Trying to run a vape business isn’t easy.
In addition to the standard day-to-day challenges that every business owner faces, those of us crazy enough to be in the vape industry also have government organizations, anti-vape groups, big tobacco, big pharma, health organizations, and medical professionals who are all gunning for us.
Sometimes, it seems like we might all be better off opening a Subway franchise and calling it a day.
But here’s the thing, despite all of these looming (and very real) threats to our industry, there is one that stands head and shoulders above all others in terms of its potential to drive vaping into extinction.
It isn’t PMTA’s.
It isn’t the FDA.
It isn’t the CDC.
It isn’t sin taxes.
And it certainly isn’t the “Truth” movement (seriously, those ads are awful).
The Enemy Within Our Gates
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that any of these threats aren’t serious (well, except for “Truth”. Nobody takes them seriously).
But if we want to get real about the challenges we currently face and which ones have the most potential to destroy vaping, then we can no longer ignore the complacency that has become pervasive within the industry.
Case in point, the VTA issued a call to action here in California for all vape businesses to attend a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 28th in response to pending regulation that would include, among other things, a new tax on vape products.
This was an opportunity for vape entrepreneurs to speak directly with their representatives and tell them exactly why more taxes and regulations would be very, very, bad for the vape industry in the Golden State.
According to the reps who were in attendance on our behalf, there were about 30 companies who felt this was important enough to send someone.
You may not be familiar with the vape industry here in California, but I will tell you right now that this number is embarrassing.
While I can’t provide exact figures, I would estimate that there are thousands of vape companies that operate here, including some of the largest and most recognizable vape brands in the world.
Between the vape shops, e-liquid manufacturers, modders, hardware manufacturers, and distributors that call California home, we should have had hundreds of people in attendance at this hearing, bare minimum.
Instead, we were only able to muster up a paltry few dozen.
Is it any wonder why regulations and taxes seem to be passed with ease or why they are being proposed and/or passed in more and more states and cities across the nation?
If nobody is resisting these laws, why would the government even consider slowing down?
The Danger in Waiting For “Superman”
It appears that far too many of us are expecting some superhero to swoop in at the last second and save our industry from the clutches of the evil government.
We act as if it is totally fine to sit on the sidelines because we figure someone else will take care of it for us.
I have got some bad news for you; this isn’t going to happen.
Nobody is going to care more about our businesses, our industry, or the products we sell more than us, nor is it reasonable to expect anyone to.
Whether we like it or not, we are the ones who our customers, clients, and the community at large are counting on to step up and fight for this industry.
And quite frankly, they have every right to assume this of us.
At this point, you may be sitting there thinking something along the lines of, “Yeah, I didn’t sign up for this sh*t”.
And look, I get it. Most vape companies, regardless of their size now, started out in people’s spare bedrooms and garages and were little more than a hobby that was sparked by a passion for this new, safer alternative to smoking that actually worked.
But here’s the deal, while we may have started out as a rag-tag group of vape fans who were just making better products in our spare time, we have grown into a legitimate, full-fledged industry.
And with that growth comes responsibility.
And why shouldn’t we be responsible? Afterall, we have more to lose in this fight than anyone.
If we are regulated out of existence, everyone who vapes risks losing the option for a safer way to enjoy nicotine, including each of us.
But unlike most of the vape enthusiasts of the world, we also risk losing our livelihoods.
And quite frankly, we all owe more to vape than anyone else on the planet.
Not only has it saved many of our lives, but it has also provided a lot of us with lifestyles that never would have been achieved otherwise.
The Bottom Line
The time has come to put up or shut up.
Sitting by and letting everyone else fight your battles for you can no longer be acceptable behavior.
We all need to step up and fight for our industry.
If you haven’t already, you need to sign up today for the newsletters of the VTA (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to subscribe), CASAA, the AVA, and any other vape advocacy groups you can find.
And when they put out a call to action in your city, county, state, or country, you need to take action, show up, and speak up.
Waiting around is a luxury afforded to those with time, and we are fresh out of that, so it is time to get off our asses and do something.
Or hey, we can all just start selling $5 footlongs.
The choice is ours.