Hi, I'm Stefan Didak and I'm the president and founder of NOT Blowing Smoke, a California registered 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
Following the launch of NOTBlowingSmoke , we were surprised at the magnitude of support from both from industry leaders and consumers. To say that the success of the initial campaign was overwhelming is an understatement! In fact, support for this project gave way to demand for a platform that seamlessly integrates the spirit of continued education, public awareness and visibility for the ongoing challenges faced at state and municipal levels for industry stakeholders and consumers.
The chief goal of NOTBlowingSmoke is a sustainable, professional, and most importantly, transparent approach to advocacy efforts. A $0 budget and small out-of-pocket expense has carried the message thus far, but does not allow for availability of dedicated resources or the level of support we wish to provide.
NOTBlowingSmoke is currently being spearheaded by an amazing team that includes Danielle Bloss, the creator of “The Truth About Vaping” video series. On behalf of our entire team, thank you for your continued support for our efforts!
We are extremely appreciative of this opportunity and very excited about having our very first official presence at Vapercon:West because it’s an event that is a shining example of the kind of unity, friendship, and shared interests and goals that are exemplary of what the vaping community is all about. So please come visit us there and stop by our booth with any questions, suggestions, etc. that you may have about our plans for moving forward.
Since our inception we have been happy to have launched several different projects, including the No More Casualties campaign, the Vapers Voting Guide , and our FDARegs Information website. And more projects are currently underway as there is always another thing that needs our attention.
Our immediate goal was to achieve sufficient funding to incorporate as a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. In addition, we needed to cover the immediate operating and investment cost involved in scaling NOTBlowingSmoke. Ensuring that this was done correctly and meticulously was complex and unfortunately, not cheap. Due to future plans, we needed to make certain that our initial filings are 100% correct to avoid potential liabilities and problems further down the road.
Our current and ongoing goal is to continue the funding for the projects we're now maintaining and the new ones that are underway.
Goals and Mission
There are several goals, big and small, that NOTBlowingSmoke aims to accomplish. As you know, many interest groups monitor activity in our community very closely. While this means we can’t go into excruciating detail on what the execution of our goals will look like, we want to assure you that any donation you wish to make will be handled carefully. To that extent, we want to share some of our current initiatives:
• Continue to bring NOTBlowingSmoke to a national audience with a most robust, fresh, and expandable websites, print and video material and with a strong social media presence.
• Continue to “export” NOTBlowingSmoke into the offline world to reach a larger segment of the public by providing a range of free, up to date educational materials (print, video, images, etc.) for vapers and shops to raise awareness and reach into the non-hobbyist vaper demographic.
• As of 2016, continued outreach to the mainstream media realm in an attempt to correct misleading information and propaganda that has been put out through public health organizations who have a vested interest in seeing the continuation of people smoking.
• Continue to expand NOTBlowingSmoke into additional projects covering important and pressing areas of concern to both vapers and the vapor products industry.
• Continue to provide mechanisms for greater interaction and above all, participation within the community.
One of primary goals following our incorporation continues to be the creation of a number of full time jobs in the field of advocacy. Currently, there are virtually no paid positions in the industry devoted to this work. Opponents of vaping, on the other hand, have a small army of administrative and professional staff. Many industry insiders agree that volunteer efforts, while deeply appreciated, are not enough to manage the ever-increasing need from organizations like CASAA, SFATA, AVA, State Groups and Smoke Free Associations. We hope to provide assistance on an “as-needed, where-needed” basis with dedicated resources to work in partnership with existing organizations to relieve some of the strain on their volunteers and further encourage cooperation.
Are you taking donations only from businesses or only from consumers, or both?
Because the mission and goals of NOTBlowingSmoke encompass the entire vaping community, we’ve elected to open a pathway for donations from anyone who chooses to contribute. The main deciding factor in accepting consumer funds were the numerous inquiries we’ve received from individuals about how they can support our efforts. Industry contributions, of course, will reflect support for the consumer space and the growing need for dedicated advocacy resources.
Why is the mission of NOTBlowingSmoke one of “education”?
An educational mission gives us license to deploy a wide range of material tailored to regional concerns, specific topics or new approaches while remaining under this umbrella. Because of the broad definition of “educational”, we expect to cover a wide variety of topics of interest to vapers and the vapor products industry.
How will NOTBlowingSmoke work with other organizations?
Extremely well! Part of our goal has always been to alleviate some of the pressure from the (primarily) volunteer staff from these organizations to allow their focus to remain on their own missions. We also hope to continue to support industry and consumer organizations through close partnerships working towards common goals. As noted above, we will also offer direct support on an “as-needed, where-needed” basis to complete tasks that volunteer staff may not have time to accomplish.
