Study: E-Cigs Less Addictive Than Tobacco Cigarettes

December 9, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

addictionA new study from Penn State’s College of Medicine is showing what many had suspected all along — that the addictiveness of electronic cigarettes is distinctly lower than that of tobacco cigarettes. The study looked at the e-cig and tobacco “dependance scores” of more than 3,500 individuals with histories of using both products. Every individual that exhibited high dependance on electronic cigarettes exhibited a higher dependance on tobacco cigarettes.

According to Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State’s College of Medicine:

We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users.

He goes on to add:

We don’t have long-term health data of e-cig use yet, but any common sense analysis says that e-cigs are much less toxic. And our paper shows that they appear to be much less addictive, as well. So in both measures they seem to have advantages when you’re concerned about health.

You can read more about the study right here.

b88b529349d028401fa94816d9a105f2.image.200x200The researchers suggest that this reduced addictiveness may be related to the products’ inability to deliver nicotine as effectively. While this is almost certainly true, other researchers and preliminary evidence suggests that, in the absence of smoke (and many other constituents found in tobacco cigarettes), nicotine just isn’t as addictive when delivered via vapor.

The study shows promise not only for those hoping to quit, but also for those that start using electronic cigarettes without using other tobacco produces. There is significant concern that electronic cigarettes may lead the way to a new generation of addicted nicotine consumers. Evidence is already suggesting that a lifetime of nicotine consumption with electronic cigarettes has the potential to be no more harmful that a lifetime of caffeine use. Some experts have even claimed that a lifetime of e-cig use could be no more harmful than 2 months of smoking.

So for those that accept that part of the science, the argument becomes that addictiveness on its own is enough to warrant age restrictions, flavor and usage bans, and counter marketed. If that were truly the case, then caffeine, cheese, and video games would be more tightly controlled too. Now, it appears likely that those consuming nicotine exclusively via e-cigs may be more capable of quitting if they decide to do so. So even that argument is becoming hard to make.

Yale Study: Curiosity and Flavors Play Biggest Roles in E-Cig Trial Among Teens

December 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Yale+4A new study from the Department of Psychiatry at Yale’s School of Medicine has investigated why many teens try electronic cigarettes and why the stop using them. Surprising almost no one is the fact that basic curiosity and appealing flavors played the largest roles in getting teens to try the devices. This sparked researchers to urge the limiting of electronic cigarette flavor availability to reduce trial among teens — which will likely be parroted by anti-smoking zealots and nanny groups.

The study conducted 18 focus groups across one middle school, two high schools, and two colleges in Connecticut. They followed up with surveys across two additional middle schools, four additional high schools and one more college. Those studied could provide multiple reasons for their decision to try or quit electronic cigarettes.

Ultimately, researchers found that curiosity was a reason for trial among 54.4% and that appealing flavors was a reason among 43.8%. These were the top reasons followed by peer influence at 31.6%. This shouldn’t be surprising nor concerning — and it certainly shouldn’t be justification for banning flavors in the space. Despite some voices out there attempting to claim that flavors don’t matter to kids, they do. That doesn’t mean that we need to live in a world where electronic cigarettes are restricted to only tobacco and menthol flavors (as is the goal for some regulators).

You can find the study right here.

yale_logoLike anything else primarily for adults, we have to balance the benefits against the drawbacks and act appropriately. If the entire next generation uses electronic cigarettes because we allow a variety of flavors on the market, it could be well worth it if it means smoking (which is argued to be 99% more harmful) goes obsolete.

The study also shows that curiosity plays a bigger role in trial than flavors. This means that even without flavors, there will be a significant portion of teens that will try the products just to see what it’s like. The only way to prevent curiosity would be to prevent teens from even knowing electronic cigarettes exist. Again, like other things reserved for adults, we have to strike a balance between protecting kids and allowing adults the freedom to consume.

Alcoh0l is a good analogue for the debate. There are certainly some out there that would love to see all alcohol prohibited or more heavily restricted — and kids do get their hands on it and try it out of curiosity, because it sounds cool, because they are told they can’t have it, and because it comes in a variety of enticing flavors. But ultimately, to allow for consumer freedom, we allow enticing flavors of alcohol to exist and simply penalize those that allow alcohol to get into the hands of the underaged.

More information is always helpful and this study is no different. However, the decisions we make based on the these results should be based on a wealth of knowledge, not a few cherry-picked pieces that make the arguments we would like to see proven.

