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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Accidents in how the Media Covers E-Cigarettes

It seems that critics of e-cigarettes will stop at nothing to criticize the product. They even

resort to using accidents as an opportunity to create trouble for the growing industry.

 In the States a big worry is children becoming ill after becoming exposed to e-liquids.

National statistics have reported that more than 2,700 people have reported exposure to

liquid nicotine with over half of those cases in children younger than 6.

An article reporting this had of course to mention the overused argument that e-cigarettes

come in “brightly colored reflll packages and an array of candy flavors that can make it

attractive to young children”

They fail to mention of course that e-cigarette companies don’t sell to under-18s, let alone

those under the age of eight. As for the color of the refill packages, what company in the

world wants their product to be placed in dull and uninteresting packaging?

Headlines such as: “More kids poisoned by liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes” are suitably

dramatic and designed to make the e-cigarette industry look far more dangerous than

it actually is. But the key to the problem is answered by Ashley Webb, director of the

Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center who says: ““With kids, the exposure we're seeing

is usually parents or family members leave out refill bottles that they try and open.

So there’s the answer, it’s not a question of e-cigarettes being aimed at young children and

causing serious problems. It’s more the fact that people are being incompetent and leaving

their refill bottles where children can get hold of them. Figures show that the number of

liquid nicotine exposures is still less than half of traditional cigarettes.

While Robert Bassett, a medical toxicologist in Philadelphia, says e-liquid is potentially

more toxic because it’s in bottles, it simply shows that anyone who has e-liquid needs to

adequately look after it. There are calls for child-resistant caps and many manufacturers

have already begun using these, so hopefully the industry will look after itself.

Meanwhile the Men’s Fitness website came up with one of the most ridiculous statements 

of the year. They wrote: “Conventional tobacco-packed cigarettes are starting to look safer

than their electronic alternatives.” Absolute garbage of course and we’ll do our best to prove


Now that crazy sentence was actually followed by one that said: “Kicking your Camels to the

curb in favour of e-cigarettes may provide a “healthier” nicotine buzz” which isn’t too bad a

comment really. The focus of the article though was to report an accident, because that’s

what it was, that recently happened in the UK.

David Aspinall from Wigan, England, was using an e-cigarette when it overheated, exploded

and impaled his legs with shards of metal. He now needs skin grafts to repair the damage.

But this was simply an accident as the store that sold Aspinall the e-cigarette blame faulty

batteries for the explosion. The same incident could happen with any product that needs

a battery but it gives the critics a great chance to criticize the product which of course they

gleefully take with open arms.

Their article ended with this sentence: “Word of advice: nix the bad habit altogether. Cancer

and dismemberment aren’t pleasurable for anyone.” We’re pretty sure the number of

dismemberments among e-cigarette users isn’t going to rise anytime soon and if it does, well

it’ll be down to a probably avoidable accident.

The Mirror website reported that Aspinall has now stopped using e-cigarettes and returned

to smoking tobacco as he thinks they are “safer”. His lungs and other vital organs may

decide in time to disagree with that opinion.

They also decided to dig up another accident which sadly saw a man die after an e-cigarette 

exploded and set fire to an oxygen container. It gave the press another chance to link

the industry with scandal but there was more to the story than any danger presented by e-

cigarettes. A fire brigade spokesman revealed that the deceased was using a charger that

was not the one supplied with the e-cigarette. He added: “We urge people to always use

electrical equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction and guidance.”

It was an unfortunate accident but no reason to scandalize the e-cigarette industry. If the

product is used properly and the equipment is not faulty then there’s no problem using e-


Properly used and maintained e-cigarettes certainly don’t possess the same damaging

results that can be achieved by discarded tobacco cigarettes. There are always concerns

about the number of fires that are caused that way.

The reporting of accidents linked to e-cigarettes is another typical example of how the media

is dealing with the industry. They love a scandal and even if it’s proved the incident was a

total accident some publications just don’t care. It’s just another chance to moan about one

of their favourite targets.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

E-Cigarettes selling at Local Pharmacies?

What do you expect to see in your local pharmacy? Obviously you’ll expect to see plenty

of medicines but a new poll has come out in favour of e-cigarettes being stocked by


The poll was carried out by no less than The Pharmaceutical Journal with more than half

of those questioned coming out in favour of the move. So exactly how did they come to a

conclusion that’s hardly going to please the FDA, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and

all the others who love to criticize the e-cigarette industry.

Of 544 people who took part in the online poll, 46.1% said that e-cigarettes should be

available from pharmacies because they were a “safer option for smokers.” A further 7.1%

felt that those being stocked would allow pharmacists to have “new opportunities to offer

smoking advice.”

That’s a view that certainly won’t go down well with the WHO after their report in August of

this year. They spoke out against e-cigarette manufacturers from marketing their products as

“smoking cessation aids” until robust scientific evidence backing up this claim is produced.

Their report claimed there had only been “anecdotal reports” and only a few studies had

examined whether their use “is an effective method for quitting tobacco smoking.”

But there is plenty of evidence that e-cigarettes can help tobacco smokers give up their

deadly habit. A report by the Smoking Toolkit Study this year showed exactly that. More

people are using e-cigarettes to get them off smoking tobacco and “may be contributing to a

reduction in smoking prevalence through increased success at quitting smoking.”

Nearly 20% of those surveyed weren’t sure whether e-cigarettes should be stocked in

pharmacies. Reasons given included 15% believing e-cigarettes should be regulated as

medicines and 3.8% were concerned about the fact the products were linked with tobacco

companies. That latter worry shouldn’t really have too much influence. Tobacco companies

only want a piece of the e-cigarette pie because they smell profits in the air and decreasing

sales in the long-run of their tobacco products.

Out of 544 people asked, there were 146 who were against the stocking of e-cigarettes in 

pharmacies. Reasons given included a preference for a licensed stop-smoking product to be

offered and a belief that smoking related “lifestyle products” shouldn’t be in a pharmacy.

