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Georgia Smoke Free Association joins VISTA

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Georgia Smoke Free Association joins VISTA

Georgia E-Cigarette Industry Bands Together To Join Industry Alliance

Tampa, FL, May 15, 2015

VISTA Truth, Inc. (VISTA), a national non-profit vaping industry alliance, is pleased to announce the addition of the Georgia Smoke Free Association (GSFA) as a VISTA member. Together VISTA and GSFA will proactively lobby at the state level in Georgia for business rights, oppose legislation that would be harmful to the industry, and promote a free and open market for adults throughout the state that support tobacco harm reduction efforts.

“The hard work and dedication of small businesses to organize and join VISTA is proof that business owners in Georgia are passionate about protecting their industry. VISTA looks forward to working with the GSFA and our lobbyist in Atlanta to protect against over regulation and unwarranted taxation on the most viable alternative consumer product for adult smokers to live a combustible tobacco free life.” said VISTA President Kevin E. Skipper.

“The GSFA and our members are pleased to unite with VISTA and join a growing network of fellow business owners and vapers in Tennessee and Florida. VISTA has a proven track record of defending small business rights over the past year. As part of the VISTA team, our ability to network and disseminate information will be greatly enhanced. Also, and crucially important, we will now have a voice in Atlanta.” said GSFA President Bill Funderburk. “We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to increasing our membership this year in order to strengthen our industry. We want to ensure that Georgians continue to have both access to electronic cigarette products, and at a reasonable cost. We oppose taxation, but hope to work with lawmakers on sensible regulations.” Funderburk concluded.

For more information visit www.vistatruth.org or www.gasmokefree.org


TSFA Vendors Participate in SFATA Fly-In to DC

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TSFA Vendors Participate in SFATA Fly-In to DC

On Wednesday, June 10th, 2015, accompanied by vape store owners and representatives all across Tennessee, I went to Washington, D.C. to meet on Capitol Hill to express the concerns of the Tennessee vaping industry. For those of us who attended, it was an incredible experience to be in that historic place, with a cause. We want to speak out for vapers, and for smokers who could quit by switching to vaping.

We started the day off with a light breakfast and briefing in downtown D.C. There we coordinated our strategy of what would be most effective in the short times we would have with each office. Our main talking points would include items such as supporting HR 2058, which would force the FDA to extend the grandfather date in their regulations from February 2007 to February of 2014, supporting potential future legislation that would set a nationwide age to vape as 18+ and would support requirements for Child Safety Caps on e-liquid, and stressing the business impact of each store represented. I would mention in each meeting a brief description of TSFA’s mission, and relay that out of our 67 supporting stores we have over 300 employees and occupy over 100, 000 square feet of retail space. These figures are only about 20 percent of all the vape shops in Tennessee.

From there, we took cabs to Capitol Hill, specifically the House of Representatives buildings. Once we went through security, there were a series of tunnels, or underground hallways, that went between the three House office buildings, and a Subway that goes to the Capitol Building. We met with 6 Representatives’ Staffers and both Senators staffers. Overall, we had a fairly positive response. To me, the biggest thing that happened on Wednesday was what happened in each and every office we visited (granted, most meetings were held in the hallway). When we walked in with a group of 14 Tennesseans, they were quite surprised. This indicated the importance of the Vape Shops owners and representatives coming to DC to voice their concerns.

The Takeaway? This was an enormous lesson in how things work on Capitol Hill, and where we stand in the grand political scheme. Lawmakers are aware of our industry, but, for the most part, are not aware of the fight we are up against, and the curtain that is being put in place to blind the people to the lives that can be saved by the vaping industry. These lawmakers do not have reign over the FDA unless the law specifically changes something in the regulations. We need to encourage our federal legislators to keep an eye on the FDA, and continually inform them that an entire industry that brings in millions in tax dollars could potentially be wiped out by one strike of a pen by the FDA. Many of the staffers we spoke with were not aware that the FDA’s deeming regulations, as posted last year, would hand the entire industry to Big Tobacco. Our shop owners and vapers alike must take action on the state and federal level if we have hopes of saving the industry from over regulation.

Please support the campaigns of lawmakers who are friendly to our cause, and contact your legislators’ offices to voice your concerns.

Jonathan Beardsley

Vice President/Executive Director East TN

Tennessee Smoke Free Association


TN CALL TO ACTION!

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TN CALL TO ACTION!

*ATTENTION VENDORS IN CHUCK FLEISCHMANN’S DISTRICT*

The congressman sits on the Appropriations Committee that is handling bill HR2058. There are over 20 shops represented by him and its extremely important we reach out to him and his staffers for support. I am copying Gregory Conley’s instructions for you to follow. PLEASE DO THIS ASAP!

*BUSINESS OWNERS — IMPORTANT INFO*

– Call the D.C. office of your Congress representative during normal office hours. The number can be found on their website.

– Do NOT just communicate your position to the person answered the phone. You are a business owner in the Congressman or Congresswoman’s district — you can get further up the chain than a normal person.

– Tell the operator that picks up:

My name is ____. I am a small business owner in Rep. ____’s district. There is a vote coming up in the Appropriations Committee on Thursday that is extremely important to my business, my employees, and my customers. Before Thursday, I was hoping I could speak to either Rep. _____ or a member of his staff that deals with Appropriations Committee issues.”

– If they ask you for a summary of the issue:
“On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee will consider a funding bill for the FDA and other agencies. I want Rep. ____ to support Section 747 of the bill and fight back against any attempts to remove it. It would save my business from being shut down by overbearing FDA regulations. I want Rep. ___ to know that this bill would not stop the FDA from regulating e-cigarettes and vapor products, but it would just stop them from banning over 99% of products already on the market. Without this fix, my business and thousands of other stores just like mine will be shut down. Additionally, I’d like him / her to co-sponsor HR 2058, which would make the fix permanent.”

Remember, before Thursday, you want to talk to a staffer who works on Appropriations Committee issues about this issue.

If you can generate calls from your employees / customers, GREAT. The simple message that they should deliver is this: “Please co-sponsor HR 2058.” That’s it. Just tell them to leave an address

TSFA Launches Consumer Membership Program

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TSFA Launches Consumer Membership Program

Over the last six months we have had an overwhelming interest from consumers on how they can contribute to the Tennessee Smoke Free Association. While we continue to encourage vapers to support the TSFA primarily by shopping with vendors who support the TSFA, we are rolling out a Consumer Membership program. Consumer Members will receive a NOT BIG TOBACCO T-Shirt, Sticker, and TSFA Membership Card, which will be numbered. The TSFA will continue to be primarily supported by Tennessee Vendors.

The Consumer Membership cost is $50. There is a PayPal transaction at the end of the sign up form.

TSFA will be accepting Cash payment at Vapecon this weekend.

Anyone can sign up on the Become a Member tab of our website home, where there is a link for the Consumer Membership form.

Or, to sign up now, click here.