Some Familiar Arguments Against E-Cigs Are Now Being Made Against “Big Marijuana”

December 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

pot_frogLegalization is happening. States are rapidly realizing that a legal cannabis market holds a number of benefits including massive tax revenues, reduced black market sales, and open access to a drug for individuals that can actually benefit from it. Even in states lacking legalization (New York for example), there is movement towards decriminalizing possession and reducing it to a hefty fine instead.

But that movement is now being attacked for what might happen in the future because of it. Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is attempting to raise a ruckus over the possibility that “Big Marijuana” will likely market its products to children and teens. Already, he argues, marijuana shops sell candies, cookies, and lollipops which appeal to and attract kids. Big Think has a brief article on his statements here. He goes on to claim that Big Tobacco is likely to step into the industry and get up to its old tricks again attracting kids to its products with sleek ads and questionable marketing campaigns.

In short, he’s attempting to claim that any legalization should be halted so that this can’t happen. And while he’s a fairly solitary voice at the moment, you can bet someone will decide that he’s got a point and others will begin parroting his concerns.

9430062-largeKennedy may simply be looking for attention given his obscurity now that he’s not even a Congressman. He certainly knows enough about drug use to speak on the industry — having admitted to tangling with cocaine as a teenager, illicit drugs and alcohol abuse in college, and OxyContin abuse as recently as 2006. His experience with addiction has made him an advocate against marijuana legalization. But if history shaped his beliefs on illicit drug policy, one certainly wonders what company marketing campaign convinced him to take up cocaine as a teen.

In any case, we’re not trying to make a direct statement on legalization (though it’s hard not to), only that these statements sound eerily familiar to anyone following debates on electronic cigarettes. The existence of candy, fruity, and exciting flavors among electronic cigarettes is treated as an affront to all basic human decency. The cost of maybe attracting kids is automatically assumed to be too high compared to the benefit of offering freedom of choice to adult consumers. But this argument has trouble standing up in a reality where kids will use the devices regardless of the flavors available and the marketing that surrounds them.

Several_browniesI, for one, have spent time with 20- and 30-something year old stoners several orders of magnitude less mature than your average 14-year-old (that’s basically what the second half of college ends up being for a great many). It’s not unexpected that they might send hours watching cartoons power snacking on S’mores Pop-Tarts and special brownies (here’s where I claim that I was only there for the cartoons and S’mores). Isn’t it possible that marketing with drawn characters, candy flavors, and bright colors might appeal to “adults” — and that when these images appear only in adult-focused atmospheres (gas stations, magazines, and e-cig companies’ own websites for instance) that they maybe aren’t designed to catch kids?

The same attacks were made against an electronic cigarette e-liquid company not long ago when political advocates used EJuiceMonkey’s logo to claim that the industry at large was trying to attract kids with cartoon figures. At the time, said logo would only ever be seen by those already on the company’s website or those connected to the company via Facebook — both groups of which were made up primarily of adults looking for e-liquid to purchase. To this day, the EJuiceMonkey‘s logo remains blacked out in protest of the ridiculous claims about their image.

276912_207725579243120_1191176_n1Ultimately, it seems possible some irresponsible companies (in both industries) might produce imagery that appeals to a younger demographic than we’re all comfortable with. That’s the goal of almost any successful marketing endeavor, and there should certainly be controls and penalties set in place to prevent egregious missteps. However, the possibility that kids might find something cool that is reserved for adults (option the first criteria for what’s cool) should not be enough to place us at complete odds with that industry — especially when there are benefits to be had by its presence.

Yet again, there are some significant similarities in the tales being told by both the budding electronic cigarette industry and the boiling marijuana industry. And as much as both sides seem eager to distance themselves from one another, it seems likely that strides for either will be strides for both.

Three Days Left To Help Progress Our Scientific Understanding Of Electronic Cigarettes

December 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

dyvmjtvp1hqgfpyoyclhA crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo has been seeking the funds necessary to make possible a fairly extensive study into the impact of temperature on electronic cigarette vapor. The project is 3 days from ending and needs less than $20,000 to succeed. We’re hoping that it does.

The project is being helmed by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos — one of the first and more prominent researchers to tackle the science of electronic cigarettes use. His work has already assisted in showing that electronic cigarette use isn’t anywhere near as harmful as tobacco cigarette smoking.

