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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Councils Really are Obsessed with Vaping

It’s been an interesting week for the e-cigarette industry with a promising study and even

Oxford Dictionaries naming ‘vape’ 2014’s Word of the Year.

But despite the study we told you about earlier this week, politicians and health officials

continue to make life difficult for vapers.

This week the Buffalo City Council passed an ordinance that bans the sale, possession or

use of the devices for minors. As we’ve mentioned many times in the past, those selling e-

cigarettes really have no intention of having under-18s as their customers.  But still the

legislators believe they have to take action.

However in Buffalo the situation really is quite bizarre. The ordinance states that minors can’t

be in possession of e-cigarettes or vapor pens even if they don’t contain any nicotine.  Now

we all know that youngsters manage somehow to get their hands on something they’re not

supposed to be using.   Wouldn’t you rather see those youngsters using e-cigarettes rather

than smoking tobacco cigarettes?  Course you would but still the legislators make life

difficult, even if rather than smoking tobacco cigarettes they are trying e-cigarettes with no

nicotine.  It just doesn’t make sense at all, you’d think the decisions were being made by a

buffalo not a politician in Buffalo.

It’s not just the politicians who need educating though. Sheridan College student JD Pittsley

believes e-cigarettes can be a gateway dangerous to dangerous habits.  He says:  “I think in

the long run it’ll be okay because the younger generation really gets into the smoking. I’m

against smoking, I think it’s really bad for your health, so I agree with it because it can be a


Perhaps Pittsley should go to  the college library and get on a computer to do some more

research into the subject. There he might learn about the comments of Gregory Conley,

President of the American Vaping Association. He’s on record as saying: “There is no

evidence e-cigarettes are gateways to smoking.”

There was a bit more common sense shown in Crystal Lake where the City Council were

discussing imposing regulations that would treat e-cigarettes like their evil tobacco

counterparts. I’m beginning to wonder if all these city councils have anything else to do aside

talking ignorantly about e-cigarettes.

This council heard from several people who had used e-cigarettes to give up smoking.

However Mayor Aaron Shepley said that whether they can be used for smoking cessation

wasn’t the question before the City Council.  So saving people’s lives by getting them off

tobacco cigarettes isn’t that important then.

Making sure no one vapes in a public place is far more important to these politicians.  They

were more interested in the impact vaping has on “people who are not vapors.” Shepley

concluded that “based on all the studies that we’ve been provided, the jury is, in fact still

out.”  It was probably a jury that had more witnesses for the prosecution than the defence,

that’s the way it goes when politicians discuss e-cigarettes.

With the jury “still out”, the council decided not to take up any of the suggested amendments.

Councilman Cameron Hubbard commented that there had been “no public outcry to

regulate” e-cigarettes.  That view was shared by Councilman Brett Hopkins who said the

issue hadn’t reached the point where it needs to be regulated.  So for once a council worked

out that all the actions taken against e-cigarettes by various other councils, are both

unwanted and unneeded.

Meanwhile in Hawaii the County Council gave a Bill that would prohibit the use of e-

cigarettes anywhere smoking traditional cigarettes are banned, its first reading.  They voted

6-2 in favour with Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi and Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan

being the two councilors voting against the bill.

Onishi wanted the ban to simply cover enclosed and partially enclosed structures owned or

leased by the county government. He also questioned why it was the bill banned the use of

e-cigarettes at beaches and parks. “It’s not to me like a regular cigarette, where you have

that burning smoke,” Onishi said.  However Council Chairman J Yoshimoto disagreed

saying: “If it’s bad indoors, it’s bad outdoors.”

Also upset by the ideas put forward by Onishi was South Kona/Ka’u Councilwoman Brenda

Ford. In her opinion ““It guts the whole bill.”   Ford said that she had read a number of

scientific studies that indicated using e-cigarettes is unhealthy for both the user and those


Sadly the councilwoman is rather selective in what she reads. Perhaps before the next

reading of the bill she will have read the work of Professor Robert West. He wrote that “The

vapor contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette smoke.

In fact, concentrations are almost all well below a twentieth of cigarettes.”

Councilman Greggor Ilagan wanted the vote delayed until December 17. Just a week before

that he’s planning to attend the FDA workshop on e-cigarettes. That’s where the FDA will

spend the day telling you all the negative aspects of vaping while carefully making sure they

don’t talk about positive studies.

Ilagan told the meeting: “I’m still not sure. Maybe with everything you’ve learned, you’re

already sure and I respect that. Please allow me to get more information. I’m still learning.”

The council refused the request to delay the vote and probably wondered why Ilagan

couldn’t have already done some more research so he could speak better on the subject.

The council made their decision despite hearing from e-cigarette users, who said using the

product had helped them kick smoking tobacco cigarettes.  They also heard from an asthma

sufferer who said e-cigarettes harm her health even outdoors.

The problem with meetings such as this is that anything which is said that is anti e-cigarettes

always seems to carry more weight. All it needs is one asthma sufferer to complain and the

determined politicians believe that gives them the right to do anything they want to rid their

county of these products. Hopefully one day they’ll realize both sides of the story should be

given equal weight.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Make That Switch To Vaping Now

Critics love to have a go criticizing e-cigarettes, but perhaps one day they’ll sit down and

learn just how much they help people.  Then they can spend their time attacking more

credible threats in their quest to make the world a better place to live in.

All across the States there are shops opening up that specifically deal with e-cigarettes. It’s a

booming business but put the financial figures aside for a moment and each store has plenty 

of stories to tell.

Take Maggie Kaleita for example, she’s a fantastic example of why we should all be backing

this fantastic product. Maggie is a Penn State senior who used to smoke tobacco cigarettes

and did so until she received a frightening diagnosis.  Maggie learnt that she had Ewing’s

sarcoma,  a cancer affecting bones in children and young adults up to age 30.   “After you

get cancer, you can’t even think about smoking cigarettes without feeling guilty, so e-cigs

were a good alternative,” she said. Now she works as a cashier at McLanahan’s  where both

cigarettes and e-cigarettes are displayed behind the counter.

It’s easy to see why people are switching from the deadly tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

The liquid in e-cigarettes has a vegetable base with added flavoring and contains a fraction

of the carcinogens in tobacco cigarettes.

Zachary Boyer, the manager at Chronic Town, said he successfully used e-cigs as a way to

stop smoking tobacco. He knows others who have tried it as well and can tell us why.  In his

view people who smoke tobacco or hookah “do not really want to smoke cigarettes

regularly.”  So why switch to e-cigarettes?  “With e-cigs, they still get the buzz without the

health risks that go along with smoking actual cigarettes.”

That makes total sense but still the health officials and politicians carry on with their crusade

against e-cigarettes. That makes life difficult for those using the product and increases the 

chances of them going back to smoking tobacco.

It’s not just the shop owners/workers who are talking positively about e-cigarettes. Hotline

workers around the country are receiving calls aplenty from smokers wanting information

about e-cigarettes so they can kick their deadly habit.

November sees the Great National Smokeout and Quit coaches at Arizona Smokers Hotline

say in the past 18 months the calls about e-cigarettes keep on growing. Cynthia Thompson

is the director of the Arizona Smokers Helpline. She takes plenty of calls from clients who

proudly tell her how they have used e-cigarette to cut back on the number of tobacco

cigarettes they smoke.  Thompson says when she hears that “we’re going to engage them

where they are.”  As more and more evidence comes along then she’ll be able to

recommend e-cigarettes even more.

As part of the Great American Smoke Out, there were discussions about e-cigarettes held in

Michigan.  They heard plenty more stories about smokers who have turned to vaping. One

example was Tony Reed who said: "I don't think anyone in my family smokes anymore. I've

converted them all slowly, but surely."

A lot of critics claim that the different flavors in e-cigarettes are there simply to attract

youngsters. That’s not the case with Tony though, he tried lots of different flavors and in the

end starting making his own.

