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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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tell Both Sides of the Vaping Story

Again the subject of teenagers using e-cigarettes is in the news. The trouble is those who

talk about the issue never really look at the real reasons they are being used.

Critics love to name all the different flavors of e-liquid that are available. By naming flavors

such as watermelon bubblegum and candy cane twister, they make the e-cigarette industry

sound like a sweetshop that welcomes teenagers with open arms. That’s the critics view but

the truth is so different from that opinion.

Last year, the National Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use

among teenagers, made an important discovery.  More teenagers are using e-cigarettes

than smoke tobacco ones.  The usual response to this is shock and horror as the fear is that

a new generation of nicotine addicts are being born.

But honestly, why can’t the critics show the other side of the story which is a much more

pleasant one. Just think, the number of teenagers that are beginning their journey along the

road of tobacco smoking that only leads to addiction and ill-health is becoming less and less

used.  Surely that is good news and everyone who campaigns against tobacco cigarettes

should be celebrating.

Sure they are using e-cigarettes but studies have shown that they are nowhere near as

addictive as tobacco cigarettes.  They are also a lot more healthier than tobacco and as for

the fears about nicotine, well the fact is that users can vary the amount of nicotine in their e-

cigarette and if they want to, not have any nicotine at all.

The study also found that teens perceive the health risks of e-cigarettes as low.  Only 15% of

eighth-graders believe there’s a great risk of  harm if using e-cigarettes.  We live in an age

where teenagers have access to more information than ever before. If they want to google e-

cigarettes and read all the positive studies on the subject then they can do so to their hearts

content. It’s not as if they are just picking up on some gossip and mistakenly believe e-

cigarettes aren’t going to be as dangerous to use as tobacco cigarettes.

Schools in Lawrence haven’t had many problems with e-cigarettes with just three incidents

involving high school students and one involving a middle-schooler.  That’s good to hear

because the way some people talk about e-cigarettes, you’d think every teenager was going

to be using them.

The school is now beginning some education and prevention efforts re e-cigarettes. "In

educating students about e-cigarettes, our primary focus is accurate information on the

dangers to health," said Diane Ash, Lawrence High School prevention specialist. “Health-

wise, the kids are just under the impression that if there’s no smoke then it can’t be harmful,"

she added.

What is important here is that all sides of the story are listened to. Whether that will happen

is questionable as Janelle Martin, director of education at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, says

a primary concern is using e-cigarettes could be a gateway to other tobacco products. “That

may lead them to using cigarettes or other forms of smokeless tobacco and becoming even

more addicted,” Martin said.

Hopefully that isn’t going to be the kind of information given to the students in Lawrence.

Let’s just hope that they will be told about studies that have shown there isn’t evidence of

such a gateway.

Information is given to students about the use of tobacco cigarettes. As the e-cigarette

industry continues to grow, it’s vital that those using the product are given both sides of the

story. Explain how the flavors aren’t there to attract youngsters and tell them there’s no point

trying to get e-cigarettes from a vaping store because they won’t even get in if they are

under 18. If there’s a positive study then it should be included in all the information guides

published. Only then will the guides become based on fact rather than just another biased


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snyder E-Cigarette Veto Has Hidden Agenda

Michigan has been busy passing bills against e-cigarettes, well everyone else is so they

didn’t want to feel left out.  Three such bills included several regulations including prohibiting

the use of e-cigarettes by people under the age of 18. However, the bills have now been

vetoed by Gov. Snyder but exactly why has he taken such a decision?

Snyder claims that Michigan shouldn’t be stepping on the toes of the federal government,

which has proposed regulating e-cigarettes. Exactly when that is going to happen isn’t

known, it’s a bit like waiting for the FDA to get their act together or waiting for a bus in rush

hour.  The Governor claims that the bills would “sow confusion” and send a “mixed health

message” to the public.

However the real reason seems to be that Snyder isn’t at all happy about the fact that the

bills passed do not declare e-cigarettes to be tobacco products. Perhaps Michigan actually

has some politicians that realize that for something to be labelled a tobacco product, it really

should contain tobacco which of course e-cigarettes don’t. The Governor is all for age

restrictions to be placed, even though vaping stores are renowned for their decisions not to

sell to under-18s anyway.

In a media release, Snyder said: “We need to make sure that e-cigarettes and other nicotine-

containing devices are regulated in the best interest of public health.It’s important that these

devices be treated like tobacco products and help people become aware of the dangers e-

cigarettes pose.”

Notice that Snyder doesn’t actually mention what those dangers actually are. Neither does

he mention the fact that e-cigarettes can be used to help people stop smoking tobacco

cigarettes. Anything positive doesn’t really get mentioned a great deal by politicians,

especially when they have hidden agendas. By labelling e-cigarettes as tobacco products, it

makes it so much easier to start taxing them and bringing in much needed revenue.

Jennifer Hunt, vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society

Cancer Action Network, is all in favour of what the Governor has done.  She fears that

“special treatment for electronic cigarettes may hook a new generation of tobacco users.”

Now that’s a really uninformed statement to make.

Does Hunt not know about the study that showed that there isn’t a gateway from using e-

cigarettes to later smoking tobacco? Hunt added: “It is unclear why creation of a separate definition

for ‘vapor product’ is necessary. We believe that Michigan can prohibit the sale of these products to

minors without undermining existing tobacco-control laws.”

The situation in Michigan shows what a complete and utter farce the laws concerning e-

cigarettes are in this country. Travel around the States and you’ll find different regulations

everywhere you go. Most are unwanted, several are unnecessary and it just makes for a

totally confusing situation. The sooner it gets sorted out the better and the same goes for

politicians and health officials actually mentioning positive studies.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Taxing E-Cigarettes Just Isn’t Going to Help

Politicians obviously don’t believe that the voters who put them into power are that

intelligent. Surely they must realize that we can spot a politician out to make some money.

On one hand they want to regulate the product and the stores that sell them, but the other is

eager to get their hands on more tax revenue. That’s what is happening in Indiana regarding

the e-cigarette industry.

Latorya Greene is the coordinator of Tobacco Free in St. Joseph County and has this view

on e-cigarettes: “We just want to make sure we have some regulation and keep them out of

the hands of youth."

Taxation will greatly affect the e-cigarette industry in Indiana according to Tony Reed, owner

of Indigo Vapoer in downtown South Bend. As is often the case, those who actually work in

the industry have more than adequate answers for their critics.

Proposed legislation in Indiana would require e-cigarette stores to be licensed, have

packaging that is child-resistant, add e-cigarettes to the State’s smoking ban and last but

definitely not least, tax e-cigarettes just like tobacco cigarettes.

