It’s hard to imagine that anything good might come from the nationwide panic over vaping that has left hundreds of cannabis oil vapers hospitalized with damaged lungs and led to bans across the country.
But one good thing is happening: vapers everywhere are coming together to speak out and advocate for vaping. Consumers and small businesses that hadn’t been involved are taking to social media, speaking out at legislative hearings, sending letters to their state representatives, and looking for other outlets for their passion and anger.
Now a group of consumer and industry stakeholders have launched an initiative to raise money for advocacy efforts by encouraging vaping businesses to donate profits on a single day to organizations that work to protect the rights of vapers.
It’s called National Save Vaping Day, and it’s happening next Monday.
“On Monday, October 7th, we are asking vape shops, online retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and other entities that want to see vaping survive to donate some, or even all, of their profits for the day to the American Vaping Association (AVA) and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA),” says the National Save Vaping Day website.
The organizers are encouraging vapers on that day to patronize businesses that support the effort. They also have a media page with downloadable banners and flyers for businesses to use in promoting the effort.
The American Vaping Association (AVA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting greater public understanding of vaping and encouraging smokers to improve their lives by switching to e-cigarettes. AVA President Gregory Conley has worked hard to become a recognized spokesperson for vaping as a low-risk alternative to smoking, and is sought out by the news media.
Though the AVA is supported by many small businesses, it doesn’t perform the functions of a trade association or have dues-paying members like VTA or SFATA. The AVA depends on donations from businesses and individuals who see value in vaping having a strong presence in the public debate.
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is a non-profit organization representing the interests of consumers. CASAA’s mission is “to ensure the availability of a variety of effective, affordable, reduced-harm alternatives to smoking by increasing public awareness and education, advocating for responsible legislative and regulatory policy designed to improve public health, and to promote the benefits of reduced harm alternatives.”
Membership in CASAA is free, but the organization depends on donations to survive. Despite its large membership, CASAA runs on a shoestring, with just one full-time employee (CEO Alex Clark). CASAA board members are volunteers. [Disclosure: I am a member of the CASAA board.]
CASAA members receive timely alerts when legislation that threatens tobacco harm reduction products is proposed in their states or local areas. CASAA’s “calls to action” are well known among vapers who value the work CASAA does to provide a template to respond, with suggested talking points and contact information.