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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Montana Meddles with E-Cigarettes

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vaping Will Always Be Safer Than Smoking

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

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

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

When Will They Get It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Dangers of Linking Vaping and Smoking

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

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

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

Monday, April 6, 2015

Politician Talks Sense about Vaping

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

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

Vermont Has No Idea What They're Doing With Vaping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hypocrisy Over E-Cigarettes in Utah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Will Positive Vaping Views be Listened to?

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

Washington Needs To Up Their Knowledge On Vaping

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

What's Kick Butts Day to do with Vaping?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Overkill on Vaping Defeated

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Leave Vape Lounges Alone

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vaping Punishments unfair for students?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Classifying E-Cigarettes – The Hidden Agenda

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

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

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

Monday, February 16, 2015

Crazy Ban will stop Product Sampling in Vapor Lounges

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boxer Ducks Truth on E-Cigarettes

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

E-Cigarettes Can Stop you Smoking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No Thought in Vaping Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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