As with everything I post on this blog, the subject is one I take relatively seriously and often I put a lot of thought into saying what I want to say. In this instance, it’s more a case of trying to put some coherence into my addled thinking.
It is yet another topic that has been at the back of my mind, and it includes some generic observations that I’ve made over the last twelve months.
The vaping community is a vast and diverse thing with thousands of people from all walks of life, professional, manual, technical, educational and so on. As with most communities you have the shining stars, the ones that everyone turns to for advice. You also have the outliers, along with every conceivable position in between. Forming any kind of consensus is pretty much next to impossible and yet as a whole, the community functions. Technically, it shouldn’t but it does.
Which brings me to my next random thought that has been so far at the back of my mind it’s covered in dust. Until recently that is. It’s a strange thing, and something I’ve noticed and I’m sure others have noticed it too. Across the globe there are a number of organisations dedicated to the vaping community in one way shape or form. Many of them have a pure consumer focus acting as the voice of the average every-day vaper. Some of them are purely trade focussed spending their time and efforts on being the voice of the ‘industry’.
In the UK specifically, there are only two organisations for the community of vapers. ECITA and the NNA. ECITA is of course for the businesses and is developing a set of standards to aid the vendors within the industry. They do have some consumer focus, after all ECITA is primarily made up of vapers. The NNA takes a slightly different approach, being more focussed on harm reduction through alternative methods, such as vaping.
What we don’t have in the UK is a singular voice for the consumers themselves. A CASAA if you will. I don’t know if having a CASAA like organisation in the UK is a good idea or not, but I do feel there is a disconnect between the UK organisations and the community they are representing. It’s not likely to be an intentional disconnect, after all the NNA is fairly new and has a relatively small board with a number of associates from various places. It is of course great to see that the Board is made up with incredibly active members and superstar advocates of the community and I do support them as often as I can. It is the same with ECITA.
There is no doubt that both organisations are making progress, the only thing I would suggest to both groups would be to give us, the consumer and support regular information on what you’ve been up to. It doesn’t have to be official press releases, both sites have a blog and a news feed. Both should also have the e-mail addresses of their supporters, a regular update newsletter or some other communication would certainly go a long way to reassuring your supporters that you are doing something (even though we know you are).
Maybe, just maybe more regular communication from these organisations can prompt your members to contribute to the ongoing actions. We, the community need you and you need us the community. Help us to help you, and together maybe we can make a difference.