The American Vaping Association, known as (AVA), is closing. The American Vaping Association, an advocacy organization that represents both consumers and the independent industry, will end operations after nearly 10 years. The news was delivered in a letter to supporters from AVA President Gregory Conley.
Thank you from the American Vaping Association To our friends, advocates, and business owners: I hope this letter finds you well. It is with mixed emotions that I write to you today to announce that the American Vaping Association (AVA) is shutting down its operations. While it saddens me to see this chapter of our journey come to an end, I am filled with pride and gratitude for what we have accomplished together over the years. As many of you may know, back in July 2022, I took on a new role as the Director of Legislative & External Affairs for the trade association the American Vapor Manufacturers (AVM). Since that time, AVA has gone dormant, although I have remained in my position as a volunteer to assist with administrative functions. When I quit smoking with vaping in 2010, I was appalled to learn that ‘public health’ activists were campaigning to ban these lifesaving products. Over the three years that followed, I worked dozens of hours per week in a pro bono capacity on behalf of vapers. I did this not because I believed there was a career to be had, but because fighting for harm reduction options was unquestionably the right thing to do. It was only when members of the industry stepped up and proposed funding the AVA’s formation in late 2013 that I began to view this as anything more than a very time-consuming hobby. To every person and company that ever donated to AVA—as well as our volunteer board members—I want to say thank you. Reflecting on the journey we’ve been on since AVA’s founding in 2014, I am reminded of the many milestones we achieved together, as well as the anguish brought on our worst defeats. One of the highlights was being invited to the White House stakeholder meeting with then-President Donald Trump regarding flavored vaping products. It was a testament to the collective strength and impact of our community that we were invited to sit in the White House Cabinet Room. I will always cherish that experience, particularly the flood of kind messages that came in from vapers around the United States before, during, and after the meeting. I also wanted to share some exciting news with you. Back in the winter of 2021, I spent more than six hours filming in New York City for a documentary series based on the nonfiction book BIG VAPE. By the time you read this, the documentary should be available worldwide for Netflix subscribers. Harm reduction advocate Helen Redmond reviewed an advance copy and called it a “must-see docuseries” that pushes back against many of the false narratives that have developed around vaping technology. I hope you will take the time to watch and share your thoughts with us. During our active years, AVA managed to accumulate surplus funds of approximately $15,000. In line with our commitment to the vaping community and harm reduction, these funds have been split between two causes that are close to our hearts. Half of the surplus was donated to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), which continues to work tirelessly to protect the rights of vapers. The other half was contributed to the Influence Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports the online publication Filter, a critical website that broken countless stories on tobacco harm reudction. Looking ahead, the vaping industry—and the tobacco and nicotine industry as a whole—face immense challenges, from byzantine regulatory hurdles to billionaire-funded misinformation campaigns. My work with the AVM will continue and is geared towards addressing some of these challenges head-on. If you are a manufacturer, retailer, distributor, or wholesaler in this industry, your support and advocacy are more crucial than ever. Additionally, if you have not seen AVM’s public meeting with FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Dr. Brian King from earlier this year, please check it out on YouTube. While this may be the end of AVA, our common goal remains; ensuring that smokers have access to safer alternatives. Despite rough times to come, I am hopeful for the future. One of the reasons America is the greatest country in the world is that Americans don’t like to be told “no.” So long as millions of American adults want to use nicotine, a market will exist to serve those consumers, whether legal or not. I look forward to continuing this journey with you in my capacity at AVM. For all the latest news, please follow AVM and I on Twitter. You can also sign up for AVM’s email list on our website. Thank you for your unwavering support, dedication, and passion for harm reduction (and for reading this long letter). Together, we have made a significant impact, and I am excited to see where our journey takes us next. Feel free to stay in touch with me, and I hope you will join us in our ongoing efforts. Best regards, Gregory Conley, J.D., M.B.A. President – American Vaping Association (2014-2023)