Category Archives: Vaping Industry

Vaping Industry Trade Associations

You are one person, don’t you have enough to do already? How many hats can you wear in one day? With a trade association, you are many being represented as a collaboration of many with one loud voice.

Are you louder?

Well funded and oiled organizations are already so loud, I’m barely able to hear you over the noise. They have friends at the local, state and national levels. They have political influence across the country. They have allies and long-standing relationships. They aren’t questioned about their motive. They have immediate credibility just by saying their names.

Other non-profit associations (Tobacco-Free Kids, Truth Initiative, American Heart, Lung, Cancer, American Medical Association, etc.) have already and are still designing and passing tobacco 21 laws, regulations, restrictions, taxes, and bans to put you out of business. It’s like cutting cookies. Wash, rinse, repeat. They’re organized.

They’re doing it – and getting away with it – right in front of you. They’ve already defined your product as a “tobacco product”. The rest is easy for them. While they regulate, restrict, tax and ban less smoking, the rest of your time in business – at the moment – is just a polite formality until you are gone.

You are in business, right?

State and national trade associations are designed to be a resource for professionals to keep up with YOUR industry news, legislative and regulatory alerts, trends, public affairs and education regarding YOUR business.

A trade association should be an invaluable resource for business owners to learn, share, and teach key information with other business owners about things they commonly need like insurance and credit card processing.

Also, they can provide information on issues like compliance, OSHA and industry standards, operating procedures, (carding, transporting, material, battery and chemical handling, clean rooms, etc), protocol and general business practices, they also should be involved with you at the local, state and national level communicating with lawmakers, and creating and maintaining a favorable public image for your industry.

They also likely maintain relationships with other trade associations and suppliers relating to your industry.

Trade Associations

All over the United States, from gumball machines to taxicabs, hairstylists and grocers to various forms of manufacturing and service industries, trade associations are a way for businesses to (here’s a short list) exist and thrive.

Lots of hats to wear

As a former business co-owner, I was a member of the “Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Foundation” (TLPF). Why? Because I was a dispatcher, driver, mechanic, lawn boy, car wash guy, human resources, ceiling tile counter, janitor, night watchman, city ordinance liaison, public relations manager, plumber, and vice-president – and I just didn’t have time to know every single bill front and back coming down the pike.

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Did you know?

Did you know taxicab drivers are exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA)? I did. At one time, some taxicab businesses were exempt from gas taxes. From seat belt laws to overtime, I understood the groundwork laid decades before I was in that industry, and why. The state and national trade associations were instrumental in keeping it that way.

Think about gumballs

Why would gumball machine owners need a trade group? Here’s an example that started a trade association group – from the 1950’s:

“In 1950, the United States Treasury Department attempted to impose gambling excise taxes on bulk vendors on the grounds that there was no way for consumers to know for sure which gumball or other product the machine would dispense. For a short time, manufacturers installed viewfinders in bulk vending machines to display the next item to be vended.”

“Vendors organized to found the National Bulk Vendors Association (NBVA), which successfully lobbied against the taxes, arguing that the items vended were of approximate or equivalent value. The NBVA has since lobbied on behalf of bulk vendors on a variety of issues; for instance, it joined the Coin Coalition which pushed for elimination of the U.S. one dollar bill in favor of the United States dollar coin.” (Source).

Do your part – or not

Keeping irresponsible laws and taxes out of politicians hands is YOUR job as a business. With taxes comes higher prices passed on to the consumer. If YOUR customers, consumers like me, are willing to pay higher prices, you’ll be fine. If they can find your product or service reasonably priced, you have a customer. Without customers, you are out of business.

Industry trade groups are designed for businesses. What should your customers know? Consumer groups are designed for consumers. They pass on calls to action and information to help YOU as well as them. You, as a business, should be supporting them as well by telling your customers about those consumer groups along with regulations, restrictions, taxes, and bans coming in your state.

You don’t have much time left. If you’re doing what I, as a consumer, expect you to do as a business owner, thank you. I wish you many years of success. If you’re not, I imagine your customers can find out once they discover your shop has closed.

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