Konstantinos-FarsalinosFor those not in the know, Indiegogo is a fairly simple funding platform for whatever projects someone might fancy. It allows small increment donations towards projects from large numbers of people. This will actually be the second crowdfunded e-cig study from the same people. The first sought $23,000 and obtained more than $33,000. That one ended back in February of this year.

You can check out the new project and donate to it right here.

In this instance, funds for the research project are collected even if it doesn’t reach its goal — which currently stands at $72,000. Even if they miss their goal, those funds are going to go towards research efforts that will likely improve the vaping industry and community as a whole.

With enough funding (most of which they are hoping will come from the industry rather than the community), Farsalinos plans for an extensive review of every way in which vaporizing temperature influence the health impact, effectiveness, and use of electronic cigarettes. This results of such extensive work are likely to influence conversations going on in media, political debates, legal proceedings, and more.

The impact of vaping temperature is rapidly becoming a hot topic (pun, sadly, intended). New devices and hobby equipment are making it possible for vapers to control the temperature of their electronic cigarette’s heating coil. Knowing how this might change the chemistry of e-liquids as they vaporize can only be helpful. Preliminary evidence already shows that higher temperatures and faster heating devices appear to release more harmful constituents (formaldehyde, metal particulates, and more). So far, no matter how bad these extra constituents could be, it still pales in comparison to that of tobacco smoke.

We hope to see this project hit its goal.

The FDA Can’t Handle Innovation, So It Stifles It… But That’s Exactly What E-Cigs Are

December 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

fda1Republicans and Democrats are going at it over the topic of electronic cigarettes which has turned out to be a surprisingly partisan topic. Front and center in the discussion is whether the FDA should move forward with its proposed regulation of the vaping and e-cig industry. Said regulation would require pre-market approval for any e-cig design that didn’t exist in 2007 along with hampering the marketing and advertising freedoms of the companies looking to sell the devices.

On one side, Democrats are arguing that e-cigs are just another tobacco industry ploy to ensnare impressionable youth into a lifetime of nicotine addiction. They go on to say that without proof that they are harmless, the government should regulate them with the assumption that they are harmful. Despite (quite literally) hundreds of studies showing e-cigs are nearly harmless, anti-smoking nuts (who tend to sit on the liberal side) refuse to accept any proof — nor will they accept the argument that a lower harm but effective alternative is better than no effective alternative for smokers.

On the other side, Republicans are commonly arguing that market freedom and consumer choice should take precedence over the potential harms of a device thus far proven to be undue harsh, bloated, and costly regulation. They, like much of the industry, aren’t saying there shouldn’t be any oversight, just that it should be appropriate to the risks and costs of the products. While tobacco cigarette smoking ultimately kills half of all smokers (and so is regulated harshly), electronic cigarettes appear to bring a net benefit to the nicotine use equation by helping smokers quit, reducing the harm nicotine consumption normally does, and even cutting down on secondhand harm (of which there appears to be none).

maxresdefaultFDA regulators are standing mostly on the side of harsh regulation first and harsher regulation later. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To the FDA, the booming e-cig industry represents a new way to grow and expand its powers. The very idea that an essentially health-related product exists in the market without their control is beyond unreasonable.

But the problem doesn’t come from the FDA’s simple desire to regulate the industry. By and large, consumers and business leaders within the industry would like to see appropriate regulation happen. For consumers, it means safer products. For companies, it means an even playing field and the expulsion of competition that cuts corners, rips off consumers, and takes short term profits at the expense of the long term health of the industry.

galapagos-tortoise_532_600x450But ultimately, the FDA is an organization designed to stifle and slow innovation. They place extremely high standards of proof on what can come to market and place exhaustive and expensive hurdles between companies and their profits. While this often keeps unsafe products from coming to market and harming consumers, it also slows innovation to a near dead crawl. All this happens so the FDA can review new innovations at the pace and frequency of Galapagos tortoise sex.

One telling point was made to me some time ago by Boston University professor and vaping advocate Michael Siegel. He said that under current controls, it would have been impossible to ever get aspirin (a veritable wonder drug) to market. Even the smallest steps in pharmaceutical advancements often require someone to dump million or (more likely) billions on research. Ultimately this prevents any but the biggest of companies from opening new markets and improving on old, obsolete technologies. In essence, innovation is only for the big dogs when the FDA is involved.

spectl01-1363197454219But as much as electronic cigarettes are a health-impact product (even absent health claims, it’s safe to assume they do impact a user’s health), they are more just a simple bit of innovation brought to something that hasn’t hardly changed since 1865 with the invention of cigarettes. Since arriving mostly around 2009, electronic cigarettes have been upgraded and customized perpetually now ranging in size, shape, and quality as much as both consumer electronics and foods combined. This means they are, in every way, the exact opposite of what the FDA is equipped to deal with — a rapidly evolving electronic device which people demand access to right now.

Thus the FDA’s plan to halt all innovation in the industry since 2007 and make companies start applying for market approval. In this instance, though, they’re way too late. People have caught a glimpse of what a world with electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers can do to the smoking epidemic. It doesn’t look like e-cigs will be slowing down. Perhaps the FDA will have to catch up.

Arizona Paper Calls Proposed State E-Cig Tax “Hasty Money Grab”

December 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

5661597-Phoenix_Capital_Building-0Arizona, like many states, is looking for ways to squeeze more space into its budget. Currently, they have something in the neighborhood of a $1 billion budget deficit to make up for. Like some other states, the rapidly booming vaping industry is looking like a good place grab some quick and easy cash now and in the future.

The tax rate they’re seeking is something close to the state’s tax on tobacco — which is currently $2 per pack. That’s already likely to create some issues given that e-cigs and their components are not often sold in direct tobacco cigarette pack applicable quantities.

Although state financiers claim the tax could pull in $6 million a year for Arizona, the Associated Press has reported that the actual revenue could be as little as $284,000 depending on the tax rate and actual sales.

But what’s a bit surprising about this is that a local paper in Arizona, the News-Herald published an editor’s opinion piece calling the tax a hasty money grab. From the article:

As it stands, the proposed e-cigarette tax is a money grab, pure and simple, with no additional value to society.

pajakThe editors mention the wildly misleading study from Japan which claims e-cigs possess 10 times the carcinogens of tobacco cigarettes. However, they go on to say that the jury is still out on e-cigs — which for once is refreshing to see given the study they did highlight. They even go on to argue that a “sin tax” on e-cigs can’t yet be justified and may simply prevent some smokers from quitting with the help these new devices.

It’s rare to see a media outlet — especially a local-level one — take a stance on electronic cigarettes that goes against the alarmist hysteria we’re all used to hearing. “Something is going to kill you” almost always gets more eyes and attention than “Let’s be reasonable.” This is exactly why the misleading statements about the study from Japan are getting so much coverage despite being very easy to clarify and correct.

Wisconsin Teen Smoking Rate Plummets Just as E-Cig Use Enters the Picture

November 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

7738465856_230d65d5e4_zIf that headline sounds familiar, it’s because we ran one eerily similar within the last month, but set in Minnesota. Now a new bit of research in Wisconsin is showing that this trend may be common to e-cigs and smoking in more than just a few select environments.

According to the Wisconsin Youth Tobacco Survey, the smoking rate among Wisconsin high school students has dropped from 13.1 percent in 2012 to 10.7 percent. That’s well below the national average of 12.7 percent. Anti-tobacco campaigners are quick to take credit for such a decline, but yet again, it seems to be happening in tandem with increases in electronic cigarette use by the same group.

The same study found that around 8% of students were using electronic cigarettes — well above the presumed national average of around 4-5%. And while, yet again, anti-tobacco nuts are claiming this is a bad thing, the numbers are suggesting that e-cigs may be helping with the decline of smoking among teens.

You can read more on the report here.

teens smokeSome are treating news of increasing e-cig use among teens as a 100% negative — arguing that tobacco companies have just found a different way to ensnare and ultimately kill their customers. However, many public health experts are beginning to see e-cigs as the silver bullet that may eventually end tobacco.

While a perfect world may be one in which teens use nothing we might disapprove of, that’s certainly never going to be the reality. In a realistic (and reasonably free) world, the best we can hope for is that teens use something that doesn’t impact their long-term health and isn’t nearly impossible to quit when and if they eventually decide to do so. In both of these instances, electronic cigarettes appear to succeed. Studies continue to prove e-cigs are about 99% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes (despite misleading evidence to the contrary), and preliminary evidence suggests that nicotine is not nearly has addictive with consumed without smoke.

If e-cigs continue to obsolete tobacco cigarettes, we may actually see a smoke-free world in our lifetime.

Wildly Misleading Study Spun As Proof E-cigs Possess 10 Times the Carcinogens of Tobacco

November 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

research_centres_and_groupsA study from Japan was published this week that media are already calling the latest blow to an invention once heralded as less harmful than smoking. According to the researchers, electronic cigarettes tested for carcinogens proved to have 10 times the formaldehyde normally found in tobacco cigarettes. This has been spun as E-cigarettes contain up to 10 times the amount of cancer-causing agents as regular tobacco.