Reed is totally against the proposed tax changes and believes “there is no justification for an

extra tax.”  He also realizes that while the state are keen to stop youngsters vaping, “there is

no evidence that (more tax) will do anything except raise money for Indiana.”

All the tax will do is cause problems for the e-cigarette industry and drive customers onto the

internet. That won’t help the politicians because internet sales are much harder to regulate.

Greene tries to justify her concerns by complaining  about there being no studies into long-

term risks of vaping.  She also  raise fears about not knowing how much nicotine and

potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled when vaping.

Perhaps Greene hasn’t read the views of 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."

Reed makes the ingredients for the e-cigarettes he sells and says “I know exactly what I am

putting in here.” He doesn’t believe any of the ingredients he uses are dangerous and puts

labels on his products that include full details of the ingredients. He also puts warning labels

on his packaging and they have child resistant caps.  See, the industry can regulate itself

without politicians sticking their unwanted noses in.

"People have the misconception that e-cigs are regulated like regular cigarettes and that is

totally not the case," says Greene. Well perhaps people are actually clever enough to read

about all the proposed legislation and therefore realize the differences in regulation between

e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes.

Surely it’s time for critics to sit down in front of their computer screen and read all the

positive statements that have been made about e-cigarettes. Then they might realize that

many of the regulations they desire have already been put in place by the e-cigarette

industry. They might also work out that taxing e-cigarettes is going to cause more bad than


“We've created jobs here," says Reed, "we have 6 employees and we pay them very well.

And we have built a nice space, I think, in a part of South Bend that could use some nice

spaces built and I hate to see a money grab by the state jeopardize that."


Friday, January 16, 2015

Common Sense Prevails Over E-Cigarette Stores

It’s difficult enough trying to make your business work without there being outside

interference. That’s the experience that Blake He, 27, is going through as he tries to open a 

vaping store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco. Thankfully the San Francisco Board of

Commissioners gave the go-ahead for the shop in a meeting held this Tuesday.

His dream is for the Happy Vape store to be a success but such is the criticism of e-

cigarettes, that’s not going to be easy.  Last November he was granted a conditional use

permit and Blake has a very personal reason for opening a vaping shop.

Despite all the claims that e-cigarettes aren’t able to help people stop smoking tobacco,

that’s just what Blake did. So he wants to open the business to provide for his family and sell

a product that is seeing an increasing demand despite the adverse publicity.

It was all going well until nearby resident Robert Karis poked his unwanted nose in. He filed

an appeal to overturn the commission decision.

Other vaping stores in San Francisco have no problem because they opened before the

Board of Supervisors passed a controversial law last year. That saw the existing rules on

tobacco sales extended to e-cigarettes. That’s what plenty of other Boards have done and

no one wants to feel left out do they?

So just what are the grounds for the opposition to the new store? Well Karis wrote in his

appeal: “It is undesirable to have a business whose goal is to attempt to increase usage of

these products and which will expose our children and students in our area to them."

So does he expect the store to be selling e-cigarettes to youngsters? Has he even bothered

to do some research and see what other stores in San Francisco do? The answer is almost

certainly no because the fact is that the new store won’t even let anyone under 18 in, let

alone sell products to them. Why can’t critics just have a little break away from being spiteful

and actually learn something about what they are criticizing?

The misguided appeal also mentioned how “The use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation is

unapproved and they are not recommended by existing clinics for this purpose. The 1900

block of Ocean Avenue needs many other businesses that will better serve the neighbors."

Isn’t Karis pleased that Blake used e-cigarettes to help him quit poisonous tobacco

cigarettes? Despite them not being approved doesn’t he read all the positive comments that

are made about e-cigarettes and smoking cessation?

He probably hasn’t listened to the views of Blake who says: “I want to provide an alternative,

E-cigarettes is a vehicle to ground zero for no cigarettes for me. It's worked for me. It's

worked for many others."

This is a guy who is doing everything he can to fit in with his locality. He’s even ruled out

having an outdoor seating area.  His view about Karis is an understandable one:  “I don't

think there is anything I can say or compromise to change his mind.”

That’s totally logical because Karis, like plenty of other critics, simply don’t want to listen to

anything positive about e-cigarettes. They long to listen to negative comments and use them

to cause more trouble for this great product.

In the meantime, it’s Blake who is paying a hefty price. He continues to pay rent on his

unopened store, around $4,000 a month and he’s been doing that for nearly a year. It’s an

undeserved problem for the young businessman and his critics should be ashamed of


Thankfully the board voted 9-2 in favour of dismissing the ridiculous appeal. Those

supporting the appeal were strong anti-tobacco supporters so any positive comments were

being wasted.  Now Blake can go ahead with his vaping store and let’s hope it is a massive


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Exemptions for Vaping Lounges

Washington and Crystal Lake have had to make changes to recent ordinances after realizing

they really were unwanted and unnecessary. That’s what happens when you rush to get on

the bandwagon and legislate against e-cigarettes.

In Washington, shops that exclusively sell e-cigarettes have been granted a two-year

exemption to the city’s Smoke Free Air Act ban on smoking indoors.

There was no discussion held before the vote probably because the decision was such an

obvious one.

Previously the council had heard from April Jacoby and Aaron Krzyzanowski who have since

opened a vapor shop in Washington. They asked the council to change the ordinance and

allow their customers to test their products inside the store. After all it was pretty difficult

demonstrating the product by making customers go outside to use them.

Now this is an interesting situation that a lot of hardened critics won’t use to increase their

understanding of e-cigarettes. Why is there the need for sampling products? Well there are

hundreds of flavors available so it’s good to sample them first.  But critics won’t accept the

fact that vapor lounges won’t admit or sell to minors even if there is no legislation in place

banning them from doing so. So when they go on about flavors existing simply to attract

minors to the product, why can’t they take a look at all the adults who are sampling flavored

products in vaping lounges?

Under the revised ordinance “retail stores that sell only e-cigarettes and the liquid that is

vaporized when using an e-cigarette,” could allow customers to test the product inside the

building. They won’t be able to sell alcoholic beverages or sell food but that’s not really why

they are open for business so no real problems there.

The amendment will be in effect until January 22, 2017 when an extension to the exemption

can be applied for. In Crystal Lake their recent ordinance proved not to be crystal clear when it came

to dealing with customers who want to sample e-cigarettes in vaping stores.

The amendment made to the ordinance clarified that e-cigarette users can vape and sample

products which is something they can already do because it’s never been banned.

Liz Maxwell, a planner in the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department says

the change “cleans up language” so there are no questions on where the city stands. Their

recommendation is now due to be considered by the City Council.

The  vote to do so was passed by five votes to three, those opposing are generally opposed

to e-cigarettes and glued to their seats on the bandwagon, so wouldn’t vote for anything

however illogical and unnecessary it may be.  There was some common sense from

Commissioner Jim Batastini who didn’t “see it any differently than [any] other product that

people want to try before purchasing,” adding that he tends to think the city shouldn’t

overregulate things in general.

The proposed amendment would allow vapor lounges an area with seating and tables where

customers can vape and sample products.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hate Vaping But Love Tax Revenue

It must be difficult to be a politician and discuss e-cigarettes. On one hand you want to

appear tough as you get on the bandwagon and start criticizing the product. On the other

hand you can’t wait for the moment when e-cigarettes start bringing in tax revenue to get you

out of the latest mess your policies have landed you in.

That’s the situation in Indiana as their Attorney General Greg Zoeller introduced a legislative

proposal. The aim is to see vape shops regulated and licensed by the state’s Alcohol and

Tobacco Commission. That’s despite the lack of either tobacco or alcohol in e-cigarettes.

This will lead to the taxation of e-cigarettes by the same level applied to tobacco products –

24 percent of the wholesale price. Just for good measure the product will also be included in

Indiana’s state-wide smoking ban, even though there’s no smoke just vapor.

When you find out just what they plan using the tax revenue for, you might just fall off your


Zoeller is concerned about the fact that we don’t have much knowledge of “some of the

future problems we might expect.” It’s a similar feeling I have when voting politicians into

office. The Attorney General continued: “We are here today to stop this trend in its tracks

and we all refuse to stand by as a new generation gets (hooked) on nicotine.”

One of the politicians sponsoring  the legislation in the House is Rep. Ed Clere, who talks

about “the emerging threat of e-cigarettes.”  I wonder what that “emerging threat” is.  Could it

be the amazing help the product gives to people who have been poisoning themselves for

years with tobacco cigarettes?

Zoeller said no one knows for sure how harmful the vapor emitted by e-cigarettes can be to

an individual, but those who smoke them are likely to become addicted to the nicotine in the

e-liquid. Notice how he loves to talk about the ‘evils’ of e-cigarettes but omits anything

remotely positive. He won’t mention the comments of the study discovered that e-cigarettes

aren’t as addictive as tobacco cigarettes and aren’t as toxic either.

Will he mention the fact that users can vary the amount of nicotine in their e-cigarette and if

they want to have one that is nicotine free?  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The

Attorney General is also worried about e-cigarettes being a “new drug-delivery service”.

Well, if people are using them for THC then that’s not the fault of the e-cigarette industry is

it? It’s like banning cigarette papers because people can use them to smoke marijuana

instead of tobacco.

Clere does say that “there is probably no question that e-cigs are safer than combustible

cigarettes” All that promise is ruined by his claim that “Fact is, all the research suggests they

are not safe, strictly speaking, and they do present a tremendous new public health hazard

to our youth.”  It’s a dangerous word “all” because surely Clere knows there are studies out

there that don’t go round saying e-cigarettes “are not safe.”

He also says “essentially, we’re defining e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.”  We all know

why he wants to do that, it’s simply so he can adopt the laws used for those products for e-

cigarettes. That makes it oh so easy for politicians to pass laws against e-cigarettes and

start taxing the product. Bizarrely, Clere says that tax revenue received from e-cigarettes would be

used for tobacco

cessation and prevention programs.

Perhaps those programs will suggest trying e-cigarettes to help stop using tobacco

cigarettes only for the users to complain because of the sudden price increase in the

product. Then they’ll just go back to smoking tobacco but of course politicians don’t think

about that do they?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Someone tell Marshfield the truth about Vaping

A new year arrives as does more news of action against the e-cigarette industry. The Board 

of Health in Marshfield want to tighten the town’s tobacco regulations and believe it’s clever

to include a non-tobacco product in their sights.

As well as increasing the legal age for purchasing tobacco products, the Board want to ban

the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.  On Monday they drafted proposed changes that would

see the age required to be able to purchase poisonous tobacco products increased to 21

and that will also apply to the safer e-cigarettes. In addition it would be illegal to vape in

restaurants and on public beaches.

Board of Health Chairman, Gerald Maher says of the proposals: “The use of e-cigarettes in

the high school population – and this is really where this is focused – is definitely on the

increase, and the reason it’s on the increase is the price.”  Then again the reason could be

that people are realizing that e-cigarettes are a much safer option than smoking tobacco


Now anyone who is the Chairman of a Board of Health really should know what he’s talking

about, but sadly this isn’t the case in Marshfield.  Maher says his research shows that e-

cigarettes have similar health effects as regular tobacco cigarettes, some of which were

listed on an e-cigarette advert seen in that well known health magazine ‘Sports Illustrated.’

Whether it was the bikini special or not has not been confirmed.

“It’s addictive, it’s habit forming and it’s very toxic if inhaled,” Maher said.  He didn’t actually

give full details of the amazing research that he’s carried out. Perhaps he should and also he

should take note of other material out there which shows that e-cigarettes are not as

addictive and are considerably less toxic than e-cigarettes.

Has he not read of the recent study by the Penn State College of Medicine in which its Lead

researcher Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, said: “E-

cig users feel less addicted."

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."

But of course if he was to mention that his argument against e-cigarettes wouldn’t be so

strong would it?

Maher believes that the Board should be “regulating the age and not the price” and believes

“for people older than 21, it’s taking rights away from them.”  Perhaps putting restrictions on

a product that has been shown to help long-term smokers quit their deadly habit, is also

taking “rights away from them.”  Making it difficult for e-cigarette retailers by imposing

restrictions on them isn’t good practice either.

In more words of wisdom, Maher said “I don’t like telling people what they can and can’t do if

it doesn’t impact anyone else.”  Regardless of that statement that’s exactly what he will do if

the Board’s proposals go ahead.  A public hearing is scheduled to take place by the end of

January, hopefully he’ll listen to the views of those who know a heck of a lot more about the

e-cigarette industry and its benefits than he does. Then again the next issue of ‘Sports

Illustrated’ might be out by then so heaven knows what his knowledge will be by then.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Educating Winnebago on Vaping

It’s a big week for the e-cigarette industry in Winnebago County as health officials begin their

bid to ban vaping in public places.

Health Department Director Doug Gieryn wants to see vaping restricted in county buildings

and vehicles. It’s just the start of what he really wants, which is a ban in bars, restaurants

and other businesses and public places which would match the ban that exists for smoking.

A special meeting is being held on Tuesday (January 6) with Gieryn presenting the board

with background information on e-cigarettes. County Board Supervisor Rachel Youngquist, a

member of the county's Board of Health says: “There's such little information out there that I

think Tuesday's meeting will inform us all more."  There’s actually quite a lot of information if

you bother to do some research.

The problem is hat Gieryn claims that “e-cigarettes are tobacco products and we should treat

them as such under the smoke-free law.”  Not a great start is it considering e-cigarettes do

not contain tobacco and they emit vapor not smoke.  When will people learn these facts?

Gieryn said research on the long-term health implications of the nicotine-infused liquid used

in e-cigarettes is inconclusive. "It's dangerous to handle. Often times, there's enough

nicotine in an e-cig juice bottle to cause significant harm or death to a child or infant.”  Of

course for that to actually happen requires a bit of negligence enabling the child or infant to

be put in a position where they can access the liquid. It’s the same as a child being able to

get hold of some matches and then burn themselves.  It’s care and control that is needed


Nicotine and addiction are always handy tools for the critics of the e-cigarette industry as is

the marketing of the product to youngsters.  We can anticipate what views the Board of

Health will hear considering Gieryn believes e-cigarettes are creating a “new generation of

addicted users.”

I wonder if the recent study by the Penn State College of Medicine will be mentioned by Mr

Gieryn? Will he tell the Board how the study discovered that e-cigarettes aren’t as addictive

as tobacco cigarettes.

Ben Grothe owns e-cigarette stores in Oshkosh and Appleton and believes the way forward

is to exercise some discretion.  He says: “Some people don't care about anyone but

themselves and will blow large clouds of vapor inside places. Do that at home if you want to,

but not in a public place. We should be respectful of others, but not all people are


That’s a better way forward than going around imposing legislation on the activity.  Personal

behaviour should be encouraged not laying down the heavy hand of the law.  One thing that

is noticeable in stories that are written about vaping is the use of photographs showing those

large vapor clouds being blown. That doesn’t really help the e-cigarette industry because

that’s the image being placed in people’s heads. They begin to think that’s what vaping is all

about and that’s not helping.

As usual this is an attempt to inflict legislation that already exists in another form.  The e-

liquids have to list their ingredients, declare they include nicotine and thanks to local weights

and measures regulations have child-proof lids. "Where do we draw the line with

government regulations and laws?" says Ben Grothe quite rightly.

It’ll be interesting to see just what gets said at this meeting and the quality/accuracy of the

information provided. Confidence in its quality isn’t that high considering the views of Mr


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Less Addicitive Life For Vapers

Critics love to have their say against e-cigarettes but how often do they talk in depth about

the benefits this great product can do?  A recent study by the Penn State College of

Medicine showed that e-cigarettes are not as addictive as tobacco cigarettes. Those who

want to see strong action taken against the product rarely mention it, but we will.

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."

An online survey assessed the dependence of more than 3,600 e-cigarettes users’ previous

dependence on cigarettes and their current use of e-cigarettes. The survey discovered that

the way they use e-cigarettes has many significant differences from the way they used

tobacco cigarettes.

That desire from the moment you get up to have a tobacco  cigarette doesn’t exist with e-

cigarettes rising from an average of 27 minutes to 45 minutes.  40% of those surveyed told

how they’d wake up during the night desperate for a smoke but only  7% do so now they’re


90% of tobacco users had strong cravings to have a smoke, but for e-cigarettes that falls to

about 33%.  More than 90% of tobacco users get irritable or nervous when they can’t smoke,

only 25% say the same among e-cigarette users.

So the facts show there is less addiction to nicotine when it comes to vaping.  Critics should

also remember that while that addiction level is less, so can be the amount of nicotine the e-

cigarette contains. They always forget to mention the fact that some e-cigarettes don’t even

contain nicotine.

So why do e-cigarettes create less addiction to nicotine?  Foulds believes it’s because

“Blood nicotine levels get a much larger boost with smoking than with e-cigarettes.” Also

helping is the fact that people don’t have to light an e-cigarette meaning they are under less

pressure to smoke in concentrated bouts,

Foulds explains that with a tobacco cigarette you light it and have to smoke it in one go. With

an e-cigarette you can have two or three puffs, then wait 10 or 15 minutes before having

another.  “It's kind of like they're grazing on it, rather than binging on it."

Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at the North Shore-LIJ Health

System in Great Neck, N.Y. says the study could “lead to improvements in cessation

treatment for both traditional cigarette smokers as well as electronic cigarette users.”

So again we have positive views on e-cigarettes that paint a far more promising future for

those switching from smoking to vaping. Strange though how all these politicians and health

officials love to ignore such studies or at best belittle them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Criticizing E-cigarettes is Flavor of the Month

The ongoing discussion on youngsters using e-cigarettes continues in Minnesota.  Yet more

calls for bans on the different kinds of flavors and fears of long-term nicotine addiction. Again

it’s a case of health officials not looking at the various studies that are carried out on the

product. Most just criticize the product because doing so is the flavor of the month.

Health officials claim that more teenagers are using e-cigarettes, many never having been

smokers. Well, why don’t they sit down and read their claims again because the answer is

staring them in the face.  No one wants to see youngsters embarking on a path down

tobacco road that is a one-way trip to poor health and early death.  So the fact youngsters

who have never smoked are using e-cigarettes rather than tobacco is great news.

What about those youngsters who have been smoking tobacco and are now using e-

cigarettes? One such person is 18-year-old Anthony Berosik who used to be a smoker and

used e-cigarettes to kick the deadly habit. Strangely those health officials aren’t

congratulating the e-cigarette industry on helping youngsters like Anthony.

Berosik claims that a lot of teenagers are using e-cigarettes “because they think it’s

something cool.”  That’s nothing new at all, it’s always been that way, the same applies to

using alcohol at an early age.

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota health commissioner, said he and others are concerned that e-

cigarettes will hook a new generation on nicotine. He of course ignores the facts that the

user can vary the amount of nicotine in the e-cigarette and some don’t contain any nicotine

at all.  He also conveniently ignores a study that showed that vaping isn’t as addictive as

smoking tobacco.

Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D. professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, Penn State

College of Medicine said: “'We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than

tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users.”

Perhaps Lloyd Johnston,  a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, who carried out

a recent study into youth use of e-cigarettes, should read that Penn State report too.

