After twelve days of waiting on tenterhooks, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has finally released its action plan. As most of you know, the FDA recently proposed new regulations on e-cigarettes that endanger the industry, and even though this proposal took the FDA nearly three years to write up, the window for public commentary is a mere 75 days long, and expires on July 9th, 2014.

We at ecigExpress strongly oppose the FDA’s proposed legislation, especially on account of its ungenerous treatment of existing scientific research comparing the relative dangers of e-cigarettes to those of traditional cigarettes. A significant element of the FDA’s proposal threatens to remove from the market any e-cigarette or accessory made after 2007. As many commentators have warned, this policy could be disastrous not only for the industry, but also for the new direction of public health concerns heralded by e-cigarettes.

Thankfully, the CASAA action plan is less complex than the FDA regulations, but not by much. Initially, CASAA was hoping to put together a single, coherent, call to action that would get all vapers on board and give us something to rally behind. However, because of the complexity of the FDA’s proposal and the short window available for public consultation, CASAA has instead decided on a staggered approach that will maximize its exposure to policymakers nationwide.

CASAA will reveal its first call to action this week, but in the meanwhile, it is imperative that you join up. Membership in CASAA is free, but CASAA’s effectiveness as a lobbying organization improves with each new membership. As far as policymakers are concerned, each member might mean a vote, a donation, or a campaigner, and so the greater the number of members CASAA can claim, the louder our voice can be heard on the national stage.

Once you’ve joined CASAA, don’t forget to share your story. Write up a testimonial about how vaping has helped you quit, helped you cut down, helped you realize your dreams of becoming more athletic, or whatever. Just be honest. As you do so, prepare a one or two paragraph summary of your testimonial that CASAA can incorporate into their forthcoming call-to-action campaigns. You might not think so, but your story matters. Broadly speaking, the plural of anecdote is not data, but as CASAA collects more and more testimonials, it will be able to marshal a truly impressive amount of information to help defend vaping.

CASAA’s first call to action is going to ask its members to request an extension to the FDA’s absolutely inadequate 75-day-long comment period, and no more. This extension will help us stand on equal footing against the tobacco companies who stand to gain the most from the proposed regulations. You may be as eager as we are to leave more substantive commentary, but it is imperative that you wait, so that your comments, when you do submit them, will be more effective.

Soon afterwards, there will be some targeted lobbying on a state-by-state basis, so stay tuned through CASAA’s site, the ECF forum, or right here, for more information.