By Tony Ottomanelli
“We have seen this become a major problem on the rise as of late. There are too many people in this industry who let ego, jealousy or personal disagreements come between them and the betterment of this industry. Until those who allow these things to happen, actually grow up and start acting like adults, this fight will be near impossible to win.
To all those who seek to have this problem, please grow up. There are billions of lives at stake and they are far more important than who you like or dislike, or who came up with what idea. If someone came up with a good idea, don’t whine and complain that it’s terrible because you’re jealous you didn’t think of it first. Be supportive and constructive.
If you have personal issues with someone, squash that immediately because personal issues are putting a stop to the real work that needs to be done. To sum it all up as best I can, this isn’t middle school. We are all adults and it is time to start acting like it.”
This is a direct quote from Ryan Hyneman, a member of a few different advocacy groups, one being the VapersArmy, and the other being the much more intense group known simply as The Vaping Legion, a hardcore, self-policing, advocacy and public health group.
When reading something like what Ryan had written to me, I knew that this was a very serious and growing conflict unfolding among fellow vapers. Information of this importance, coming from any member of The Vaping Legion, tends to become a huge concern due to the fact that The Vaping Legion is by far the most hardcore advocacy group that takes pride in their research and actions. Considering this, I felt it was absolutely necessary to refer back to some sociological terms that may help explain, or at least define these circumstances. Sociology can be used as tool to help us better understand this problematic behavior.
For instance, the sociological term relative deprivation is, “the conscious feeling of a negative discrepancy between legitimate expectations and present actualities.” In other words, things are not as good as we hoped they would be. This is a term I believe to be in direct correlation to what we are experiencing among the vape community. Basically, with all the severity included in federal regulations, it is certainly causing many vapers, namely vaping advocates and small business owners, to feel marginalized and unfortunately targeted as belonging to a trivial group that has been forced into a position of social stratification.
Many sociologists have studied social stratification in great detail, typically in the form of researching economic inequality. A number of entrepreneurs within the vaping industry will now have their lives drastically altered or transformed. Whether vape shop owners or e-liquid manufacturers, we will eventually and unfortunately see many of our favorite small businesses diminish over the next two years or less.
Therefore, the stress is stretching far and wide throughout the community and we are seeing an
increase of emotionality. This term is absolutely necessary to reflect on, due to the fact that it is defined as “a dimension of temperament that refers to the tendency to be easily or intensely irritated by events.” Many vapers would agree this is in direct correlation to what we are experiencing in present times due to the severity of the rather eventful FDA regulatory overreach.
It was not long ago when the vaping industry had once taken the free market by storm. It had strived to impress the masses, sending shockwaves of technological innovation. The industry was expanding on levels never before seen by society, manufacturing goods and services at an extremely fast pace and wide range, accompanied by an explosive business development platform, new brand introductions, building exceptional prowess, and expressing imaginative pride in product development and enthusiastic customer services.
In addition, the industry was augmented by ordinary citizens, virtually transforming into visionary leaders throughout the small business sector, operating functional establishments swiftly, mastering their craft, employing thousands of the previously unemployed, while simultaneously assisting millions of others to quit smoking thereby eliminating the possibility of deadly tobacco use.
The aftermath of the FDA regulations has sent another type of shockwave, this time in the way of causing individual vape-related business professionals to somehow become systematically exhausted.
Some vape enthusiasts even began expressing reactionary behaviors and weary attitudes which could be defined as highly dramatic, drained of optimism with a lethargic approach to advocating and an exasperated stance towards the vaping lifestyle.
Obviously, all these unfortunately dramatic scenarios tend to reproduce more of the same generating feelings of hopelessness, complicating matters to the detrimental outcome of somehow corrupting the vape community, essentially causing destruction from within the vape realm.
As vapers, we already have enough to battle in the form of outside societal influences trying to tear us apart, whether the obvious regulatory overreach of the FDA, political organizations, special interests groups, or individual politicians; so why would we try to make things worse from within our own social group? I definitely understand that tensions are high, but it would surely be far more advantageous directing the drama towards the instigators of this overly complex scenario of insurmountable regulations.
We cannot allow anything inside or outside the community to destroy this special smoking cessation support movement. Vaping has developed into a very strong motivator for a number of people within the vaping community. For some vapers, being a part of this community is all they have in their life that they are passionate about. For others within the community, it’s all about money and they just want to cash-in and cash-out, which I can understand from a certain perspective; however, that is not what the vaping movement is supposed to represent as a community.
There are a number of other intellectual terms even motivated by social psychology, a branch of psychology that is basically a cousin to the discipline of sociology.
Given the situations we’ve discussed here, there is one particular term which stands out from the rest to help define the circumstances we find ourselves in as a community.
That term is referred to as, reactance. The social psychological term reactance is a motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range or alternatives.
It is obvious that this is directly connected to how many vaping advocacy affiliates and vape-related businesses are experiencing a form of reactance all due to the FDA vaping regulations.