In reality, managing to get 10 times the carcinogens of tobacco cigarettes into anything remotely similar in scope would be a feat of chemical engineering. Despite decades of study, scientists are still working to identify all the crap found in tobacco smoke. Best estimates put the number of constituents somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000. Thus far, more than 4000 identified constituents have been deemed extremely harmful to one’s health.

For a moment, let’s assume that the researchers did find 10 times the formaldehyde in equivalent amounts of e-cig vapor as tobacco smoke (even though it only occurred in one brand). There’s still a few problems with the way this is getting spun — the first of which being that formaldehyde is not nearly the worst or only constituent in cigarette smoke which users should be worried about.

study-drugs-ftrEven if there is a surplus of formaldehyde in e-cig vapor compared to tobacco smoke, there’s much higher amounts of Acetylene, Ammonia, Cyanide, Benzene, and much, much more to be worried about. Countless other studies have found levels for all these constituents (including formaldehyde) in most e-cig vapor occur at levels 10, 100, or 1000 times below that of cigarette smoke. Many constituents known to occur in tobacco smoke haven’t even been found in electronic cigarette vapor.

Still, it seems the researchers found only a single e-cig brand that (inconsistently) produced a high level of formaldehyde. At this point, there are so many brands and companies that a single (probably cut-rate piece of crap) hardly represents the chemical architecture of the industry at large. “In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette,” said researcher Naoki Kunugita, adding that the amount of formaldehyde detected varied through the course of analysis. Sounds to me like they chose to cherry pick only the information that made the point they were looking for.

Again, even assuming e-cig vapor contains 100 times the formaldehyde of tobacco smoke, their use would still be far, far less harmful than smoking.

Of course, this news will likely travel the media circuit pretty fast. However, there is much more evidence that e-cig vapor isn’t nearly the danger some misleading studies would have us believe.

This Is How Quickly E-Cig News Gets Blown Out Of Proportion

November 26, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

InTheNewsIt all started with a single post on Reddit’s “Tales from Tech Support” page. A user claimed that a virus which infiltrated a corporation’s network came from a Chinese electronic cigarette USB charger which possessed a hard-coded malware designed to infect any computer it was plugged into.

The story is quite likely to be true — and it wouldn’t be the first time a USB device from a cut-rate foreign supplier carried a nasty computer virus with it. But the interesting story here is just how nuts media went over the story — which it retold again and again with nothing to go on beyond an essentially unchecked anonymous user submitted claim.

One particularly inspired bit of coverage claimed the news was based on a new study and then went on to say that the claim was reported by the Guardian and based on a user post on Reddit. From there, major news outlets all over covered the single incident without a single new bit of information or even enough investigation to make sure the report was true.

newsWe’re not saying that the story is bunk. Again, it’s likely true. But this is a story with, quite literally, international recognition based only on a single anonymous account on Reddit.

Coverage can be found at any of the following: The Guardian, Aninews, The Business Standard, Sputnik News, Zee News, The Himalayan Times, The Malaysian Digest, South China Morning Post, International Business Times, Neowin.Net, Yahoo News, Newswire, Headline & Global News, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, NBC San Diego, and IT PRO.

Certainly this bit of news hits a perfect sweet spot between things people are worried about — electronic cigarettes and computer viruses. Both are media shorthand for the boogie man among technologically illiterate adults. E-cigs are still being treated by many outlets as new way for the smoking habit to get into the hands of children while computer viruses are like STDs for your computer that steal your information and make you use their search engines.

It’s really no wonder this bit of “news” has gotten so much attention.

NJ Mother Seeking Appeal for Daughter’s Four Day Suspension For Possession of E-Cig

November 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

5470a833949e2A New Jersey mother has enlisted the help of a lawyer in appealing a school’s decision to suspend her 16-year-old daughter for four days. The offense: possession of an electronic cigarette which the school considers drug paraphernalia. This may seem like a relatively small thing, but the ramifications of the outcome could effect how many more schools treat e-cig possession within their halls.

Kathleen Leone, with a lawyer in tow, is appealing the decision with the school board. It seems that not only did the school suspend the daughter under its written drug paraphernalia possession rules, but it also sought to drug test the teen. Leone didn’t give permission for such a test, and generally felt that the school’s written codes should treat e-cig possession as it would a smoking infraction.

