1) Register to Vote
If you are already registered to vote, great job! Skip to the next step!
The reasons to register to vote are fairly obvious, but there are a few things you may not be aware of. In the last presidential election about one hundred million voters never made it to the polls. That is roughly forty-three percent of all registered to vote. Reasons for this are varied, but many report feeling more and more disconnected from politicians. The issues that many of us care about are not being discussed and both parties are guilty of this tragedy.
Now, you may be reading this and nodding your head along in agreement, but still confused on how registering to vote can make a difference. An estimated 10million e-cigarette users reside in the US, if each one voted, we may be able to swing any election towards a pro-vape candidate. In fact, a recent poll showed that vapers could cause President Trump to lose the swing states he had previously won in the last election by tight margins.These politicians may not be talking about an issue important to you. Yet maybe the reason is they have not heard from YOU.
2) Join CASAA
The CASAA is the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, and they are the one-stop-shop for staying up to date with vaping regulations in your state. CASAA even makes it simple to contact your legislators directly, via any Call to Action. Most will have a pre-scripted email that also has room for you to share your personal story and feelings directly. Please keep in mind, if you include your personal story and thoughts, we highly recommend being kind and courteous. Most legislators do not respond positively to attacks and negative comments. Membership is completely free and they promise not to flood your inbox with useless spam. Once joined, the next step is easy, click “Get Involved!” at the top of the page and select “Find My State Info.” Next, a map will appear on screen, you click on your state and it will show you the most current regulations and action items happening in your neighborhood.After that, all that is left is to enter your address so CASAA can find and contact the correct legislators for your district/area and hit SEND.
Within a week or so you should receive a response from your legislators. These responses are a great way to find out how politicians feel about vaping in your area. If they are supportive of vaping be sure write back and thank them for their response. If they are unsupportive or on the fence about e-cigarettes, do your best to remain calm, collected and polite. Take that moment as a great opportunity to start the conversation about vaping and educate them!
3) Educate and Prepare
You have your personal quit smoking success story, and maybe you even know about the study from the Royal College of Physicians that said, “the available data suggest that they(the risks) are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products.” Maybe you even have been following the Zamplebox Blog (shameless plug), which always is chock-full of solid info. Those all are great places to start, but there are tons of other resources out there with important information. One place we always recommend starting with is Dr. Farsalinos Scientific Blog. This doctor has been reporting scientific evidence about the benefits of vaping since 2013. You will find tons of fantastic links and research studies that are perfect to share with your uninformed family, friends and legislators. Especially when contacting legislators, it is of the utmost importance to cite factual information/studies. Yes, just sharing your story is very helpful, but any more weight you can add to your argument makes you more effective with your legislator.
4) Find/Contact Your Legislators
This is very easy, but first you need to know if we are contacting our federal elected officials or state elected officials. Federal elected officials include your state’s senators and representatives. These are the men and women that spend most of their time in Washington DC and work on national issues with other Representatives and Senators from across the country. They are always great to contact regarding any issue in your state, but tend to be less involved with in-state issues. State elected officials include the governor and your local district senators and representatives. These officials generally meet at the Capitol building in your state and focus almost exclusively on local state issues. If your state is attempting to ban flavored e-liquid or restrict vaping, these are the folks writing and crafting the bill to do it. Be sure to reach out to these local legislators, as they may be the most important to contact. They may also be the most understanding of your thoughts and feelings, as they live in the same area you do. Most even have local offices, and are very open to meeting their constituents. Simply schedule a meeting with them and find out their plans for your district/state.
Find your Federal and State elected officials here.
5) Share your quit smoking success
Scientific studies and facts are crucial, yet your story might be the key to winning over a legislator. Connecting personally with legislators has been a wonderful way to personify this community. Much too often we see the media and legislators group vaping with Big Bad Tobacco. But that is not this industry, this industry was built by a grassroots movement of small business and manufacturers. Most were former smokers that just finally found a means to quit smoking.
One of the best parts about the vaping community is the large amount of diversity it has brought together. Head to any vape meet or event and you will see people of all ages and walks of life together in one room, celebrating their success in quitting smoking. Grandmothers standing next to a twenty-five year old punk rocker with liberty spikes, standing next to an accountant in a suit. Each and every vaper has a story to tell about themselves and they are all equally important. Whether you smoked for forty years or five months, quitting smoking is hard and you should be proud of your success.