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Thursday, May 21, 2015

More Michigan Mischief on Vaping

Governor Rick Snyder isn't going to be happy after the Michigan Senate decided to ban the use and sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18. Why? Well, he's still determined to have e-cigarettes regulated and taxed (especially taxed) as a tobacco product. 

Snyder, who has previously vetoed the bill, didn't take long to start making some snide remarks about the Senate vote and showed his ignorance on the subject by wrongly stating: "It's a tobacco product and it should be treated as such. It's nicotine." His beliefs totally go against the views of a court that decided e-cigarettes are not a tobacco product. So it seems Snyder doesn't respect the wishes of the Michigan Senate or that of the courts.  "Other states can look to this court decision and say this court did it this way, they reached the right decision and it can have wide range impacts," said Attorney Jessica Goodey. 

Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was the sponsor of the bill and is worried about kids getting addicted to nicotine but added: "I don't think they should be treated like a tobacco cigarette. That's not what they are, They're a nicotine device similar to nicotine gum or a nicotine patch." Just like Snyder, Jones doesn't really know enough about the product as he thinks he does. He's of the view that sweet flavors exist purely to attract teenagers to e-cigarettes. He totally ignores the fact that the flavors aid ex-smokers desperate to give up deadly tobacco cigarettes.

He blows hot and cold does this Senator because at least he doesn't believe e-cigarettes should be taxed because of their use as a smoking cessation tool. He commented: "Many of my friends have used them to get off tobacco cigarettes; I think that's a good thing."  But surely if he knows about that, he should have read about the use of the different flavors or do all of his friends shy away from flavored e-cigarettes? Time for some more research Mr Jones. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration with the Governor likely to cause more trouble in the future as he continues his misjudged crusade against e-cigarettes.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Connecticut Passes Crazy Anti-Vaping Bill

Politicians in Connecticut have passed a Bill that means No Smoking signs will now apply to e-cigarettes too. Strange really because vaping is no smoking. The decision by the state House of Representatives is the latest victimization of the e-cigarette industry by bandwagon jumping politicians.The vote was 99-46 in favor of the bill that means e-cigarettes will now be subjected to the same laws as deadly tobacco cigarettes.

The legislation was passed despite the American Vaping Association rightly telling them that vaping was a healthier substitute for smoking.  Rep. Bob Godfrey D-Danbury, did state that e-cigarettes "are not safe" but kindly said "they are not as unsafe as cigarettes."  Rep. Matthew Ritter D-Hartford, who is co-chair of the Public Health Committee added "I think it's probably better than cigarettes at the end of the day."  But because vaping still has a link to nicotine he felt the legislation should be passed. Also the easily led politicians were told about second-hand vaping mist.

There was some opposition to the bill from Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R- Fairfield who said vaping has helped her give up tobacco cigarettes. This is one politician who really does speak sense simply because she has first hand experience of the product and doesn't just read negative reports about the product. She commented:  "Frankly, I don't think I would have been able to quit smoking without e-cigarettes."  Also she realizes the problems that will be caused by treating e-cigarettes like tobacco.  "It's a kind of deterrent for people to have to go outside" she said.   That's the problem, having to go outside means you are being penalized for vaping.  Why give up smoking for vaping when you're treated the same?

Of course it wouldn't be a debate on e-cigarettes without some misinformed politician talking about the different flavors available.  Rep. James Albis D-East Haven actually voted against the bill because it wasn't sufficiently stringent. He was upset because it didn't ban fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that are targeted at children, well that's what he thinks anyway. He doesn't realize how the flavors help ex-smokers give up their deadly habit. If they are attracting children perhaps he should start a fruitless search (pun intended) to find a vaping store that will let a child in, let alone sell them an e-cigarette. When will politicians start to realize the good that e-cigarettes can do for people? Passing more restrictive legislation such as this is harmful and just doesn't make sense.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why Should We Vape at Home?

When a business becomes popular it needs all the help it can get to continue its growth. Try telling lawmakers and health officials that when it comes to the e-cigarette industry. In New York, the interfering legislators have this week been discussing expanding their Clean Air Act to ban e-cigarettes in spaces outside of bars, restaurants, offices and other indoor locations.  

E-cigarette businesses are expanding in the area with the recent opening of the eCig Saloon and owner Bonnie Hudson rightly believes the product is helping people quit smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes. However Assembly woman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan simply says: "If people want to use e-cigarettes for whatever reason they can do that in the privacy of their own home."  That's a crazy and unfeeling comment to make. If someone is trying to give up smoking tobacco it's a pretty hard task. If they are out and about and get that urge to smoke then using an e-cigarette instead will help them greatly. Should they just follow what Rosenthal says and head home for a quick vape? Legislators who oppose the bill say they'd prefer to wait until the FDA looks more closely at the subject of e-cigarettes. I've still not received any emails from them on the subject so that could be a long wait.

The state Senate is debating the bill now and it's still in committee in the Assembly. Legislators supporting the bill hope to pass it before the end of this session on June 17. An idea of how damaging such policies can be is being demonstrated in Clarksville, Indiana where Troy Leblanc, who has five e-cigarette stores is angry about recent legislation. From July 2016 companies making e-liquid will need a permit and have 24-7 security monitoring in their production and storage rooms. This could see Leblanc's store and others lose more than half of their inventory. "Who is writing this bill? What's the main purpose of this bill? Is it to protect the citizens or is it to push us out?" says the store owner 

Tobacco companies making a similar product are exempt from the new regulations as their product comes in a closed, sealed cartridge. Now Leblanc and two e-liquid companies say that exemption is constitutionally discriminatory. That sounds right to me, it's another example of a flourishing industry being penalized by politicians who rarely know a great deal about e-cigarettes and only concentrate on reading the negative publicity.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Kansas Wants to Raise Taxes on Vapor Products

Politicians haven't been having that much luck in recent years trying to balance their budgets and Kansas hasn't fared to well in that respect. Ever eager to find new sources of revenue without for a moment thinking of the damage that could be caused, Kansas is looking at closing a near $800m deficit by taxing e-cigarettes. It may help finances but what about the health of the voters?

Sen Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, chairs the Senate Taxation Committee and hasn't got any exact figures sorted out yet but he is preparing to let his financial claws dig into the e-cigarette industry. That's not pleasing local businessmen including Ian Williams, owner of Juicy's Vapor. He sees the potential move as "just greed". He adds: "It's trying to get their hands on more money. I mean, why would they put a tax on it? Why put a tax on this?" 

Well there's a very simple answer to why they want to tax e-cigarettes. It's a business that continues to grow and politicians can't bear the thought that they're not making any money out of it. Of course another reason for imposing a tax is the fact that rising e-cigarette sales mean falling tobacco sales and a drop in tax revenue that has to be replaced somehow.  Donovan floated his idea of taxing e-cigarettes during a meeting of the Senate Taxation Committee. He's not thinking of taxing the product at the level of traditional poisonous cigarettes, well not for starters anyway. At present e-cigarettes are only subject to the state sales tax applied to all products, you see it's never easy to escape the taxman.

“Much safer, probably, we don’t know for sure — much healthier, less unhealthy than smoking tobacco cigarettes,” is how Donovan sees e-cigarettes. He added: "So we want to try to keep the tax, in my mind, we want to try to keep that tax lower, significantly lower than the same equivalent tax on a pack of cigarettes.” That's a good job because at the moment Kansas imposes a 79% per-pack tax on tobacco cigarettes but plans are afoot to increase that figure. An increase on the tax for tobacco would most likely mean a higher tax rate on e-cigarettes. Just what would be taxed isn't known yet as the senator makes his policies up as he goes along. Would the tax be on the nicotine, the e-cigarette or the e-liquid?

