Vapevent Brooklyn 2018 – Interview With Andrew from NYSVA About His Advocacy in New York
DeucesJack interviewed Andrew from the New York State Vapor Association while we were at Vapevent 2018 in Brooklyn. In this video, he talks about his advocacy.
DeucesJack: What’s up everybody? DeucesJack at vapinginsider.com. I’m in Brooklyn and I got Andrew here. He’s from the New York State Vapor Association. We’re going to talk a little bit about advocacy. He’s also a shop owner so we’re going to talk a little bit about the organization of his as well.
Andrew, you want to take it away and tell us a little bit about the New York State Vapor Association?
Andrew: Sure, I’m actually from Buffalo, New York. I own a retail shop up there so it’s a 7-hour drive down here to Brooklyn for the event. Last year, we formed the New York State Vapor Association, me and fellow shop owners from across New York State. We’re now getting some big-time distributors and manufacturers on board and we’re really building a powerhouse where our industry here in New York can fight at all levels to make sure that they don’t pass any regulations that are going to make it difficult to put us all out of business. Basically, at the root of it, we need to make sure that New York can be an example moving forward for other states because in the past, we’ve seen that what happens in New York tends to happen in other states. So we’re trying to be on the forefront and hopefully, fight back all these stuff. Not just in Albany but also down state here with the New York City regulations and even at the county level where we’re seeing activity over the years as well.
DeucesJack: Now Andrew, as a guy who basically has this polls on advocacy, you know exactly what’s going on. How are we looking here in New York? Are we in any type of jeopardy right now?
Andrew: The industry is under fire from all directions. Down here, they got it the worst. They are already ahead on Tobacco 21 and some of the other- they were the first one to do clean indoor air where you can’t vape indoors, and now the big thing is the licensing issue that’s going on down here. Right now, New York City shops need to apply for an E-cigarette license and when the window for that is up, they’re going to put moratorium on vapes shops in the city which means, no one will be able to open any new businesses that we know growth for the industry. They have over 8,000 tobacco retailers and we’re going to be stuck with possibly just a few hundred vapor retailers and it’s going to be locked at that for a very extended period of time if not forever.
DeucesJack: So what you’re telling me is that tobacco dealers, they’re fine. They’re killing people, that’s ok. But the vape shops are going to have to get license and there’s going to be a moratorium on them even though it’s a cessation product that helps people to get off of tobacco. That’s basically what’s the state is doing.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. And those laws at the city level, that’s for New York City, that’s already been passed. If you’re watching this and you have a shop in New York City, if you don’t have your license, get it! You will be out of business if you don’t get it by the deadline.
DeucesJack: When is the deadline?
Andrew: It’s in a couple of weeks. We’re working with a lot of people. Some of the big vendors are getting into those tobacco retailers that also sell vapor products and making sure those guys are getting registered. So we’re doing our part. Everyone is really trying to spread the word on that. The city is just the beginning of this. They’re just further along. In Albany, we’re up against a 10 cents per milliliter tax in the governor’s budget. And the assembly wanted to be 40 cents per milliliter.
DeucesJack: Can you imagine that?
Andrew: That means a $20 bottle of liquid in my shop adds $20 in tax. 100% increase to the customers.
DeucesJack: Let me ask you something. How is that good for people’s health? How was that good for business? How was that good for jobs in our state? The answer is, it’s not!
Andrew: They will not pass the law! You know what I mean? But sometimes, before we came to explain to them that it doesn’t make any sense, they passed something that closes hundred of businesses and we saw that happened in Pennsylvania. So we’re trying to make sure that whatever happens here in New York state going forward, that it’s going to be sensible and that we’re going to make sure that vapor products remain both affordable and accessible to all adult smokers. Because anything else, it’s going to be a public health catastrophe in the long run.
DeucesJack: And David [Inaudible 04:00] I interviewed him before. I’ve seen him walking around the ex Winston man, right? We were talking about that before. It just absolutely triggers me when I see a politician get on TV and say, “Oh we don’t know what’s in the e-liquid yet.” I know what’s in my e-liquid. I diy. I know exactly what’s in there. I don’t understand why these politicians are insisting on spreading false information. It’s very disheartening as a consumer and as a constituent. It really is.
Andrew: You know what I mean? We understand what’s at stake here. And what’s at stake is 40 plus million smokers out there that are still smoking that may be robbed of the ability to find this breakthrough product. If that ever happens, they will take vaping away, it will go down as one of the biggest catastrophes in the history of public health. I’m convinced.
DeucesJack: Absolutely. How are things going with the New York State Vapors Association? Are you hitting your goals? Are you hitting your numbers where you want to be right now as an organization?
Andrew: Yeah, we’ve been growing our base stedily. We just celebrated our one year anniversary as an official association but this group has been together for years and in a grassroots level before we were actually organized properly. So now that we have the right structure, and we’re organized properly, legally with New York state, we’re really starting to develop a seat at the table with these people. Once we established ourselves as the experts in the industry which is what we are, not just us, but most of the state associations and the people who do this work, the advocates, they are the experts on these products. Not just in this room as sales men or in this industry, but they are the experts almost to the level of like the most knowledgeable people on the planet. So if you can convice this politicians that that’s what we are, that we are the experts. We are the non-profit association that’s representing this product not just the businesses but the whole class. Then and only then will they pull that seat out of the table and say, “You know what guys, sit down. We need to work this out. You guys know what’s up and we don’t and we’re going to make a mistake so we need you guys to help us figure this out.”
DeucesJack: Andrew, it sounds like you guys got your work cut out for you. It sounds like you are doing good work here and I’m happy to see an organization like this. If you ever need anything from vapinginsider.com, just give us a ring. If you ever need to get the word out there about anything, we would love to help you out. We’re all about advocacy, too. And I want to thank you for spending some time with me.
Andrew: No problem. We’re online at nysva.org. We’re accepting new members. If you have a business in New York state, you need to sign up with us. You need to join our fight and contribute to this cause and if you are a big distributor manufacturer, if you’re out there and you have a lot of business in New York, that’s a lot of business to lose! If you’re selling liquid into New York and their going to double the price, you’re not going to be selling a lot of liquid in New York anymore. So we’re looking for people to help. We’re looking for big companies to jump in, not just in out state but in all the states. Because the states are where this whole fragmentation is going to happen and they’re going to take usd down one state at a time.
DeucesJack: Ok, cool.
Andrew: Thank you again for the time. I really appreciate it.
DeucesJack: No problem. And before we go, I gotta ask you, the fedora, is that on because you’re in Brooklyn? Because that’s not a Buffalo thing.
Andrew: No it’s my trade- a Buffalo thing! See this? New era! Flagship store, Buffalo New York, that’s our company. We make hats and we got some damn good vapes, too.
DeucesJack: Cool man! Well guys, you heard it from Andrew. Get out there and support the New York State Vapor Association. Make sure you check out their website. They’re doing good work here when it comes to advocacy. Check them out and support them. Make sure you look into our new forum, vapinginsider.com/forum. We had advocacy news there as well. Make sure you check out my new channel, Vaping Insider at YouTube. That’s where we’re going to be dropping the reviews from yours truly. We’re out of here now. Deuces.