Tony used to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes every day and was desperate to kick the

habit. “"I tried you know the same old story the patch, tried nicorette, tried some other things

and nothing really worked.”   Then he tried e-cigarettes and it was a great success:  “Within

two weeks I was done smoking and I haven't smoked since.”

He suggested e-cigarettes to other members of his family and they also managed to get off

cigarettes. Now he runs ‘Indigo Vapor’ and had a great reason for doing so:  “It worked so

well for me and for my brother and some other family members so we knew we could help

other people.”

Mark Potuck is the tobacco treatment specialist at IU Goshen. He has some misgivings over

e-cigarettes but mainly due to the lack of research into them. But even he admits that if a

patient told him it’s either vaping or smoking, he’d tell them vaping is the better option

because of the fewer bad chemicals present.

So as you can see, e-cigarettes really are the way forward.  Just imagine the future where

more and more people switch from smoking to vaping. That’s countless people turning to a

safer product, one that is healthier and will help prolong their lives.  Sounds good doesn’t it

and that’s simply because it is.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Research Shows that Vaping Helps

It’s always great to be able to give you news about another positive study about e-cigarettes.

The latest comes from researchers at KU Leven and it provides great news for those trying

to use the product to give up smoking tobacco cigarettes.

The new study states that e-cigarettes contain anywhere from 100 to 1000 times fewer toxic

substances than tobacco cigarettes and significantly reduce tobacco cravings.  Hopefully this

will be read by all the politicians and health officials who seem so keen to make life difficult

for the e-cigarette industry. Sadly plenty of those critics fail somehow to read all the positive

information that is available to be read.

The study followed 48 smokers who did not plan to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes for eight

months. They were split into three groups with two being able to both vape and smoke for

the first two months, while the third could only smoke tobacco cigarettes, talk about drawing

the short straw.  In the second stage of the study, which has been published in The

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the third group were

also given e-cigarettes.

The study found that long-term smokers were likely to trade in tobacco cigarettes for e-

cigarettes. 21% stopped smoking tobacco entirely, an additional 23% reduced the number of

tobacco cigarettes they smoked by half. Across all the groups, the number of tobacco

cigarettes smoked was cut by 60%.

“All the groups showed similar results after we introduced the e-cigs,” concluded Professor

Frank Baeyens and postdoctoral researcher Dinska Van Gucht of the Psychology of

Learning and Experimental Psychopathology Unit. “With guidance on practical use, the

nicotine e-cig offers many smokers a successful alternative for smoking less – or even

quitting altogether. E-cig users get the experience of smoking a cigarette and inhale nicotine

vapor, but do not suffer the damaging effects of a tobacco cigarette.”

“By comparison: of all the smokers who quit using nothing but willpower, only 3 to 5% remain

smoke-free for 6 to 12 months after quitting,” says Baeyens.

That’s fantastic news for the e-cigarette industry and next time a politician or health official

starts criticizing the product, it’ll be quoted right back at them. Tobacco cigarettes have

caused so much damage to people’s health for decades, surely a study like this will make

critics stand up and take notice of the good e-cigarettes can do.

We can but hope that this study greatly changes the views of certain health officials. For

example, Claire Oakley who is the Director of Population Health Services at Riverstone

Health Oakley claims that ‘advocates of vaping make the unproven claim that e-cigarettes

are safer than tobacco and may help smokers to quit.”

Unproven? Well I sincerely hope Oakley gets a copy of this study and then her opinions and

those of many others might just change.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Madison Ignores the Truth about E-Cigarettes

Another days goes by while the FDA sits and twiddles its thumbs trying to work out just how

to regulate e-cigarettes. As they do that city councils all across the States jump on the

bandwagon and take unwanted and unneeded action against the industry.

The latest news comes from Madison where the Mayor Paul Soglin and nine City Council

members, want to add e-cigarettes to their smoking ban. That means prohibition of using e-

cigarettes in most indoor places as well as posted areas of parks and beaches.

“We don’t know what’s in that vapor and we don’t know if it affects the environment or the

person sitting next to you,” said Ald. Lauren Cnare, 3rd District, lead sponsor of the proposal.

“There’s no evidence this stuff is clean and pure.”

That’s despite the fact that there have been so many positive studies about e-cigarettes that

make you sit back and wonder why critics want to make life difficult for the industry. For

example there’s the study by the University College of London which politicians in Madison

don’t seem able to quote from but we can.

Professor Robert West stressed that the concentration of harmful substances in e-cigarette

vapor is more than 20 times lower than in tobacco smoke. “You have to be a bit crazy to

carry on smoking conventional cigarettes when there are e-cigarettes available," he said.

"The vapour contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette

smoke. In fact, concentrations are almost all well below a twentieth of cigarettes."

The claims have also been rightly criticized by Kevin DeBauch who owns the Huffle Puff

Vapors store, one of seven e-cigarette stores that have opened in the area this year.

“Without proof, I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction that will get in the way of people using

these devices to quit smoking (regular) cigarettes,” DeBauch said.

The fact that e-cigarettes can be so useful in helping people give up deadly tobacco

cigarettes isn’t even mentioned by the meddling Madison officials. Like most politicians they

simply need to hear one sentence criticizing e-cigarettes and away they go with their

legislation. Rumour is that if you eat too many cream cakes you could end up obese and that

will shorten your life-span.  Where’s all the legislation banning the sale of cream cakes?

Doug Jorenby works as the clinical services director at UW-Madison’s Tobacco Center for

Tobacco Research and Intervention, surely his views should be considered important when

the county decides how to deal with e-cigarettes?

Joreny says that “it’s a no-brainer” that switching from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes

reduces harm to the user.

At present Wisconsin has an indoor smoking ban but that doesn’t apply to vaping. Earlier

this year Sen. Gleen Grothman, R-West Bend, tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill that would

have excluded e-cigarettes from the state’s smoking ban. With the Republicans now having

more seats in the State Legislature it’s possible the bill could be introduced again.

While we wait to see whether that happens, plenty of other councils have already jumped on

the bandwagon and taken action against e-cigarettes. Madison County is more than likely to

follow suit with so many council members trying to look tough by saying they approve the


They fail to realize of course the dangers of taking such measures against the e-cigarette

industry. These officials are elected to help people but surely making life difficult for e-

cigarette users won’t help them one bit.  It may well force them to go back to using tobacco

cigarettes and further damage their health.  It won’t help the growing number of vaping

stores in the area either.

These councillors are simply being blind to the good that e-cigarettes can do for the

members of their community. Perhaps they’ll feel good that they have been seen to be

passing strict laws but will the voters really benefit from what they are doing? The answer is

most definitely no.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vaping Debate Rumbles on in Peabody

Earlier this month we told you about the Peabody Board of Health who have been discussing

the subject of e-cigarettes. They’ve been discussing whether to ban them from being used in

public places and the workplace but delayed a final decision. What was really encouraging

about this Board of Health was that they did seem to be prepared to listen to both sides of

the story.

One of the reasons they delayed a final decision was to find a way of creating an exemption

for vapor shops. But now matters seem to have taken a turn for the worse in Peabody.

City Councillor Barry Sinewitz has taken matters into his own hands and imposed several 

restrictions on a new vapor shop in West Peabody. The restrictions include prohibiting the

sales of e-cigarettes to minors and the banning of vaping inside the shop.  The council

passed a special permit to achieve these woeful restrictions.

Perfect Hit Vapor is situated at 649 Lowell Street in the Hannaford shopping plaza and that

meant good news for any councillor up to no good. You see the shop is situated in a

neighborhood business zone which is regulated by the council. The conflict between the

council and the board of health is obvious because just months ago the shop successfully

obtained a permit from city health officials.

The not so intelligent Sinewitz has declared that he didn’t want any “smoking” at Perfect Hit

Vapor. Surely he must know the difference between smoking and vaping? He reminded the

council of the Board of Health’s pending regulations but obviously decided to ignore the

discussions over exemptions for vaping shops.

As is often the case at present, the decisions taken by the Peabody council are both

unwanted and unneeded. The proprietors of Perfect Hit Vapors even told the meeting that

they had no intention of selling their products to under-18s. In addition they told the council

how they would be prohibiting the sampling of any liquids or juices to avoid the spreading of

germs. They would also refrain from recommending nicotine levels to their customers. Yet

despite the shop in question detailing their own regulations the council went ahead and

imposed their own thanks to Mr Sinewitz.

The councillor went down the usual line of attack and claimed that the use of different

flavored e-cigarettes meant under-18s were being targeted.  He said:  “When you start

selling bubblegum-flavored e-cigarettes, I don’t know how that appeals to someone who isn’t

16 years old.”

He obviously hasn’t read about how different flavors add to the experience of vaping and

help those giving up smoking.  Holly Loupe, who owns Vape Vibe in Johnstown and Altoona,

says: “It has to be appealing for somebody to keep using it. If it tastes bad, would you use


Paul Calisi, one of the vaping shop’s owners told the council that there would be no food,

candy or drinks sold by the store. They would simply be selling starter kits and related

accessories. All the merchandise is in enclosed display cases or up on shelves out of

customers’ reach and there were no plans for a lounge area.

So with all that information at hand, couldn’t the council realize they were dealing with a

respectable business who were already handling their affairs efficiently and without help

from interfering councillors?

Yet Sinewitz went ahead and made his ridiculous statement on youngsters being attracted

by the different flavors, despite the fact there was no way that someone 16 years of age

would be allowed to purchase anything from their shop.  Hasn’t the councillor got more

important duties to perform against shops that flout the rules on tobacco cigarettes and


Due to the new restrictions placed on the vaping shop they now need a sign stating that no

one under 18 will be allowed on the premises, not that they are anyway. No sampling of

products will be allowed, even though the shop has said that’s not going to happen anyway.

It’s all just a case of a councillor wanting to look tough and giving secretaries more

paperwork to fill in.

However Sinewitz wasn’t finished with his conditions because he also included drug

paraphernalia too.  That’s even though the sale of such items is already illegal under state

law, so why on earth include this in his victimization of the vaping shop? The City councillors

approved all of the conditions by nine votes to two. Congratulations to Bob Driscoll and Dave

Gravel who had the common sense to vote against the conditions.

The Board of Health actually bothered to listen to vaping shop owners in the area. That

included Hank Tran from Peabody Vapors who stressed the important part his shop plays in

helping people give up smoking. He told the Board of Health: “Customers come to us to

learn more about e-cigarettes ... if they leave without learning how to use it, they’re likely just

to toss the device and go back to cigarettes.”

The Board of Health also heard from Michael and Melanie Greene, owners of The Vapor

Guild. They gave evidence about how they had been long-term smokers but were able to

drastically cut back on the number they smoked once they started using e-cigarettes.

Perhaps Mr Sinewitz should have looked at the minutes of the Board of Health meeting more

closely (if he’s read them at all). He’d have read how the Vaping Guild has a ventilation

system that means most of the vapors and smells that come from the e-cigarettes are

filtered out of the building. That information really impressed the Board members and they

indicated they would try to include that as a condition in the exemption for vapor shops. But

Sinewitz just went ahead and banned vaping (or as he called it ‘smoking’).

Public Health Director Sharon Cameron said the board will meet Nov. 25 to “hammer out”

the language for the regulations and then hold another public hearing in December.

So the situation in Peabody is in danger of turning into a complete farce. What happens now

if the Board of Health does go ahead and allow indoor vaping at retail vapor shops? This is

what happens when politicians rather than health officials make important decisions.

Someone like Sinewitz is simply trying to look tough and make sure he gets re-elected

Monday, November 17, 2014

How Regulation of E-Cigarettes Could Help the Industry

Everyone seems to have an opinion on e-cigarettes so it was interesting to read  the views

of Nathan K. Cobb, MD and David B. Abrams, PhD of Georgetown University in Washington

and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for the New England Journal of

Medicine. In their opinion, e-cigarettes have the potential to eliminate consumption of combusted

tobacco. Now that sounds like great news but they believe that will only happen when the

FDA exercises “thoughtful” regulation of the product. They believe this can provide a

“national harm-reduction framework.” Just when that might take place is anyone’s guess. I’ve

been subscribing to the FDA’s email list for months now and never yet received anything

about e-cigarettes.

 Cobb and Abrams concluded: "We would encourage the FDA to accelerate their regulations 

to eliminate uncertainty regarding safety, drive the substitution and use of clean nicotine, and 

hasten the demise of lethal combusted tobacco.”  Now that’s a bit better than the usual

reaction of health officials and politicians. They usually just classify e-cigarettes as tobacco

products, clamp down on who they can be used and where and hope in time to make plenty

of money taxing the product.

The authors compare e-cigarettes to NRT products and write favourably about e-cigarettes:

“Published evaluations of some products suggest that e-cigarettes can be manufactured with

levels of both efficacy and safety similar to those of NRT products, resulting in profoundly

reduced risk as compared with cigarettes.”

They believe that regulation is important because without it they fear the evolution of the e-

cigarette industry will be very different. They fear variant products will be developed that

won’t be as safe.

One of the biggest pluses of e-cigarettes is their ability to help smokers give up their deadly

habit. Not everyone believes they can actually help but take a look through the blogs on this

site and you’ll discover just how much they can help.

Cobb and Abrams believe the “endgame” of e-cigarettes should be to get people off tobacco

cigarettes.  The interesting scenario they paint is just how the growth of e-cigarettes will

affect the tobacco industry.

They describe how tobacco companies need “millions of heavily addicted smokers to remain

customers for decades”. Their view is that the tobacco companies “may try to avoid

disruption of their business model by marketing innovations designed to sustain high levels

of addiction and synergistic 'polyuse' of their existing combusted products."

It’s going to be an interesting situation in the coming years as the e-cigarette industry

continues to grow. Perhaps the FDA should be switching attention to just what the tobacco

companies will try to do to maintain their wealth rather than make life difficult for the e-

cigarette industry.  They probably won’t but it’d be a good idea if they did.   Even they must

realize that a billion dollar industry facing down-sizing is a dangerous beast.

The authors believe the way forward is for the FDA to come up with “clear class definitions

for nicotine content, humectants, vaporization methods, and additives.”

Cobb believes that it’s important for consumers to be able to “walk into a store, and be sure

that what they’re getting is something helpful instead of something harmful.”  He does prefer

to recommend a product that has been regulated but that’s not the fault of the e-cigarette


Regulation is important but only if it’s fair. Too many health officials see the word ‘cigarette’

and immediately think of the health-destroying tobacco cigarettes. It’s vital that old

prejudices are cast aside and a close look at the positive side of e-cigarettes is taken. Just

imagine a world where people turn away from tobacco and start using e-cigarettes instead.

Millions of former users freed of the poisonous toxins in tobacco and enjoying longer lives.

Isn’t that something all health officials and politicians should be aiming for?

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Many Benefits of Vaping

"We need to look at it from a harm reduction standpoint."  That’s the view of Tony Florence

who runs VapeMeet in Lexington.  It’s a twice-monthly meeting at 723 Vapor where vapers

get together and indulge in one of their favourite past times. They even hold contests to see

who can blow the biggest cloud of vapor.

For Tony Florence, vaping isn’t just a business but something close to a community service.

He strongly believes that using e-cigarettes is helping smokers give up their deadly habit. He

says: “I don't know any people who vape who are not former smokers. We are trying to help

people kick the habit. "

The report about e-cigarettes on mentions those health organisations who

aren’t too keen on the product. That includes our best friends the CDC who will snipe at e-

cigarettes at every possible opportunity. The report mentions their heavily-criticized study on

the use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students.  They also claim that e-cigarettes

are a kind of gateway drug that will lead to traditional smoking.

