Excuse me, those are my coat tails…

AdvocacyDefAdvocacy. Such an interesting concept isn’t it? You have one group of folks saying one thing, and another group saying the opposite. Before social media there were unending group meetings, PR, debates and all that jazz.  True it was much slower to get the points across, but that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things as it gave each side a lot of time to come up with something ‘better’.  Not to mention getting the face time to get the point across.

Social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and heck even MySpace at one point in time gave advocacy groups on both sides a whole new communications channel to explore exploit.

I’ve gone into some depth on both sides of the current personal vaporiser debate here, here and here. The notblowingsmoke vs stillblowingsmoke is set to rumble on and on and on and Ariston..ahem.. for quite a while. Considering that CDPH have set aside $75 Million for the next five years we can look forward to more enlightening inanity.

What has irked me and other advocates is the behavior of some vendors.


Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing against vendors and retailers taking part in advocacy at all. In fact I welcome and encourage it. The issue I have is that some vendors are not advocating and are using advocacy in order to get themselves noticed.

Self promotion over advocacy. If these vendors actually cared about the state of affairs either locally, nationally or globally, they wouldn’t have any need what so ever to do this.  Those vendors would have the relevant resources to promote their products without resorting to jumping on the coattails of a successful anti-propaganda campaign.


I have little doubt in my mind that this could very well be used against us at some point. Imagine Leno mentioning that vendors are only in the industry to make $$$ and have no consideration for safety.  Imagine if you will, your store is picked on by the anti advocate groups because you are using an advocacy campaign for self promotion.  What does that say about you?

Are you advocating your products because you truly believe they can help folks, or are you advocating your products because you want to make money?

That is the kind of question you could get asked. Do we need this:


Showing up in a search for #notblowingsmoke on Twitter? Or should it be more like this:


I know which I prefer. Vendors, if you continue to promote yourselves using an advocacy tag then you better actually be advocating as you could very well be turning your own customers against you.

Stop it, promote yourselves by all means. Just get off my coattails.

Besides, we must be doing something right as advocates: