site is a great source for science links and news stories (be sure to sign up for their email news digest). Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos’s site contains his research, along with comments on other studies. ECITA maintains a list of research links, as does CASAA. The groundbreaking 2015 review by Public Health England is a must-read for all serious vapers. Chris Price’s site has lots of news and commentary, including a link to Bill Godshall’s weekly collection of news and policy stories. Vapers.Org.UK has an excellent news section, and they offer have a daily digest available via email.
The American Vaping Association (AVA) does a great job of representing the small businesses that are the heart of the vaping world, and Greg Conley, AVA president, is probably our most well-known and powerful spokesperson. The AVA website and email list is a must.
2. Teach non-vapers the facts and gain their support.
Nine million American vapers is a lot, but we need political strength and press coverage that will only come from having non-vapers on our side.
So post links to positive news and science stories on Facebook with some basic comments that will educate your friends who don’t vape. Talk to them. Get your non-vaping family and friends to see how important it is to offer smokers a safer alternative. I think this is the most important vaping advocacy of all. When you improve your own life with vaping, you’re also improving their lives. If they appreciate that, you’ll have them telling others about it too.
3. Send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper.
Write a polite response to an anti-vaping article, or proactively tell your story and tie it to an event in the news. Be polite, be persuasive, and be positive. You should stay under 150 words — so focus on the topic you choose and stick to it. Remember: we need non-vapers on our side!
4. Register to vote and vote.
Find out which candidates support your right to vape and support them. Find out which don’t, and let them know it’s important to you, to local businesses, to nine million American vapers (or however many there are in the country you live in), and potentially to forty million smokers who haven’t had the chance to try vaping yet. Remember that politicians are used to passing laws restricting smoking. They need to understand that vaping is not smoking, and also that vapers are going to be involved and keeping score. Be a squeaky wheel!
5. Recruit smokers!
We need more vapers. The more there are, the harder we will be to stop as a political and economic force. Also, isn’t this what it’s really all about? When you run into a smoker, ask if they’ve tried vaping. If they’re interested, recommend a shop to visit. Offer them help if they have questions.
6. Patronize vendors who are involved.
Ask vape shop owners what organizations they support and what their plan is after the deeming regs go into effect. If they aren’t knowledgeable or involved, help them learn and get active. If they are, thank them and send more business their way. Vape shops and e-liquid manufacturers, at this point, should already be supporting their state associations and the SFATA national organization. Also, CASAA has nice shop displays with handouts. There’s no better place for vapers to get interested and involved than in the shops they support. And there’s no better way for shop owners to help themselves.
7. Join CASAA.
Do it right now! After all, it’s free. They will send you information when legislation arises that threatens vaping in your state or city, and also calls to action on national issues. They gladly welcome donations too.
8. In Europe, join the group in your country.
Get involved in efforts to fight the TPD. Write to your MEP’s and to the legislators in your country. To find out more about what groups to support throughout the EU check out the EU and TPD article we wrote did recently. Spread the word!
9. Get involved in advocacy on social media.
I hope to write more on this in the near future, but vaping needs you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Much of the communication between advocates, politicians, scientists and journalists happens online, and we can all be online ambassadors for vaping. It’s actually fun too! Just remember not to be, you know, that guy – the obnoxious name-calling loudmouth that hurts his own cause.
If you’re on Twitter already, you can follow us @ or me @whycherrywhy and say hi. If you’re not, what are you waiting for? A lot of good discussion is happening there! Online vaping advocacy has the same goals as the personal kind. We want to improve our reputation among non-vapers by being intelligent and persuasive. The beauty of the online version is that we can instantly communicate with people anywhere in the world.
10. Be proud!
By quitting smoking, you’ve done something important and positive for yourself. But by fighting for vaping, you’re doing something to help all of those smokers that haven’t tried to quit. You’re standing up for their chance to help themselves. You’re advocating for something that saves lives. Thanks!