Teens-SmokingShe’s probably not wrong. This sends a couple messages about the school’s leadership. First, they don’t understand electronic cigarettes. Second, it seems likely they are simply hoping to make an example of Leone’s daughter. And third, they are sending the wrong message to other kids in the school about smoking and electronic cigarette use.

On the first point, despite the ability to use electronic cigarettes for the consumption of illicit drugs, the vast majority of e-cigs are used to consume nicotine. And although nicotine has a fairly bad reputation due to its connection to smoking, it is not an illegal, illicit, or controlled substance in the US. Treating e-cigs as drug paraphernalia is about as appropriate as treating a lighter, matches, or a spoon the same way. Ultimately, the vast majority of use is legal and absent illegal drugs.

On the second point and third, a four day suspension for what likely amounts to a pack of smokes seems like the school is looking to send a message of no tolerance about for electronic cigarettes — especially since they are the new thing. This likely means the punishment for being caught with tobacco cigarettes — which are far more deadly and (according to new evidence) may be far more likely to addict a user — is probably far less. If it’s anything like when I was in high school, the most anyone gets — to avoid paperwork and parent meetings — is the confiscation of their smokes and a slap on the wrist.

teensmoking-1So in this way, the school might actually be encouraging kids who will consumer nicotine anyway to go with the far more harmful and addictive method.

But there is some potential good here. This could be the landmark case that influences how all future e-cig possession challenges are handled among American schools. Even without the results, this shows that some parents won’t stand by while their child handed an extreme punishment for possessing little more than the equivalent to a pack of smokes. Even if this doesn’t keep schools from trying to set an example with these punishments, it should convince them to pen very clear rules before handing down judgements.

You can read more on the story right here.

E-Cig USB Chargers Reported As New Source For Malicious Computer Viruses

November 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

usbplugs-640x353The latest freak out about electronic cigarettes appears to be a slightly legitimate one — computer viruses. According to various sources (any of which could be bunk), some electronic cigarette USB chargers have been found to have computer viruses hard-coded into them to infect any system they’re attached to.

How big a deal this might be has yet to be seen. This source, for instance, reports that the Guardian news site reports that a Reddit user claimed to know someone hit by a computer virus this in this way. It looks like all the up roar came from little more than this single post.

It’s certainly likely, and it wouldn’t be the first time a USB device from a cut-rate foreign supplier carried a nasty computer virus with it.

While this could certainly be a concern for some, it could be a good thing for many. Use of cut-rate USB chargers — primarily from Chinese suppliers — has been linked to countless house fires around the world. These chargers regularly overheat or overcharge e-cig batteries causing them to catch fire or even explode. This has happened with car, wall outlet, and computer chargers.

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out and see if this really is something to be concerned about. If you are anyway, simply stick to wall outlet chargers for now.

Belgian Study: E-Cigs Cut Tobacco Use By 60% Across 48 Quit-Resistant Smokers

November 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Belgische--20vlag--20wapperendThe studies keep coming.  Following an Italian study earlier in the week which showed e-cigs do appear to help smokers kick the habit, another study from Belgium shows very much the same. Out of 48 smokers — all of which were deemed highly-resistant to quitting — 21% had kicked the habit as of the end of the eight-month study. Another 23% had cut their smoking by half or more.  All together, tobacco consumption across the entire group fell by 60%.

You can read more about the study right here.

The researchers were quick to argue that e-cigs offered an alternative to smoking which proved successful at helping smokers cut down on their tobacco intake or quit entirely. “E-cig users get the experience of smoking a cigarette and inhale nicotine vapor, but do not suffer the damaging effects of a tobacco cigarette,” says authors Frank Baeyens and Dinska Van Gucht.

This is yet another in a long line of studies that shows electronic cigarettes work to the end of smoking cessation and reduction. There also stands a litany of studies which show the devices are around 99% less harmful than smoking. This is making it increasingly difficult for e-cig opponents to lean on arguments that there is no science to back up claims that the devices aren’t deadly and do help smokers.

Further preliminary research and evidence appears to suggest that, in the absence of tobacco smoke, nicotine vapor is not nearly as addictive. This makes it much easier for users to reduce the nicotine concentration of their choice e-cigs, to cut back on total intake of nicotine, and to eventually quit the drug entirely if that is what they wish to do.