That study by the CDC was described as “plain deceptive” by the American Vaping

Association. Their President, Gregory Conley stated that “There is no evidence e-cigarettes

are gateways to smoking, and in fact, for millions of Americans they are anti-tobacco


Strange isn’t it how CDC never seem to give praise to e-cigarettes for helping so many

people give up smoking?

Also included in the article are the reports of vaping-related nicotine poisonings. But these

aren’t by those who use the product but on the whole, very young children who somehow get

hold of the e-liquid bottles.  Figures from the Department for Public Health show that up to

mid 2014 there were 59 kids, including 40 under the age of 2, that had problems.  Or in other

words these incidents of poisoning are in fact preventable accidents in the home.

This week the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council is expected to take a final vote on

whether to include e-cigarettes in its current smoking ban.  At present there are at least six

vaping shops in Fayette County and e-cigarettes are widely available in convenience stores.

Chris Williams of Danville has managed to give up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes.  He was

a heavy smoker at the age of 18 and had a heart attack at the age of 33.  He’s sceptical of

what he calls “science” produced by the government that shows vaping is harmful and

believes e-cigarettes have saved his life.

Also speaking in favour of e-cigarettes is Carl V. Phillips, the chief scientific officer for the

Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.  In his opinion e-cigarettes

are: “contributing positively to the public health. They do serve as a substitute for smoking.

E-cigarettes are very, very low risk, it's not clear that they are harmful at all."

He speaks a lot of sense when answering questions about why some people are so against

the e-cigarette industry:  “There is an effort by people with various motivations," to malign e-

cigs, he said, "They dress up their attack on e-cigs as if they are based on science. My

favorite one is to refer to some detectable level of some chemical."  Phillips believes that the

improved technology now available means you can find “a few molecules of almost

anything" if you look hard enough.”

It’s amazing how contrasting the views are on e-cigarettes and how honestly some people

talk about the product. Do you notice how those in the e-cigarette industry more openly talk

about the many benefits of vaping but will also address the criticisms of the product.

Strangely those opposing e-cigarettes will talk till their jaws get tired about how evil they are

but remain deadly quiet about the benefits.  Old prejudices die hard and too many health

officials hear the word ‘cigarette’ and immediately think the worst.  If they researched the

subject more then those prejudices might just fade away.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Exciting Future For E-Cigarette Industry

We travel to the Midwest where the e-cigarette revolution seems to be taking hold. That’s

good news for the local traders and the industry as a whole. Figures from the American

Heart Association claim that “e-cigarette sales margins will surpass those of conventional

cigarettes and be a $10bn industry by 2017.” With figures like that being predicted, it’s no

wonder there are so many politicians out there licking their lips at future tax revenues.

But as the industry grows so does the legislation surrounding it and the scare-mongering

that accompanies it.  At least an article on seems to have done some

research and doesn’t go down that route.

It mentions the fact that propylene glycol is FDA approved as is vegetable glycerine. That’s

refreshing to see because usually all we get is the anti-freeze argument that really should be

consigned to history now.

As the industry grows this also means that there will be more and more people using the

product to quit smoking. Victor Hlavsa is a co-owner of Victory Vapes in Michigan City and

has this great aim for his business. He states that they want to “help people quit smoking"

and that they had a "65 percent quit ratio."

Now that’s a fantastic figure and one that all the critics of e-cigarettes should take heed of.

That’s if they bother to read anything positive written about the product.  How many times do

we have to report health officials or politicians who claim there’s no evidence that e-

cigarettes can help people stop smoking?

Take Ensor Bands, who works with community outreach for Upper Chesapeake Health and

declared “There has not been a lot of science and research done” on the subject of e-


The truth is out there, you just have to take your blinkers off and start looking for it.

Another of the co-owners of Victory Vapes is Tom Herrold and he knows just how important

e-cigarettes are.  That’s because he was a smoker for a quarter of a century and desperately

wanted to quit the terrible habit.  He tried nicotine gum and patches but they didn’t have the

desired effect. Since he started using e-cigarettes he hasn’t used a tobacco cigarette for

nine months.   He proudly declares: “At least I’m not a smoker anymore and never will be

again.”  That’s another great success for a fantastic product.  Herrold even has a physician

as a customer; something he believes is a “fairly glowing recommendation.”

It’s not just lives that e-cigarettes can save but money too.  In these tight economic times

any savings help the weekly budget.  Herrold says that e-cigarettes are “unbelievably

cheaper than cigarettes.”  Herrold says that a one-to-two pack a day smoker could last one

week on a 10-ml container.  The price for that at his store is around a sixth of the cost of

cigarette expenditure. Healthier and cheaper, now that’s a great combination isn’t it?

A lot is spoken about the different flavors of e-cigarettes. Usually when that’s mentioned it’s

time for another claim that flavors are just the e-cigarette industry’s way of attracting

youngsters to the product.  Herrold doesn’t agree with that claim saying “Some people are

just in it for the flavor.”  The flavors can help reduce the weight increases that often afflict ex-

smokers and helps stifle cravings.

Herrold also paints a positive picture for the future use of e-cigarettes. He says there are

many more ways they can be used. These include the use of liquids that include melatonin

that will help people sleep or caffeine to provide them with energy.

The future for the e-cigarette industry is a hugely exciting one. You simply have to listen to

people who have benefited by using them to realize just how important a product this is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vaping Legislation that’s Neither Needed or Wanted

Macomb Township has become the latest area to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and

the possession of e-cigarettes by underage persons, but that’s not the only disappointing


The Macomb Township Board of Trustees jumped on the bandwagon and it appears they

also fancy climbing onto a gravy train too. The ordinance was introduced by Trustee Clifford

Freitas and reported by  The website report describes e-cigarettes as “the

trendy new tobacco product.”   They include that description without even questioning why

they’re doing so when e-cigarettes are tobacco free.

In an interview with the website, Freitas admitted that the actions that were taken were not

the result of any existing problems in the community.  So no problems at all but they decide

to take up valuable time to pass unneeded and unwanted legislation.  Freitas simply wants

to take preventative measures until the use of e-cigarettes by minor is regulated at federal or

state level.  “We just don’t want our teenagers getting their hands on e-cigarettes.” Freitas

explains.  He adds that the ordinance is “kind of protecting them from themselves.”  He also

wanted to make sure businesses in the area knew they can’t sell e-cigarettes to minors.”

The ordinance includes a $50 fine for minors who are caught in possession of e-cigarettes.

That’s minors who are much better off using e-cigarettes than sticking a poisonous tobacco

cigarette in their mouths.  However money-crazy Freitas made a motion at the meeting to

increase the proposed fine for retailers caught selling e-cigarettes to minors from $50 to

$500.  This of course in an area where no problems have been reported.  The board

unanimously supported Freitas’ idea so why the big increase?

Well he feels that a $50 fine is “not nearly harsh enough” so felt it perfectly ok to times the

fine by ten. He added: “We wanted to be very clear that we will not allow this in our

community”, that’s the community where no problem exists at present.

If such a problem does develop it’s more than likely that it won’t be the e-cigarette industry at

fault. Vaping lounges are renowned for not selling to minors or even allowing them on their

premises. You see Mr Freitas, the e-cigarette industry can regulate itself without you trying

to cause trouble and make some money out of doing so.  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.”

Freitas is also concerned that e-cigarettes can be used as a vessel for smoking the liquid

synthetic drug Cloud 9. That’s becoming popular with High School students but has nothing

to do with the e-cigarette industry. If kids want to use that illegal drug they’ll find a way, they

always do.

Charlene McGunn, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and

Families, applauded the introduction of the new ordinance saying:  “We are very pleased to

hear that they chose to pass this ordinance and protect our youth from this dangerous drug.”

The misinformed official added that she believed e-cigarettes promote youth smoking (they

don’t and besides it’s vaping not smoking).  She then showed just how uneducated she is by

saying “these companies try to advertise (e-cigarettes) as helping people quit smoking, but I

don’t see any research indicating that to be true.”