The selling of e-cigarettes in pharmacies is nothing new. Boots started selling them in

February of this year. A spokesperson said the move came after they had listened to

their customers and as a result now knows that “many people are looking for access to

an alternative to smoking, such as e- cigarettes.”

As long as advice is given about e-cigarettes then the product certainly has a place in

pharmacies. Anything that can help stop people smoking has to be promoted so hopefully

this poll will show that it fully deserves its place.

Monday, October 20, 2014

They Hate E-Cigarettes, but love tax revenue!

Critics continually moan about e-cigarettes but some can’t wait to see them adding important

tax revenues as soon as possible.

That’s definitely the case in Philadelphia who is looking forward to enjoying making money

out of people’s addiction to tobacco cigarettes. They recently enacted a $2-per-pack tobacco

cigarette tax and now City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown wants that aimed at e-

cigarettes too. She wants a $2 tax on e-cigarettes and a $0.50 tax per millimeter of e-liquids

(not exceeding $5 a transaction) with the levy going to the underfunded Philadelphia school

district. “Every penny counts” says Brown, who adds: “We have to think outside the box and

come up with new reoccurring revenue streams.”

Worryingly an e-cigarette tax would not need state approval because the city is allowed to

tax items that the state doesn’t already regulate and tax. Just how much additional revenue

would be raised hasn’t been confirmed. Brown’s office said they didn’t have that information;

they were probably still counting up the amount they can make out of the rapidly increasing

e-cigarette industry.

Brown knows what she’s talking about though because she says that the taxation of e-

cigarettes is an untapped resource. “Sales [of e-cigarettes] are exponentially growing. We

need to capitalize on that, especially knowing our school district is not being funded at

appropriate levels."

So are e-cigarettes going to be the fall guy here simply because politicians can’t adequate

fund school districts?

The taxation of e-cigarettes looks to be a sad inevitability. No politician is going to miss out

on the fact that sales of the product have grown from $20m in 2008 to $1.5b this year. They

may complain till the cows come home about e-cigarettes but the chance of using them to

increase tax revenues is going to be too good to miss.

Another important fact is of course the fact that e-cigarettes are such a great product. They

are safer to use than tobacco cigarettes and can help smokers give up the habit of inhaling

poisons galore. If the e-cigarette continues to grow and less people smoke then that means

potentially less tax revenue from tobacco cigarettes, so the gap in revenues has to come

from somewhere and no prizes for guessing where. Already Minnesota and North Carolina

tax e-cigarettes so the floodgates may well be open already.

So the school district gets some extra cash but how would the planned taxation affect the

e-cigarette industry and its users? Considering the fact the e-cigarettes can provide the

service of helping people to live healthier lives should it be penalised? Surely the fact is

that if e-cigarettes are taxed then people will be less willing to purchase them and more than

likely carry on smoking.

Ray Ros is general manager of Love Vape on South Street, Philadelphia. He says of the

planned changes: “This would really hurt our business. We make most of our money in the

[nicotine] juices." He adds that the recent increase in taxation on tobacco cigarettes has

seen a slight increase in smokers moving to e-cigarettes. Tax on e-cigarettes “might drive

people back to smoking cigarettes.”

The School Reform Commission would have to approve any decision and so far they are in

favour of accepting the massive cash injection. “Any revenue opportunity that is supported

by City Council, we will pursue” said SRC Chairman Bill Green.

Also supporting the move is the beautifully named Mayor Nutter (not sure about his politics

so I can’t confirm if he’s a Right Nutter). That’s no surprise as Nutter has already signed

bills outlawing the sale of e-cigarettes to minors within the city and the banning of vaping in

workplaces, bars, restaurants and other public areas. With this Nutter in charge the future

for e-cigarettes looks difficult in Philadelphia.

So let’s try and work this one out. All the time we hear deserved criticism of tobacco

cigarettes (apart from the tax revenue they provide) and along comes a product that is

cutting the numbers smoking. What do the politicians do? They reach out their tax hungry

hands and try to get some money out of e-cigarettes and as a result stop people switching to

a safer product. Not very logical is it?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ashland Ignores Pro-Vaping Comments

It’s almost like a USA tour and this week we arrive in Ashland where its Board of Health

approved new regulations this Tuesday (October 14) against e-cigarettes.

The Board voted to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and the use of the product in any

area where smoking is prohibited. The regulations come into effect on January 1st

Flavored e-cigarettes are of course a favourite hobby horse for those opposed to the

growing e-cigarette industry. Under the new regulations flavored e-cigarettes can only be

sold in smoking bars or retail tobacco stores. Now the latter venue is an interesting one

because it’s defined as a store that can sell tobacco and nicotine products but doesn’t sell

food or admit any customers under the age of 21.

Ashland (a name more suitable for tobacco cigarettes than e-cigarettes) doesn’t actually

have any retail tobacco stores so another waste of legislation there then. With such laws

being passed it’s hardly an incentive for anyone to suddenly decide to open a retail tobacco

store in the area so that’s another kick in the teeth for the industry.

The vote came after a public hearing was held last month at which advocates for e-

cigarettes were able to make their views known. These included Karen Casey from the

Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. Their work is to find less

harmful alternatives for smokers and she believes that e-cigarettes should be available as a

viable option for any adults trying their best to give up smoking.

Time for some comments from Karen that all opponents of e-cigarettes should read and

learn from. She says: “This product has the potential to help more adults quit smoking more

than any other product on the market right now.” Carey should know that because she’d

been smoking for over 30 years and gave up after turning to e-cigarettes.

Those are some great words of support from Karen who by the ways works for a non-profit

association. Yet still the opponents of e-cigarettes step up their bid to make life very difficult

for the industry.

When it came to the subject of flavored e-cigarettes the Board of Health went down the

usual route saying that they are often marketed to young people. This despite the fact the

e-cigarette industry doesn’t sell its products to under-18s.

Don’t they read the comments of people like e-cigarette shop owner Phillip Lish? He says:

“We don’t cater to youth. I have children of my own, and I sure as heck wouldn’t be pushing

it on them.”

So we have yet another group of officials who decide to forget the fact that e-cigarettes can

help people quit smoking and is a far healthier alternative. Instead they just want to spend

their time passing laws that will make it more difficult for the industry to flourish even though

the evidence of their usefulness is clearly there to be seen.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Truth about E-Cigarettes is Out There

E-cigarette businesses continue to open around the USA and critics of the industry should

listen more to the people who are turning to e-cigarettes.

The move from smoking to vaping isn’t just something that helps a growing industry; it has

some fantastic personal benefits too. Smokers, who have been indulging in the habit for

years and putting their health at great risk, finally find a way of giving up their addiction. Now

surely that is something that should never be criticized.

But of course it is and there are plenty of high-level critics out there who won’t even admit

that e-cigarettes can be a positive tool in achieving smoking cessation. That includes Dr.

Adedayo Onitilo who wrote in a medical column that “no proof is available that e-cigs can

help a smoker quit.”

Several new businesses have cropped up in Butte and one, entitled ‘406 Vapor’ is owned

by Shawn Durham. He knows exactly how useful e-cigarettes can be in helping with the

incredibly difficult task of quitting tobacco. “I quit chewing and smoking on it,” said Durham,

“I don’t wake up coughing up tar.”

That last statement is really shocking isn’t it? Can you imagine waking up coughing up

tar? It’s a horrible experience created by tobacco use. No such problems like that with e-

cigarettes yet the critics still continue.

Another local e-cigarette shop owner is Phillip Lish who owns ‘The Vaping Outlet.’ He puts

across an important point about e-cigarettes saying: “A smoker has a ritual.” That’s true,

because one problem that tobacco smokers have when trying to give up is the ritual of

having a smoking device in their hand, inhaling and exhaling. When they try nicotine gum or

patches, that might help a bit but they can’t replace that ritual, e-cigarettes can though.

One of the most controversial topics that keep on rearing its ugly head is that of the different

flavors available. Plenty of critics go to town on the use of candy flavors believing it’s just

the e-cigarette industry trying to attract under-18s to their product. This includes Stanton

Glantz, Professor of Medicine at the University of California who says of e-cigarette

marketing: “It is very much like old-fashioned cigarette marketing, with the addition of all

those high tech and kiddie things like flavors.”

I love the comments of Christine Gentry from the e-cigarette store ‘Vapure’ in Mission

Valley. A former smoker who used e-cigarettes to get off the habit, she says: “If we are

marketing to children, then so is cherry vodka or vanilla rum.”

Durham says: “The candy flavors are big sellers. You can actually enjoy what your habit is.”

Flavors do help make the product more entertaining and users can concentrate on enjoying

strawberry, coconut or cinnamon flavors and gradually forget about the horrible taste of

tobacco that they have been addicted to for years.

Are e-cigarettes being aimed at under-18s? It’s another subject that is continually being

mentioned by critics but both Durham and Lish oppose their views. “We don’t cater to

youth,” Lish said. “I have children of my own, and I sure as heck wouldn’t be pushing it on

them.” Both businesses have identification procedures to ensure under-18s don’t come in

and buy their products.

Durham comes up with another important point when he talked about the need to publicize

e-cigarettes and how they can help you improve your health: “Nobody was educating how to

properly use them,” he said.

It really is time that those who can’t stop criticizing e-cigarettes actually start surfing the web

and reading the many positive comments out there. Why can’t they applaud the e-cigarette

industry for producing a product that has succeeded in stopping people smoking? Why can’t

they realize that the e-cigarette industry isn’t targeting under-18s and can take their own

precautions to ensure they don’t sell to those under-age? The truth about e-cigarettes is out

there, but do the critics even want to search for it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New York won't give up on e-cigarette ban

The subject of flavored e-cigarettes is in the news again as New York continues its eager

campaign against the industry.

Queens City Councilman, Costa Constantinides, has introduced a bill which would limit the

sale of flavored e-cigarettes to tobacco bars. He wants flavored e-cigarettes “to be treated

the same way as flavored tobacco products and help prevent children from starting a lifetime

of addiction.”

In reply to the planned legislation, Greg Conley, President of the American Vaping Association (AVA), said he supported “common-sense regulation of its products, such as

New York City’s existing ban on the sale to minors.”

Now wait a minute, if a body like the AVA is coming out with statements such as that, then

why do politicians and health officials continually say that e-cigarettes are being targeted

towards minors?

Conley continued: “Adults are free to make their own choices. This proposed law would not

only take away a consumer choice, it would eliminate a competitor to Big Tobacco.” He also

stated that if the law was to come into effect it would hurt the several vaporiums in the city.

The proposed bill has been criticized by Tony Newman, Director of Media Relations for the

Drug Policy Alliance. As far as he’s concerned if this legislation is passed it will simply lead

to more people continuing to smoke.

In a blog written for the Huffington Post, he says that “While I understand the concern of

marketing e-cigarettes to young people and non-smokers, we cannot lose sight of the fact

that these products are helping millions of people stop or cut back on smoking.”

Regarding the many flavors of e-cigarettes available, Constantanides claims: “These flavors

are direct marketing to children. They appeal to children, and we're taking them out of that


That’s absolute rubbish and is countered by Newman who comments: “Vaping is a safer

delivery system for nicotine, and many people enjoy the flavor and find it pleasant -- that's

why more and more people are turning to it. Do we really want to limit flavors if they are

helping people move away from smoking?

It is ironic that anti-smoking advocates, whose goal is to get people not to smoke, are

attacking a practice that is succeeding in getting people not to smoke. Shouldn't we be

applauding the fact that so many people are embracing this harm reduction practice?”

Doesn’t Constantanides also wonder why dozens of health experts sent a letter to the World

Health Organization praising the product? They claimed that e-cigarettes “could be among

the most significant health innovations of the 21st century, perhaps saving hundreds of

millions of lives.”

That’s a big statement, probably as big as they come but still politicians like Constantanides

gleefully make life difficult for the e-cigarette industry probably because it’s the in-thing to do.

His ridiculous view on e-cigarettes as a way of stopping smoking is: “I’ve heard the argument

that it’ll help addiction. I disagree. It just moves it to a different addiction. They’re being used

as a way to find new users, not to get people to stop smoking.”

So why does he feel that e-cigarettes can do nothing to stop addiction to tobacco? Perhaps

he should read a report by the Smoking Toolkit study that shows how useful they actually

are in this area.

Their report in June of this year showed more people using e-cigarettes as an aid to

stop smoking. It also concluded that their evidence “conflicts with the view that electronic

cigarettes are undermining tobacco control or ‘renormalizing smoking, and they may be

contributing to a reduction in smoking prevalence through increased success at quitting


New York politicians really do seem to dislike e-cigarettes. But shouldn’t they be spending

more time looking at positive studies about the industry? If they did then perhaps these

politicians might act a little bit differently and not set out to make life so difficult. We can but

hope I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The bad smell in Mohave County isn’t Vapors

Every week there seems to be a statement made about e-cigarettes that is just so ludicrous

you struggle to believe the person making it is actually being serious.

This week it’s the turn of District 2 Sup. Hildy Angius of Bullhead City to come out with such

a statement. Isn’t it a bit worrying that those making such crazy comments are actually in

pretty important jobs?

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors have been discussing whether e-cigarettes are

harmful to others.

Angius claims that her assistant blew an odorous smoke from an e-cigarette in her face and

she almost threw up. That’s a ridiculous statement to make and let’s hope no one is wearing

their favourite clothes around her just in case she meets someone smoking a tobacco


Contrast that ridiculous statement with the comments made by 20 year old Stetson

University student, Alex Schelb. A former smoker she now uses e-cigarettes and says: “I

haven’t had a problem with smoking an e-cigarette. I’ve never heard a complaint about it.

I’ve never heard anyone say ‘Don’t blow that smoke towards me.’ Nobody really cares.”

Back to the knowledgeable Hildy Angius who added that e-cigarettes are just a replacement

for cigarettes. Now I doubt she meant that in a good way because of course the dream is

that people will give up the dangerous tobacco cigarettes in favour of the more healthy e-

Thankfully someone in the area can speak with common sense, that’s definitely the case

with District 5 Sup. Steve Moss of Fort Mohave. He believes e-cigarettes don’t cause

any health concerns and that’s because they emit water vapor rather than the smelly and

dangerous smoke from tobacco cigarettes.

Sadly Moss appears to be the only supervisor in the county who knows what he’s talking

about. All the others voted to change the policy of smoke-free buildings to include a ban on

e-cigarettes. The Smoke-Free Arizona Act reads that smoking means inhaling, exhaling,

burning or carrying or possessing any lighted tobacco product. It also allows a city or county

to adopt a more restrictive ordinance. The act does not include e-cigarettes. In order to ban e-cigarettes at county facilities, a county ordinance has to be enacted.

Imposing this new county ordinance comes at a ridiculous cost. The county will also install

about 245 new signs around the county, costing $3,675, which would come from the county

general fund. The signs will be 12 inches by 18 inches. They must have money to burn in

that county.

It really is astonishing how comments like this continue to be made. Surely there must have

been some supervisors who have done some research into e-cigarettes before voting on

the issue in hand? If they had then they would have instantly cast doubt on the rubbish that

was spoken by Angius.

Perhaps the supervisors should pay attention to Stanton Glantz, PhD, who said “compared to traditional cigarettes, sure these aren’t so bad.”

I doubt they read an article by editor James Oliver Cury on the subject of the

banning of e-cigarettes in public places. His views are: “You won’t smell the e-cig of the

person at the next table because these battery-powered devices emit vapor - like the stuff

that comes out of your mouth when you breathe. No one’s palate will be wrecked by sitting

near an e-smoker, as far as I can tell.”

So there doesn’t really appear to be much chance of people smelling vapors and almost

throwing up then Miss Angius. But the vote has been cast now so it’s all a bit late sadly and

that really produces a bad smell.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don’t let the past cloud judgement on e-cigarettes

A group of Democratic U.S. Senators are calling for there to be improved health warnings on e-cigarettes.  But it seems that the fact some e-cigarette companies are now owned by tobacco companies is clouding their judgement.

They can’t forgive the tobacco companies for the havoc they have caused to people’s health and perhaps rightly so.  However they should remember this is a different product now and one that is a lot safer than the poisonous tobacco product.

The Senators are calling on the FDA to adopt stronger warning labels for e-cigarettes and claim the big tobacco companies aren’t telling the whole story.  In a letter to the FDA they wrote:  “in the absence of a clear federal standard, e-cigarette manufacturers owned by big tobacco companies are beginning to concoct their own health warning about their products that lack uniformity and are not  comprehensive in listing all of the health threats the products pose.”
This of course comes from politicians who are expert at not revealing all of their real policies when trying to gain election. The Senators are keen on the FDA quickly finalizing their proposed deemed regulations.  The dithering FDA do seem to be taking a while to sort something out, perhaps they spend too much time having to read letters from politicians.
The Senators aren’t that satisfied with the FDA, claiming that the warning label proposed in the FDA’s ‘deeming regulation’ doesn’t adequately warn consumers on the known dangers of nicotine use.  The proposed label mentions that e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is an addictive chemical. That’s not enough for the Senators who want more extensive warnings that address the health risks that e-cigarettes pose.

We live in a different world from the ones when tobacco cigarettes were launched. Consumers can spend all day and night online finding out as much as they want about nicotine.  Hiding facts just isn’t an easy job these days not even for politicians.

The list of Senators responsible for the letter includes Barbara Boxer who seems to spend quite a lot of time writing on the subject.  In February of this year she was one of the Senators who introduce the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act. This would prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens.

Perhaps Senator Boxer should spend more time reading about the subject rather than just writing Acts and letters to the FDA.  She should look around the e-cigarette industry and realise that marketing to children and teens simply isn’t happening.  Vaping lounges won’t let under-18s into their stores, websites mention the fact you have to be 18 or over to enter sites and buy products. In the absence of FDA regulation, the industry is doing a pretty good job itself.