A Quick Language Guide for the Traveling Vaper

November 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

IEWimageWhat with Vape being the Oxford word of the year, it got me to wondering how vaping and electronic cigarettes were spoken of in other languages. With quite a lot of help from the electronic cigarette Reddit community, I’ve got a decent number of translations for vaping and e-cigs which presumably come from actual speakers of those languages. Many thanks to all that contributed.

Before digging in, I would like to say a quick word on the value of the e-cig Reddit community. At this point, I’ve spoken with countless individuals that are new to or wondering about vaping. For the questions I can’t answer — the most common of which being what should I use if I smoke such-n-such brand? – the first place I send people is there. Despite the open-ended and mostly anonymous nature of the space, the community is filled primarily with enthusiastic people who will go far out of their way to help others in it. No matter how obscure the question, someone on there will likely have an answer for you.

Anyway, here’s what we’ve got! Feel free to contribute if you know a particular colloquial or translation we don’t have here. In many areas, the English words are used without translation.

The pronunciations are my best guess with the help of Google Translate. We may add more as we find them.

Chinese: Apparently the English words are used rather than a Chinese equivalent (this happens for a lot of other languages). It also appears 电烟 (Diàn yān/Din Yan) can be used — which translates directly to Electric Cigarette.

Dutch: Dampen (Dam-peh) meaning vapor or to vaporize.

Farsi: E-cigs are called gheylyoun dasty, which translates roughly to Hand Hookah.

Finnish: To Vape is Höyrytellä (hu-ru-tellah) or höyryttää (hu-ru-tahh), which means steamer and to steam respectively.

French (Including Quebec): To Vape is Vapoter (Vap-oo-teh) and a Vaper is Vapoteur (Vap-oo-tair).

German: Dampfen (Dahm-fin) meaning to steam is used for to vape.

Greek: Ατμοποιω (At-mo-pee-o) means vaporizes and is used for to vape.

Italian: To Vape is Svapare (Svah-pah-rey) — a new enough term, it seems, that Google Translate is not up to date on it.

Japanese: 電子たばこ (Denshi Tabako/Den-sh Tab-ak-o) directly translates to electronic cigarette.

Portuguese: Use Vaporizar (Vap-or-ee-zar) which means Vaporize.

Russian: The word for Vaping and Vaporizing, парить (párit — to steam), colloquially means to be annoying. Mostly though, it seems Russians use the English words.

Spanish: Vapear (Vap-ee-air) and Vaporizar (Vap-or-ee-zar) both can be used for to vape.

Other notes:

  • In the United Kingdom, electronic cigarettes are often called e-fags.
  • This story is a hilarious warning about attempting your own translation without the help of a native speaker.

Vape is Oxford’s Word of the Year and That Means Something

November 18, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Oxford_2727714bThe Lexicographers over at Oxford choose one word as the word of the year annually. Last year, it was Selfie. This year, its Vape. While this is a bit of a surprise, it certainly makes since. Vape beat out budtender, bae, contactless, normcore, and slacktivist — none of which had I heard before reading about Vape becoming the word of the year.

You can read about the announcement here among other places.

The decision reflects on just how much electronic cigarettes have come to influence the world in the last few years. Beyond that, it shows just how much discussion of e-cigs has monopolized the time of researchers, media professionals, politicians, and just about everyone else at one point or another.

Between discussion of potential bans and restrictions, arguments over the health consequences and benefits, and the absolute obsession of vaping hobbyists, vape occurred everywhere. At one point around April, it was being used nearly 1,200 times per billion words.

What’s more, electronic cigarettes have taken off to such a degree that the word cigarette no longer includes the assumption that it contains tobacco.

Italian Study: Electronic Cigarettes “inserted in a specific clinical methodology” Are Effective In Smoking Cessation.

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

8959106-largeThe Italian Observatory for Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs is conducting a multi-step study where it provides a clinical approach to smoking cessation through the use of electronic cigarettes. The results thus far are nothing short of promising.

The study took 34 quit-resistant smokers all of which had smoked 20 cigarettes a day for at least 20 years. Unlike some previous studies, researchers in this one provided the smokers with extensive instruction in the use of electronic cigarettes along with some traditional quit coaching. As a result, at the 4 month mark, 50% were still using just electronic cigarettes, 24% used both, and 26% had gone back to smoking exclusively.

But that’s not all. Individuals who used both or had gone back to just smoking showed a significant reduction in overall amount of tobacco cigarette use and already showed overall improved lung health. As well, it appears electronic cigarettes in the hands of educated users were able to provide enough nicotine to quell cravings and withdrawal effects.