Even before the senator works out what he's doing (if he's anything like the FDA we could be waiting a while), his ideas are meeting with opposition. To Palace, director of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas, says his organization opposes the idea of increased taxes on tobacco and taxing e-cigarettes. Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City is against it too but he's just using it as a political football moaning about the state of finances in the state. The possibility of users turning away from vaping and going back to smoking doesn't really concern him, getting power is all he cares about.
A key sentence from Donovan is this comment on e-cigarettes: "That's going to be a very, very fas-growing business."  I bet when he said that you could almost see the dollar signs in his eyes as he thought of all that extra tax revenue. Williams knows that the real issue regarding e-cigarettes is how they are helping his customers: "People tell me all the time how much better they feel, even after a couple weeks, a couple months. They’ll be sitting at home and they don’t hear themselves breathing anymore. They’re not labored breathing anymore. They smell better.People notice a change in their lives. They’re happier.”

That's the most important statement of all. E-cigarettes are helping people give up smoking tobacco and the product should be encouraged.  Don't go round taxing it to the hilt just to raise finances, look at good the product is doing and work out how you can help not hinder it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Zero Proof Towards California Vaping Claims

It's the turn of California this week to jump on the political bandwagon and show the voters how caring they are. The California Assembly voted on plugging a loophole in the law and prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. This meant extending the ban to include devices that don't include nicotine cartridges.  

It wasn't exactly a close vote, 75-0 was more like the result of an American Football game between an NFL side and some college students. It's sad that not a single politician could decide that e-cigarettes don't contain tobacco and shouldn't be treated like tobacco products. They took their action after reading about the fact that the number of high school students using e-cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014. It's an old survey that keeps popping up all over the States, strange how the positive ones about the product always seem to stay hidden out of sight. OK so the number of high school students are using e-cigarettes. Well good on them for deciding that it's much better to do so rather than stick a poisonous and far more addictive tobacco cigarette in their mouth.

State law had only prohibited minors from purchasing vaping devices with nicotine cartridges. However clever students had realized they could buy e-cigarettes separately and use them with cartridges that contained other substances such as marijuana. Now if that's what they are doing then it's not the fault of the e-cigarette industry is it?  But it doesn't stop publications and politicians from taking the opportunity to criticize the e-cigarette industry.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) thought it'd be a good time to start going on about how the e-cigarette industry uses flavors such as Gummy Bears, Skittles and Kool-Aid to attract youngsters to the product. That's the same youngsters that vaping lounges would refuse entry to and refuse to sell e-cigarettes to.  Why can't politicians ever listen and realize that the flavors are marketed at ex-smokers who are trying to give up their deadly habit before it's too late and the flavors help them to do so.

Garcia said: "We need to act now, because more and more youth are putting themselves at risk of heart disease, stroke or even an early death."  Now if we were discussing tobacco cigarettes I'd be here forever telling you about all the people who have suffered heart disease, strokes of died as a result from smoking. That is not the case with e-cigarettes and if this politician wants to go round making such scandalous statements then she should have evidence of e-cigarettes causing these terrible illnesses and fatalitites. Again we have politicians jumping on bandwagons without a shred of real evidence being provided. It's a disgrace that this is allowed to happen but sadly it does.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vermont Vaping Tax Out of Order

Politicians are never going to be popular people and that's definitely the case in Vermont. Protesters have been out in force complaining about budget cuts which obviously means their politicians have again made a right mess of the state's finances. So that means any chance to get some extra revenue in will be greatly appreciated. Hence the fact they are taxing e-cigarettes but they claim this isn't a financial matter, of course not.

Vermont has a $113m budget hole so it's no wonder they're looking for additional sources of revenue That's why they felt it necessary to pass a Health Care bill that will hurt the e-cigarette industry.The bill will raise around $12m to support primary care providers and increase access. A whopping 46% tax is being introduced on e-cigarette products bought for retail by stores. Rep. Jim McCullough D-Williston says: "If we permit this to continue without regulation, then we are aiding and abetting nicotine addiction, guaranteed for our children in middle school right now." Not that vaping lounges are responsible for supplying these "children" with e-cigarettes and at least these youngsters aren't smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes. Thankfully the taxation rate is only half of that imposed on regular tobacco products. It appears this is all down to a willingness for tax fairness. The new law will also regulate display counters and ban the use of e-cigarettes in public and the workplace.

While there are many critics of the e-cigarette industry extremely pleased at these unjust regulations, there are those who rightly think they are wrong.  Rep. Bob Helm, R-Fair Haven feels it is wrong to pass such stringent laws at this point in time: "Let's just put it on hold for a year. I'm not saying I'm against it, all I'm saying is put it on hold for a year. Let's get some good concrete information enforced we go flying off the handle." Get some "good concrete information"?  Does that mean no one has bothered to actually do any research on e-cigarettes? There's plenty of information out there that will show how the product has helped people give up their deadly habit of smoking tobacco when all other methods failed dismally. There's information out there that tells you how it's not addictive as tobacco. The problem is, these politicians either don't go looking for the facts, they decide to hide any positive information under the carpet.

It was a close vote in the House with the Bill only getting through by 70 votes to 67. This indicates that when a similar bill goes to the Senate it might find it difficult to be approved. Perhaps if they bother to actually find out the truth about the product, then it might be impossible to get it approved If they are so desperate to raise money, why punish a product that is trying to help people or as they are also known, voters. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Attleboro Hopes on the Vape Bandwagon

Whose turn is it to jump on the let's be nasty to e-cigarettes bandwagon? Well it appears the latest recruit is Attleboro in Massachusetts who want to ban the sale of the product to minors.  The ordinance has been proposed by Ward 5 Councillor Jeremy Denlea but has he actually looked at the policies e-cigarette retailers already have in place? 

Denlea plans on introducing his measure at the next regular council meeting on May 5. He believes it to be a "common sense piece of legislation to keep Attleboro up with the times." Yes they do appear to have been a bit slow to get on the bandwagon. He adds that "it's my intention to fast track this." Perhaps it's not a case of why the rush but why the delay? Has he only just heard about e-cigarettes or does he just fancy making some headlines because that is always something to mention when you're next up for election. Well it appears he was spurred to take action by a story in the Sun Chronicle about the increasing numbers of teenagers using e-cigarettes.  Would he rather they start smoking poisonous tobacco cigarettes instead?

The councilor talks about the addictive effects of nicotine but obviously hasn't been doing much research on the subject. He probably didn't see the study from the Penn State of Medicine that stated e-cigarette users feel less addicted. " 

Of course the topic of flavored e-cigarettes has to be mentioned because critics love to declare how they attract youngsters to the product. Again the critics don't talk about how the different flavors really help ex-smokers who are trying hard to give up their deadly habit by using e-cigarettes. It wouldn't help any anti-e-cigarette speech by mentioning the good that the product does. Also telling a one-sided story is Dr David Crandall from the Massachusetts Medical Society. He sees e-cigarettes as a gateway to tobacco. Yes it's that tried and totally untrustworthy argument again.

I'm assuming he never saw the data from the UK Office for National Statistics that indicated those who use e-cigarettes are almost entirely current or former smokers. Again critics don't seem to be drawn to a story that says "E-cigarette lure fears might be unfounded.

Carl Phillips from the retailer trade group Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association says barriers to adult access mean "one or ten or a hundred people who would have quit smoking don't quit smoking, and that's going to kill people." This is yet another example of planned legislation that attacks the e-cigarette industry. But at the same time they fail to mention that vaping lounges won't even let minors in their store let alone sell e-cigarettes to them.  It's just a travesty that the opponents of e-cigarettes don't do their research and/or tell both sides of the story.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hyprocrital Vaping Decision in Grand Traverse

It seems the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Commission can't make their minds up over vaping. Nearly six months ago they voted to allow e-cigarettes to be used  in the park.but now that sensible decision has been overturned.  

It's a rather hypocritical decision to say the least. Last year when the proposed banning of e-cigarettes was raised, Commissioner Peter Doren commented: "Who are we to make health decisions?"  If that was the case in 2014 why have they suddenly decided that it's perfectly ok for them to start making health decisions in 2015?  

This month's commission meeting took another look at the issue and a close vote of five to four saw e-cigarettes banned at the Civic Center, so what made them change their minds?  Lisa Danto is the coordinator of the Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition. It appears she likes to do some overtime because why else is she so interested in a product that does not contain tobacco? Danto said of the decision: "It is just so exciting because we weren't expecting there to be a motion let alone an approval." She believes the decision sets a great example.  Is it a great example for a Commission to make one sensible decision and then months later overturn it?

Danto believes that younger children see older children using e-cigarettes and if they are allowed to be used at the Civic Center then it will be "considered normal."  She believes the Commission is "taking a stand as a role model; this is a family-friendly park." But these children aren't going to be able to buy e-cigarettes from vaping lounges, because they simply won't do that. At least seeing someone use an e-cigarette and wanting to follow suit is better than doing that with the poisonous tobacco cigarettes.

The misinformed Danto is concerned about the vapor that is produced by e-cigarettes but fails to produce solid evidence. Her views aren't sitting pretty with Eric Piedmont who is the President of Grand Traverse Vapor. He believes that as there is no second hand smoke, e-cigarettes shouldn't be banned outside.The ban is effective immediately and the Parks and Recreation Department is busy putting up signs for the new ordinance. That's more expenses to enforce an unwanted and unecessary law. Again this is an example of laws being made that aren't based on judgement of all sides of the story and infringing on people's rights to make their own decision.

Friday, April 24, 2015

ACP deliver biased unbalanced views on vaping

You would expect a respected body such as the American College of Physicians (ACP) to actually do some proper research when publishing their views on e-cigarettes. Sadly that isn't the case and it's the usual one-sided rant. This week they published their take on e-cigarettes in 'The Annals of Internal Medicine.'  It includes comments from Ryan Crowley, senior associate for health policy at the American College of Physicians who believes "there is scant evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking."  Now that's supposed to be the claim of manufacturers but there are several studies that have been carried out by universities and the medical profession that show plenty of evidence that e-cigarettes can help people in their bid to give up the poisonous tobacco cigarettes.

For example, there's the views of Dr. Gary Blume from Care Now in Deltoa? He says the signs of e-cigarettes helping people stop smoking are promising. He’d rather see people using e-cigarettes than continuing to smoke tobacco and concerning the bans that keep getting imposed, he says:  “Personally, if I had to make the decision, I would not outlaw it. As a doctor, at this moment, the pros outweigh the cons.”

Crowley also believes that e-cigarettes may be harmful to both those who use them and bystanders.  Contrast that with the view of 20 year old Stetson University student, Alex Schelb. A former smoker she now uses e-cigarettes and says:  “I haven’t had a problem with smoking an e-cigarette. I’ve never heard a complaint about it. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘Don’t blow that smoke towards me.’ Nobody really cares.”

Of course he has to include the subject of flavors into his unbalanced and inaccurate views. He believes that they attract youngsters to the product when we all know just how vaping lounges won't sell e-cigarettes to those under age. Crowley also believes there are harmful chemicals in the flavors but feels unwilling at this point in time to back up his ill-judged claims with actual evidence. The views are supported by Vince Wilmore, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco Kids. Now seeing e-cigarettes don't contain tobacco you'd think a) he'd be happy to see people using anything but tobacco cigarettes and b) it'd be none of his business. He's come out with the following crazy statement:  "We can't allow the tobaco industry to addict our kids with a new generation of tobacco products."

Stanton Glantz, professor of tobacco control at the University of California has also stuck his nose in. He's worried about kids using e-cigarettes too but wouldn't he be a lot more concerned if there was a huge jump in the number of youngsters using tobacco cigarettes and ruining their health?  He doesn't hold out much hope that the FDA will regulate e-cigarettes any time soon.  Email update time, I'm on their email list and still not a single one about e-cigarettes from the FDA ever.His views don't correspond with those of Dr Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University. He believes that e-cigarettes do help people quit smoking and the flavors play a big part in that task.  "These flavors are the primary reason that these products are so attractive to smokers who are trying to quit or cut down." He believes banning them would have "negative health effects, because people who are using e-cigarettes may go back to smoking."  Strange isn't it how the ACP don't mention his views.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association believes the ACP's recommendations are overreaching.  He commented: "The ACP's policy recommendations read like a step-by-step guide to handing the vapor industry over to 'Big Tobacco' and making vaping a less effective alternative to smoking." 

Conley shares our views that the ACP don't mind mentioning any negative studies but wouldn't dream of telling people about anything positive. Well we do, week in, week out so keep reading our blogs to find out the truth about e-cigarettes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Governor Tom Wolf is Taxing E-Cigarette Products

E-cigarette users in Pennsylvania fear there may be a wolf at the door that could make using the product a lot more expensive.  Governor Tom Wolf has proposed his budget for next year and if it passes in the General Assembly it'll see the wholesale price of e-cigarettes taxed at a rate of 40%.

The greedy governor believes his plans to add the wholesale tax to e-cigarettes, which he wrongly believes are tobacco products, could bring in around $84m. He also plans on increasing the tax on deadly tobacco cigarettes bringing in another $358m a year. Does Wolf actually realize the damage his policies will cause? People switch from tobacco cigarettes to vaping because not just is it safer but it's a lot cheaper. Putting up the prices of e-cigarettes by such a high figure might put people off switching and continuing to smoke themselves to an early death.

Of course the problem is the governor sees e-cigarettes as a growing industry. Anything that makes a profit these days has to be a taxation target and the governor doesn't want to miss out on the chance to make millions of dollars, especially if tobacco cigarette sales drop. Local vaping shop owners have some interesting views on the matter of taxation. James Cattle owns the Vapor Cloud Lounge in York. He believes there should be a degree of taxation on e-cigarettes but not the 40% proposed by Wolf.

He said, that's as long as it's within a "reasonable price" — not the 40 percent that Wolf is proposing. He fears that level of taxation could shut him down as people either shop online or just go to a neighboring state to get their supplies. That's another problem caused by the crazy situation where different states have different laws on the product. Tyler Lawrence, one of the co-owners of One Step Above, also in York believes the proposed tax will create a black market for e-liquids.

Is that what the governor wants? Does his desire for additional revenue want to see the business driven online or underground? This week Cattle invited state Rep. Kevin  Schreiber to his store to discuss the matter. He told him how the tax would increase the price of a one ounce bottle of vaping liquid from $17.99 to nearly $30 and potentially put him out of business. 

Schreiber suggested that vaping store owners write to state legislators as a group so they have a part in any decisions that are made. Of course with a potential $84m at stake their views will be totally ignored. He believes the proposed tax will be passed because sin taxes are constantly used to raise money. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Montana Meddles with E-Cigarettes

A bill that would ban minors in Montana from buying e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid containers is heading for the governor's office after the House cleared a Senate Bill by 72 votes to 28. 

It's the latest bandwagon attempt by politicians to clamp down on e-cigarettes and was introduced by Democratic Sen. Diane Sands of Missoula on behalf of the Montana Attorney General.  Of course it makes one major mistake right from the start because the Bill ensures that e-cigarettes are defined as tobacco products meaning those under 18 cannot legally access them. That totally goes against the decision of a court that ruled e-cigarettes are not tobacco products. 

Still the politicians go along their merry way in imposing regulations on e-cigarettes and deciding a product that doesn't contain tobacco is a tobacco product. Any business that now wants to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids will have to purchase a $5 license. That's a few more dollars in the coffers and how long till they start talking about heavily taxing e-cigarettes too? Rep. Denise Hayman has called the bill a well-thought out approach to a growing problem which shows how much she knows about the subject. Hayman spoke in the debate on Monday and said: "numerous parents and coaches are terrified of this product because there's very little information about it."   She described this Bill as a "first step" so get ready for more restrictions coming this way.

Well actually there's quite a lot written about how e-cigarettes are safer than the deadly tobacco cigarettes. The problem is critics tend to keep a bit quiet about such studies such as the one we reported on from Germany in Monday's blog.  At least there was some common sense spoken in the debate. Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior mentioned how e-cigarettes "helps kids get off cigarettes" and felt that the Bill was simply "regulating a really good product."

So does voting for the ban mean they want to stop a product that "helps kids get off cigarettes"? Of course the fact is that vaping stores won't even serve under-18s so they'll struggle to get them anyway.  With the Governor in favor of such action this "first step" is bound to become law.  Again it's a case of unwanted and unnecessary legislation but the politicians just don't see it that way do they?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vaping Will Always Be Safer Than Smoking

Here's some news for the critics of e-cigarettes. E-cigarette critics will always find a way to down talk vaping. A recent study by some German researchers who have discovered that the vapor emitted by e-cigarettes is significantly less harmful to lung tissue than tobacco smoke.

The researchers commissioned lung tissue from two donors. One had their bronchial cells exposed to the vapor from an e-cigarette. The other  lung drew the short straw because their bronchial cells were exposed to the smoke from tobacco cigarettes. 24 hours later the researchers measured both cell viability and oxidative stress levels and the test produced some great news for members of the e-cigarette industry. The cells exposed to tobacco smoke were 4.5-8x less viable than those exposed to the vapor. As for oxidative stress levels, those who had the misfortune of being exposed to the tobacco smoke were 4.5-5x higher. That means e-cigarettes are as much as eight times "safer" than traditional poisonous tobacco cigarettes.

Hopefully, the next time you hear a health official or a politician complaining about e-cigarettes they'll even mention the study. Probably not because it doesn't quite fit in with their already planned agenda does it? They see the word 'cigarettes' and immediately decide they have to take unwanted and unecessary action against e-cigarettes. If those health officials and politicians don't mention this study then ask them why not? It's important that people realize there are two sides to this story not just the one those who don't approve of the product or have a hidden agenda want you to hear.

Friday, April 10, 2015

When Will They Get It?

Some people are never really satisfied are they? In the State of Florida, the number of people smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes is falling but there are concerns over the fact more teenagers are trying e-cigarettes.

The University of Florida have shown that fact in a study they carried out. Researchers say that while older people are turning to e-cigarettes to stop smoking, teens use them for recreational use. Well that may be the fact but wouldn't people be a lot more concerned if a study came out showing an increase in the number of teens smoking and beginning a habit that will only cause them serious long-term illnesses?

The study's lead investigator, Dr Tracey Barnett also says that teens who use e-cigarettes are also more likely to use tobacco products like hookah. That doesn't quite tally with 'The 2014 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey'. That survey discovered that the percentage of high school students who’d smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days had fallen from 18.1% in 2011 to 10.6% this year. The percentage of high school students who had used or tried an e-cigarette in the past 30 days was 12.9% in 2011 but 28% in 2014. 

Barnett feels that her claim about teens going on to use tobacco products "kind of takes us away from this idea that it's a cessation device or a way to get them off cigarettes." That's not quite logical is it if we're discussing teen use. If they choose e-cigarettes to use then there's no need for any cessation device is there because they've got no smoking habit to stop have they? As for hookah use well that's nothing to do with the e-cigarette industry so why try and blame it?

12% of Florida High school students reported trying e-cigarettes in 2013, Barnett say that's 50,000 more than the year before and she's worried that it will appear that Florida is a "state that is leading the way in both e-cigarette and hookah use." She added: "It just was a really frustrating thing to see cigarette use heading downward and then other product use heading up."

It appears therefore that it's extremely frustrating to see teenagers turn their back on tobacco and decide to use e-cigarettes instead. But as I've said already, some people are never really satisfied are they?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Dangers of Linking Vaping and Smoking

Erie County is one of the last county’s when it comes to approving vaporizers. The County health officials have been on a warpath with an ambitious anti-smoking campaign. Even though vaping isn't a tobacco product, the officials still felt it was OK to stick their noses where it's not wanted. 

The county has banned vaping in all places that already prohibit smoking, but of course they had no idea how damaging such regulation could be. The use of e-cigarettes has grown considerably in the county. Steve Mac, an owner of ECC and VPX, who are holding a vaping convention this weekend in Niagara Falls, say “The national smoking rate is around 18% but in Erie and Niagara County it's anywhere from 26 to 28%". With that being said, it's become a popular place to go for those trying to get themselves off the tobacco cigarettes. The regulation that is now in place in Erie County is threatening that. Andrew Osborne owns Vapor Trail Electronics in south Buffalo. His view is that "our product does not kill people." That's a great view to have and one that is completely true. Politicians and health officials know full well that the problem area is those smoking tobacco. They are the ones that are being slowly killed by their habit and anything that can help people stop smoking should be embraced, not victimized. It's also right to say that legislation made in Erie County is misguided. They also have the danger of putting e-cigarettes on the same sad road that tobacco cigarettes have found themselves on. By continually making regulations against e-cigarettes, it could change people's perspectives of the product.

There's a danger that people will think that any product that has plenty of regulations thrown at it, isn't a good product. We all know that's not the case. E-cigarettes can stop people smoking and are far healthier. Just what do the politicians have in mind for e-cigarettes in the future? Taxation is one of course, as they realize that grouping vaping and smoking together can be profitable in the long run. This linking of the two products simply isn't fair and hopefully in time people will learn vaping and smoking are two very different lifestyles.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Politician Talks Sense about Vaping

Every week we seem to be telling you about politicians who are determined to clamp down on the e-cigarette industry. They do so without fully researching the subject and realizing the damage their actions will cause. However, in Spring Lake Park in Minnesota there seems to be a different story happening. They are amending their tobacco ordinance and this usually means bad news for the e-cigarette industry. It's become common place that such actions will lead to sanctions already placed on the more deadly tobacco cigarettes being extended to e-cigarettes. But not in Spring Lake Park it seems. 

Their amendment will clarify existing rules and make it clear that e-cigarettes are allowed. We have to thank city councilman Bob Nelson because, unlike a lot of policiticians who just jump on the anti e-cigarette bandwagon, he knows a great deal about the product. In fact he has a lot to thank e-cigarettes for because they helped have never started smoking cigarettes," city councilman Bob Nelson said. Nelson was a long-term smoker but then he turned to e-cigarettes and says using them has reduced his smoking from a pack a day to a pack a week. "I'm just hoping that by doing this, it's used the right way, and it gives people the tools to get off them damn cigarettes," he said.

For a change then we have a politician who doesn't just read an article criticizing the product and deciding legislation is needed. The decision not to extend the tobacco regulations to vaping is excellent news for stores such as Dick's Vape Shop. Manager Mike Huber says "it's a bit of a load off my shoulders to not have to worry so much about Spring Lake Park." But the problem in America at present is the fact that different areas have different rules on e-cigarettes. That means while Huber can stop worrying about one shop he has others in different areas that are still under threat. As he says: "But I mean that's ... the battle doesn't quite end there." Nelson says it's very likely the Spring Lake Park ordinance will pass; that could happen as soon as next month.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Vermont Has No Idea What They're Doing With Vaping

To Vermont today and another set of politicians who are coming up with unwanted and unnecessary legislation. The problem is they don't try to find out the truth and simply don't realize the damage their petty plans cause for local vaping stores. 

There are four bills on their way to Vermont House committees. If passed they would raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products or substitutes from 18 to 21, extend the ban on smoking in public places to e-cigarettes, prohibit displaying e-cigarettes on store counters, restrict e-cigarette flavors to menthol and last and definitely least, tax the product at 92% of the wholesale price The bill regarding flavors is being sponsored by Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset. Like a lot of misguided people she believes the fruity flavors are aimed at children. "They're so gearing this towards young people to try to get them to smoke" says the misguided politician. Pehaps she should try and answer why it is that the e-cigarette industry is apparently trying to lure children but refuse to sell the product to them.

Komline is a woman who has already been told just why there are such flavors. People have told her that they use flavors such as blueberry to help them quit tobacco. That's the truth Patty and slightly promising is the fact she says she sympathizes with them and remains open to discussion and possible compromise on the legislation. Perhaps the politican should do some research on the subject before she considers legislation. She also says: "It's definitely better than smoking cigarettes. But it's not good. It's addictive." Again the politician hasn't done her research. Hasn't she read the Penn State College of Medicine's views on e-cigarettes? Their lead researcher Jonathan Foulds says "E-cig users feel less addicted." 

Adam Tredwell knows just how important e-cigarettes can be to people. His mother used them to give up her deadly tobacco smoking habit and that led to Tredwell, who had tried them himself but didn't like the flavor, creating several mixtures. This led to him opening Vermont Vapor Inc. becoming one of the first manufacturers in the States and wholeslers of juice for e-cigarettes.He runs his business because "I want people to stop smoking" but he fears the upcoming legislation in Vermont. "The more the industry, expands, the more regulation. And the worse it's getting for use."

Tredwell admits that if the only flavor he can sell is menthol then he'd go out of business as not enough people are menthol smokers. The massive tax wouldn't help anyone either and Vermont Vapors would have to either lower his wholesale price or risk losing his customers. That's bad news for Tredwell but also terrible news for those trying to give up smoking. The fact e-cigarettes are cheaper is another good reason for them to switch products. If the gap in price narrows then they might just stick with their poisonous tobacco cigarettes.

Rep. Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock, is sponsoring thetaxation bill and says it's a good way "to finance prevention." It's also a good way to get lots of cash into their coffers and make life for a flourishing industry extremely difficult. When it comes to banning e-cigarettes in public places, Tredwell would like to see the evidence that supports such action, come to think of it we all would. Don't the politicians know of the 2013 study by Drexel University that found that involuntary exposure to e-cigarette vapors causes no health risks? 

Again we have legislation that is not based on a great deal of research. Politicians find something that is anti-e-cigarettes and go to town on it. If they spent their time looking at all the research then they might just find there's a very different story out there.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hypocrisy Over E-Cigarettes in Utah

Governor Gary Herbert has a big smile on his face this week after signing legislation that makes life difficult for the e-cigarette industry in Utah.

The new unwanted regulations will mean that sellers of e-cigarettes will now need to be licensed by the state. It also imposes labelling and quality-control requirements on e-liquids and requires child-proof caps on bottles of e-juice. Herbert and politicians in Utah are total hypocrites. They won't hesitate to stress that e-cigarettes haven't been regulated by the FDA (still no emails from them about the product) and say that's one reason they have to take action. However, this week the governor also signed a bill that allows terminally ill patients to try treatments that have not been approved by the FDA. Where's the logic in that?

"Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful, addictive substances," Herbert said in a statement. "As marketing and sales of e-cigarettes increase, taxation and regulations similar to those imposed on traditional tobacco products should be enforced to protect public health." Notice how he said that lovely word 'taxation.' Herbert knows a profitable source of revenue when he sees one so it's so surprising he wants to make life difficult for the industry. He must see that tobacco sales are falling and e-cigarette sales rising which means he needs to tap into this revenue source.

But why are e-cigarettes having to suffer the same strict treatment as the deadly tobacco cigarettes. There's no tobacco in e-cigarettes, it's a different and safer product. The Governor received a letter from Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Asociation, urging him to veto the bill but the governor ignored his views. That's despite the fact that Conley pointed out how the new regulation exempt sealed e-cigarettes which are almost entirely manufactured by the nation's major tobacco companies. This put other e-cigarette maker at a competitive disadvantage.

Sponsor of the bill, Paul Ray says young children can't consume the liquid in sealed e-cigarettes. He added that the devices aren't marketed to children the way the liquids for refillable e-cigarettes can be. I guess he's going down the flavors route again believing that is aimed at children when in fact they help ex-smokers who have turned to e-cigarettes.

Again though most of this legislation is unecessary and even the local e-cigarette association said they agreed with about 80% of what's in the bill. This is just another example of politicians trying to cause problems when most of the issues are already being dealt with by the industry already.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Will Positive Vaping Views be Listened to?

Redlands City Council are the latest to jump on the bandwagon and launch an assault against the e-cigarette industry. They have announced plans to amend the city's municipal code to not just regulate smoking but e-cigarettes as well. Their actions haven't totally delighted the Redlands Chamber of Commerce who want to see any decision postponed until they can have their say on the issue. “The chamber would like an opportunity to review the options and make recommendations to assist the council in determining the fate of these kinds of businesses finding a home in Redlands,” wrote Geoff Bonney, president of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce, inhis letter to the city. In response, Councilman Paul Barich says: "We're talking about regulating a business — whether I agree with the business or not — so I think we should be able to at least go to the Chamber of Commerce and ask for their expertise since they’re very good at what they do.” The move comes at a time when there are already vape bars in Redlands with more interested in opening in the area. Redlands Mayor Paul Foster said the City Council aim on discussing the matter during their scheduled meeting on April 7. "I think in a nutshell for me this issue is about whether or not we want to see more of these businesses in town — whether we want a hookah bar or lounge in town.” 

While they wait to make their decision you have to wonder whether the councilmen will take notice of the comments made at an anti-tobacco conference held in Abu Dhabi last week. Several health experts spoke in favor of e-cigarettes

Konstantinos Farsalinos, researcher from Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, said that in a study of nearly 19,500 people, mainly in the United States and Europe, 81 percent said they had stopped smoking by using e-cigarettes. "In fact, they quit smoking very easily within the first month of the e-cigarette use on average. That's something you don't see with any other method of smoking cessation." Citing a yet unpublished study, Farsalinos insisted that "if three percent of smokers switch to e-cigarettes we are going to save about two million lives in the next 20 years.” Jean-Francois Etter, associate professor at Geneva University also has views that councils around the USA should take note of. The professor said that e-cigarettes should not be excessively regulated as some wish, because this could "decrease the number of smokers who switch to these new products." Extreme regulation would simply help the tobacco industry, the professor added and described the World Health Organisation's (WHO) strong opinions against e-cigarettes as "political." and declared "I think that the WHO people should know better than kill alternatives to smoking cigarettes."

So while councilors across the States ponder what moves to take against the e-cigarette industry, hopefully they will do some research on the subject. Then they might discover how useful the product can be in helping people in stopping smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes. Clamping down on the product can undo a great deal of beneficial work that has already taken place.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Washington Needs To Up Their Knowledge On Vaping

There could be major problems for the e-cigarette industry in Washington if a new Bill proposed by Republican |Gerry Pollett has his way. 

His new bill would make Washington's laws regarding e-cigarettes some of the toughest in the states. According to Pollet his bill is a "game changer" but it's more likely to be unwanted and unnecessary interference in the business of a growing industry. If this legislation is passed then all retailers would require special licenses, manufacturers would have to list all ingredients in e-juice, non-tobacco flavored vaping products would be banned and e-cigarettes and its supplies would be taxed at the same rate as tobacco products. It's the latter imposition that is most w
orrying as cash-starved politicians look for new ways of raising tax revenues. That desire comes regardless of the damage that it will cause a flourishing industry. Consumers would end up paying a 95 percent tax compared to the standard sales tax currently levied.

Pollett, who teaches public health at the University of Washington, says: "Every time we raised the price of cigarettes we reduced youth smoking." That also means less tobacco revenue is coming in so we need to find another way of getting that much needed cash. According to Pollet, the tobacco industry sees vaping as a way to create a new generation of nicotine addicts. Of course not every company that sells e-cigarettes has links to the tobacco company. Already hundreds of vapers and e-cigarette store owners have lined up to testify against the bill when a public hearing was held earlier this week in Olympia. But will the politicians actually listen to them?

Emily Murphy told the hearing how e-cigarettes have helped stop her smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes and we all know she's not the only one. "For so many adults this has been a life-changing intervention" said Emily. Hopefully the politicians will realize that by imposing these strict regulations and taxation on e-cigarettes, they will cause a great deal of damage. With e-cigarettes becoming more expensive, tobacco smokers may be less willing to swap over to the safer product. As for the ban on flavors, that will hurt those ex-smokers that use the flavors in their difficult task to kick the terrible habit. Of course the critics will say that the flavors are just there to attract youngsters to the product. Perhaps they should take heed of the comments of Andy Kibler, owner of Olympia Vapor in Turnwater. One of the flavors he sells has bubblegum in it and it's the top seller in his store. Yet Kibler says that he won't sell his vaping products to anyone under 18. His view of the proposed bill is that it is an "atom bomb approach to something that could be done with a little more finesse."
Surely politicians must realize that e-cigarette stores are helping people not causing them damage. If they actually bother to listen to people, then they might just have a different feeling about the product.

Monday, March 16, 2015

What's Kick Butts Day to do with Vaping?

It's Kick Butts Day on Friday March 20 if you didn't know already but seeing e-cigarettes don't actually have butts, why are they being spoken about so much in Utah? 

Kristin Jones is the health educator with the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at the Weber-Morgan Health Department. Again e-cigarettes don't contain tobacco so why is he being so vocal about e-cigarettes? Surely he must have more important tasks on his to-do list. Jones believes that those using e-cigarettes are simply "replacement smokers". He looks at the dwindling sales of deadly tobacco cigarettes, something anyone associated with tobacco prevention should be delighted with, and believes they are now targeting youths with e-cigarettes. He wrongly believes that they "aggressively market, target and addict our youth."

Now if he's going to go round making such scandalous comments as that, why doesn't Jones take a trip to a vapor lounge? Then the discovery would be made that youths aren't even allowed in, let alone sold e-cigarettes. Now if that's aggressively marketing and targeting youths it's not going to be a very successful policy is it? So what is this Kick Butts Day all about then? Well it raises awareness about the tobacco problem, urges youth to be tobacco free and gains support for effective solutions to decrease tobacco use. Well that sounds a pretty good event doesn't it, because we all want to see people stop using tobacco. But again we have to ask, what the flipping heck it has to do with the e-cigarette industry which has a product that does not contain tobacco.

Thousands of youth activists get involved in this wonderful event which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Utah Indoor Clean Act. Three years ago the tobacco activists poked their nose into the e-cigarette industry and amended the act so it included e-cigarettes. Those breaking the ridiculous law can be fined $100 for a first offence and up to $500 if they keep doing it. Using them isn't allowed within 25 feet of any entry, exit, open window or air intake of buildings. I wonder if they have nosey officials standing by people vaping with a tape measure to make sure they are 25 feet away. "Sorry sir, you're 24 feet away from that window, stop vaping and give us $100."Jones complains about the fact that e-cigarettes are unregulated and some of its contents a mystery. He's not the only one going to be lecturing people on Kick Butts Day. Youth from the Weber-Morgan Governing Youth Council (WMGYC), Project Success and Upward Bound will also be poking their nose into other people's business.

Austin Francis is president of the WMGYC and says that he's seen how various substances have destroyed people's lives. Well e-cigarettes aren't one of those substances that is for sure. He claims youth members at schools are using e-cigarettes to get attention and to try and fit in. At least they aren't using tobacco cigarettes but he doesn't mention that. He's too happy to go down the 'rebellious" route as they illegally smoke e-cigarettes indoors, something this good upstanding citizen would never dream of doing. Is he more worried about the e-cigarettes or the fact an unwanted and unnecessary law is being broken? This modern-day saint talks about the fact that nicotine is a highly addictive substance and can cause poisoning. But this know-it-all doesn't know it all because he doesn't mention the report that discovered the nicotine in e-cigarettes isn't as addictive as that found in tobacco cigarettes. Lead researcher of the report was Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine who says: "E-cig users feel less addicted." 

"We try our very best to go out in our communities to shed some truth regarding electronic cigarettes" says Saint Francis. Well, the fact is that he doesn't. This guy won't talk about the positive studies into e-cigarettes because he probably hasn't even bothered to go out and do some research. He just waits for anything negative to come along, laps it up and adds it to his sermon leaving the truth about e-cigarettes hidden away.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Overkill on Vaping Defeated

It appears that not every bandwagon politician actually manage to achieve their aims. That's been the case this week in Muskogee where they failed to ban the use of e-cigarettes and other vapor devices on city property. 

An ordinance had been passed last October that banned smoking tobacco cigarettes on city property. Not satisfied with that, they also wanted to extend the ban to vaping. Now not every decision that politicians take are made because they lovingly want to help people's health. The fact is that by passing that ordinance against smoking it will help the city qualify for a $50,000 grant from the Oklahoma Health Department.

D'Elbie Walker is a tobacco prevention coordinator with the Muskogee County Health Department and a Muskogee Wellness Initiative Coalition board member. She argued in support of expanding the ban to include all vapor products, despite the fact that this was an issue which had never been contemplated before they held a meeting on Monday. "We said we had tobacco-free city property when we pushed the button for the application, and they are allowing us to modify it,” Walker said about her bid to amend the October ordinance. "The funds will be here — this is just an opportunity for us to walk in integrity since we already passed it in October.” All but two councilors backed the ban for tobacco products but voted against banning the use of e-cigarettes on city property. Rightly, the councilors felt that doing so was an example of governmental overreach.

A rather sensible councilor called Dan Hall commented: "Just like I said when we looked at this the first time: They started out as cigarettes, then it went to tobacco, and now it’s vapors, It’s going to be my candy bars and my soda pop next, and I have an issue with it.” Councilor Wayne Johnson added that their original intent was not discussing vapor. "I question when somebody questions our integrity. My integrity has not changed." Perhaps summing up the attempt to extend the ordinance to vaping, Councilor Marlon Coleman said it was "overkill." It's good to see that some councilors have common sense, though sad to see that many still pay more attention to getting grants than caring for those who vote for them. Can't they see that their desire to be tobacco free is actually nothing to do with e-cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco? They should be concentrating more on dealing with poisonous tobacco cigarettes. After all, you never know there might be another lucrative grant out there somewhere. Hopefully there might be one for those trying to promote e-cigarettes that help tobacco smokers give up their deadly habit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Leave Vape Lounges Alone

Yet more County Councils are determined to make life difficult for the e-cigaretteindustry. Cattaraugus County were pretty early to jump on the bandwagon but they want to make life even harder in 2015. It was back in 2011 that the Cattaraugus County Legislature regulated against e-cigarettes banning the sale of them to under-18s. Not of course that any vaping lounge is going to be doing that anyway because the e-cigarette industry knows how to regulate itself. Their legislation also banned the use of the product in the same areas where tobacco smoking was banned. 