That’s the belief of Colin Olsen who owns the vaping lounge ‘Vape Station’ in Lethbridge who wouldn’t dream of selling an e-cigarette to a minor.  He says: “You probably will never find a vape shop that will sell minors because we don’t believe in it.”

I loved the comment made by Robert Heyes to the article about the Senator’s call for more explanation  of the health risks e-cigarettes pose.  He simply put:  “That’s going to be a very small label then.”
Politicians should also cut out their attacks on the fact some e-cigarette companies are owned by tobacco companies.  It’s hardly surprising that’s happening because they can see the e-cigarette industry expanding while the tobacco industry goes in the opposite direction.   But don’t let the sins of the past in the tobacco industry cloud judgement on what happens in the e-cigarette industry.
I’ve seen posters that have quite a lot of health information at the bottom. Information such as the fact they contain nicotine, aren’t for use by under-18s or pregnant women.  Another example of the e-cigarette industry informing people rather than hiding facts, perhaps the industry could give politicians the odd lesson or two on that subject.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fighting back against the E-cigarette critics

There are many criticisms of e-cigarettes but all can be successfully answered factually. Thankfully there are people out there who are leading the fight to prove that e-cigarettes can help people give up smoking, aren’t being targeted at youngsters and should definitely not be classified as tobacco products.

Jonah Primrose used to be a smoker, starting at the age of 11 and continuing the habit for 26 years. He’d get through a pack and half, sometimes two a day but knew he should give up smoking for the sake of his family.  He tried several methods but none could help him, then he tried e-cigarettes and he hasn’t smoked for over two months.  He says of his new life:  “I haven’t had one single cigarette at all, which for me, is a miracle.”

Contrast those comments with the critics who still say that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes can be used as a tool to help smokers kick the life-threatening habit.
Another criticism that is always being levelled at the e-cigarette industry is the alleged promotion of the product to youngsters.  This has led to frantic calls for legislation to ensure that e-cigarettes are not sold to under-18s.  Yet those seeking to clog up important legislative time with such laws simply fail to see what’s actually happening.

Colin Olson owns ‘Vape Station’ which was recently opened in Lethbridge but don’t expect hoards of under-18s to be heading for his store for quick e-cigarette.  There are no regulations in place that prevent selling to minors but Olsen has enforced his own strict policies on the matter.

Anyone who is worried about the e-cigarette industry selling its products to under-18s should take note of his comments on the subject.  He says:  “You probably will never find a vape shop that will sell to minors because we don’t believe in it.”

Why can’t the critics listen to such comments?  They go on about regulation 24/7 yet fail to realise that the e-cigarette industry can look after itself in a fair and proper way.
But the critics carry on and their favourite task is to ensure a certain classification for e-cigarettes.  I keep seeing adverts that talk about becoming tobacco free, yet bandwagon chasing politicians and health officials long to see e-cigarettes classified as tobacco products.

It’s a problem that’s happening throughout America and also in Europe but there’s a major fightback happening across the pond.  Totally Wicked is a British e-cigarette company and they’re taking legal action against the European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that will class e-cigarettes as tobacco products.  They’ve just been granted the right to challenge the TPD which is due to come into force in 2016.

Time for the most obvious statement of the year and it comes from Fraser Cropper, the MD of Totally Wicked. He says e-cigarettes contain no tobacco and thus should not be classed as “tobacco related products.”

It’s a statement so obvious you wonder why it has to be made don’t you.  Of course there’s a motive behind the desire to classify e-cigarettes in this way.  It makes future regulation easier and paves the way to governments making tons of cash out of e-cigarettes.  You see they’re pretty scared that in the future more and more people will be vaping rather than smoking and that’s going to affect their all-important tax revenues.

That’s what governments need more than anything and it means more to them than the fact e-cigarettes can help improve the health of people all over the world.
The TPD may undermine the availability of good quality e-cigarettes and e-liquids, the company added. This could jeopardize the “life-changing potential of e-cigarettes, resulting in a major detrimental impact on the public health of millions of people across the EU.”
Just how this case progresses is important to the future of the e-cigarette industry not just in Europe but globally.  It could well be used as a precedent and Mr Cropper fears that the TPD “would result in e-cigarettes being subjected to a stricter regulatory regime than some tobacco products.”

He added:  ““For the sake of e-cigarette users and potential users, it is vital that our industry is allowed to mature within a proportionate regulatory framework, which supports appropriate controls and safety requirements, and necessary social responsibility and continues to provide consumer choice to maximize the enormous potential of these products. Article 20 of this Directive patently will not deliver this environment.”
Totally Wicked’s lawyer, Susan Garrett, described the TPD as a misconceived and disproportionate attempt to regulate e-cigarettes.

So as you can see the e-cigarette industry has plenty of critics but also has plenty of evidence to back up the case for its great product.  It’s just a shame that those who jump on bandwagons and want to rush into legislation don’t take the time to listen to both sides of the story.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Shamrock Voice of inexperience tackles e-cigarettes

If it wasn’t bad enough having a load of health officials and politicians trying to jump on the

anti-cigarette bandwagon, now the students have started.

Mark Bilger from Livornia joined Shamrock Voice, a political discussion club at Detroit

Catholic Central High School. Now he’s joining in the criticism that e-cigarettes are being 

targeted at under-18s.

Bilger claims that “kids would try and be sneaky and try to puff it (e-cigarettes) behind the

teachers.” Well I never, would kids actually do something like that, how scandalous! Face

it, kids have been doing that with tobacco cigarettes for years and years, so it’s inevitable

it would happen with e-cigarettes too. Just wait till Mark finds out what some kids get up to

behind the bike sheds then we’re in trouble.

Bilger then tells us what e-cigarettes are actually like: “It’s got that kind of faint sticky-sweet

smell, but not very strong.” That’s much better than those who still try tobacco cigarettes

and say they give you deadly diseases and make our school uniforms stink.

Fancying himself as a bit of a political crusader, Bilger sent an email to state Sen. Glenn

Anderson asking him to consider taking to issue up. Well since then, Anderson has

introduced Senate Bills 667 and 668 which would restrict the sale and possession of e-

cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18.

