This weekend, we celebrated our freedom from those that sought to oppress us with unfair laws and unfair taxes. “No Taxation without Representation!” was the battle cry we were taught in schools. We learned that we should oppose tyrannical government and unjust laws. We were taught that we were free to live our lives as we choose, not how we are told by our government. We were taught that we have a choice, that we have a say and that what we want mattered.
So, what happened? I saw many folks celebrating their freedom. There were scores of pictures on Facebook and Twitter of people laughing and drinking and celebrating however they chose to. Why? Because they are free to do so. I chose to sit on my couch and eat lasagna while watching Hannibal…(don’t judge!) The point is that while we were all celebrating freedom yesterday – there is one freedom we are just giving away. It is being taken from us and most people are letting it happen.
What freedom is that? Our freedom to Vape. When you scroll past a call-to-action or a blog post or even a news story, you are giving away your freedom. When you support businesses that have questionable marketing practices – you are giving away your freedom. When you watch someone use, build or sell an unsafe device – you are giving away your freedom. When you fail to open lines of communication for advocacy with legislature, local shops, and even other vapers – you are giving away your freedom.
Our founding fathers fought for their freedom. They waged war to protect their most basic rights and they won. What are you doing to protect these freedoms that were given to you? Have you joined an advocacy group? Do you know what laws are being enacted in your state? Do you know where your legislators stand when it comes to vaping?
What can I do? This is the question I hear most often. One way to help with advocacy is by spreading the word. Everyone has a local vape shop near them. There are thousands of shops across the country. Open a line of communication and ask your shop what they are doing for advocacy. One thing that is fun and helpful is to organize an advocacy meet at the shop. Most vapers are not online and do not know about the advocacy efforts on groups like the Vaping Militia. Ask if you can hold an advocacy meeting in the shop, ask if they will help you advertise for it and help bring in more people. Advertise online as many advocacies prefer to shop at stores that support advocacy. Check with resources like the Militia to see if there are local advocacy groups that would like to speak.
What do I say? If you are not sure what to say at a meeting or even how to hold a meeting, there are many resources out there for you. Contact an advocate or a group like the Vaping Militia. These groups are happy to help you set up an agenda, download materials and help you learn about what is happening in your state or local area. Do not let fear make you give up your freedom.
Yesterday we celebrated our freedoms. Today, let’s continue to fight for them!