Just as vapers have worked so hard to build an industry from the ground up as well as a close-knit global community, we must work even harder to remain united. Maintaining a unified state of being is absolutely essential to the preservation and longevity of the vaping lifestyle. No matter where your allegiance lies or how many allies you’ve collected over the years, we must engage in constructively effective communication rather than participating in petty arguments, finger pointing and name calling. Some of the interactions among vapers that I’ve observed on social media have been downright shameful and embarrassing. This is not who we are nor what we’re supposed to represent. We’ll strive together and we’ll thrive together, or else we’ll die together.
We all know vaping is so much more than what the government agencies and public officials make it seem to be, as though it were something beneath the human spirit, something of a bottom-feeder culture set to destroy our youth.
But vapers know this is far from the truth. Vaping is about helping people. Look how far we’ve already come as a subcultural phenomenon. Look at how many smokers we’ve already helped switch to vaping as a safer, low-risk, healthier, and more enjoyable alternative.
In Sociology, the vaping community could be considered a reformative social movement. An alternative movement that seeks to improve some aspects in society. We seek to reform the ways in which society views and treats vapers. Taking this into consideration, some other vapers may view our cause in the vaping community to be considered a redemptive social movement, which is a social movement that seeks to change individuals and institutions. A movement that stresses conversion towards a “new creation.” Not to mention, the motivation behind the vaping community could be considered an alternative social movement, which seeks to alter some specific behavior.
While all of these social movements certainly seem extremely similar when defined sociologically, they are different in regard to slight variance, much like the attitudes and behaviors we are seeing from so many vapers within the community. It’s as if we all agree, but just not often agreeing in specifics and exacts. Yet, we must remember that these slight variances in disagreement can be constructively worked out and then we can all come to terms with the fact that we’re all in this together. All in all, we are the ones who save lives, we are one and one for all!
Letter From the Editor
Welcome back to another special edition of VAPE Magazine. The subject — all things e-liquid.
When we began planning this issue, we decided it should be a book that vapers and store owners alike would use as a reference for the year to come. Are you or your customers looking for a new pistachio tobacco? You’ll find it here. How about a rice krispy treat? An awesome milkshake? A line of nothing but milk flavors?
This reference guide lists hundreds of brands, what they offer and how to reach them in an easy to navigate system that will help put vapers in touch with new brands they may have otherwise never come in contact with.
We worked to put together a variety of content focused solely on e-liquid and the business to compliment the guide.
I hope you’ll find it to be useful!
From the entire team here at VAPE Magazine, I wish you all an awesome 2017! We’ll see you out on the show circuit!
Thanks for reading,
Editor in Chief
Standing Out in a Saturated Market
By Cory Noles
The struggles of the modern e-liquid manufacturer are real. Quite real.
In any time, to take a product from a simple concept to being successful is difficult — far more than the average vaper understands. Today, the climb is astronomical.
The days of perfect timing are over. Even “unique” flavors are becoming a thing of the past as there are few things that have yet to be done in the field.
Instead of having the right flavor, today’s market is about being “more clean” and having more hype. What makes your brand stand out beyond those that have been dominating the space for years?
Brace yourself for this.
What has happened is that as the e-liquid manufacturing industry has grown from a couple dozen big manufacturers to several thousand small to moderately sized manufacturers, it has begun to mature.
This isn’t a bad thing, unless your product depended entirely on good timing.
What this means for us, is that the vaping industry is taking on the basic business hallmarks that apply to every industry.
Today’s market demands a quality product
There are literally thousands of e-liquid companies across the nation and guess what — many of them make a good product. Adversely, many of them make lousy ones as well. What this means is that simply having a solid line is no longer enough to get your business where you want it to be.
Marketing is necessary
There was a time in the vape space when a good product could outshine its crappy label and cheap bottle. That time has passed. Sadly, it’s no longer “all about the juice.” People need a reason to want to try your product aside from word of mouth. That means they need to see it everywhere — on social media, in magazines and in the hands of the industry’s influencers.
A long-taught marketing principle says that a person has to see an ad or a logo an average of eight times before they will take action. Are people seeing your branding regularly?
People don’t buy e-liquid with your name on it
Locally, Bob’s Coil Suds might do well. If that’s all you want, go for it. However, in the grand scheme of things, your branding should reflect your audience. For example, Boosted is extra attractive to the car crowd. What started as a niche grew into a massive international brand. Bob is not a niche. Bob is a dude who, while probably a great dude, most of us don’t know.
So don’t do it.
Keep the number of flavors you release under control
While in theory, having a line made up of 20-30 flavors seems like it would have something for everyone, it’s a hard if not impossible sell to shop owners and especially distributors.
When your line crosses three flavors, expect it to be about 50 percent more difficult to sell with each you add. The fact is most shop owners aren’t rich and can’t afford to take a $1,500-$3,000 gamble on your product. I’m not saying a line like that can’t work, but it severely limits your field of potential buyers.
