There’s never been a more important time to get involved with vaping advocacy. With the Cole-Bishop Amendment failing to get included in the latest Congressional spending bill, we’re redoubling our efforts for the next push leading towards the next spending bill later this year.
Getting involved can be a little intimidating, but the good news is that there’s many ways to help on behalf of vaping. If you don’t have to the time to get wholly involved with groups like the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) [http://vaportechnology.org/], that doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact.
Step One: Listen to Episode 6 of the VapeWild Modcast.
We discuss the Cole-Bishop Amendment, how to advocate on behalf of vaping with Congress, and more. It’s a great listen that will explain how the system works in simple terms and hopefully get you motivated to help.
Step Two: Learn how to comment effectively online and when communicating with Congress.
This PDF is a great resource for leaving comments on the Government’s Regulations.gov website. Not everything may be applicable to what you’re wanting to say, but it will help to know what they’re looking for. [https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf]
Step Three: Get Involved!
Writing or calling your Congressional Representatives and Senators can play a big role in helping fight the good fight on behalf of vaping. It’s important to have a plan before you call or write, and to make sure you balance your passion with the right language to ensure your voice is heard. It doesn't stop there though. State Representatives, Governors, Mayors and City Council Representatives are all people that you can contact as well. Local regulation is just as important regulation at the national level.
If you’re writing or emailing, have someone read over what you wrote for grammar and any other issues. Don’t worry about the length of your statement. Whether it’s short and concise, or you have a longer story to tell, make sure you what you want to say, just stay on topic. Be sure to share your story of how vaping has made you and/or your family’s life better. Congress needs to know that vaping is changing lives for the better, so the more personal stories they receive, the more impact they will have.
If you’re calling, have a plan. Write down what you want to say and read it, or give yourself a list of talking points to work from. It’s easy to get flustered or nervous, so having your words in front of you can be a big help.
Remember that the people taking your calls or reading your letters and emails are often staffers, interns or other paid employees tasked with collecting constituent communication. They’re people just like us, doing a job and living their lives. Don’t get angry, yell or curse at them. It’s fine to be passionate, let them know you care, but if you get abusive with your language or attitude, it’s far more likely that they’ll disregard what you’re saying or that your message won’t carry the same weight.
Keep an eye out for town hall meetings that some members of Congress will hold in their home districts and states. All the same rules apply in how you present your message, but it’s rare opportunity to present your message to someone face to face.
Finally, get involved at the local level. Watch for attempts by local legislatures and councils trying to implement unfair tax hikes on vaping products. If your city is considering a flavor ban similar to what San Francisco did, go to council meetings and make your voice heard.
Get involved with the VTA or similar organizations. They’re always looking for active people to help get the message out farther and louder.
Finally, be sure to follow VapeWild on social media and subscribe to our emails. From time to time we will send out links that we think are important and worth you taking a few minutes to comment on. We won’t do it often because we want you to know that we when ask for you help, it’s both needed and the issue is one that is directly important to you and the vaping industry.
Also, if you ever have questions about commenting on Regulation.gov, contacting a representative or advocacy in general, reach out to use on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk to you and help any way we can.
Here are some great organizations to check out online!
Posted by Zach Woosley on Apr 4th 2018