By – J Ervin Bates
What is it about Americans these days? We are a content bunch, so long as our comfort zone isn’t encroached upon. Those in the vaping community are pretty much the same. As long as you have your Mod, your tank or dripper, and a steady supply of your all day vape (ADV) e-liquid, life is grand, isn’t it? Well let me drop a bomb in the middle of your comfort zone, my friends; life is not grand! Not here in Michigan; not in Ohio; not in Pennsylvania; not in California. In fact, there are several states where an all out war against ecigs and vaping is under way at this very moment!
Take Ohio, for example, where Governor John Kasich is looking to levy an 86.5% tax on ecigs and vaping products, thus bringing them into parity with tobacco. Or how about the state of Pennsylvania, who’s Governor, seeks to levy a 40% tax on ecigs and vaping products? Oh, you want more? What about the State of California, whose Department of Public Health recently declared that ecigs and vaping poses a serious health risk?! I could go on and bore you to tears with TONS of other examples of what lies ahead for ALL of us IF we don’t take action NOW.
An alarmist, you say? Really? Can you read any portion of the preceding paragraph and seriously think I am shouting at the top of my lungs for no apparent reason? We are about to LOSE the RIGHT to enjoy something that effectively added YEARS to our lives and probably saved many of them. If the State of Indiana has their way, ALL vape-related shops in the state will be closed in July of this year. How much time do you think they have to muddle around, wring their hands, and beg for mercy? And while we’re talking about begging for anything, lest I remind all of you that the people responsible for this legislation are elected officials.
These people, elected to office by you and I, are running things down our throat with no remorse. They are doing the bidding of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, because (God forbid!) “we can’t lose our smokers or we lose their tax dollars!” And so, they are attempting to pass legislation that will raise taxes to monumental proportions, legislating our rights away from us…..and we continue to vape and fiddle while Rome burns slowly. After all, it’s not our State that’s doing this. My friends, you had better wake up, because this is only the beginning.
My passion for this matter runs deep. I was a smoker for 28 years, and after trying pills, patches, gums, and even hypnosis (none of them worked), I found vaping in July of last year. Seven months later, I am STILL smoke-free; my doctor tells me they haven’t heard my lungs sound this good in a long time; and I am damn proud of the accomplishment. I can taste food and drinks again; I can breathe fully; I can shovel snow without running out of air for the first time in a decade! If that isn’t something to celebrate you tell me what is! And yet, our elected officials continue this barrage of nonsensical legislation, wholly ignoring the many positives associated with it.
The time to act has actually passed! Is it too late? I do not believe so, but the only way to mount a successful counteroffensive against legislators, big tobacco and big pharma is to build a solid grassroots effort in EVERY state in the Union. There is no “half way” here, it is all or nothing. And trust me when I tell you that it will not be easy. This promises to be a fight, the likes of which we have not seen before. Why?
Follow the money, my friends. When you stopped smoking (or even reduced smoking dependence), it hits big tobacco in the pocketbook on many levels. Do a little research and you will see that I am right. It’s the same situation with Big Pharma. Imagine a world where you do NOT need to go to a doctor to get Chantix, Welbutrin, inhalers, or the patch. You no longer need as much medication, because your COPD has been slowed and stopped in its tracks. Notice I didn’t say “cured”, because there is no cure for COPD….but this is what these groups are looking at as their future. Add to that the lost tax revenue from the sale of tobacco, etc. and everyone is losing their collective minds, because they do not know how to live by a budget like the taxpayers do.
If you haven’t already done so, please join The Vaping Militia. TVM is working daily to help educate members of the vaping community, but they are also in the process of forming Trade Associations with brick and mortar shops across the United States. I personally know many of the Board members, and trust me when I tell you that they are working their tails off, trying to prepare people on every state for the onslaught to follow. Your $30 membership goes to help get their Board around the Nation, so they can help YOU get the work done. You can find The Vaping Militia at http://www.thevapingmilitia.org and if you join by the end of April, use NEWYEAR10OFF to save $10 off a one year membership.
Another great group is The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). Membership is free, but donations are welcome and recommended. This group is 100% consumer-based, and many of the “Calls to Action” come from them. Please visit their website at http://www.casaa.org today to learn more.
Are you ready for that battle? Can you stomach a months to years-long fight to protect something that has changed your life in a positive way? If you’re not, you are going to see the collapse of this multibillion-dollar vaping industry-and it won’t take long. They are already at the border of Michigan, with the aforementioned tax levies at the ready in Indiana and Ohio. There are attacks just like this already coming together in many states across the U.S., and 2014 could very well be THE year for getting this settled. Fight or flight? The choice is YOURS!
J. Ervin Bates (Erv) is a new face on the scene of Advocacy for the vaping industry, and host of “Locked & Loaded with the Ervinator”, Saturday evenings from 8pm to 10pm on http://vapers.tv/vapetrixnetwork
You can find his facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/943311665680852/
J Ervin Bates is a dog tag wearing member of the Vaping Militia. The views expressed in this article are of the author. If you are a dog tag wearing member of the Vaping Militia, and wish to write an article for www.vapingmilitia.org please contact Alex Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org