A new state law now bans the use of e-cigarettes in public places statewide but Cattaraugus County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kevin Watkins believes there are loopholes that need to be filled. He's proposed to the Cattaraugus County Board of Health that e-cigarettes also be banned from non-public (isn't that private?) areas of restaurants and bars. Apparently someone has been using an e-cigarette in a kitchen.
Perhaps more worrying and unnecessary is Watkins attempt to make vaping lounges require registration Watkins may be a doctor but he's not that good at researching subjects. He's the latest medic to fall into the trap and believe that the flavors in e-cigarettes are simply there to attract youngsters to the product. Watkins is determined to prevent youth smoking so perhaps he should concentrate on those foolish enough to go round smoking poisonous tobacco cigarettes rather than concentrating on e-cigarettes. 

Also sharing the same wrong opinion is Dr Joseph Bohan, president of the health board who thinks he's being clever when he says "I wish we could eliminate the use of flavoring in these e-cigarettes." Perhaps one day he'll work out that the flavors in e-cigarettes are a fantastic help to ex-tobacco smokers who need all the help they can get kicking the deadly habit. Someone doing some research is County Attorney Thomas Brady who is looking at amendments to the county's law on e-cigarettes. This is due to be ready next month.

Back to Watkins and he seems rather too interested in vaping lounges. He says "I would like to have a watch over what is going on in these stores." Perhaps he should spend some time at one and learn the stories of ex-smokers who are using e-cigarettes now. He'd also see how they won't even let under-18s into the store let alone sell e-cigarettes to them. Dr. Joseph Bohan, president of the health board, said the flavored nicotine was attracting younger smokers. There seems to be plenty of ill-educated doctors in the area. Dr Gilbert Witte says: "Some people push it as a way to quit smoking. It's no different than other ways to quit. E-cigarettes can be just as addictive as cigarettes" he says. Perhaps the not so learned doctor should look at a report by the Penn State College of Medicine. Their lead researcher Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry says: "E-cig users feel less addicted."

The council and particularly Dr Watkins seem intent on causing problems for the e-cigarette industry but there are other issues he should be looking at. The percentage of people smoking in the county is around 8% higher than for the rest of the state. One reason for this is the availability of cheap tobacco cigarettes at Native American shops. If you're really interested in health Dr. Watkins, try and sort out that more pressing problem or perhaps tell the smokers to pop down the vaping lounges and get some e-cigarettes to help them stop using tobacco.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vaping Punishments unfair for students?

Equality is an important part of life but it doesn’t seem to exist when it comes to e-cigarettes. Schools are clamping down on pupils they catch using them but are punishing them more than if they were smoking poisonous tobacco cigarettes
Most schools now include e-cigarettes in their anti-tobacco policies, despite the fact the product does not contain tobacco. That’s a lesson any school teacher would have difficulty explaining to their pupils.   The problem is though, this crusade against e-cigarettes seems more to be against the fact some pupils are using vaporizers that have marijuana in them. That’s not a problem created by the e-cigarette industry but of course opponents will blame them for it. The equality problem exists on more than one level.  Firstly, why should students caught using e-cigarettes be penalized more than those embarking on addiction to tobacco cigarettes?   Is it right though that e-cigarettes are being grouped with devices such as bongs and pipes?

This causes a major problem because if a student is caught having a quick vape during their dinner hour, they could end up having to go through drugs tests and have possession of drug paraphernalia marked on their school record.  "Our goal is to reduce access and discourage use on campus," said Sarah D'Annolfo, dean of students at The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut.

An annual government survey of more than 41,000 students has shown that use of e-cigarettes is overtaking that of tobacco cigarettes.  Now why should anyone moan about these figures?  Everyone wants to see the use of tobacco cigarettes reduced and if that happens at an early age then that is great news. It’s a reduction in going down the route of smoking tobacco and heading down the road to serious illness, instead students are showing common sense by choosing a safer product but that’s not how critics wrongly see it. The fact students are using e-cigarettes isn’t the fault of the industry, but still critics will moan about candy flavors and marketing without looking at the truth.  Watch a 16 year-old try to even get into a vaping store, let alone be sold one.

Gregory Conley, president of the e-cigarette advocacy group American Vaping Association has spoken out against the way students are being punished for having e-cigarettes. He says that minors shouldn’t have or use e-cigarettes but its "pure overreaction" to punish students caught with them more than students who have regular cigarettes.

Parents in Parsippany, New Jersey, aren’t happy too after the 16-year-old daughter of 
Kathleen Leone was caught with her older brother’s e-cigarette in her pocketbook. The school gave her a four-day suspension and wanted to give her a drugs test but the mother refused them permission to do so.

Leone, who is also a teacher, said: "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that she should have it, but you know, she's 16, and 16-year-olds do stupid things. In her record it says she was suspended for refusal to take (a drug test), and that's something that could affect her chances getting into a university."

If pupils are adapting vaporizers to use drugs then that isn’t the fault of the e-cigarette industry.  By all means heavily penalize anyone using illegal drugs but this policy against e-cigarettes simply isn’t acceptable.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Classifying E-Cigarettes – The Hidden Agenda

There was a time when politicians wanted businesses to flourish but when it comes to the e-cigarette industry, they just seem determined to stick their noses in and make life hell. They listen to the wrong people and ignore positive studies about the product.  A key battle is how e-cigarettes are defined, are they tobacco products or not?Friday the 13th may have proved to be an unlucky one for e-cigarettes in North Dakota. Two bills limiting access to the product were passed and one went down a very familiar route. It labelled e-cigarettes as tobacco products without a single sensible reason for doing so.

This isn’t really something based on fact but a lazy way of ensuring that laws relating to tobacco cigarettes and other products, can easily be adopted towards e-cigarettes. Those laws include things like compliance checks from local police and how e-cigarettes are displayed in stores. It’ll also be the first step in a bid to levy unreasonable and unhelpful taxes on e-cigarettes. Some politicians really do come out with statements that make you wonder if they ever bother to do any research.  Rep. Kenton Onstad (Democrat) came out with this crazy comment:  “"I don't know how we can separate the idea of discussing e-cigarettes and then we're going to talk about the taxing of tobacco when it's clearly a tobacco product."  So why exactly is something that does not contain tobacco “clearly a tobacco product”?  Perhaps he can explain this statement, though it’s probably not best to hold your breath waiting for him to do so.Perhaps he should listen to Kim Koppelman (Rep) who said that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products. His view confirms what we all think as he states that defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products is simply “a back-door way” to tax the product. Eliot Glassheim (Rep) doesn’t agree with Koppelman who was the lead sponsor of another bill that bans sales to under-18s but doesn’t classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Again the subject of taxation rears its ugly head.  He says: “The issue is this bill has a definition which pre-empts these devices as being considered tobacco products. It’s a new definition, and it seems to me it’s a stealth way of not being able to tax them in later bills.”As for Koppelman’s bill, which bans the sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, it’s an unnecessary one. We all know that e-cigarette stores have no intention of selling their products to under-18s. There was bad news for politicians in North Dakota though as a bill that would have seen a substantial increase in taxes on cigarettes failed to win support. The bill would have seen taxes raised by more than 200% on a pack of cigarettes.  Now we have to wonder if the defeated politicians will be looking for other areas in which they can raise tax revenue, i.e. e-cigarettes.

Politicians always seem to have some hidden agenda. That’s definitely the case with how e-cigarettes are classified. A growing industry is one that can be taxed in the future and that’s the real reason they want to classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Crazy Ban will stop Product Sampling in Vapor Lounges

If you want to find an unreasonable county in the USA, then Multnomah County must come pretty near the top of the list.  They are the latest county to jump on the anti-e-cigarettes bandwagon and want to ban the indoor use of the product in workplaces. Amazingly this will even include retailers who only sell e-cigarettes. 