Can we see how you are spending donation money?
Of course you can. You can find our tax exempt status at the California FTB and you can find our IRS 990 filing (which is required disclosure for non-profit organizations) by clicking here . Note that contributions to section 501(c)(6) organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions on the donor’s federal income tax return. They may be deductible as trade or business expenses if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of the taxpayer’s business.
It’s been a while since we sent out an update and in the spirit of “better late than never” we’re sending you this update in case you’ve been wondering what has kept us so overloaded with all the things we’ve been doing. But first, thank you so much for your support and continued support for Not Blowing Smoke! We could not have done this without your help!
Not Blowing Smoke incorporated as of August 2015 (five months after the initial launch of the website itself) and received our California FTB tax exemption in November 2015. This August, 2016, we filed our first IRS Form 990-EZ (which you can find here if you wish to see it… http://notblowingsmoke.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/nbs-form-990-ez-2015.pdf) and our non-profit law firm will be taking care of the next steps in obtaining federal tax exemption. We are told that this should not pose a problem considering that the State of California already issues the FTB exemption.
In the meantime our original mission continues, to provide wider education on vapor products and their use to the public as well as fighting towards a future in which continued access to vapor products for current smokers takes place with a minimum of restrictions and prohibition. One of the first things we did after being able to budget part of our funding for it, was to create and launch the No More Casualties campaign ( http://nomorecasualties.org). We are currently looking at expanding that campaign and hooking it into the new PR services that we have bought access to.
Yes, you heard that right. One of our major expenditures has been buying into the same PR services that are considered to be the gold standard that every PR agency uses. It allows us to filter journalists and their influencers, find them by topic areas and things they’ve reported on, filtered by geography and location, etc. Plus it allows us to use professional standards for media monitoring to stay on top of what is going on out there in the mainstream media. Being able to respond and engage and open dialogue with the very outlets that we need to get our points and voices heard will continue to be crucial into making inroads to attempt to undo the damage that years of misleading propaganda has caused the average person to believe. If you read it in the paper or see it on TV is must be true, right? Not really.
Throughout the past year we’ve also been present at a lot of events, speaking to and with vapers and industry stakeholders, holding workshops and break-out sessions. It has been a lot of travel and we expect this to calm down in 2017. With the FDA having introduced its deeming regulations we’ve seen a considerable slow-down in foot traffic and booths at events. We have been very lucky the past many months to have been able to meet and speak with so many of you, though. It was also a great honor to be invited to speak at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw Poland. You can find the archives of GFN here: https://gfn.net.co/2016. All in all the events have been critical and successful in building up and expanding our support network while at the same time putting our organization on the map and explaining what we’re all about.
Speaking of the FDA deeming regulations. Did you know that we launched the FDA Regs information site? You can find it here: http://fdaregs.info along with a simplified timeline of important key dates. Once more guidance and clarity exists we hope to use our typical Not Blowing Smoke style of simplifying complex issues to help explain just what all these rules and processes are about. It’s an ongoing process and an incredibly difficult one considering that even various regulatory law firms do not appear to agree on the interpretation of many parts of the deeming regulations.
We also revamped the Vapers Voting Guide ( http://vapersvotingguide.com) to assist in getting vapers to register to vote and form a more unified voting block on single issues that they care about (like, say, vaping!). Considering that both California and North Dakota are facing tax ballot measures that include vapor products you can probably understand that at the time of writing this is one of our key priorities to focus on and provide the educational materials where they are needed and best suited.
While the current outlook for the vapor products industry and unrestricted access for consumers is looking fairly grim we have to persevere and continue on the path as best we can. But it will continue to be a combination of 1) legislative efforts, 2) litigation efforts, and 3) changing the hearts and minds of both the general public and legislators. On the litigation side, Not Blowing Smoke signed on with the Right 2 Be Smoke Free Coalition ( http://r2bsmokefree.org) and we made a $10,000 donation towards that effort. We’re hopeful on the outcome in October 2016 but at the same time fully realize that this case will not be decided in October because either the FDA will appeal or the coalition will need to appeal. Either way, this will be decided in appeals court at a future date.
With many thanks!
Stefan Didak and the entire Not Blowing Smoke Team
The new website and efforts are still being shaped and we're getting into the process of legitimizing ourselves through the stacks of paperwork (and associated cost!) needed to do this. Also, we're spawning off a few interesting side projects under NOT Blowing Smoke that are all about uniting the vapers and vendors out there.