No Madam, you probably don’t and it’s most likely because you’d hate to spend time looking

for something positive wouldn’t you?  How come she doesn’t know about Jonah Primrose

who started smoking at the age of 11 (and could have made Mr Freitas a fortune if caught

using cigarettes) and did so for 26 years until starting to use e-cigarettes. He hasn’t smoked

since and says: “I haven’t had one single cigarette at all, which for me, is a miracle.”

That’s just one of many examples all over the world where e-cigarettes have helped people

quit smoking. Perhaps McGunn should spend some time doing some proper research on the

subject before gleefully congratulating Mr Freitas on his ordinance.

In the article, Freitas saves his best garbage for last. He says: “This is really all about safety,

so we’re treating e-cigarettes just like regular cigarettes, as they should be.”

So we’re back to e-cigarettes being treated just like tobacco cigarettes. All this unneeded

legislation does is make life difficult for the e-cigarette industry.  That could lead to ex-

smokers returning to smoking tobacco and undo a great deal of good work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How Vaping Changes Lives for the Better

More and more people are using e-cigarettes in Johnstown, Pa and that led to

taking a closer look at the product.  But would it be the usual scare-mongering article or

would they listen to people who have benefited from using them?

The article quoted figures from the CDC that claim one in five U.S. adults who smoke have

tried e-cigarettes as either a substitute to regular cigarettes or as a method for giving up

smoking. That must be bad news for their Director Tom Frieden who’s allergic to saying

anything positive about e-cigarettes.

The article got off to a promising start as they quoted the American Lung Association who

revealed that those crazy enough to use tobacco cigarettes are exposing themselves to over

7,000 chemicals including 69 known cancer-causing products.  Those sensibly turning to e-

cigarettes will be heartened by figures from the American Heart Association declaring that e-

cigarettes contain a small fraction of those ingredients.

They then interviewed Holly Loupe, who owns Vape Vibe in Johnstown and Altoona.

Listening to those who are actually in the industry really helps to discover the truth about e-

cigarettes.  Holly has plenty of tales to tell of customers who have used e-cigarettes to get

off the demon tobacco. That includes Adam Varner who developed a serious health problem

after many years of using tobacco cigarettes.  He said: “I had leuokplakia really bad on this

side of my mouth, which is the whitening of the gums from chewing.”  That’s normally a

precancerous sign but since turning to e-cigarettes it has dissipated completely and his

dentist is delighted that he is “at least reducing harm done.”

That’s a great story and something health bodies and politicians should take notice of.

They’ll just say that it’s an anecdote but actually it’s just the truth and an example of the

good that e-cigarettes are doing across the States.

It wasn’t long though until the article started looking at the negative views about e-cigarettes.

They quoted the American Heart Association and their concern over flavored e-liquids.  Cue

the accusations that using flavors such as chocolate, fruit and mint is simply there to attract

youngsters. “There is a great concern that e-cigarettes might be a gateway to traditional

cigarettes and that would be very dangerous for the teens,” said Dr. Jeanne Spencer,

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.

Holly Loupe quickly defended the use of different flavors explaining: “It has to be appealing

for somebody to keep using it. If it tastes bad, would you use it?”

The way e-cigarettes can help tobacco users is further exemplified by Jim Capps.  He

wanted to give up smoking but wanted “some kind of social smoking interaction but without

getting back into smoking cigarettes.”  He started using e-cigarettes and hasn’t looked back

since. But how can e-cigarettes help?

Curtis Turner has gone through the same experience and says that e-cigarettes can be more

effective than FDA-approved cessation methods and explains why:  “A lot of it for me and a

lot of reason that the NRTs, the prescribed medication from my doctors, didn’t work for me.

They didn’t fill the creature of habit. The sort of hand to mouth. We all sort of hate to admit

that we have a hand to mouth issue.”

That’s a key way that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking. Nicotine patches may help

some people but they can’t substitute for that hand to mouth issue.  The former smoker is so

used to holding a cigarette in their hands and then putting it in their mouth; they long to get

back to it. Using e-cigarettes provides that for them but without all the deadly chemicals.

Those who still don’t believe e-cigarettes can help people smoking should listen to Holly

Loupe. She says: “I’m going to go by my clientele that have been coming here since day

one.  They’ve cried, we’ve hugged, they’ve quit smoking and are living better lives.”

To those who criticize the ingredients of e-cigarettes she says: “There are no definitive

studies at this point in time saying this is bad in electronic cigarettes and it’s absolutely going

to cause you cancer. There’s nothing.”

Hopefully more and more people will listen to the views of people like Holly, Adam and

Curtis. Then they might work out just how much e-cigarettes are helping people.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Day but Same Old Vaping Criticisms

When critics argue against e-cigarettes they always seem to fall back on the same old arguments,

however invalid they may be. An article this week on the Buffalo News website fell into the same old

trap, especially over the unjust classification of e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

Ro Jordan works for the Erie County Health Department and she’s taken a fair degree of interest in e-

cigarettes. She’s carried out some personal research so I was interested to read what she’d learnt

about the product. As usual it proved to be a disappointing read from yet another blinkered health


The Buffalo News website also fell into the same trap that many others do by paying a great deal of

attention to negative reports. They mention the 7,000 toxins and 69 known carcinogens that are

present in tobacco cigarette smoke which is pretty frightening reading. But they then claim that using

e-cigarettes can still lead to lung cancer, respiratory illness and periodontal disease. That’s taken from
the CDC, though they have yet to register any e-cigarette users who suffer from those health


The good old CDC also claims that the liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can be more lethal than the

nicotine levels used in regular cigarettes. Plus there’s the skin and eye irritations plus drowsiness and

dizziness caused by the vapor.

Their Director, Tom Frieden, really hates e-cigarettes and brings his long-standing hatred of tobacco

cigarettes into any conversation he has.  He hates the fact that high school kids are trying e-cigarettes

but what would he rather they be doing? Perhaps they could ignore e-cigarettes and start using

poisonous tobacco cigarettes instead?

Talking about kids using e-cigarettes, Frieden says that it’s like “watching someone harm hundreds of

thousands of children.”   Now that really is over the top and a totally disgraceful comment to make.

With someone like that in charge the views of the CDC are almost as poisonous as tobacco


Yet health officials and politicians love to keep on quoting the CDC even when Frieden states quite

freely “e-cigarettes are a tobacco product.”  But like many others he simply won’t explain how a

product that doesn’t contain tobacco is a tobacco product. Perhaps it’s time that he and the many

others out there put up or shut up about this ridiculous and damaging claim.

Jordan seems pretty good at paying more attention to negative news rather than anything remotely

positive. She told the Buffalo News reporter how in 2010 Lt Gen (Dr.) Charles B Green did something

that has plagued the e-cigarette industry ever since. He issued a memorandum to commanders in the

Air Force telling them to classify e-cigarettes in the same category as any other tobacco product.

Despite his high office, Green still couldn’t work out the fact that e-cigarettes don’t actually contain


OK, the product we know and love contains the word ‘cigarette’ and it looks a bit like a tobacco

cigarette, but there the similarity ends. E-cigarettes are in no way as poisonous as tobacco cigarettes

and are far healthier to use.  It just doesn’t make sense to go down this line and there are plenty of

people out there who share my views. Take Shai Sinnis, for example, who co-owns two vaping stores,

who says any suggested link of e-cigarettes to tobacco products is “false and not ethical.”  Sinnis also

slams the opinions of those who love to link flavored e-cigarettes with an attempt to persuade minors

to use the product:  “It makes no sense when many other adult designed products like nicotine

replacement therapies, liquors and even condoms come fruit flavored.”