The Bill isn’t to the agreement of everyone and some want more stringent action already

applied to tobacco products added. They don’t want e-cigarette to be given a different status

even though they are in fact a different product. As usual they seem to be unable to work

out the answer to the question ‘when is a tobacco product not a tobacco product?’ The

answer of course being when it’s an e-cigarette.

Bilger has helped Anderson and thinks the political club he’s a member of is “a great start to

solving these problems.” But does he actually understand the problem?

The National Centers for Disease Control estimate that between 2011 and 2013 the number

of children trying an e-cigarette but not a tobacco cigarette went up from 79,000 to 263,000.

Surely this reflects the fact that e-cigarettes have become more popular in recent years so

when it comes to the experimentation that all youngsters go through, they try an e-cigarette.

Surely the fact that they are trying a safer product rather than smoking a cigarette that can

lead to cancer is a good thing? If they continue to use e-cigarettes then a great reduction

in the number of people smoking tobacco cigarettes will be seen and that’s definitely good


Those who continue to say that e-cigarettes are being aimed at youngsters simply aren’t

correct. I keep seeing shops selling e-cigarettes that clearly have signs saying they won’t sell

their products to under-18s. But do the critics of e-cigarettes ever mention that? Course not

because it defeats their already shaky argument. Perhaps Mark Bilger ought to pay as much

attention to those shops rather than spying on fellow schoolmates having a quick e-cigarette

during lunch break.

Interestingly, Senator Anderson actually sees the argument that e-cigarettes can help those

looking to quit tobacco, yet still believes they should be regulated like traditional cigarettes.

So here’s a product that can help people quit smoking and possibly save their lives, yet he

still wants to make life difficult for the e-cigarette industry. He says “It shouldn’t be in the

hands of kids” and as for young Mr Bilger he says: “Had it not been for Mark bringing it to

my attention, I may have discovered it later on, but he was instrumental in getting in the ball

rolling.” I’m not sure what it says when an elected senator has to rely on students to find out

about such important issues as e-cigarettes.

This is just another example of politicians trying to make life difficult for an expanding

industry that can do a tremendous lot of good for people. There is no evidence that the

e-cigarette industry want load of under-18s to be trying their products. Just like alcohol

and cars there will always be kids who have a quick beer or a drive in a car. It’s called

experimenting, trying something that older people do and that’s what is happening with kids

trying e-cigarettes. But at least in this case, although not targeted, they’d be going down a

much healthier route than smoking tobacco.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

University discourses on e-cigarette study

Every week there are questions asked about e-cigarettes and this week it’s the turn of the

Loyola University in New Orleans. They’re asking whether e-cigarettes are in fact a “safe

alternative” to tobacco cigarettes that have killed countless people over the years.

College of Law professor Karen Sokol J.D., believes that there should be no marketing of

e-cigarettes and argues that rather then examining if they are “safe”, doubt should be cast

on whether they are even a “safer alternative” to the tobacco cigarettes who have caused

countless families to lose loved ones over the years. Her findings are due to be published

in the South Carolina Law Review later this year by which time many more people will have

died because of smoking tobacco.

It’s not really award time of the year yet but let’s make an exception shall we? The award for

the most long-winded and unlikely to be remembered five minutes after reading it title for an

article goes to: “Tort as a Disrupter of Cultural Manipulation: Neuromarketing and the Dawn

of the E-Cigarette.”

It’s a long-winded piece about how tort law has served a vital role in disrupting the

manipulation of cultural cognition regarding risky products, including tobacco products.

Having read some of it I had to check in the dictionary that it was actually written in English.

It appears though that the author believes that tort law may be an important legal tool in

controlling misleading marketing of e-cigarettes.

She then goes into more familiar and understandable territory asking for more research to

be carried out into e-cigarettes. You don’t need massive qualifications and the ability to use

very long words to call for that do you? She also calls for legislation that will ban the sale of

these products to minors and their use indoors. Again obviously the professor must have

had her head in a book and failed to see the messages from shops selling e-cigarettes that

say they won’t sell to those under 18.

The university itself is planning to implement a tobacco- free policy on campus in fall

2015. This will ban all tobacco products – including cigarettes (understandable), cigars

(acceptable), pipes (ok), chewing tobacco (no problem) and e-cigarettes (hold on a minute).

Since when did a tobacco-free policy include something that does not contain tobacco? It’s

like banning alcohol and including orange juice in that category. It’s all to do with creating

a healthier environment for the university community. So it’s ok therefore to ban students

from using e-cigarettes on campus which might actually lead them to never use tobacco

cigarettes again.

Can’t these officials ever read about the good that e-cigarettes can do? Don’t they know that

the product can be used to help people stop smoking? Don’t they read articles that include

comments from people who were heavy smokers but stopped because of e-cigarettes?

Comments such as this by Lance Light who said: “I would recommend an e-cig to anyone 

smoking or addicted to any tobacco product.”

E-cigarettes may not contain tar unlike poisonous tobacco cigarettes but sadly they seem to

be tarred by the same brush when it comes to being banned by so-called health officials.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Never ignore the positive facts about Vaping

There are so many great and inspiring stories from people who have used e-cigarettes to

turn their lives around. They’ve used e-cigarettes to get them off the damaging habit of

smoking tobacco cigarettes. Strangely though opponents of the e-cigarette industry choose

to ignore these stories and continue their campaign to clamp down on this great product.

Alex Schelb is a Stetson University junior, she’s 20 years of age but two years ago she

began smoking tobacco cigarettes. Not long after she found herself gasping for air when

running on a treadmill and was soon out of breath walking up stairs. That’s the damage

that tobacco cigarettes can cause. But since she switched to vaping, Alex is now able to

exercise for longer periods and is spending a lot less than she was when smoking.

This isn’t just an example of someone who has used e-cigarettes to quit smoking and

improve their health. A regular concern from opponents of e-cigarettes is the possible

dangers that the vapor produced presents to other people. That’s why they keep harking on

about banning the use of e-cigarettes indoors.