Preliminary approval was given this week for an ordinance that will keep e-cigarettes away from minors.  Perhaps a trip to the local vaping shops would make the politicians aware of the fact that those minors wouldn’t stand a chance of getting in let alone buying some e-cigarettes. Matt Minahan, a lobbyist for the NorthwestVapor Association has reminded the commissioners that state legislators are considering an exemption that would allow customers to sample e-cigarettes inside vaping stores. That’s one of the problems at the moment, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  Wander from state to state and county to county and you come across different laws relating to e-cigarettes. It really is a farcical situation that legislators have landed themselves in. Minahan rightly believes that if the Oregon Legislature approves exemptions for vaping shops but the county doesn’t, it will result in flourishing businesses going bust.   So what do the Commissioners think of this view?  Well, Commissioner Jules Bailey has “a difficult time” understanding why it could cause shops to close. The ignorant Commissioner added: “When I go to the store to purchase shampoo, I don't get to try it on in the store."That may well be but with e-cigarettes there are different flavors that people want to try before purchasing.  The Commissioner should also do some research and realize that most people using these flavors are ex-smokers who need all the help they can get to get off the deadly tobacco. Surely politicians should be helping these people not making their lives even more difficult. Minahan explains:  “Most people don't like the taste of smoke or menthol. "So they need to explore the vanillas or strawberries and whatever their flavor happens to be in order for them to quit smoking and start vaping." 

Minors caught with e-cigarettes could be fined from $250 to $1,000, according to the ordinance, while employers caught violating the indoor ban could be levied as much as $2,000.  A final decision will be taken on March 5.Commissioners are still accepting comments on their website.  

Perhaps there is still time for these Commissioners to find out more about the product they seem so determined to legislate against. More understanding might just lead to a change in their policies. Because after all, if someone is in a vaping store, who is going to be upset over someone sampling a product?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boxer Ducks Truth on E-Cigarettes

Across the country politicians are continuing their attempts to make life difficult for the e-cigarette industry. They come out with ill-informed facts and misguided allegations scaring the general public as they push forward unwanted and unneeded legislation.Democrats in the Senate are really in a bad mood when it comes to e-cigarettes. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) this week reintroduced legislation that would target flavored e-cigarettes and cartoon packaging. 

In her best scare-mongering voice, Senator Boxer didn’t pull any punches when declaring:  “Every day, more and more kids are trying e-cigarettes and developing a dangerous addiction to nicotine. This bill will immediately ban the outrageous marketing of e-cigarettes to children, including the use of candy flavors and cartoon advertisements that are shamelessly designed to lure and addict them.” It’s an argument that we have all heard many times before and every time it raises its ugly head, we always have the satisfaction that we can counter such claims.  E-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes and don’t contain a fraction of the chemicals, tar and toxins. Would the Senator rather see these “kids” using them instead and shortening their lives with every drag?

As for the addiction to nicotine, has the Senator actually bothered to do some research on the subject? If she had, then Boxer would have read the comments of Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D. professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. He said: “'We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users.” 

Then we come to the advertising of e-cigarettes.  Advertising costs a fortune so why would e-cigarette companies spend so much money on advertising their product to kids?  Name a vaping lounge that actually lets kids in let alone go ahead and sell them some of their products. Take Colin Olson, for example, who owns ‘Vape Station’ in Lethbridge who says:  “You probably will never find a vape shop that will sell to minors because we don’t believe in it.” 

Just because an advert features a cartoon character, it doesn’t mean that it is being aimed at children.  Adults, who apparently used to be children earlier in their lives, also like cartoons and comic characters. Why else do so many of them regularly go to see movies such as Spider Man, Thor and The Avengers? As for the candy flavors, this is another allegation that can easily be disproved.  They don’t exist in order to attract youngsters to the product but to help public health. Those who are finally giving up their appalling tobacco smoking habit by using e-cigarettes need as much help as they can get. The presence of the many different flavors helps them add a bit of taste to their new vaping experience. The flavors can help reduce the weight increases that often afflict ex-smokers and helps stifle cravings. So now we have to wait and see if the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act will receive enough support to become law.  The Act would leave it up to the Federal Trade Commission to determine what constitutes marketing to children. We’ll keep an eye on how the Act gets on but surely they must take notice of the positive studies out there.  A one-sided debate simply isn’t good enough.

Monday, February 9, 2015

E-Cigarettes Can Stop you Smoking

In our last blog, we reported how health officials in California came to the decision that e-cigarettes are a health threat.  Among the many biased and uninformed comments made by them, they stated that there is little evidence of e-cigarettes being able to help people give up smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Now you have to wonder just how much research is actually carried out by these health officials. It can’t be that much because we could be writing blogs for you on a daily basis giving details of people who have used e-cigarettes to stop their deadly tobacco smoking habit.  

Take for example, Marty Weinstein, 58, who used to smoke a pack of tobacco cigarettes a day. Now he uses e-cigarettes and the amount of nicotine he’s using is the equivalent of just four or five tobaccocigarettes a day. He admits that he’s still addicted to nicotine but by using the much safer e-cigarettes he can now say “I’m now so much healthier.” 

You would imagine that boards of health across the States would take note of surveys produced around the world. When these boards belittle the abilities of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools, they really do show their ignorance.

For example, a survey carried out by the University College of London in January, showed that a third of British smokers trying to quit tobacco were using e-cigarettes. The great product is being used double that of those trying to quit  by using nicotine gums, lozenges and patches. That’s a big change from 2011 when about 5% of people were using e-cigarettes and more than 30% choosing over-the-counter products.  Similar data is not yet publicly available for the United States but even if it was, would health boards and politicians actually quote from them?  If they don’t agree with their own views then the chances are they won’t. They probably won’t mention the increase in sales of e-cigarettes compared to the fact Euromonitor claim sales of nicotine replacement therapies are likely to fall this year.

Euromonitor report that the higher price of nicotine replacement therapy products, along with the falling population of smokers, will see e-cigarettes become even more popular. Mark Strobel, a consumer health analyst at Euromonitor says: “For some consumers it has been a direct substitution."  So again it is clear that e-cigarettes do have a great future as a smoking cessation tool. People all over the USA have been helped by the product, yet still they are criticized by health officials. The truth is out there about e-cigarettes, the problem is not everyone is that keen on finding out the true story and then letting others know about it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No Thought in Vaping Legislation

As another week goes by, we have more news about forthcoming legislation that will affect the e-cigarette industry. Again it shows a distinct lack of knowledge about the subject and the repercussions of their actions. 

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget would ban the use of e-cigarettes in areas where tobacco products are already prohibited. Yes, we’re back to another example where e-cigarettes which don’t contain tobacco are being treated exactly as if they did. The plan will also limit the use of flavored e-cigarettes and limit marketing attempts that target children and young adults. This will include outdoor and transit advertising.

It’s the moves to limit the use of flavored e-cigarettes that will cause problems for users of the product. All this talk about them being used to attract youngsters to vaping simply isn’t true. Yes there are products out there with fruity flavors that may or may not sound attractive to youngsters. The fact is that the flavors are not there for that purpose. Why can’t legislators actually bother to listen to people who sell the product or use flavored e-cigarettes? If they did, then they might just discover that the reason for the flavors is to help ex-smokers give up their deadly addiction to tobacco. vaping store owner Holly Loupe explains “It has to be appealing for somebody to keep using it. If it tastes bad, would you use it?” 

So limiting the number of flavors available may just result in ex-smokers finding it even
harder to give up their habit and start smoking again. It’s doubtful the governor has thought about that before making his proposals. As for all this marketing to children and young adults, again it simply isn’t happening. There are no adverts out there trying to get teenagers to start using the product.  Vaping stores won’t even let youngsters enter their premises let alone sell anything to them.

Matt Butler, co-owner of Vape World in Brockport and Greece, N.Y., does not believe the new rules concerning where e-cigarettes can be used will have a significant impact.  He said: “People are making the switch these days because they're looking to change to what appears to be a healthier alternative to cigarettes, not because they're looking to use them indoors.” He added that the average customer in his stores is someone in their 30s or older who is trying to give up tobacco.