Recently, I took a trip to DC for the Vape Technology Association’S (VTA) FDA conference. I was invited to attend on the suggestion of a very political friend of mine that is in the industry. Being a non-political part of this industry, I went to see who was speaking and what was being “sold” to my clientele. I am a skeptic in some circumstances, mostly due to prior failures of others, in the same space, to offer help or solace. I have a clientele base of hardworking individuals who want to achieve success, as well as help those who are ailed by smoke addiction. Californians are not the bad guys, but I can say that we might not have a sense of what role politics play in this vector. Being a regulatory powerhouse, I have taken the political side of this debate out of the equation. Even though my focus is on small business management I soon learned that, to quote the Lion King, “We are all connected in the great circle of life.” There is a lot of things I can say about the conference but I will focus on one point in particular; politics.
Whether you are conservative, liberal, right-winged, left-winged, north-faced, south-faced or even two-faced, the truth of the matter is, politics effect all of us. Throwing money at the problem will not make it go away. This is the ultimate truth about the vape industry. The VTA gathered together to ask their constituents to come together and lobby for a repeal of the grandfather date (IE Cole-Bishop Amendment). For you anti-political people, it is a repeal of the grandfather date to begin on August 8th 2016. You might be asking yourselves, “What does that mean for me?” Plainly stated it means those who manufactured and sold prior to the August 8th deadline would be able to sell without the PMTA. This would allow vape shops to have product to sell, distributors to have product to distribute and manufacturers to have products to produce.
If you think PMTA does NOT affect you politically, you are wrong. FDA is a public service agency, AKA, a government agency, ruled and governed by our government. I personally would like to believe that the FDA is not looking to kill our industry, but only knows how to regulate according how they have always regulated. However, there-in lies the problem. You cannot regulate vape like you would tobacco or pharma. We are too vast, too different, and too new to truly understand everything about our industry. The FDA is not the enemy. FDA is bound to public outcry and protection of public health. Just the other day, I was told that I was selling poison to people and God will judge me accordingly.  From this standpoint, I am sure he is NOT alone. We have to change the outcry. We have to change the mindset of those who are against us, as well as, those in power to make the change.
VTA asked of their audience, not for money or loyalty, they only asked the community to take action. At this point, the VTA is asking for collaboration for the sake of survival. They need us to join together and fight, whether under their umbrella or under another. I am a business owner in the industry, if you are too then the message to contact your representative is for you. Tell them that they will be displacing millions of workers, tell them of the lives you have helped by quitting dependence on cigarettes, and ask them to revisit and repeal the deeming regulations. Our biggest success is the creation of jobs and harm reduction. We cannot be so lax to let our government take food from the mouths of our families and our workers! We cannot allow the government to stifle the possible alternatives of smoking! We cannot go down without a fight!
With that final statement, I have now jumped in the political water. Not in hopes of staying afloat but in the possibility that I might help others from drowning.

Stay Competitive, Stay Compliant.

Monica Schick
The Nerd in the Back