May 5, 2016 is the date the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their rules and regulations regarding the vaping and e-cigarette industry, known as the Deeming Regulations. These regulations, if they are not challenged, will kill the industry as we know it.
Beginning as soon as August 8, 2016 entrepreneurs involved in this industry will be required to make major changes in the way that they operate in order to comply with these new regulations. The regulations are not designed to protect the vapor industry or the consumer. The regulations are designed to protect the tax revenue that the states and the federal government are currently receiving from the sale of cigarettes. The FDA and the elected officials that support these regulations are not looking out for the health of the consumer or your customers. They are trying to protect big business and their tax revenue.
Legislation has been introduced and lawsuits have been filed to challenge the FDA’s Deeming Regulations. What has been done so far is great and is a testament to the commitment of our industry to the rights of our customers. But it is not enough. Lawsuits and lobbyists are very expensive and most businesses can not afford this strategy.
However, everyone involved in the industry can do something. It is something that will be as beneficial, if not more, than a filing lawsuit, and it will not cost you a dime. You can register your establishment to be a Third Party Voter Registration Organization (3PVRO).
What is a 3PVRO?
A 3PVRO is any organization that is legally permitted to collect voter registration applications directly from Florida voters. All you need to do is to provide your customers with the applications at your location, have your staff instruct them on how to complete the applications, then collect and mail them to your county every week. The main requirement is that you mail in all received applications no later than 10 calendar days from the date in which they were completed.
What is required?
All you need to do to register as a 3PVRO is fill out a simple 3-page application and e-mail it to the State of Florida. Your completed registration and 3PVRO organization number will be e-mailed within 48 hours. When you take voter registration applications from customers, you will need to write the number of your organization and the date the application was completed on the back.
How do you apply?
Please view our instructional videos for more information.
What will this do for you as a retailer?
Registering as a 3PVRO will let all of your customers know that you are serious about protecting their right to vape as well as with providing them with top notch customer service. It will open up a new form of engagement between your employees and your customers. By being a 3PRVO, you will be up-to-date and informed on everything regarding the FDA Deeming Regulations and will be recognized as an authority on the issue. Our experience is that customers will stay in touch with an establishment where they registered to vote and are much more likely to return on a regular basis to request updates on the situation. By being active on social media about your establishment and the issues, you demonstrate your dedication to individuals’ rights and your followers will increase. Finally, registering as a 3PVRO allows you to stand out as a market leader in your community and will provide you with a competitive advantage that will help you through what will be the vapor industry’s greatest challenge in its existence.
This is a struggle of life and death for our industry. Most owners believe that they have 2 years to comply or continue operating and they are not concerned about taking action now. That could not be further from the truth. We have months, if not weeks, to change these regulations or the industry will cease to exist as we know it by early next year. There will be major changes required by February of 2017 that will put most retailers, distributors and manufacturers out of business. The time to act is now.
We must organize as customers, employees, employers, and most importantly, as Americans in order to do everything in our power to survive.
If you have any questions regarding the process, please email us and a representative of the FSFA will call you back to assist you.
Florida Smoke Free Association
Download links for the necessary Voter Registration Documents are provided below:
• Download 3PVRO Training Document
• Download Third-Party Voter Registration Organization Summary
• Download Florida Third-Party Voter Registration Organization Registration Form
• Download Florida Voter Registration Application