Since we have some monthly donations going on and quite a few people out there that want to continue donations we've bumped the goal a little today. The strange thing about GoFundMe is that you can alter the goal at any time and it doesn't appear to have any effects. I guess it really means "goal" and not "limit", which is a good thing. :-)
As of this morning we have hit the financial goal that was set on the GoFundMe campaign. The extra push from Vapor Kings and Praxis Vapors allowed for the gap to narrow that was then topped off to hit our exact goal by Michael from Digital Ciggz.
Now, hopefully we aren’t going to confuse anyone but we’re going to raise the goal on the GoFundMe Campaign in order to facilitate a few projects that others already had in the works and are also still generating additional funding.
The new website is currently under development and we can’t wait to show you. But we’ll have to show you when it’s actually ready to be shown, of course. We’re also very busy at creating structure and moving forward on taking those initial steps towards getting on our feet and ensuring we will leave a solid footprint to build forward on.
If you’re on Facebook, please join us in the #notblowingsmoke group for more frequent updates and news; https://www.facebook.com/groups/notbs/
And in case you haven’t seen it yet, Danielle Bloss, our wizard of graphic design, has just finished the first 30 second TV commercial that will be running on a few local stations in the very near future as a pilot project to help us measure and strategize on the best approach for taking the concept of viral content OFF the internet and INTO the general public and mainstream.
Thank you all so much, you all rock!!!
I smoked “combustible tobacco cigarettes” for 41 years, (1-2) packs a day, I have been “combustible tobacco free” now for over 2 years now thanks to “non-tobacco” “non-combustible” vaping devices and liquid e-juice. My health has greatly improved due to these electronic “non-tobacco” devices, the improvements made in just the past few years of these devices is amazing and these electronic devices are helping many of my friends and family finally quit smoking “combustible tobacco cigarettes”. These electronic devices are the only thing working to help most people quit smoking “combustible tobacco”. When I smoked “combustible tobacco” I would be at my doctors anywhere from 3-7 times a year for respiratory infections or bronchitis, since I started using these electronic devices and e-liquid I have not been to my doctors for 1 single respiratory or bronchial based visit, I am a true believer in these devices and the benefits to our health and health care systems.
We are the new owners of Midtown Vape in Reno NV. I am a business consultant, as well! If you need volunteers to help press this and or assistance with filing your 501C6., please let us know!! The more we come together as a whole community across the nation to help educate the uneducated about the safety of vaping, the more the industry will grow. #notblowingsmoke
Vaping saved my husbands life! Mine too.... Because I don't have to deal with second hand smoke anymore!
Over 15 years of smoking on and off not being able to quit for more than two day. I finally quit with the help of vaping products 15 days cigarettes free. My kids are happy!! Vaping save my life.
I smoked for over 40 years and even after being diagnosed with COPD could not quit smoking until I started vaping. Been smoke free 3 1/2 years now. Big tobacco and the FDA are the true enemies of American's health.
I've been vaping now for a year and 7 months and then I said help me stop smoking cigarettes yes it did I used to smoke a pack a day I couldn't breath it was too much for me so one day I said you know what let me try vaping and ever since then I've been hooked on Vape now at 0 nicotine you know how they have like 12 6 3 I drop down to zero and that's all I've been waiting on my e-juice is Brazil nicotine and to me it's been better I mean I know it's a little bit very little nicotine and once again they can spend my life with and help me stop smoking I am part of The Vaping community and I will never pick up a cigarette again ever thanks to vaping that's my story take care
My friends have stoped smoking cigs because of vaping .
After witnessing my mom for 25 years of her life fight cancer from smoking and finally losing the battle. knowing that I smoked I knew I had to come up with an alternative too see my kids grow and graduate high school and even college. Too see them have kids. I tried all the alternatives including nicotine gum/patches. I tried chantex then I tried blu e cigs. All I was unsuccessful with but then I decided too give it one last go because I had tried quitting on and off for 4 years. I went out and bought a Wisemec 200 watt box and a smok tfv4 tank after trying the harsh high nicotine I said you know what I'm gonna give the .3 nicotine a try and after I started getting the amazing flavor and my nicotine I have been off cigarettes for almost 27 days now. Please for the love of god do not bully the vape world and end what is helping us because after burying family member after family member due to smoking its time for a change. We can be the generation to put the tobacco company's in there place and let them know that we will not back down.... everyone whos anyone knows the dangers of smoking. If there is danger in vaping I haven't witnessed it first hand like I have with cigarettes and with no smoking alternatives on the market your pushing us back into the death pit. Please consider this, I know I'm a nobody and my opinion doesnt matter but I won't my story too be told too the world.
I have smoked cigarettesalmon for 24 years. I was always out of breath, and started to coughing up blood. Till I found vaping and now I have not smoked for 3 1/2 month and feeling much better thanks to vaping