This weekend’s “We Vape, We Vote” movement descended on D.C. to advocate for continued access to vapor products as an alternative to deadly combustible cigarettes.
Organized by United Vapers Alliance (UVA), advocates protested to show the world that “We Vape, We Vote” is a movement that has the influence to disrupt the upcoming election with millions of potential votes up for grabs. The organizers and attendees vowed to continue to push elected officials to “reject prohibitionist policies that threaten access to life-saving vapor products,” according to a UVA press release.
“If President Trump does not deliver on real reform at FDA, he is not only risking the destruction of an American industry, but he will be also be creating a situation where millions of adult ex-smokers could return to deadly combustible cigarettes,” said Dimitris Agrafiotis, who serves as executive director of the Tennessee Smoke-Free Association. “HHS Secretary Alex Azar has pledged PMTA reform, but he failed to deliver. Now, it is up to President Trump to stop the FDA from destroying 99 percent of the industry and leaving 160,000 Americans unemployed in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Over 20 vaping consumer advocates shared life-changing stories during the rally on their journey to vaping and how it has positively impacted their friends and family since switching to a tobacco-free lifestyle. They were also joined by featured speakers and leaders in the industry Dimitris Agrafiotis, executive director of the Tennessee Smoke-Free Association; Amanda Wheeler, president of Rocky Mountain Smoke-Free Alliance; and Gregory Conley, president of American Vaping Association.
Wheeler says the FDA’s PMTA rules are too burdensome for small business owners (Wheeler owns five vape shops across three states. “The costs associated with PMTA will force Jvapes’ five locations in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma to close doors,” she said.