VTA Federal Legislative Campaign in Full Swing
Immediately after VTA met with FDA last January (more on that in our next report), we turned our attention to the pending federal legislative fight in front of us. As you all know, our language to change the predicate date has already passed the House of Representatives as part of the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. Unlike past battles, there was no opposition this year in the House which places us in a stronger position.
Everyone knows that changing the predicate date will allow continued product accessibility in the market for adult smokers desperately trying to quit, and will empower manufacturers to focus on developing new and innovative products. What you probably don’t know is that, in addition to VTA’s significant presence on Capitol Hill through West Front Strategies and the meetings they have set up for our Board, our multi-faceted campaign to secure this important change included at least four other strategic components.
1. Flipping the Script! We were sick and tired of the constant attacks on our industry claiming that we are putting minors at risk. We know that you are working hard to keep vapor products out of the hands of minors and decided that our opponents were no longer going to control the narrative. Many in Congress have no idea that Cole-Bishop includes at multiple provisions that will help us keep the product away from minors and insulate minors from marketing.
So, we flipped the script by launching our industry’s first paid media campaign in Washington DC to drive home the point that, if Congress really wants to do something to keep vapor away from teens, then Congress must pass Section 753 of the House Agriculture Appropriations bill (Cole-Bishop) now. This targeted campaign has proven to be very effective, reaching more than 2.1 million users in less than 2 weeks. Here’s an example of the ads that were seen all over Capitol Hill on the web, on Twitter and on Facebook.
Everyone clicking on the ads would be taken directly to our message at www.SaveVapor.org explaining why passing Section 753 would protect youth by limiting marketing and access to vapor products.
2. In the Field: VTA has deployed professional field teams in10 target states. As we lead these professional teams, we have asked them to work hand-in-hand with each of the state vapor trade associations which are affiliated with VTA to spread the word throughout state news outlets about the importance of passing common-sense changes of Cole-Bishop. Our message is very simple: Congress needs to work as hard as you are to keep these products out of the hands of minors. Through letters to the editor an Op Eds placed in these target states, we hoped to clarify the importance of passing Cole-Bishop and make sure decision makers understand they have a real opportunity to act, and not just talk about protecting youth.
3. Grass Roots: Our team deployed a series of new graphics to boost utilization of our new Phone2Action Center which allows you to send emails, Tweets and Facebook messages to their Congressmen. In addition, we armed our state vapor associations with their own links to drive their members directly. The simultaneous pushes by our state vapor associations and our large manufacturers and wholesalers resulted in 4,500 new actors.
4. Save Vapor Saturday / Sunday: VTA was able to launch a last-minute weekend in-store campaign called Save Vapor Saturday / Sunday on March 10 and 11, to drive home the message to Congress just before their final decisions are made. Thanks to our remarkable network of state associations and vape shops! Your quick work lead to more than 3,500 messages being sent to your Members of Congress this weekend alone! Way to go vapor community!
It’s Decision Time / Do Your Part: We have been pushing hard for the month because the decision is being made, literally, today or tomorrow. We expect final language to be filed in the House on Wednesday so we should know by then whether we were successful. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes RIGHT NOW to act. We have no time to wait or waste. The decisions are being made as your read this. ACT NOW BY CLICKING HERE!