Johnston says: "I think it's important that they understand — and I don't think they do — the

risk of becoming addicted to nicotine,"

His survey found that 62% of eighth-graders associated tobacco cigarettes with great risk,

but just 15% felt the same way about e-cigarettes. Now either those students actually have a

great deal of common sense or they just read more positive surveys on the subject than

most politicians and health officials.

Of course it isn’t too long before the critics start mentioning the different flavors that are

available. Johnston believes banning candy-flavored nicotine liquids is the way forward.

Again it shows a lack of understanding of the product as many ex-smokers use the flavors to

help get them off the tobacco for good. Do the critics believe different flavored vodkas are

there to entice youngsters and should be banned?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Why Can’t Critics Properly Research Vaping?

Usually people in libraries simply ask you to be quiet, but in Largo they’ve been upset about

the use of e-cigarettes. Even more distressing for them was the fact there were no laws

against their use so now politicians with nothing better to do are trying to change that.

An ordinance is being drafted that will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in city-owned buildings.

Largo Commissioner Jamie Robinson shows just how little he knows about the subject by

saying: “I just don’t think you should be smoking them inside a public building.”  It’s ‘vaping’

Mr Robinson, go away and do some research.

Also totally failing to inspire knowledge of the subject is Bronson Frick, associate director of

Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.  He says:  “These products aren’t safe.”  Now

considering it’s vaping not smoking, aren’t users of e-cigarettes people who could be

members of the group he works for?

Frick obviously hasn’t read the recent reports that show how e-cigarettes aren’t as addictive

as tobacco cigarettes. Nor has he read the comments of Professor Robert West who says:

“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.”

But most critics just don’t read the positive information that’s out there.

The wisdom of Frick continues as he says that only two Florida municipalities — Lighthouse

Point and Orange Park — had banned them. Perhaps that’s because there isn’t really a

problem being caused by e-cigarettes?

Gary Wilder, manager of Lizard Juice, a Largo-based national distributor of e-cigarettes, said

that e-cigarettes do have a fragrance that can bother some people.  But if the law was

extended that would be an “over-reaction” and he added: “There are no studies at all that

prove this to be harmful in any direction.”

Meanwhile the Camarillo City Council is also planning to adopt an ordinance to regulate the

sale of e-cigarettes.  Dave Norman is their director of community development and claims

that they are attempting to regulate a product “that’s out of control.”

Norman said the new ordinance, if approved by the council, would expand the definition of

smoking products and paraphernalia to include e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products. The

new code would prohibit customers from smoking and sampling smoking products before

buying unless the business is a legally permitted smoking lounge.

It will also require that vendors post signs that comply with the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids

Enforcement Act. So hang on a minute, e-cigarette vendors will have to comply with an Act

aimed at stopping tobacco access to kids?  These officials do know that e-cigarettes don’t

actually contain tobacco and that the industry has no interest in selling its product to kids.

Don’t they realize that a key use of e-cigarettes is to get people away from tobacco? Again

this is simply pointless, unnecessary and unwanted regulation.

The city will hold a public hearing to introduce the ordinance on Jan. 12, and the council will

vote on the ordinance at its Jan. 28 meeting.

Friday, December 26, 2014

More Misguided Fears over Vaping

A study by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine has revealed that one in four

Connecticut High School students has used an e-cigarette. Even more students say they are

likely to try the product at some point in the future. It’s good to see so many intelligent

students making the decision to try the healthier e-cigarettes rather than the deadly tobacco


Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale and the lead author of

the study says: "We were surprised so many kids were using these products." Students at

four high schools and two middle schools in south-eastern Connecticut were surveyed in

November 2013 as part of the study. Of middle schoolers, 84.3% had heard of e-cigarettes

but only 3.5% had tried one though 26.4% said they were likely to do so in the future. Only

1.5% of the middle school students said they’d used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days so it’s

hardly something for health officials to get worried about is it? 92% of high school students

had heard of e-cigarettes and 25.2% had tried them in the past with 31.7% likely to try one in

the future. Only 12% had used one in the past 30 days.

Yet Krishnan-Sarin still finds the survey results “troubling” because many youths surveyed

said they didn’t know e-cigarettes contained nicotine.”  Get ready for the P word everyone

because she believes e-cigarettes could lead to a “pathway to nicotine dependence” for a

new generation. I wonder if she mentioned to the students the fact that at least with e-

cigarettes you can vary the level of nicotine and if you want, not have any at all.

Now one of the criticisms that is usually thrown in the direction of the e-cigarette industry is

that they market the product to under-18s. Without realising it the survey shoots itself in its

foot with the following results.

Almost half of high school students and nearly 40% of middle school students said they had

been given e-cigarettes by a friend. That’s nothing to do with the e-cigarette industry is it?

Only about 15% of high schoolers said they had purchased e-cigarettes from a tobacco

shop, Nearly 10% said they had purchased their e-cigarettes from gas stations. Note they

didn’t say a specialist vaping store.

Max Young, one of the owners of the White Buffalo e-cigarette lounge in New Haven, says

that his shop does not sell to minors and has a rule in place that you must be at last 18 years

old to enter.

Time for the F word folks because, the study states that the many different flavors available

are attracting children. It also complains about the fact that gas stations display e-cigarette

adverts that can be seen by children.  Then again if a child walks down town just think how

many adverts they’ll see for adult products and no one is complaining about that.

Phil Brewer, a medical doctor and the director for student health services at Quinnipiac

University, said: They have come up with these flavors that are very clearly designed to

attract children," Brewer said. "Can you see some 45-year-old carpenter sucking on a Cherry

Berry e-cigarette?"

Max Young says that his customers include people of all ages and that many older

customers tell him they are using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off of conventional

cigarettes. The flavored e-cigarettes help them in their difficult task.  "This is a healthier

alternative that's way cheaper" than regular cigarettes, Young added. I couldn’t agree more.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Governor Scrooge Proposes Unfair Vaping Tax

Politicians are known for their money-grabbing ways and it seems Washington Governor Jay Inslee is one of the biggest around. On Thursday (December 18), Inslee (or perhaps he should be called Governor Scrooge) outlined his budget plans and they include a 95% tax on any and all vapor products.

It’s a desperate act by a politician who has a massive state budget gap to deal with. The plans have rightfully been met with protest by the American Vaping Association and vapor shops based in Washington.

Kim Thompson owns ‘The Vaporium’ in Fife and believes such a tax would “demonize the product, make it look as though it was as bad as smoking.”  That’s definitely a good point because such levels of taxation are hardly going to be imposed on something that’s really good for you.  Thompson also believes the outrageous and unjustified tax would make vaping and traditional cigarettes more similar in pricing and claims: “It would give us less incentive to the smoke to say, hey, give this a try." Above all though, her view is that “taxing small businesses out of business is bad business.”

But the only business the governor is interested in is finding ways of plugging that budget gap. Representative Reuven Carlyle is another politician who is no friend of the e-cigarette industry. He proposed a similar tax last year and of course supports this new plan.  His misguided view is that this is “a fairness issue” and a “parody issue.”  He believes the plan is simply aimed at bringing the level of taxation on e-cigarettes to the “same level of taxation of other similar products.”  Those similar products include snuff and cigars that, like other tobacco products are taxed at 95%.

Now I’m sure most politicians do have some degree of intelligence but why can’t they listen to Kim Thompson who says: “There's zero tobacco in my product. Zero tobacco. We do not promote tobacco; we do not promote smoking, or anything that has cancer causing ingredients."

Carlyle of course disagrees because e-cigarettes contain nicotine.  I wonder if there’s a 95% tax on nicotine patches in Washington.

The American Vaping Association have called on customers to call the governor and let him know how they feel, saying: “They are ready to rally and to converge in Olympia.”

With the e-cigarette industry becoming more and more successful, taxing them is becoming even more inevitable.  Surely though the level of taxation needs to be a fair one in order to ensure that the good the product can cause in helping smokers give up tobacco cigarettes can continue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vape Shops Know how to Behave

When politicians try to inflict yet more legislation one-cigarettes, you’d think they would take

the time to see how the industry behaves. It’s clear that they don’t otherwise politicians in

Rockford, Illinois, wouldn't be behaving the way they are.

Starting from January 2015, two house bills will require e-cigarette vendors to keep vials of

e-liquid behind the counter and also sell them in child proof containers.  Laws are supposed

to be passed in order to bring about change but these two most definitely won’t.

Todd Kundert owns The Vapor Shop and isn’t too concerned about the new laws simply

because “we’ve been doing it all along so, and it hasn’t affected us yet.”  His view is that

such policies have been enforced by the e-cigarette industry because they know that e-

cigarettes can’t get into the hands of children. "We have had that incidence where the

children were stealing while the parents, they were in here with their parent,” said Kundert.

Kundert doesn’t need politicians to tell him how to behave when it comes to nicotine liquid.

He knows full well that the liquid can be absorbed through the skin. That’s why he takes

precautions to ensure it never happens.  He says: “children are more susceptible to

chemicals and stuff like that so I mean we'd hate to see anybody overdose on nicotine,

which is very difficult to do, but it has happened, people have gotten sick from it, there are

people who are allergic to it."

When it does happen, it’s not the fault of the e-cigarette industry but negligence by parents

who leave bottles hanging around. That’s how children get hold of them and accidents

happen. It’s not the e-cigarette industry who goes looking for children to get hold of the


Lawmakers say these regulations would help put pressure on establishments which sell e-

cigarettes. Senator Dave Syverson said, “We know from spot checks from law enforcement

that there are some stores that will for the sake of making money, will sell whether it's e-

cigarettes or sell cigarettes to minors, just like they do alcohol."

That may be, but it’s the establishments that don’t specialize in e-cigarettes who need to be

kept under control. They don’t know quite so much about the product as e-cigarette


Monday, December 22, 2014

Washington's Outrageous Proposal on Taxing Vape Products

Politicians are known for their money-grabbing ways and it seems Washington Governor Jay

Inslee is one of the biggest around. On Thursday (December 18), Inslee (or perhaps he

should be called Governor Scrooge) outlined his budget plans and they include a 95% tax 

on any and all vapor products.

It’s a desperate act by a politician who has a massive state budget gap to deal with. The

plans have rightfully been met with protest by the American Vaping Association and vapor

shops based in Washington.

Kim Thompson owns ‘The Vaporium’ in Fife and believes such a tax would “demonize the

product, make it look as though it was as bad as smoking.”  That’s definitely a good point

because such levels of taxation are hardly going to be imposed on something that’s really

good for you.  Thompson also believes the outrageous and unjustified tax would make

vaping and traditional cigarettes more similar in pricing and claims: “It would give us less

incentive to the smoke to say, hey, give this a try." Above all though, her view is that “taxing

small businesses out of business is bad business.”

But the only business the governor is interested in is finding ways of plugging that budget

gap. Representative Reuven Carlyle is another politician who is no friend of the e-cigarette

industry. He proposed a similar tax last year and of course supports this new plan.  His

misguided view is that this is “a fairness issue” and a “parody issue.”  He believes the plan is

simply aimed at bringing the level of taxation on e-cigarettes to the “same level of taxation of

other similar products.”  Those similar products include snuff and cigars that, like other

tobacco products are taxed at 95%.

Now I’m sure most politicians do have some degree of intelligence but why can’t they listen

to Kim Thompson who says: “There's zero tobacco in my product. Zero tobacco. We do not

promote tobacco; we do not promote smoking, or anything that has cancer causing


Carlyle of course disagrees because e-cigarettes contain nicotine.  I wonder if there’s a 95%

tax on nicotine patches in Washington.

The American Vaping Association have called on customers to call the governor and let him

know how they feel, saying: “They are ready to rally and to converge in Olympia.”

With the e-cigarette industry becoming more and more successful, taxing them is becoming

even more inevitable.  Surely though the level of taxation needs to be a fair one in order to

ensure that the good the product can cause in helping smokers give up tobacco cigarettes

can continue.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Teenagers Choose E-cigarettes

A new federal survey has hopefully shown a glimpse of a very bright future. It shows that e-

cigarette use among teenagers has leaped above the use of traditional poisonous tobacco

cigarettes. That industry is on the decline while the e-cigarette industry goes from strength to


Now we all know just how dangerous smoking tobacco is. We probably all know someone

who has had their health seriously affected by them or have sadly died years before they

should have. So the news that teenagers are turning to e-cigarettes should be greatly

welcomed. Sadly though health advocates don’t see it that way and believe it’s a dangerous

trend because it is making smoking seem normal again. These experts should perhaps

realize that using e-cigarettes isn’t smoking but vaping.

But you see health officials don’t always know what they are talking about and also love a bit

of scare-mongering.  It appears that these health officials worry that the increase in use of e-

cigarettes could lead to an increase in tobacco smoking. The fact is that the new data does

not show that so why are they going around claiming that this might happen?

It’s not just that the data released doesn’t indicate a gateway to tobacco smoking for vapers,

but a recent study showed that is simply not the case. Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the

British Lung Foundation, said: "These data should again alleviate the fears expressed by some over

an e-cigarette gateway effect - people trying e-cigarettes before moving on to the much more

harmful practice of smoking.

So why aren’t health officials taking account of positive studies about e-cigarettes? It

appears that’s not an option because they are so bigoted against the product. Shouldn’t they

be happy tobacco smoking figures are falling?

The survey, released Tuesday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, measured drug and

alcohol use this year among middle and high school students across the country.  It covered

more than 41,000 students from 377 public and private schools.

It’s the first time the survey has measured the use of e-cigarettes and it showed that nearly

9% of 8th graders said they had used an e-cigarette in the previous month compared to 4%

using a tobacco cigarette.

“The numbers are stunning,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco

Free Kids, an advocacy group.  Is it “stunning” that educated students make the decision to

use a product that is far safer than a tobacco cigarette?  That figure of 9% is much higher

than the 4.5% measured by our good old friends the CDC which covered e-cigarette usage

between 2012 and 2013.

Some experts said that the new data suggested the rate may have increased substantially

since 2013. I wonder just how much they get paid for making such obvious statements such

as that. As 2014 comes to a close, it’s an important time to look back at the year that’s

ending. For the e-cigarette industry it’s been a year that has seen more studies show what a

great product it is. It’s just sad that health officials and politicians seem hell-bent on ignoring

those studies and continuing their scare-monger tactics.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will this Positive Study On E-cigarettes be listened to?

For decades health officials have spoken out about the dangers of smoking tobacco, while

politicians are busy counting how much they can make from taxing the product. Now e-

cigarettes face the same kind of pressures but they have several major advantages over

tobacco cigarettes. One of those is the way they can be used to stop people smoking

tobacco and it’s about time they received credit for doing so.

An international review of available evidence - most of which is ignored by politicians and

health officials - has produced encouraging results. The Cochrane Review is a respected

research network that determines relative effectiveness of different health interventions.  A

member of the review team, Peter Hajek, says; “Although our confidence in the effects of

electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation interventions is limited because of the small

number of trials, the results are encouraging.”

The Cochrane Review's study  drew on two randomized trials that covered 662 smokers. It

also considered evidence from 11 observational studies, which again you’ll rarely hear a

politician talk about when trying to jump on the bandwagon and pass a law against the

product. The trials looked at the effect of e-cigarettes on quit rates and helping people

reduce their tobacco smoking levels by at least 50%. Another important part of the study was

a look at side-effects reported by those using e-cigarettes. It’s good news again as no

evidence was found of serious problems.

The results are great news for the e-cigarette industry and another blow for its critics. They

showed that about 9% of smokers who used e-cigarettes were able to stop smoking those

deadly tobacco cigarettes for up to a year. That’s compared with just 4% for those who were

given placebo e-cigarettes.

So what about those who didn’t manage to quit smoking tobacco? Well 36% of e-cigarette

users cut down the number of tobacco cigarettes they were smoking by half. That’s

compared to 28% of the placebo users.

One trial made a comparison between e-cigarettes and nicotine patches, the results came

out about equal. So e-cigarettes were just as good a tool as nicotine patches but no one is

going round saying they should be banned are they?

Robert West, director of tobacco research at University College London, has determined that

e-cigarettes could be a valuable public health tool. He said: “It's early days but so far it

seems that these devices are already helping tens of thousands of smokers to stop each


That last comment should be emailed to every single politician and health official in the USA.

Perhaps if they bothered to read all the information that is out there, they might realize the

damage they cause the e-cigarette industry with their relentless legislation.

Needless to say the FDA have been quiet on the results of the study. Surely though this is

evidence they and the World Health Organisation cannot ignore.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rise in Vaping Figures Should be Celebrated

It’s back to the subject of whether the e-cigarette industry is actively promoting their product

to youngsters. A study by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center showed more teens in

Hawaii are using e-cigarettes. “Growth is exploding among adolescents and also we don’t

completely know why this is,” said the cancer center’s Thomas Wills.

Well perhaps these teens read blogs like this and, unlike most politicians and health officials,

are prepared to look at both sides of the issue. They realise that e-cigarettes are safer to use

than the deadly tobacco cigarettes and decide to use them instead. It’s quite logical when

you bother to sit down and think about it.

The Hawaiian study polled 1,900 public and private school teens, aged 14 and 15. Nearly

30% of them said they had used e-cigarettes. That’s a figure higher than on the mainland.

Both the Cancer Center and the Hawaii Department of Health believe e-cigarettes are being

marketed to local youth and that is where they are making their big mistake.

If you’re going to be marketing a product to teens then it’s important that you have a distinct

intention to sell to them. That is not the case with e-cigarettes as Scott Rasek of Volcano E-

Cigs explains: “We’ve never sold to minors,” he said. “It’s a strong belief of ours. A lot of

other local retail stores share the same belief.”

So when you have a retailer coming out with a statement like that, just how do you say that

e-cigarettes are being marketed to local youths. One possible way is to go onto a website

selling e-cigarettes and clicking on the ‘yes, you’re legal’ button. But if people are doing that

it’s not a case of e-cigarette companies marketing the product to teens but youngsters acting

illegally. It’s the same as a 14-year-old getting their hands on some alcohol or getting behind

the wheels of a car.

One big criticism of e-cigarettes is the many flavors that are available. But Rasek answers

those critics by saying: “Flavors are there specifically to help people have a successful

transition from traditional cigs. If you have more options, the transition success rate will

significantly improve.” That makes total sense but politicians and health officials seem

unable to listen to comments like that.

The study also showed that only 3% used tobacco cigarettes. Surely that should be what

people are talking about. One suggested reason for the decline in smoking of tobacco

cigarettes in Hawaii is the high taxation of the product. You can bet your bottom dollar

politicians will be planning to do the same for e-cigarettes one day. But such actions hurt the

industry and hinder the good that e-cigarettes are doing in helping people stop smoking.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Taxing Time Ahead For Vaping in Utah

Tis the season to be merry and for some politicians that joy is achieved by coming up with

ideas to tax e-cigarettes.  Utah Governor Gary Herbert is one such politician intent on doing

just that but isn’t too keen on his plans being shown prominently.

Hidden away in a footnote on page 22 of his budget blueprint is the proposal for a new tax

on e-cigarettes. He’s rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of it raising $10m next year.

