“For us, it felt like the only message that mattered.” We Vape We Vote: Battling Trump with Voting for Vaping
A grassroots political movement using the ballot box to save the vaping industry.
Banners and placards are common among protestors. These protests, however, uniquely engulfed in aromatic clouds of fruity vapor, displayed the slogan We Vape We Vote. Not based in typically seen civil liberties requests, We Vape We Vote was the central message for small business owners and enthusiasts who feel they are being trodden on by the Trump administration. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of it, this is still very much a civil matter – at least to the millions of vapers across America.
One could also argue that there’s a greater civil rights debate to be had with regards to vaping. For example, misinformation on e-cigarettes leads to around 200,000 less smokers quitting per year. That means that every year in the United States, a lot more people are getting chronic illnesses and actually dying than should be. So, vaping does actually save lives. We should practice discernment, and question why the establishment, be they political or media, is trying to mislead the public and curb the ability to legally vape.
To help understand how this got off the ground, the flavor ban reversal and where the industry could be headed from here, we sat down with one of the leaders of the influential pro-vaping group, We Vape We Vote:
How – and when did We Vape We Vote get started?
We Vape We Vote was started exactly on the day of the vape ban announcement, but we can safely say it's history dates way back as a rarely used catchphrase.
After taking a look at the advocacy scene, We Vape We Vote was the only phrase not taken and used by anyone (at the time there was only one Facebook group inactive from 2015 using the name), so we decided to buy the domain, make a twitter account and start tweeting at Trump pushing the hashtag #WeVapeWeVote.
For us it felt like the only message that mattered. We, as a community stand united with our choice to vape and also, we, again as a community will not support anyone that isn't protecting our adult rights to access harm reduction products. We Vape, We Vote.
Our first twitter handle was @vape_vote, then after a copycat emerged (using @vote_vape) we changed to @wevapewevote, to avoid confusion. When we started the twitter campaign to help push the powerful message of ‘We Vape We Vote’, we never imagined it would grow to the scale it did. Soon enough thousands of accounts changed their name to #WeVapeWeVote, standing with the movement.
The organic growth of the movement was unbelievable, and people started to say we are bots and the snowball continued and blossomed into marches and a serious movement that continues to grow in many different ways. Other advocates and other groups have taken the phrase on themselves powering the message forward.
What's the main motivation for the movement? What are your goals?
The only goal that our movement had from the start was to derail the vape ban and unite vaping into a place where it can be safe worldwide. To mobilize and unite a community, which is truly starting to take shape. We couldn't believe that an industry over 10 years old, with many different groups and advocates with millions of dollars raised, allowed ourselves to be in this position.
We believe it is the people that make the difference, the silent majority who vape casually. The ones who jam the white house phone lines.
Why do you think the mainstream media is reporting inaccurate stories about Vaping generally?
…Spreading misinformation and lies will eventually lead the mainstream media to going bankrupt.
We’ve seen recently Trump is looking to reverse his stance on flavor bans, do you feel he's legit? If so, what's next?
We think Trump is being smart about next year’s elections. No federal ban, not until next year’s elections because the vape community voice is going to be very strong in the next year. If this is what happened in 6 weeks, imagine what is coming in a year? People are uniting beyond vaping, they are fighting for their freedom against corruption.
If you guys win this battle, is the war won? Is We Vape We Vote necessary?
The movement never stops, the key is to keep the message alive. If the possibility of a federal ban happened now, it can happen at any time. In fact, it seems to be getting banned state by state and we need advocates to be within reach any time, and to work with us to help prevent such nonsense from ever happening again. Because, if it can happen to something like vaping, who knows what is next and there are many countries out there who have started banning vaping that will need a voice.