Yesterday’s weather was the perfect metaphor for how it has felt to be an employee of the vaping industry for the past several months since FDA released its deeming regulations on electronic cigarettes – rainy and cold.
I had the opportunity yesterday to drive to Philadelphia to see a screening of “A Billion Lives.” I had been wanting to see it since we first heard about it months ago, and it was finally premiering in a place that was within driving range.
Outside of the theatre was parked “The Right to Vape Tour” tour bus and about 60-70 people chatting and vaping before walking into the premier. The Right to Vape Tour is a group of small businesses, consumers, trade associations, and public policy groups that go around the United States trying to raise awareness, You can read more about them here. We got to speak with several store owners, who not only have to worry about the deeming regulations, but also the PA Wholesale Tax that recently went through.
Eight thirty was rapidly approaching and everyone gathered for a group shot in front of the tour bus before entering the movie theatre. I bought a Diet Coke and some Reese's Pieces and took a seat at the front of the theatre.
Before the film began, we had the pleasure of hearing a few motivational words from American Vaping Association President, Greg Conley. Click the link below to check it out!
A lot of information that I saw in the film were things that I already knew. As a vaper and as someone whose career and livelihood is based in this industry, I do everything I can to absorb any and all information regarding regulation, taxation, and legality across not only the United States, but other countries as well.
What became clear as the movie progressed, was that this film wasn’t produced and directed for me. This film was produced and directed for the average American citizen who doesn’t vape. It was meant as an eye-opening experience into the potential corruption of governments all over the world and how the dollar rules all.
I have always said that the coolest thing about vaping is that we are as diverse as smokers are. There are old people, young people, fat people, skinny people, every race, religion, and gender. What this means is that even if we don’t smoke or vape ourselves, it is extremely likely that we know someone that does.
If you go to see this movie (and I highly recommend that you do) take someone with you who doesn’t vape. Take someone who smokes and is thinking about or trying to get off the habit. There is a lot of fear mongering and scare tactics used to instill unease about electronic cigarettes, and this film helps to answer some questions that some people may not even know they wanted to ask.
I am so pleased to see that A Billion Lives is gaining traction and becoming more available to the American public. It has an incredibly important message that needs to be heard.
I’ll leave with one of the final quotes of film, from the Winston man himself: “Don’t let the bastards win.”
What can you do?
Request "A Billion Lives" on Netflix - here
See if there's any "A Billion Lives" screenings near you - here
Calls to Action / Talking Points / Nationwide Advocacy Efforts / Donations