As the owner of a vape shop in the Lemon City area of Miami, I have the wonderful opportunity to see first hand the transformation of smokers to vapers on a regular basis. Our customers are a diverse group, and include people from many walks of life, ethnicities, religions, and income levels. They all share one thing in common. They no longer struggle with smoking.
Since our shop opened a little over six months ago, I have seen so many lives changed for the better due to vaping. From the white male grandfather who conquered his two-pack-a-day habit in one week, and no longer wakes up coughing his lungs out, to the African American single mother's desperate and ultimately successful struggle to free herself of her addiction to a pack of menthols a day, and many others.
These are real people struggling with real addictions, desperate to stop smoking, and the only solution that has worked for them is vaping. Aside from the courage it takes to confront ones addiction, it takes an extra measure of strength to look past the propaganda and negative stereotypes, and pursue a path to freedom that can sometimes evoke negative unhelpful comments from friends, family and even strangers. I am proud of these individuals and blessed to play a minor role in their successes.
Sadly, the American government does not seem to think so. The FDA's deeming regulations released last week, essentially paving the way for a ban on ecigarettes and vaping, are at best a strong indication of the governments ignorance, lack of vision and caring about the individual. At worst, they are a blatant abuse of power designed to destroy many and benefit a few.
The claims that these regulations are to safeguard the public, ring hollow, and those that seek the truth know very well that the only ones protected by these prohibitive regulations, are the companies that manufacture cigarettes, nicotine patches and nicotine gum. The citizens the FDA proclaims it wishes to protect, have overwhelmingly and repeatedly voiced their non-approval of these regulations, yet their voices have gone unheard.
The clueless pundits, and corrupt officials hailing these regulations as groundbreaking, are no different than the ministers who claim to see the Emperor's new clothes but in fact know there is nothing to see. They would have you believe that they have taken a bold step in the war against smoking. The fact is that all they have done is hand Big Tobacco and Big Pharma a gift that contributes nothing towards public health.
The fact that cigarettes kill is undisputed, yet they continue to be sold and will always be sold. The reason for this is obvious; the billions of dollars in taxes collected by the federal and state governments would disappear. Make no mistake, this is about money and protecting the "goose that lays the golden eggs."
Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, the last two election cycles have taught us that grass-roots organizing can effect change when enough people care. It's time for people to take a stand against government overreach and collusion with big industry.
This is a critical time for the vaping community, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Action is needed to ensure our continued access to these life-saving and enjoyable products.
Click here to contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to support House Resolution 2058 (HR2058). This important bill would amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act to change the predicate date for "deemed tobacco products," enabling products currently on the market to remain so without being subject to the impossible hurdles of the FDA's "approval process," which amounts to a virtual ban masquerading as regulations.