Labelling them as tobacco products is an incorrect and damaging thing to do but has other hidden

reasons.  Putting them in the same bracket as tobacco cigarettes can help legislators with future

regulation and lay the path for taxation in the future

As for Ro Jordan, it just puzzles and irritates me how health officials can go round saying they have

carried out personal research into a topic and then behave like this. How come Jordan didn’t mention

anything at all positive about e-cigarettes? We all know that there is plenty out there but those with

pre-conceived ideas on what they want to write just refuse to look for it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Peabody Listens and Learns about Vaping

There’s interesting news this week from Peabody where the city’s Board of Health have

been discussing whether to ban e-cigarettes from being used in public places and the

workplace. Their meeting on Thursday October 30th in order to find a way of creating an exemption for 

vapor shops.

The Peabody Board of Health seem to have done some research on the subject and not

just listened to the usual negative views that get publicized so much. Public Health Director

Sharon Cameron agreed that studies had shown e-cigarettes to be less harmful than

tobacco cigarettes and was in favour of an exemption.

Peabody resident, Matthew Chung, was in favour of an exemption for vapor shops and told

the Board of Health about some of the studies that have taken place. These included those

that show how e-cigarettes can be a successful smoking-cessation tool.

Several local vapor shop owners and e-cigarette customers gave testimony to the Board of

Health. They argued that people are turning to e-cigarettes mainly as a way of giving up

smoking and the main benefit the shops offer is showing customers how to safely operate


Hank Tran runs Peabody Vapors and says his shop has an important part to play in helping

people give up smoking: “Customers come to us to learn more about e-cigarettes ... if they

leave without learning how to use it, they’re likely just to toss the device and go back to


The Board of Health also heard from Michael and Melanie Greene, owners of The Vapor

Guild. They gave evidence about how they had been long-term smokers but were able to

drastically cut back on the number they smoked once they started using e-cigarettes.

The Vapor Guild has a ventilation system which means most of the vapor and smells

emanating from the e-cigarettes are filtered out of the building. The Board members liked

hearing that and indicated they would try to include that as a condition in the exemption for

vapor shops.

Board member Dr. Leigh Mansberger, isn’t a fan of e-cigarettes and in particular nicotine.

Also concerned was Stephen Kalivas, a local pharmacist, who came out with the usual

concerns about the lack of conclusive studies on the effects of vaping. He didn’t of course

mention any of the many studies into the subject that have provided positive views on e-

Kalivas seems to be the bad apple in Peabody and a bit selective on what he hears too.

Despite the evidence given in favour of e-cigarettes helping people give up smoking, he

stressed that the product isn’t being marketed for smoking cessation. That’s despite the fact

anyone who knows anything about e-cigarettes will say how much they can help. Instead

Kalvias went down the usual route of saying that e-cigarettes are being directly targeted at


Now that really is a ridiculous statement to make and a great example of his selective

hearing. How can Kalivas accuse the e-cigarette industry of directly targeting kids when the

board heard evidence that totally refuted that idiotic belief? The owners of the Vapor Guild

 delayed approving the new regulations

gave evidence that they have a policy that restricts sales to anyone under 18. In addition to

that their employees check IDs at the door and refuse entry to anyone underage.

More evidence in favor of e-cigarettes included the fact that not all of the products have to

contain nicotine; hopefully Dr. Mansberger paid close attention to that fact. Amidst scare-

mongering from Kalivas about the ingredients of e-cigarettes, evidence was given that

showed how most of the ingredients were chemicals people have been inhaling safely for

over 70 years. This includes the usual suspect Propylene glycol, which is always criticized

but commonly used in inhalers. The Board also heard that while on average it takes a

smoker seven times to quit ‘cold turkey’, it usually takes just once with e-cigarettes.

Chairman of the Board, Bernard Horowitz, declared that they weren’t against e-cigarettes, a

statement that probably didn’t please Kalivas a great deal. Horowitz added: “We’re just here

to protect the public against the residual effects.”

The board will reconvene next month and is expected to vote on the updated revisions

at that time. We’ll let you know what decision they make because it could prove to be an

important precedent. If exemptions are given to vapor shops then that would definitely help

the e-cigarette industry. Also the fact this Board of Health is actually prepared to listen to

positive evidence is also quite promising. Hopefully others will do the same when other

regulations are discussed around the country.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Everyone should know the actual definition of e-cigarettes

The Greeley City Council is the latest political body to jump on the bandwagon and make life

difficult for the e-cigarette industry. Local newspaper, The Greeley Tribune decided to write

about the situation and it seems the local council have painted themselves into a corner.

The Tribune’s editorial isn’t perfect though because they miss out on the chance to show just

how important e-cigarettes are. They write that e-cigarettes emit a vapor rather than smoke

and then state: “some say the e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional counterparts. Some

users even say they’ve helped them kick the smoking habit.”

They continue by writing that “the health claims haven’t been proven” but a simple bit of

research by the Tribune would have allowed them to write something far more convincing

than that. Why not quote the research that has been carried out and mention some of the

positive opinions that exist about e-cigarettes, after all there are plenty of them out there.

Have they not seen the JAMA Patient Page, published by the American Medical Association

last January?

That showed that e-cigarettes had several benefits, these included the fact they don’t

contain tobacco and the fact that e-cigarette vapor is less toxic than second-hand smoke

from tobacco cigarettes.

Rather than just saying that some users claim that e-cigarettes can be used to aid smoking

cessation, why not mention the positive views of Professors who have written studies on the


Take the views of Professor Marlow for example. He claims that e-cigarettes could provide

benefits ranging between $15.6 and $49.2 billion based on between 2.4 and 6.4 million

smokers giving up their life-threatening habit and turning to e-cigarettes instead. Marlow

says: “Prohibiting any information regarding potential efficacy in harm reduction is hard to

justify given substantial benefits reported in currently available studies.”

But the Tribune couldn’t mention any of that or even link to other sites that speak positively

about the subject.

So to the problems the local city council find themselves in. Assistant City Manager Becky

Safarik says: “We came up with the definition of an e-cigarette and treated it in the same

manner as other cigarettes.” That’s not exactly logical is it? They’ve worked out what an

e-cigarette is and then stuck it in the same category as tobacco cigarettes. Didn’t their

research notice that e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco? All they care about is the fact that

using an e-cigarette is “clearly a smoking activity” and decided “to include all the things that

is part of that ordinance.”

But just like the FDA the Greeley City Council are taking their time on making a decision.

Thankfully some members of the council actually have some common sense. John Gates

rightfully says: “I don’t think it is council’s job to prohibit someone from opening a vapor

lounge.” He’s not totally clever though because he does believe e-cigarettes should be

banned from public places such as restaurants and bars.

One of the problems the council has is that eleven years ago, Greeley voters banned

smoking in public. The Tribune believes that if vapor bars open in the area then cigar bars

might open too. But they don’t know that’s going to happen and if the council didn’t put e-

cigarettes in the same category as other cigarettes, then such a problem wouldn’t be a


So we have another example of a City Council trying to sort out the e-cigarette ‘problem’ but

making a bit of a mess of it. Why can’t they do proper research into the subject (the same

criticism applies to the Tribune) and create a definition that makes e-cigarettes different from

tobacco cigarettes? If they had done that, then the problems they have now wouldn’t be


Thursday, October 30, 2014

E-cigarettes are a gateway to what?

Time for another outlandish and ridiculous claim about e-cigarettes, this time from Genesee

County and you’ll never guess what e-cigarettes are a gateway to now.

Jennifer Zambito is the assistant director for prevention at Genesee/Orleans Council on

Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. She was invited to take part in a panel discussing e-
cigarettes held at Batavia High School. Zambito declared that one of the problems with e-

cigarettes (we’re sure she can think of quite a few) was the fact that the nicotine contained

can be replaced with other substances. “You can put anything in these,” she said. “You

can crush a prescription pill. It’s a gateway to heroin. Heroin is a huge problem in Genesee


Not many people can follow a sentence discussing prescription pills with one mentioning

heroin. It’s a claim though that has nothing to do with the e-cigarette industry. If someone

wants to replace the nicotine with some other substance then that is entirely down to them.

