Chris Ferreira, President of OVTA, stands at the podium giving a speech to the crowd

The Oregon Vapor Trade Association (OVTA) held a lobby day in front of the Oregon Capitol on Monday, Feb. 10.

Their mission included representing manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of vape products for the state of Oregon. Sharing a vision of unity regarding state and federal level advocacy programs and tobacco harm education with an emphasis on public education.

Jason Weber stood at the podium

Jason Weber, Owner of Vape Crusaders Smokeless Solutions and board member of the OVTA, started the rally by setting expectations and stating, “vaping is a harm reduction tool and flavors are a crucial part of that.”

Shortly after expectations were set, Chris Ferreira, President of the OVTA, said in a speech that he “came here to talk about personal freedom and human rights,” Ferreira said.

Chris Ferreira, President of OVTA, stands at the podium giving a speech to the crowd

Let’s not be crass about it. The right to vape flavors is at the core of these freedoms and is the absolute cornerstone of the modern human rights movement. By definition the human right to health means that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, and, as former smokers, we know that tobacco harm reduction by vaping nicotine is that higher standard. We know that vaping nicotine in electronic delivered system, ENDS product, vape mod…is 95% safer than smoking so says the royal college of physicians.

Chris Ferreira, President of OVTA

Ferreira referenced a study by the department of environmental medicine at the New York University school of medicine, in which they have concluded “the measurement of nitrosamines in the body is the gold standard for accessing possible carcinogenic effects,” Ferreira said. “They found that by testing the urine and saliva of e-cig vapors, that we only have 5% of the levels found in comparable tobacco smokers. They went on to say, that this finding has supported the recommendation from public health experts including public health, including Public Health England, that electronic cigarettes are 95% safer than traditional cigarettes,” Ferreira said.

Flavors are a backbone to the vaping experience…it’s time to let out state representatives and senators know this.

Chris Ferreira, President of OVTA

“Outlawing flavors in Oregon will only serve as a vehicle to create more smokers, more misery, more suffering, more medical bankruptcies, and more deaths from smoking-related illnesses. It is 100% in the interest of Oregon’s public health to keep this life-saving, 21st-century technology, available as a tool, a different pathway, freedom of choice, an alternative to combustible or traditional tobacco,” Ferreira said.

The Oregon Vapor Trade Association conducted an in-store survey of over 1000 customers from participating member stores and found that not a single person was smoking a tobacco flavored e-liquid.

“not only would this legislation harm Oregon’s Public Health, but it would negatively impact the economy as well. Vapor businesses create jobs and contribute to the state’s fiscal budgets. Those jobs feed families, clothes children, pay rents, and provide revenue to Oregon via taxes,” Ferreira said.

Emily Smith, OTVA Lobbyist

Attendees heard from two lobbyists, Emily Smith and Shawn Cleave, about what they can do when it comes to speaking with legislators and how they should go about doing so.

“some of our legislators are going to be on our side with this issue, they are going to understand why these flavors are important to keep on the market. Some of them are not going to understand and some of them are not going to know yet because they think it is a complicated issue and they are hearing a lot of misinformation out there. So, this is our opportunity to educate them and show them that our products are safe and flavors should be on the market for adult consumers,” Smith said, a lobbyist for the OVTA.

Greg Conley, President of The American Vaping Trade Association

On December 31, The Trump Administration announced a ban on the sales of flavored e-cigs, putting light on the vaping epidemic that has quickly spread among the youth and adults.

However, as expected, this sparked outrage and concern within the community about how the ban will affect the economy and community as a whole.

Greg Conley, President of The American Vaping Trade Association, spoke at the lobby day to express his concerns and disappointment “to have a republican president come out and say ‘we are going to do a ban,’ [and] to have republican senators come out and say, ‘oh yeah, the federal government banning stuff? That’s a good idea,'” with no push-back and criticism from democrats.

Holding rallies at Trump’s campaign events, people protested for their right to vape flavors. “If we lose multiple states to blanket flavor bans, that would make it so much harder to attain the sort of reform that we need at the federal level to keep these products around…for 5, 10 or 20 years, because smoking is a problem that is, unfortunately, is not going to go away tomorrow,” Conley said.

The rally ended with people signing letters to their legislators and heading inside the capitol to speak with their legislators to educate and inform them about their concerns in banning vape flavored products in Oregon.

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