Yet Alex has this answer to those claims: “I haven't had a problem with smoking an e-cig,

I've never heard a complaint about it. I've never heard anyone say, 'Don't blow that smoke

toward me.' Nobody really cares.” Would the same be said if she was smoking a tobacco

cigarette? Of course not but still the criticism from those who ignore the truth continues.

However Alex ran into some problems at university when Stetson took the decision to ban

tobacco products on campus and that included e-cigarettes. You know, the e-cigarettes that

don’t contain tobacco. Other colleges have taken similar steps but Daytona State College

and Bethune-Cookman University showed common sense and didn’t include e-cigarettes in

their tobacco ban, so hats off to them.

Schelb was opposed to the decision and was dismayed that officials wouldn’t even allow a

certain area to be allocated for vaping to take place.

The University’s Vice President of Student Affairs is Christopher Kandus-Fisher who says

he’s troubled by the fact so little is known about e-cigarettes. Perhaps he should go online

more and read the comments from respected health bodies. He says: “There is not enough

information that says it is not harmful to the user and to those around them.” Perhaps he

should talk to his students more, especially Alex.

Additionally he might fancy a word with Mark Haswell from Deltona. He was a smoker for

34 years, had a nagging cough and three years ago had a heart attack. Those 34 years

breathing in dangerous chemicals certainly took their toll didn’t they?

He’d reached a point of no return so it was time to give up smoking. Nicotine patches and

gum failed to help him quit but the 53-year-old finally kicked the habit when he started using

e-cigarettes. “Since I stopped smoking, I feel awesome; unbelievable. I can walk up and

down stairs. I quit smoking thanks to this.”

Haswell gave an interview while in Yes! E-Cigs, a retailer on North Woodland Boulevard in

DeLand, close to Stetson University.

One of the big criticisms of e-cigarettes is the continual claim that they are being promoted

at under-18s. Robie Robinson, director of cardio pulmonary at Bert Fish Medical Center in

New Smyrna Beach, goes down the flavored route. She believes that even non-smokers

under 18 might start using e-cigarettes because of flavors such as bubblegum and gummy

bear: “Gummy bear is not a flavor that most adults want to go for. They look cool and they

are attractive to teenagers.”

Yet the Yes! E-Cigs shop has over 175 different flavors so they must include ones that

Robinson believes will attract under-18s. But that’s not the target audience in any way for

the retailer. Even if you go to their website it says “this site is for sales to adults 18 years or

older.” Their aim is not to sell e-cigarettes to under-18s and it was unnecessary legislation

to impose that law in Florida.

Perhaps those who are against e-cigarettes should also add Nancy Prudent to their list of

people who could show the real face of the product. She owns Yes! E-Cigs and says she’s

seen people who have used e-cigarettes to stop smoking after 60 years on tobacco.

Her view on the Stetson ban is straightforward and should be listened to: “Colleges should

embrace the e-cig and be glad their students are trying to get away from the tobacco.”

Further evidence of the positive side of e-cigarettes comes from Dr. Gary Blume who works

for Care Now in Deltoa. He says the signs of e-cigarettes being able to help people quit

smoking are promising and he’d rather see people using them than continuing to use

tobacco. Talking about the college ban he says: “Personally, if I had to make the decision, I

would not outlaw it. As a doctor, at this moment, the pros outweigh the cons.”

Why can’t officials see the good that e-cigarettes are capable of? Why not promote them

rather than seek to ban them? If they actually spoke to people who have been helped then

a different picture might just evolve. Is that too much to ask for?

Friday, October 3, 2014

New York victimization of e-cigarettes sees tobacco use increase

It appears that the seemingly non-stop campaign in New York City against e-cigarettes is having a damaging effect on its population.  Recently released figures show an increase in tobacco use in the Big Apple and that’s not good news for anyone.
It’s the third year in a row that tobacco use has increased and City officials are blaming a decrease in funding for anti-smoking programs as the reason.  But by also campaigning against e-cigarettes aren’t they shooting themselves in the foot?
There are plenty of studies that show e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.  Lots more too that show how e-cigarettes can be used to help smokers give up their health-destroying habit.  The American Heart Association have stated that e-cigarettes can have a “modest effect” on cessation. They suggest that if initial treatments fail then if the user wants to try e-cigarettes then they should be given support. 
So why can’t health officials in New York start backing e-cigarettes rather than making life tough for its producers? Programs aimed at and totally failing to reduce tobacco use in New York include free nicotine gum and patch giveaways. They also have some of the highest sin-tax rates in the nation but still tobacco use is increasing.  So it’s ok for them to give out free nicotine gum and patches but despite the advice given by the American Health Association, e-cigarettes aren’t being considered.

For several years New York has been far from a fan of e-cigarettes with legislation passed that bans e-cigarettes from public use.  That’s a decision that isn’t just illogical but one that is putting the citizens of New York at risk.

National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Jeff Stier says that “New York City spends like a drunken sailor on anti-smoking ads,”   He believes that the ban on e-cigarettes is hindering the efforts of people who are trying to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.
“Instead of supporting their use to help people quit smoking, the New York City public health establishment spends resources demonizing e-cigarettes and making them less appealing,” he explained.

His conclusion on the issue is a refreshing one: “Public health officials should learn a lesson. Put your hands back in your pockets, stop asking for more money and more tax increases for your ineffective policies, and instead show some humility, given the new findings.”

California Polytechnic State University Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Economics Michael Marlow has studied the subject of e-cigarettes and is also critical ofregulation. He believes it’s based on faulty public policy.  It’s his view that, if government agencies embraced e-cigarettes as a way to stop people smoking tobacco, then “between 2.4 and 6.4 million smokers” would successfully stop smoking.  Just imagine if that did happen?  It’d totally turn around those disappointing figures in New York but health officials there just don’t want to go down that route.
It’s not just people’s health that would be improved but according to Marlow, the benefits from so many people giving up smoking would be immense.  He calculates the cost-benefit to be between $15.6 and 49.2 billion per year.

