SS February 2016

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42 SMOKESHOP February 2016 I n the fast-moving world of vaping, there have been a number of trade as- sociations formed since the industry burst onto the marketplace. But in Jan- uary, a group of manufacturers, whole- salers, small business owners, and en- trepreneurs in the U.S. vapor technology industry joined together to launch a new group, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), and with it a bold new mandate. Bringing a fresh perspective to the industry and the policies that impact it, VTA states it will serve as the "advocate" for leaders in the vapor community who not only continue to develop new tech- nologies for the benefit of public health, but also promote small businesses and job growth, responsible public policies and regulations, and high standards of safety within the industry. Representing this new perspective and leadership in the vapor technology industry, VTA's board includes Ron Tully of Next Generation Labs; Brittani Cush- man of Intrepid Brands; Sanjiv Desai of VMR Products; Patricia Kovacevic of Nicopure Labs; Arnau Dumas de Rauly of Gaia Trend USA; and George Cas- sels-Smith of Tobacco Technology, Inc. "The growth of the vapor technolo- gy industry provides an opportunity for new jobs in communities across the coun- try while promoting safer alternatives to traditional tobacco products," said Tony Abboud, VTA's national legislative di- rector. "Through our advocacy efforts, VTA and its members will pursue strong industry standards and responsible reg- ulations that protect children and ensure the safety of consumers while aggressive- ly pushing back on any misleading infor- mation about our products." VTA's members have worked dili- gently with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in support of safeguards for children, including child-resistant packaging and laws preventing sales to minors. And while the U.S. federal gov- ernment is falling behind the rest of the world in the development of product standards, VTA and its members are ahead of the curve, promoting responsi- ble regulations and strict safety standards here in the United States and abroad. VTA represents the manufacturers, wholesalers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who have developed in- novative and quality vapor products, providing adult consumers with safer al- ternatives to traditional combustible prod- ucts. VTA and its members are leaders in the vapor community, promoting small businesses and job growth, responsible public policies and regulations, and high standards of safety within the industry. Since its launch in January, the VTA has added more than 70 members to its already substantial network of stakehold- ers. In addition to the founding members represented on the board of directors, new members include Purebacco USA and the Tennessee Smoke Free Associa- tion (TSFA), a leading advocacy group with a focus on tobacco harm reduction through the use of personal vaporizers. "VTA and its leadership bring a much-needed, fresh perspective to the industry and a responsible approach to the public policies that impact it," said Dimitris Agrafiotis, executive director of TSFA. "The Tennessee Smoke Free Asso- ciation is committed to promoting great- er public health through vapor products, and we will work hand-in-hand with VTA to fight proposed federal regula- tions that only serve to eliminate this an- ti-smoking alternative." Abboud added, "With partners like TSFA, we will aggressively advocate on behalf of all segments of the industry at the federal and state levels, and fight back against organizations that—until now— have remained virtually unchecked in their propagation of misleading informa- tion about vapor products." Vapor Technology Association (VTA), 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Ste. 630, Washington, DC 20037, Tel: (312) 498- 6060, Email: abboud@vaportechnology. org, Web: VAPING TRENDS > Vapor Technology Association forms to Fill Advocacy Void VTA, a new trade group representing all vaping interests, has been launched by industry leaders to bring a fresh perspective as the lead- ing advocate for emerging vapor technologies. >STAFF REPORT

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