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Leading Harm Reduction Advocacy Group American Vaping Association Closes

By Emily Malia 15th October 2023 4 Mins


After 10 years of dedication to the cause of helping smokers make the switch, the American Vaping Association has shut down…however, it’s legacy lives on.

Launching in 2014, The American Vaping Association (AVA) was the brainchild of Gregory Conley, set out to serve as a platform to defend and legitimize vaping.

He made it a largely one-man operation to advocate for the cessation tool and it became the go-to source for mainstream media looking for a vaper’s side to the argument.

Alongside vape business owners, the president of the AVA tried to combat the misinforming news coverage and anti-vaping campaigns that were spreading online and in our communities.

This involved being interviewed for major news networks, debating anti-vaping activists on the radio, organising protests and speaking against bills – the vaping community has the AVA to thank for a hell of a lot!

It was with a heavy heart that its founder released a public letter announcing that the group was shutting down its operations moving forward, as he continues to fight the good fight in his capacity at American Vaping Manufacturers.

As the organisation comes to an end, it’s important to take the time to reflect on some of the incredible work that the American Vaping Association has done for the right to vape.

Gregory Conley became the most quoted person in the U.S. news media on vaping news and policy and on behalf of the AVA lead numerous conversations around vape bans, taxing and regulations.

In 2019, Conley participated in a White House listening session where he explained to former President Donald Trump about the importance of flavoured nicotine vaping products for those looking to quit smoking.

As a part of this discussion, he also came out to defend e-cigarettes against the alleged ‘EVALI’ lung injury outbreak, ensuring it was clear that vapes were not responsible for this.

In his letter, Gregory reminisced on this moment writing:

“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.”

Another key moment that was brought to light in this statement was the involvement the AVA had in creating a Netflix documentary, based on the nonfiction book ‘Big Vape’.

Gregory spent hours filming in New York to be a part of what is considered a ‘must-see docuseries’ helping to push back against the ‘false narratives’ that have developed around e-cigarettes.

Whilst these were huge moments in the media spreading awareness and correcting misinformation, it was helping smokers quit that was at the heart of what the AVA did, and that is proven in the numbers.

Conley wrote:

“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 and the other to the Influence Foundation.

The foundation is an organisation that supports the online publication Filter – a website committed to breaking stories on tobacco harm reduction, which of course, is vital to the movement.

It may be the end of an era for the AVA and Gregory Conley, but it’s certainly not the end of the fight for the right to vape.

In his final letter, he wrote:

“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.”

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About this author

Emily Malia