State Vaping Laws Are Not Deal Breakers
It is possible to get past an overreaching state government and have a successful vape shop or e-liquid brand. The key is to connect with your local community leaders and create positive change.
Our first lesson focused on how the August 8th regs impacted your vape shop or e-liquid brand. The primary takeaways from that lesson are pretty simple for shop owners:
- Do not sell to children under 18
- Do not give out any free samples
E-liquid brands on the other hand have much more to worry about. If you were on the market before August 8th, 2016 then the fight is just beginning. You have a lot of work to do if you want to keep your liquid in compliance. Research as much as possible about PMTAs and ingredient lists.
Today’s lesson will focus on how connecting with local politicians is essential for overcoming government overreach. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and vaping is in center court right now. If you want your business to survive you’ll need to tap into the fight and start throwing (diplomatic) punches.
In conservative communities, vaping remains relatively new and generally misunderstood by the city governments. As such there are still very restrictive state vaping laws. Unfortunately, many politicians, media representatives and the general public hold an unfavorable perception of the industry. Cooperation with local state politicians is the only way to ensure informed decisions are made in the future regarding how state vaping laws are implemented.
In this lesson we interviewed a truly unlikely hero from the conservative suburbs of Draper, Utah who was able to connect with local community leaders to get his vape shop approved in a prime location. This is his story and his most prized learnings. Hope you enjoy!
How Draper Vaper Got A Vape Business License Under Conservative State Laws
Nathan Coccimiglio is the CEO of Cash Vapes and the president of the SFATA chapter in Utah. He offers the following five important pointers on how to deal with politics on both the state and local levels:
Connect With Your Community Outside Of Vaping
Shop owners and e-liquid brands can engage with the surrounding community in both conventional and unconventional ways. Talk about state vaping laws at your shop and in your marketing material. Host local events and raise money for local political causes. Remember that vape legislation doesn’t just affect business owners. Consumers have as much to lose as we do and sometimes they need to be reminded of what is at stake.
Talk With Local Business Organizations About State Vaping Laws
Go get involved with your local Chambers of Commerce. For the vape industry, the key to progress is normalizing our business so that political authorities and the general public stop seeing vape shops as an anomaly or suspicious enterprises. Getting involved with a local Chamber of Commerce or with area Better Business Bureaus is a great way of integrating our industry with others as a show of legitimacy.
Improve Vaping’s Public Image At All Times (“They” Are Always Watching!)
Unfortunately the newness of vaping has led to some feelings of lawlessness and counterculture. The same vaping community that caused the commotion can serve as the solution by avoiding profanity or infringements on copyrights in marketing materials. This goes without saying, but DON’T MARKET TO CHILDREN. This includes the use of cartoon characters in logos, advertisements and as mascots. Don’t vape in inappropriate places and be professional in front of community leaders that may have an opinion on state vaping laws.
Seek Positive Press About Vaping
Not all press is good press. Shop owners and e-liquid brands should share stories about the positive and proven health benefits to vaping as well as technological advances, including product categories like e-cigarettes. Offer to be interviewed by local news outlets and newspapers. If that does not work, seek out local podcasters, bloggers and even church leaders that may be curious about your message. Your biggest wins will be with communities, not individuals. Sharing your story with local media outlets helps people on the outside realize that we have more in common than we think.
People Are At The Heart Of Any Endeavor
Rules and regulations are enacted and enforced by people. In any and all types of business, networking is important. State vaping laws are no exception. Nathan stresses the importance of networking and reaching out to politicians, community leaders and people of the press to improve the perception of vaping professionals and the industry as a whole.
It goes without saying that you also need to stay up to date with current legislation in your state. Certain legislative measures that have been proposed or even enacted on the state and local levels across the country can be disastrous for the Vaping industry. Shop owners and e-liquid brands should keep abreast of legislative measures that are being taken and organize efforts to fight them.
Here are our top resources for keeping track of state vaping laws:
- Right 2 Be Smoke Free coalition
- CASAA’s Advocacy Toolbox – be sure to signup to receive alerts about legislation in your state
- Municode – for tracking state vaping laws down to the neighborhood you live in
We all need to fight and win this together.
In our our next lesson we explore the differences and similarities between the Deeming regulations and state laws affecting the vape industry.
Watch the entire presentation from Vape U III – The Vape Shop Master Summit below.
Jesse is the Digital Marketing Director at VapeMentors and Chief Technology Mentor. He is an ecommerce and internet marketing expert with a background in business and technology.