You’ll never find any e-cigarette company saying if you don’t fancy using nicotine, then stick

a bit of heroin in instead. If Genesee County does have a “huge problem” with heroin, then

perhaps Zambito should be spending more time trying to reduce that problem rather than

getting worked up over the e-cigarette industry.

Batavia High School has already dealt with the problem by prohibiting the use or possession

of e-cigarettes or other smoking materials. The school is also trying to raise awareness

among parents as well as youngsters who might want to use them. Bringing somebody in

who tells parents that e-cigarettes can be a gateway to heroin isn’t the cleverest example of

awareness ever seen.

It appears that some of the students attending the High School have been using a variety of

methods to smuggle e-cigarettes into the school. This includes ceiling tiles, spandex shorts,

fake water bottles and even bras. It seems children these days are just as clever at hiding

banned items as I was when at school many years ago. To think some of the teachers at

our school actually thought it was lemonade in those bottles! Again though this behaviour is

not the fault of the e-cigarette industry is it?

I particularly loved the fact that the article reporting the panel included this sentence:

“Raised awareness is important, and so is valid information.” Well perhaps they should

spend more time reading this website and taking in the positive information about e-

cigarettes and all the studies held. Or perhaps they’d rather just listen to someone who links

e-cigarettes with heroin use which doesn’t really help anyone.

What is important here though is that it isn’t right to criticize any product when it’s not being

used for its actual purpose. If the school has a problem with its students using illegal drugs

then they should be sorting that issue out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The dangers of taxing e-cigarettes

Every week there seems to be moves made against the e-cigarette industry but perhaps the biggest danger is lurking just around the corner.  However much health officials may be way of e-cigarettes there are other lawmakers out there rubbing their hands with glee as they plan to tax the product.

That’s what could be on the horizon in Arizona as the e-cigarette industry may find itself being used a pawn to help plug a $1b budget shortfall.  State Democratic Rep. Stefanie Mach of Tucson, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, says:  "It's one option of many that we should look at the Legislature. It certainly isn't going to come close to the amount of money that we need to make up the deficit, but any little bit helps."
“Any little bit helps”, charming isn’t it?  Politicians make a right mess of the economy and expect others to dig them out of trouble without any regard for the damage it may cause. Two states have already enacted ‘sin taxes’ on e-cigarettes while the good old FDA still haven’t worked out how to categorize and regulate the product. 

Not every politician is in favour of taxing e-cigarettes though.  Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, of Fountain Hills, said taxing e-cigarettes could discourage people from using them in an effort to quit smoking:  “The e-cigarettes, I am told, are not nearly as damaging to the body as tobacco is, and part of the reasoning for the tobacco tax is to compensate society for the additional costs in medical care that smokers cause."
Taxation on e-cigarettes isn’t anything to do with how healthy they are for people. It’s all down to cash because the industry is doing well financially and the politicians want a slice of the pie for themselves.

Tobacco cigarettes have taxes of around $2 a pack, some kind of taxation on e-cigarettes is perhaps inevitable but there’s no reason for it to be as high as that for tobacco.  That’s a view shared by Ben Denny who works at the vape shop ‘Butt Out’ in Phoenix. He says: “Nobody serious is even getting close to claiming that (e-cigarettes) do similar harm (as smoking tobacco), so by attempting to tax them the same way, lawmakers are making a claim nobody else is making. And really, they're just saying they want to bring in more money.”

But when there are interviews with people like Palm Beach Vapors founder Chip Paul, the legislators will be even keener on taxing e-cigarettes. He’s compared thegrowth of the e-cigarette business to the boom in coffee shops that took place in the 1990s.  “Coffee shops started out as mom and pop businesses. We’re really just growing like crazy.”  Paul now has two corporate stores and 13 franchise locations with more on their way.  That noise you can possibly hear is legislators rubbing their hands together just waiting for the millions of dollars tax revenue the e-cigarette industry can provide them.  

Of course another reason the legislators want to tax e-cigarettes is because you don’t always need a crystal ball to predict the future.  If more and more people switch from smoking to vaping that will affect the amount of taxation received from tobacco cigarettes.  So the e-cigarette industry could well become a victim of its own success. 

But any taxation has to be fair and legislators have to accept that e-cigarettes can save lives by stopping people smoking.  Don’t deter those people from making the switch by increasing the price of the product.  What is more important?  Cutting deficits or cutting the number of people dying because they use tobacco cigarettes?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Somebody tell Harford the truth about Vaping

Our around the States tour of county’s doing their best to disrupt the e-cigarette industry arrives in Harford County.   Local health officials have warned residents that e-cigarettes are just as bad as tobacco cigarettes.  So just how have they arrived at this ludicrous conclusion?
Susan Kelly is the director of the Harford county health department, and recently told the County Council of the worries the health department has over e-cigarettes.  Despite the many statements from studies that have taken place around the world, none seem to have made their way to Harford County.  Their tobacco work group is busily distributing fliers and other ‘information’ that fights the claims that vaping is safer, more socially accepted than smoking, nicotine-free and can help people give up smoking.
Susan isn’t the only one in Harford County who doesn’t quite know what she’s talking about. Vickie Ensor Bands leads community outreach for Upper Chesapeake Health and is also a critic of the e-cigarette industry. Her work group is recommending that e-cigarettes be treated like any tobacco product and be banned from being used indoors in public places.
One of the fliers being distributed around Harford County states that just one tablespoon of e-liquid can kill a 65-pound child.  Well that’s a horrible thought but the e-cigarette industry doesn’t target children at all, let alone those weighing just 65 pounds. Nor do they suggest that these children tuck into a tablespoon of e-liquid. If they do get hold of the e-liquid and consume it, then that’s what is commonly called an accident. 
Ensor Bands is concerned about the number of middle-school and high-school students who are using e-cigarettes.  We’re sure she would be a lot more concerned if those students were using tobacco cigarettes and setting out on a path of addiction that will lead to serious illness in the future.
"We really felt it was important for folks to really have the education and information out there," Ensor Bands said.   That’s ok but I suppose the quality and accuracy of the education and information is more important.
Time for Ensor to show her total ignorance on the subject of e-cigarettes with this ridiculous comment:  "There has not been a lot of science and research done.”  Now that really is a scandalous comment to come from someone who holds such an important position.  Does she not read the journal ‘Addiction’ that has published the results of several studies into e-cigarettes?
How about the comments of Professor Robert West from the University College of London speaking after the publication of a positive study into e-cigarettes: “You have to be a bit crazy to carry on smoking conventional cigarettes when there are e-cigarettes available. The vapor contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette smoke. In fact, concentrations are almost all well below a twentieth of cigarettes." 

That’s the study that claimed that thousands and thousands of lives would be saved if people gave up smoking tobacco and started using e-cigarettes.  Perhaps that should be on one of the fliers in Harford County.
Or how about the comments 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.

There are lots more positive evidence like that which health officials in Harford County continue to ignore, that’s if they know about it at all.
Bands continued to show how little her work group knows by adding that its members “recommend they certainly not be used and that they be considered as a regular tobacco product.”  Perhaps this work group should sp nend more time researching the subject rather than being given just one side of the story.  Surely someone has the guts in that group to ask why a product that doesn’t contain tobacco should be considered a regular tobacco product?
Back to the views of Susan Kelly who says that the county showed “a lot of forethought” when including e-cigarettes in its no-smoking policy on government property two years ago. Perhaps the county actually shows a lot of ignorance in trying to put obstacles in front of a product that is helping people stop smoking and is safer than using tobacco. But with people like Kelly and Bands around that’s not going to happen is it?

