Not Blowing Smoke was created by Stefan Didak, with help from Jason Downing, in a response to the California Department of Public Health’s “Still Blowing Smoke” campaign. Both Still Blowing Smoke and Not Blowing Smoke launched at the exact same hour on March 22nd, 2015.
A few weeks after NBS was launched, a colleague of Danielle Bloss showed Stefan a video called The Truth About Vaping: “Why They Hate Us”. Danielle was inspired by NBS and researched references to the MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) made on the NBS site and allowed us to promote the video across social media. A day later, Danielle and Stefan met up at a California State Bill hearing (SB24) and agreed to collaborate. That very same evening, the video had its 100,000th unique view.
We were bombarded with an overwhelming amount of support, as well as requests to scale NBS to other states or to take it nationally. After a great deal of internal discussion and planning, we determined requirements for funding and armed with a serious commitment to do it right, we moved forward with incorporation as a non-profit. We are now in the final stages of that paperwork and have been successfully operating so far with just the three people; Stefan, Jason, and Danielle.
Essentially, NBS is an educational and PR operation with the main goal of educating the general public on vapor products while at the same time providing advocacy support to the vapor products industry, vapers, and a mainstream audience. Within that context, we also render legislative support for various battles at the local, state, and federal levels by working closely with other groups such as SFATA, CASAA, AVA (Greg Conley), Americans for Tax Reform, Vape a Vet, and others.
In the near future, NBS will have a second ramp up of our efforts and rely on our pool of volunteers who have offered assistance with our efforts while we focus on primary campaigns and growing the organization to meet one of our original goals – employing full time, paid professionals fighting for vapor just like our opponents have full time professionals fighting against it.
In addition to the upcoming relaunch of NotBlowingSmoke.org, we have launched FDARegs.info as a platform to help explain the deeming (and soon final) FDA regulations by simplifying the details in a way both the industry stakeholders and vapers can understand. We have regulatory attorneys and other experts on standby to assist in content creation as soon as possible once the final regulations are released. Since a key strength of NBS is simplifying complex issues, it made perfect sense to launch this as a project on its own as a separate resource.
Vapers Voting Guide
Vapers Voting Guide was created as a joint project between NJOY, AVA (Greg Conley), and Stefan Didak. The intent was to provide a platform for a targeted political action to unseat an anti-vapor politician in New Mexico and thereby define vaping as a political wedge issue. In the near future, this site will be re-branded re-launched under the NBS banner. Given that 2016 is an election year in the USA and we have access to a more diverse pool of resources, the time is right to take this project to the next level and make a larger impact across the nation. With a growing number of states proposing tax measures on vapor products, the importance of having a strong voting block will become increasingly important.
2016 Campaign Preview
In February, we’ll begin rolling out an industry first campaign directed at the general public, rather than just vapers. Because raising funds for a multi-million dollar campaign would prove difficult and result in significant delays in roll-out, NBS will create content and provide it to requestors in the formats required and specified to us. Effectively, the campaign will rely on crowdsourced funding and media placements coordinated by local businesses or individuals. This keeps money within local economies and allows for a large-scale, coordinated effort without the need for dedicated staff to manage the campaign placements.
The campaign is being created with cooperation from Vape A Vet and other partners, and will focus on many of the misleading statements being put in the public arena, while also appealing to the emotions of those who have lost loved ones as a result of combustible tobacco.
More generally, we will continue to raise funds to grow the organization as a whole and to continue to meet many of our other goals, but we believe media placement handled in this specific way will ensure rapid acceleration and growth without a need for dedicated central oversight and management.