Dear BEAA business and consumer members;
We want to thank you for your patience over the last few days as we understand everyone’s anxiety with this matter. We have been working diligently since last Thursday to propose an educated plan of action moving forward.
The Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama, also known at the BEAA, strongly opposes industry-killing regulations that were proposed by the FDA last week. The federal agency handed down nearly 500 pages of rules and changes to existing rules, effective on August 8th, 2016, will force hundreds of Alabama business owners to eventually shut their doors.
The FDA proposal would redefine the word “tobacco” to include items that do not contain any tobacco, including vapor and electronic cigarette products. The proposal would also require small business owners to spend upwards of $1 million per product to complete a proposed FDA application process. Because the vast majority of vape stores are independently owned small businesses, it is widely believed that such requirements would force the overwhelming majority of these entrepreneurs into bankruptcy and would put thousands of people who are currently employed in the industry out of work.
The BEAA Board of Directors voted unanimously yesterday to pursue an aggressive legislative strategy to combat the FDA’s proposed regulations and to retain Montgomery attorney Joe Hubbard in order to pursue any and all possible legal options available to the association and its members. Specific details regarding legal action is expected in the coming weeks.
Legislative and grassroots action will include, but not be limited to:
• BEAA will issue a press release opposing the proposed FDA regulations.
• Talk radio appearances will be scheduled across the state to garner support for our cause with the public.
• We will submit op-ed pieces on behalf of the BEAA and its members to major newspapers.
• We will begin to give presentations and speeches to non-vape affiliated groups who are likely to support our cause.
• We will distribute fact sheets and updates on the progress regularly to members via email and social media.
• We will launch a text to messaging initiative which will allow us to send action alert text messages to members throughout this process.
• We will launch a letter signing and signage drive in all member stores.
• We will launch a coordinated phone your congressional rep and senator drive.
• Our lobbyist will be meeting with our Congressmen and Senators throughout the process.
The Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama is comprised of more than 100 Alabama based vapor related retailers, manufacturers and consumers. The BEAA was founded in 2015 as a trade association uniting businesses and consumers for fair legislation at the State and Local level. With the recent regulations issued by the FDA we will be focusing our efforts on behalf of our members on National level as well as monitoring State and Local activity.
Scott Eichelberger – BEAA President