So the situation in New York is that tobacco use is continuing to increase. The only people that ever want to see that happen are tobacco producers and tax officials.  Health officials can’t just go round bemoaning a drop in finances to fund their anti-tobacco campaigns. The fact is that in the past funding levels have gone down and so have rates of tobacco use.  If Health officials are really serious about helping people, then they should start reading the positive studies about e-cigarettes and begin using them to help combat tobacco use rather than victimizing the product.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

FDA Regulation of e-cigarettes will hide truth

It’s  time again for the FDA to be seen doing what they do best, namely sticking their head in the sand and ignoring more compelling evidence in favour of e-cigarettes.

The latest person to speak out in favour of e-cigarettes is California Polytechnic State University economics professor, Michael Marlow.  He has an article due for publication in ‘Regulation’ in which he writes about how negative it will be if the FDA go ahead with their proposed regulation of e-cigarettes.

If their planned regulation comes into force, e-cigarette manufacturers will be unable to market their product as being safer than traditional cigarettes. Or in other words, e-cigarette manufacturers will be prohibited from telling the truth. This planned ruling has not been subject to cost-benefit analysis either.

It beggars belief that the FDA can suggest doing this when there is so much evidence available.  Not just evidence about e-cigarettes being safer than traditional cigarettes but also their ability to help people stop smoking. Perhaps there’s an unwritten law hidden somewhere in the FDA that says it’s ok to clamp down on products that can help save lives.

Have they not seen the JAMA Patient Page, published by the American Medical Association last January?  That showed that e-cigarettes had several benefits, these included the fact they don’t contain tobacco and the fact that e-cigarette vapor is less toxic than second-hand smoke from tobacco cigarettes.  But the FDA still want to go ahead with their regulation.

According to Professor Marlow, the benefits related to e-cigarettes would be between $15.6 and $49.2 billion, yes billion. Where do these benefits come from?  They are based on between 2.4 and 6.4 millionsmokers giving up their life-threatening habit and turning to e-cigarettes instead.  Marlow says:  “Prohibiting sales to youth and requiring a clear description of product ingredients may be appropriate. But prohibiting any information regarding potential efficacy in harm reduction is hard to justify given substantial benefits reported in currently available studies.”
Meanwhile the FDA have announced that they are to hold a two-day public workshop one-cigarettes and public health.  Scientific and medical experts will be attending as well as other relevant participants from academia, public health organizations, government workers, and the tobacco industry.

I wonder what kind of sessions the FDA will be holding over the two days.  Perhaps those attending will be given lessons in how to ignore any comments that speak in praise of e-cigarettes.  Lessons may also be given in how to breathe properly while burying your head in sand.

Don’t miss out on the special offer of free calculators that can be used to work out how much the Government can make from taxing e-cigarettes.  Then there’s the workshop on how to suggest regulation for e-cigarettes but spend what seems forever before actually announcing what they are.   For those concerned about e-cigarettes being targeted at youngsters you’ll be given information in how to ignore signs by e-cigarette companies that prohibit sales to under-18s. Oh and definitely recommended is the workshop on how to classify a product that doesn’t contain tobacco as a tobacco product.  It really should be an entertaining couple of days.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why restrict vaping in the workplace?

I was doing some shopping earlier today and while in a clothes shop I saw someone using an e-cigarette. Smoking in the store is of course prohibited but no one was stopping this guy from using his e-cigarette.  Sadly that’s not always the case, especially in the workplace.
It’s a known fact that the vapors produced by e-cigarettes are nowhere near as toxic as those produced by tobacco cigarettes. There’s also no problem with the terrible odours that are produced by those smoking traditional cigarettes.  Yet there are still problems over the use of e-cigarettes in public places. The World Health Organization recently called for e-cigarettes to be banned in public places but why is this the case?

Jay Starkman is the founder and CEO of Engage PEO and recently published the article: ‘E-cigarettes in the workplace: A cigarette by any other name?’  He states that the arrival of e-cigarettes on the scene “is changing the smoking landscape and is creating a new issue for employers to consider.”

You can always tell the people who have jobs and are smokers. They’re the ones you see standing outside the building in all weathers grabbing a quick cigarette before returning to work. But should they be joined by e-cigarette users too?
The article tells how three states – New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah – have banned the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace. There are several municipalities; including Seattle, Boston and New York City have done the same.  Where laws haven’t been passed it’s down to employers to decide what to do and several of the country’s largest employers have decided not to allow e-cigarettes to be used in the workplace.

So why have they taken this decision?  Well it seems they believe the use of e-cigarettes by their employees will be disruptive. It may also cause anxiety to co-workers who are concerned about the impact of second-hand vapors on their health.
Anxiety is often caused when people don’t have sufficient facts about the problem being faced. But why is there concern over second-hand vapors when there is plenty of evidence that can allay any fears?

Constantinos Sioutas, professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering was a corresponding author of a study into e-cigarettes. It stated that their results “demonstrate that overall cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular cigarettes.”   Their tests weren’t carried out in laboratories but in offices and rooms in order to better simulate real-life exposure conditions.

Starkman writes about the fact that e-cigarettes can be used to smoke marijuana but without the odor usually identified with smoking that illegal substance. So Starkman claims that this fact is “another motivating factor for some employers to ban the use of e-cigarettes” and “yet another reason to address the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace.”
That’s crazy, as he mentions in the article, some of the top employers in the country have decided against e-cigarettes being used in their workplace. Do these employers honestly think the employee using an e-cigarette might actually be trying to get stoned while at work?

Restricting the places where e-cigarettes can be used isn’t just an infringement of civil liabilities but unnecessary. We know that e-cigarettes are a lot healthier than smoking tobacco cigarettes. Shouldn’t therefore employers be willing to allow them to be used in the workplace if it helps people move away from using tobacco? 

It makes sense after all, because their employees are going to keep using tobacco cigarettes and that will cause health problems in the long-run. Allowing them to use e-cigarettes can help their health because we also know they can help people quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.  Encouraging your employees to become healthier isn’t exactly a bad thing is it?