Monday, October 27, 2014

E-Cigarette Industry grows despite restrictions

It seems that not a week goes by without some area of the USA imposing restrictions on e-cigarettes. But just how are these obstacles that are being erected affecting the industry?
In August of this year, Tempe became the first city in Arizona to see an ordinance passed that restricted the use of e-cigarettes in public places.  The restrictions include bars and restaurants but it seems the new rules aren’t slowing down the e-cigarette industry.
Carl Dewberry runs the e-cigarette shop Valor Vapor and his business isn’t slowing down at all, in fact he’s due to be opening a second shop soon.  It’s not all good news though because Dewberry and other owners of e-cigarette businesses realize that the negative publicity that is continually coming out of the media may have long-term effects on the industry and their livelihoods.
Dewberry says of the negative publicity: “What we worry about is it sends the wrong message to people. We are trying to brand a healthier alternative of living here.”  That’s the sad side of the current situation because critics keep attacking e-cigarettes without having full knowledge of the subject. They also fail to mention any positive comments made by health studies and cause potential damage to a product that can really help people.
Ask anyone who owns a shop selling e-cigarettes and they’ll have stories to tell about how their products have helped people give up smoking tobacco cigarettes and how the product is a better alternative health wise. Carl Dewberry is most definitely no exception to the rule.  “I have people come in every day that tell me how much their life has improved,” he said. “It really backs what we’re doing here.”
Lee Phemister also owns an e-cigarette shop in Tempe. The owner of Synergy Vapor Labs knows just how beneficial e-cigarettes can be in stopping people smoking. He was a smoker himself for 25 years but hasn’t had one since he turned to vaping.
“I know that it works, and I can tell from my own personal health that it is,” he said. “I see it as a benefit to the community, so to see it frowned upon or banned or regulated in a way that restricts access or the freedom to use the product is never good for business.”
There are plenty more stories like that but still the criticism and disbelief remains. Take for example the comments of Nicole Olmstead, government relations direction for the American Heart Association in Arizona.  You could line up hundreds of ex-smokers to tell her how they used e-cigarettes to kick their life-threatening habit, but she just wouldn’t listen to them.  You see she says that “all of those stories are anecdotal.”  Well actually they’re the truth Nicole.  She continues “There’s no solid, scientific evidence that shows that those products are cessation products.” That is of course total rubbish from Nicole.  We all know that if there were hundreds of anecdotal stories that said e-cigarettes didn’t stop me smoking, she’d soon be telling the media all about them.
Her views aren’t shared by ASHLine, a helpline in Arizona that works with smokers wanting to kick the habit. Dr Cyndi Thompson is Director of the helpline and says they have received over 300 calls from people wanting to use e-cigarettes as a way of giving up smoking. She says that their policy is to work with such people and provide them with the necessary coaching.

Perhaps Olmstead hasn’t read a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which stated that allowing e-cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness.
Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at the university says “Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use."  The new study concluded that the benefits of e-cigarettes as a no-smoking aid outweigh potential harms.  

Kevin Kim is the co-owner of Haus of Vapors in Tempe and he believes that it should be the business owners not the politicians making the decisions over where e-cigarettes can be used saying: “I think at the end of the day, if you’re at a bar and it’s vape friendly (and) people there don’t mind, I think it should be allowed at the owner’s consent.”
Natalie Higgins, who runs Valor Vapor with Carl Dewberry sees the ordinance affecting those who want to switch to vaping.  She’s concerned that vapers now have to go into the same area as smokers and says “it’s acted almost as a deterrent for people to want to quit smoking.”
But despite all the restrictions the e-cigarette industry continues to prosper. Just why that is the case is summed up by Carl Dewberry:  “People are always going to want to find that healthier alternative, and we’re here now, and the success stories are abound,” he said. “It’s only natural that in the 21st century in the age of technology that we find a better alternative technology base for smoking.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How can a health official be so ignorant about vaping?

We head to Billings today to study some articles published online by the Billings Gazette. In

particular our attention is turned on the writings of Claire Oakley who needs to read a little bit

more about the subject of e-cigarettes methinks.

Oakley is the Director of Population Health Services at Riverstone Health and isn’t too happy

about the fact there have been several vape shops opening in Billings lately. Whether or not

she’s actually visited any of them is extremely doubtful which is a shame really. Because as

you’ll learn if she had then her article might be a lot more informed than it actually is.

The Yellowstone County Health Department is concerned about “glamorizing e-cigarettes”

and you just know what’s coming next don’t you? Yes we’re back to the discussion about

the number of adolescents who are using e-cigarettes. That’s youngsters’ vaping rather

than using the tobacco cigarettes that will lead to serious health problems in their future.

Oakley alleges that “Tobacco and e-cigarette marketing targets youth by using celebrity role

models, social media and flavors like cherry crush and bubble gum.” Now we’ve all heard

this plenty of times before but sadly the writer of this article has made a disastrous error. You

see, she may well be pleased that the Billings Gazette has allowed her to write an article on

the subject of e-cigarettes but she hasn’t read their previous writings on the subject, so let’s

tell her what she’s missed out on.

Recently the Billings Gazette included an article about Kevin Erickson who has opened

Montana Vapor Outlet in Billings, one of several to open in the area. Now his store just

happens to include over 170 flavors of e-cigarettes, some of which have racy names such

as ‘Come Hither’ and ‘XXX.’ Other flavors include those that the critics of the e-cigarette

industry believe exist in order to attract youngsters.

Now all these flavors will cheer up Claire Oakley and she’ll claim they back up her concerns.

However, that is most definitely not the case and if she’d bothered to do some research and

read the article or actually visit the Montana Vapor Outlet she’d know that. You see there’s a

sign outside the store that bans children younger than 18 from even entering the building let

alone buying the products. Erickson told the Billings Gazette that he doesn’t want children

trying his product and added that he used e-cigarettes to successfully quit smoking.

There’s one more piece of information that Claire really should take note of. It states

“customers can choose how much nicotine they want to add, or none at all.” You can’t do

that with tobacco cigarettes can you?

Now one thing I really hate health officials doing is using the word ‘may.’ It doesn’t actually

mean anything does it? I may get run over running for the bus tomorrow but it doesn’t mean

I actually will does it? So Oakley pleases me even less when she writes: “For young people,

e-cigarettes may prove to be a gateway to other tobacco products.”

One question for Oakley, where’s the evidence of that claim and if it exists then why didn’t

you tell your readers all the interesting details? It really isn’t good enough.

It gets worse though because this health official then starts to discuss the possible dangers

of e-cigarettes. She just had to mention that they contain glycols which are most commonly

found in anti-freeze and the fog used in theaters. But even the FDA has said that they aren’t


Can it get any worse? Sadly it can because Oakley claims that ‘advocates of vaping make

the unproven claim that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco and may help smokers to quit.”

Unproven? Just what does this woman read on the web because if she read this website

she’d know there are plenty of studies that say e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco and even

more that say it can help people quit smoking.

Has Oakley ever heard of the University College of London study that spoke so positively

about e-cigarettes? It was published in the journal ‘Addiction’, perhaps she should start

reading that too. Lead author Professor Ann McNeill from the National Addiction Centre

at King’s College London wrote of e-cigarettes: “what we do know is that they are much

safer than tobacco cigarettes, which kill over six million people a year worldwide.”

As for the claim about e-cigarettes being a gateway to smoking tobacco. Gregory Conley,

President of the American Vaping Association has commented: “There is no evidence e-

cigarettes are gateways to smoking, and in fact, for millions of Americans they are anti-

tobacco protects.”

Reaction to Oakley’s article hasn’t been that complimentary. ‘The Vapeorium’ wrote on the

Billings Gazette site that “whoever wrote this article should be fired for incompetence.” Also

commenting was ‘Greg Dj-g’ who described the article as “a bunch of dis-information” and

criticizing Oakley for “the normal scare tactic of ‘used in anti-freeze” concluding the article

was nothing but “horrible journalism and scare mongering.”

It’s disappointing that there are people in well paid positions who can’t sit down and do

some research before writing an article. How anyone can write on the subject of e-cigarettes

without referring to the large number of positive comments is beyond me. Or perhaps they’re

just so biased towards the topic they don’t even bother to look for anything positive.

Perhaps more disappointing is the fact the article was published at all. The site has featured

many articles on the subject so why did they publish an article that contained so many errors

and showed such an ignorance of the subject.