It has been a crazy four years since the Vaping Militia was founded. Originally the brainchild of Fred Dauksza, we came together with the singular purpose to to spur people into action and to fill the gaps left by the other advocacy groups.
Fred enlisted two friends, Artemus Barker and Armando Mendez to found the organization. Quickly they recruited Jim Ranes and Joe Barnett to complete the original board of directors. With the help of Danny Baker the group started.
At first the other vape advocacy groups didn’t take them seriously, a bunch of guys with no experience in politics taking on the system.
Brash branding, harsh language and a lot of passion gained them some victories on local issues. It also got the attention of vapers.
Vapers signed up to join the fight. They joined to spread the word, to learn and to support 5 guys who wanted to save vaping.
The battlefield grew and the board had to expand to suit what was needed. Patrick Riffe and Robin Barsky were added to fill areas of need on the board, and shortly after Faith Orsini-Calix and Ian Bird Friedman were recruited.
As time passed soldiers have left the field to pursue other battles, our fight continued.
Since forming, we’ve traveled the country and even the world to excite and energize the consumer and to help those in the industry work towards a cohesive and unified front.
We’ve assisted with the formation of State organizations that are being successful with defending vaping, educating and informing consumers who are now able to do what is necessary and re-enforcing areas of weakness.
The Militia has educated thousands of consumers to represent vapers in city halls all over the country at hearings and meetings, citizen soldiers defending vaping.
We feel that we have made a substantial difference in the world of Vape advocacy and have left our mark.
It doesn’t take a lot of money, a huge organization or years of political experience to create positive change. All it takes is passion, energy and a willingness to work hard.
2017 is vastly different than 2014. There are two national industry groups. CASAA has grown and is developing state chapters and the army of educated vapers is mighty.
The landscape is much more promising now and as an organization the Vaping Militia has accomplished its initial goal of spurring action within the vaping community and industry. We’ve surpassed all our own expectations and made friendships and relationships that will continue beyond.
It is now time for us to analyze what this means for the future of the Vaping Militia. For now, we have decided to suspend recruitment, accepting donations or making appearances at events as an organization. We will trim down our website footprint. The blogs and education will remain but the membership section will be closed and our presence on facebook will continue to exist.
After, March 31st we will no longer be offering memberships on our website or producing dogtags. The dogtags were never meant to be a membership card but rather a symbol of your promise to fight to protect vaping and the billions of lives that hang in the balance if vapor products go away.
The words on our vaper and vendor responsibility cards will not disappear. The Vaper’s Manifesto will not vanish. Those words do not lose their value or importance. If you wear a set of dogtags your promise does not lose it’s power.
Owning a pair of dogtags is not a requirement to fight for choice and freedoms. Those of you who have a set will continue to love the products that saved your life and even if we are not there you will still educate those around you and those that need to learn about what vapor products can do if every smoker throws down their butts and picks up a vaporizer.
Smokers are still smoking. It is they who need to know that vaping can save them from the grips of tobacco. Vaping needs to be defended. That is the promise you made when you joined the Vaping Militia.
Simple actions like talking to the guy smoking next to you can save their life. They don’t have to start vaping the moment you talk to them, but you have planted the seed. It will grow and one day they may make the choice. That simple act will make a difference on the larger battlefield.
We are not going away. We will always be here to help and each member of the Vaping Militia board will continue to fight on the field where needed. For now the organization will go on “overwatch”, silently watching and waiting for a need to arise.
The battle is not abandoned but soldiers can hurt the battle plan if they fight where action is not needed and miss an opportunity to act at a crucial weak point. Be vigilant and ready, but fight smart and with a battle plan that offers victory.
We are not hanging up our boots, they are still cinched tight and individually we will continue forward until such a time as we are needed to move as a unit again.
Consider the last four years bootcamp. You have been trained for battle and have graduated. You are citizen soldiers and advocates you know what to do.
The message we have used for the last four years is still important. Simple actions can make big differences. Spend your money wisely. Buy products from vendors that represent the industry in responsible ways. Support the groups that have proven their value to you as a consumer and act when needed to protect consumer access and the freedom to stand for a simple choice.
You made the choice, now stand up for it.