Vapor Saved My Life, Written By Stacey Hamilton
WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO DO OUR PART TO FIGHT THE FDA’S DEEMING REGULATION
My wife and I were both longtime smokers. I had smoked for over twenty years and she even longer. We both worked in the medical field for a combined total of over 57 years. We knew we needed to quit smoking as we have both cared for literally hundreds, probably thousands of patients who were suffering the effects of long-term smoking. Most of those patients are no longer alive to tell their stories.
I literally tried every single smoking cessation drug on the market without success when I started seeing electronic cigarettes and decided to give them a try. I tried serval times to get the hang of it before I finally found something that worked for me. My passion and love for vaping eventually turned into Kaleidoscope Vapor.
Our small business has grown steadily, and I cannot tell you what an amazing thing it has been to help so many people kick the habit. My father is my very best success story. After multiple heart attacks and chronic lung infections, I convinced him to give vaping a try. He has been smoke free now for two years and his health has improved dramatically. I know I would have lost my father by now if he had continued to smoke.
I have spent many hours volunteering as an advocate for the LGBT community. Our community is one of the most at risk groups in the US today. According to the DC LGBT Center, the “LGBT community is among the populations most severely impacted by tobacco use,” with the most recent study suggesting that the “LGBT community smokes at a rate almost 50% to 200% higher than the general population.”
As an advocate and a voice for my community, I felt one of the best ways I could help was to offer a safer alternative to smoking. The Royal College of Physicians tells us that vaping is conservatively 95% safer than smoking, and now University College of London also demonstrated in their latest study that vaping is 97% less toxic than combustible tobacco cigarettes.
Armed with this information and a passion to help my community, we began setting up at Pride events, we joined our local Rainbow Rutherford group and we began working extensively with the LGBT community to help them make better choices. We often give away starter kits to those who cannot afford them and try to support those individuals in their efforts to make a better choice.
Now, the FDA’s recent deeming regulation threatens all the good we have managed to achieve. While they freely admit that the deeming rules will wipe out 98% of our industry, the FDA is essentially forcing some 20,000 small businesses just like mine to close their doors, robbing the estimated 486,000 people who die every year due to smoking-related illness the opportunity to try vaping as a healthier alternative.
No responsible person in this industry believes that it should not be regulated. I am 100% behind reasonable and rational regulation. This is why I have chosen to take action by joining the Vapor Technology Association’s national campaign to roll back the FDA’s harmful deeming regulation and replace it with reasonable federal policy that preserves our industry and protects consumers, while ensuring access to these life-saving products.
It is going to take all of us coming together to fight for our industry if we are going to be successful. Get involved. Talk to your representatives in Congress. Fight back. If we don’t do it now, there will be no industry to save.
Stacey Hamilton is a Vapor Technology Association Board Member, owner of Kaleidoscope Vapor and President of the Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama (BEAA). To get involved in the fight to save vapor, go to www.savevapor.org. To learn more about the Vapor Technology Association, go to www.vaportechnology.org.