You can tell Herbert is a politician because he’s also a hypocrite and a bit dodgy when it

comes to telling the truth. He’s boasted that his budget is free of tax increases so what

exactly is this proposed tax on e-cigarettes?  Herbert claims that he doesn’t consider the

proposal to be a tax hike, it is in his eyes a change in the way the state treats e-cigarettes.

“It's just saying, 'Here's a product that should fit under the umbrella of tobacco.’” says the

Governor. But doesn’t he realize that e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco?  Is he unaware of

the fact this product can stop people smoking tobacco? Actually it’s probably better he

doesn’t know that because he’ll work out that means less tobacco tax revenue and more

need to tax their replacement.

According to the Governor, this is a “health issue” and then goes down the youth avenue

believing that “young people are getting hooked on” e-cigarettes, “that’s straight nicotine with

good flavors and all that stuff that makes it attractive.”  That’s why e-cigarettes “should be

taxed just like we tax tobacco.”

Didn’t he read the survey that said e-cigarettes are not as addictive as tobacco cigarettes?

Perhaps he doesn’t know that flavors help ex-smokers give up their deadly habit.  He

probably just read a few negative articles and then saw the dollar signs appear in front of his

eyes.  Herbert’s spokesman Marty Carpenter said the governor is willing to work with

legislators to find the best option, i.e. the one that makes most money.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, an anti-tobacco crusader in the Legislature but who still

describes e-cigarettes as a “tobacco derivative”  believes the best option is to tax the e-

cigarette liquid or e-juice at a lower rate than the tax on regular tobacco products. At present

they are taxed at 87.5% of the wholesale price in Utah. Ray is suggesting a rate of about half

that figure, still a whopping 43.75% thus adding several dollars to the price of the average

bottle of e-juice.

Ray also claims that within a few years, science will disprove the health benefits of e-

cigarettes. “I think it's going to be as bad as tobacco down the road. People will realize this

stuff is not as good as we were told and we're going to have health problems down the

road." Ray doesn’t produce any evidence to back up these claims probably because he


Aaron Frazier, executive director of the Utah Smoke-free Association, says increasing the

price of e-cigarette liquid will mean people just keep on smoking.  His view is the tax would

be “removing any benefit for a smoker to move over to a scientifically documented less

harmful product and drive them back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Surveys Give Positive News for Vaping

The debate continues over e-cigarettes despite the growing number of surveys and studies

that have produced positive comments on the product.  More good news which answers

several criticisms of e-cigarettes came from The Health Survey in England.  Hopefully

American health officials and politicians will take note of it.

The survey answers criticisms of e-cigarettes being a gateway to tobacco smoking. It found

that among men who were not smokers, only 1% had ever tried e-cigarettes, while 29% of

smokers and 6% of ex-smokers had tried them. Proportions were similar for women, said the

survey, which was published this Wednesday (December 10).

The Health Survey for England was carried out by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of NatCen

Social Research and the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at

University College London. It interviewed 8,795 adults and 2,185 children.

That’s one of several studies that have disproved the claim that once people, especially

youngsters, start using the healthier e-cigarettes, it’ll only be a question of time before they

use tobacco cigarettes.  So all those politicians eager to place restrictions on e-cigarettes

need not be afraid of a whole new generation of tobacco smokers being generated via the

use of e-cigarettes.

Can’t politicians and health officials see that these figures also disprove another one of their

claims? Namely their theories that e-cigarettes aren’t able to stop smokers continuing their

deadly habit.  This survey shows that smokers are in fact turning to e-cigarettes and we all

know there are countless stories of smokers who have successfully kicked the habit via their

use of e-cigarettes.

"While it is clearly important to continue to monitor both smoking rates and use of electronic

cigarettes in adults and children, so far there is no evidence that use of electronic cigarettes

is proving to be a gateway into smoking,"  said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH

(Action on Smoking and Health).

The views are echoed by Peter Hajek in the open access journal BMC Medicine. Hajek is

the Professor and director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary

University of London. He rightly describes tobacco cigarettes as being “responsible for

disease and premature death” while e-cigarettes “only appeal to smoker and generates

negligible rates of regular use among non-smoking children who try it.” He continues: “Which

one would you prefer your nicotine addicted father to use? And if your children were to try a

nicotine product, which of these two would you prefer that they lay their hands on?”

As for the fear that using e-cigarettes will cause there to be an increase in use of cigarettes,

he says: “This appears a highly improbable concern. There is no precedent for a safer

technology to increase the use of its less safe competitor."

So that’s two more positive views on e-cigarettes that discredit most criticisms of the

product. Let’s hope US politicians will read them and take note before jumping on the anti-e-

cigarettes bandwagon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Studies Show Vaping is Less Addictive than Smoking

We have another positive study on e-cigarettes to report today.  This one indicates that e-

cigarettes are less addictive than regular tobacco cigarettes. The study found that e-cigarette

dependence rates nearly always dipped below tobacco cigarette dependence rates.

It’s the latest in a number of studies that have provided evidence on just how useful e-

cigarettes can be. Politicians may be keen to jump on the bandwagon and pass unwanted

and unneeded laws against the product but how many times do you hear them mention the

positive studies that have been published? Anyone would think they just wanted to lay the

ground for e-cigarettes to be taxed in the future, that’s when they will really begin to

appreciate e-cigarettes for the help they can do for people (revenue collectors at the top of

the list).

Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D. professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, Penn State

College of Medicine said: “'We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than

tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users.”

Why is this the case? Well Foulds believes it is because of the lower average nicotine rates

that are found in e-cigarettes. Of course critics of the product often fail to mention the fact

that the amount of nicotine in an e-cigarette can be varied and there are actually e-cigarettes

that do not contain any nicotine. He added that e-cigarettes are much less toxic than tobacco

cigarettes. That, along with the fact they seem to be less addictive are “advantages when

you’re concerned about health.”  He added that they have “the potential to do good and help

a lot of people.”

A total of 3,500 e-cigarette smokers who used to smoke regular cigarettes filed out the

online questionnaires researchers named the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index and

Penn State Electronic Cigarette Dependence Index, which assessed dependence rates.

The findings, which are published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, also have implications

for developing e-cigs for smoking cessation. "We might actually need e-cigarettes that are

better at delivering nicotine because that's what's more likely to help people quit," Foulds


So e-cigarettes are less addictive than tobacco cigarettes and contain less toxins. They also

help people give up smoking tobacco cigarettes but still politicians and health officials want

to make life difficult for the industry. How many more positive studies will have to be

published before this situation can change?