Conley scores PR coup
A blog has appeared in the highly visible Washington publication The Hill, under the headline Independent e-cigarette industry is antidote to Big Tobacco. Its appearance may go a long way toward increasing public awareness of the antithesis between Big Tobacco products like Blu, Vuse, and Mark Ten on the one hand, and the sophisticated and innovative tank systems that are saving the lives of seasoned vapers.
Until recently, the public has tended to lump all vaping products together under the rubric "e-cig", blurring important distinctions. This has allowed the scurrilous dissemination of damaging misinformation and slurs by irresponsible vaping opponents, the most serious being the nonsense that e-cigs are an attempt by Big Tobacco to hook youth on nicotine. Anyone with even scant knowledge of the facts knows that Big Tobacco got into the act 5 years late (rebounding from its initial response of horror at e-cigs), co-opted the product that was harming its markets, and used its millions in blood money to buy a position of market dominance.
The new blog in The Hill is under a by-line of Gregory Conley, a figure well-known to vapers. Attorney Conley has served as the legal affairs advisor of CASAA (the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association), and more recently has co-founded a new advocacy group called the American Vaping Association (AVA).
The Hill is no ordinary newsrag, but a prestigious news and opinion source in the US capital, founded in 1994 by Martin Tolchin, a veteran of the New York Times Washington bureau. It's contributors are vetted, submitting information about their credentials and samples of previous publications. The placement of this blog is a public relations coup for the vaping supplies industry and the vaping community.
Conley notes that proposed FDA regulations threaten to sink independents with costly certification requirements, while Big Tobacco can take the new burdens in stride. And he notes that Big Tobacco's products are primitive by comparison with the innovations of the smaller firms. "Their products are far behind the game in innovation," says Conley, "so it should come as no surprise that they are content to see their competition squashed through federal regulation." Furthermore, Big Tobacco's e-cigs lack the zero nicotine option favored by many smokes-quitters in their mods, something which ought to be of interest to anyone who truly shares the "FDA's goal of ending smoking-related diseases and deaths."
In fact everybody knows that e-cigs are fast becoming yesterday's product, with the recent burgeoning of vapor-tank systems, which has Wall Street so excited. Conley drives home the point: regulations that "would hand much of this market over to Big Tobacco" would end the "incentive to innovate or offer greater choices to consumers."
At the same time, Conley notes that his organization, like virtually everyone in the industry and community, advocates child-proofing and sale-to-minors bans.
The publication is a pleasant surprise; while nothing in the article's content will surprise vapers, much of it may come as a wake-up call for Washington leaders and pundits who may have fallen for the misinformation spread by irresponsible vaping opponents. That is why this blog is so important at this time.
Bravo Greg Conley!