The line between unique and unsellable is fine. Very fine. I’ve tried a mountain of juice over the years, and this is a hard fact. Just because you may have formulated the world’s greatest bacon milkshake flavor or the next maple strawberry pizza cake, does not mean people want to vape it. Kudos on your skills, but when people try it and use words like “interesting” and “weird,” they will move on to the next sample.
Flavors need to be something the average vaper would enjoy. It can have a unique twist, but always ask yourself “Would I vape this all day every day?” If the answer is no, move on. EVERY manufacturer/mixologist has left hundreds of quality juices in a cabinet never to be tried again.
Basically, in sharing these tips, I’m just trying to remind everyone that this is a business. Each day it’s becoming more and more like any other. The cause is noble, yes, but without a solid business plan, you may never reach your potential.
Corey Noles is the Editor in Chief of VAPE Magazine. He also owns Busted Knuckle Vapor Fluids and Inked Up E-Liquid Co. Email email@example.com.
Scenic Vapors: Contributor Corner: Jayson Magbanua @mrpinoykid
By Chris Mellides
Photographer: Chris Starcher @dripmedia
In Frame: Tyler Price @dripping_balls
Location: Swallow Falls State Park, MD
“A healthier body is what keeps us going, and we vapers just have to talk to smokers more about vaping and make them turn away from cigarettes for good.”
Inspired by the friends he’s made on a path to becoming a professional photographer, 22-year-old Washington state resident Jayson Magbanua has always dreamt big.
Enamored with the art world and all of the different mediums it encompasses, populating his college studies with art classes seemed natural to Magbanua.
Educated in traditional photography where he was taught how to shoot on and develop film, the young student took what he learned, and applied his skillset and unique discipline to contemporary photography—which by all accounts is far easier and more convenient than having to rely on dated technology.
Like many in his peer group, the most accessible camera he had in college was the one in his pants’ pocket.
“Back in the day I would only use my phone and I would be pretty stoked with how the pictures turned out,” Magbanua said. “I never owned a camera since last year, I believe, but now that I have one it feels like a dream.”
Armed with his digital SLR camera, Magbanua would often take it with him on hikes and camping trips and found himself being quickly drawn to nature photography.
“When I’m trying to find myself I hike and camp,” he said. “Nature pictures are definitely one of my favorites because of the organic feel to them.”
Magbanua found that exploring the outdoors became more enjoyable when he gave up smoking and switched to vaping as a reduced harm alternative.
He admits that while he was a light smoker who would casually light up when in the company of friends, the obvious positive health effects coupled with the allure of vape tricks and the multitude of e-liquid flavors to choose from made transitioning to vapor products in late 2012 an easy choice for him to make.
It was natural for Magbanua to combine vaping and nature photography into his body of work, and it became apparent to him that several photographers, including select friends, had already began carving that niche out for themselves.
“My friends inspire me the most,” Magbanua said. “The support that they give me is incredible. We share the same passion for photography, and we teach each other and love each other.”
Scenic Vapers was a project that Magbanua discovered on Instagram, which he would often post to and use to explore a wealth of photographs from seasoned and amateur photographers alike, all with the swipe of a finger.
It wasn’t long before he began tagging his nature-inspired vaping photos using the Scenic Vapers hashtags that project founders Tyler Price an Ian Silver began to take notice.
Photographer: Billy Lawrence @trippinbillys
In Frame: Paige Drysdale @paige.nicolle
Location: Bell Rock Vortex, Sedona, Arizona
“I remember Tyler Price back in the day when he just started on Instagram, and had always been lurking through his Instagram,” Magbanua said. “Ian silver I don’t really know, but I like his work a lot.”
He added, “They are such humble human beings, and they are now doing good things and that makes me pretty happy.”
Magbanua says that his involvement with Scenic Vapers comes from his utmost respect and love for nature and vaping, and the excitement in knowing that he’s part of a following and a much larger movement.
“The movement and the vibe from the people,” Magbanua says is what interests him about the project. “It’s really nice seeing people explore and take pictures. I’m excited for where the group takes us in the future.”
He also believes that Scenic Vapers can be used as a vehicle for capturing the attention of smokers through photographs and exposing them to vaping as a culture and ultimately a healthier alternative to combustible tobacco.
“This is what we need to do to make the smokers stop smoking,” Magbanua said. “A healthier body is what keeps us going, and we vapers just have to talk to smokers more about vaping and make them turn away from cigarettes for good.”
To submit your photo to Scenic Vapers #CloudCheck for VAPE submission consideration, follow @VapeMagazine @ScenicVapers @Dripping_Balls and @Jedi.Visions and #VapeMagazine #CloudCheck & #ScenicVapers on Instagram.
For the VAPE pictorial column, photos must be in high resolution, but for the IG page everyone has the chance for a feature.
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