You’ll probably need to translate the page (unless you can read Italian), but information on the study can be found here.

The next step for the study is to gradually reduce nicotine content of the products so that the users can attempt to break their addiction to nicotine entirely.

Here’s 3 Weird Stories From This Week That Involve E-Cigs

November 14, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

e_cigaretteThis week has some interesting stories to tell. Each is connected to electronic cigarettes in some interesting way.  So here’s 3 interesting nuggets. Please enjoy.

Part 1: The Mass In Mass

It seems the town of Westminster in Massachusetts is seeking to enact a 100% ban on the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, within the boundaries of the city. This has not gone over well with many of the locals, and a hearing on Wednesday was forced to end early for fear that the crowd might riot. Even if it hadn’t, the boos and shouts from the crowd made it impossible for the hearing to make any progress. What would likely have been a 3 hour hearing was closed within 25 minutes.

user11484-1282769718-4079_ffffff_138_123_PrsMe_If passed, this would be the first ban of its kind in the nation. But the locals certainly aren’t happy. In addition to arguing for consumer freedom, local convenience stores stand to lose $100,000 in tobacco sales and more as smokers head out of town for their tobacco and likely grab other groceries while they’re at it. Those in favor of the ban were quick to argue that it would protect kids from smoking and bubblegum-flavored cigars and electronic cigarettes.

There will not be a make-up hearing. Locals may submit comments by December 1st if they would like to be heard.

Part 2: Australia Accidentally Allows E-Cigs

ttwgh29z-1363673437Despite extensive (and confusing) national bans on e-cigs in Australia, there were three electronic cigarette products which had approval to be sold as medical devices for smoking cessation for the last 2 months. EVA Natural applied to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods for the right to sell three products as medical devices designed for smoking cessation. All three applications were approved within about 24 hours, but now the Register is undoing what it considers a mistake.

But really, it’s no wonder there is confusion when it comes to electronic cigarettes in Australia. The rules on them vary wildly depending on the interpretation of a given judge in a given area at any given time. In many situations, the interpretation is something close to a complete ban, but not always. Some areas, for instance, only ban electronic cigarettes that look like conventional tobacco cigarettes.

A spokeswoman said the error was fixed after someone realized the device had been “self-listed inappropriately.” That’s oversight at its best.

ISIL-fighterPart 3: Smoking Addiction Lands Terror Group Member in Jail

Flavien Moreau, a citizen of France, left to join the Islamic terror group the ISIL, but quit after only 10 days because he couldn’t handle the smoking ban the organization has mandated for its fighters. He returned to France with the intention of purchasing an electronic cigarette and attempting to quit so that he could rejoin. However, he was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 7 years of jail time for his involvement with the terror group. Another French national was sentenced to 4 years for corresponding with Moreau.

A smoking ban among fighters probably makes sense. Smoking can be a regular distraction for individuals that might otherwise be more attentive to their surroundings. This rule, however, just landed two members in jail and has probably lost them more than that. It seems possible that a total smoking ban does more harm than good. Nicotine withdrawal can have some nasty effects on an otherwise effective soldier.

Still, this was not a story I would ever have expected to read.


Tavern League of Wisconsin Gets Black River Falls to Hold Off On E-Cig Regs

November 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Black_River_Falls_Downtown_Looking_North_WIS54Here’s a story that is becoming far more common in recent months. Black River Falls in Wisconsin was considering hefty regulations on electronic cigarettes, but decided to wait instead. If the regulations had gone forward, it would have expanded the definition of smoking within the city to include electronic cigarettes. This would have led to indoor and public usage bans, age restrictions on sales, and more.

However, The Tavern League of Wisconsin (a trade organization for bars and restaurants) weighed in. Attorney Mike Wittenwyler drafted a letter for the organization which it then relayed to officials. That letter argued that the city did not have the authority to expand the definition of smoking so that it could regulate and control electronic cigarettes. Attempting to do so would be beyond the scope of the powers the state grants to its cities with regards to regulating smoking.

What’s more, Wittenwyler argued that e-cig regs wouldn’t do anything to protect the health and comfort of the public — as was the intention of smoking controls. Black River Falls’ city attorney Dan Diehn stated that he believed Wittenwyler’s arguments to be incorrect. While the city may have the ability to regulate electronic cigarettes, it does seem likely that they were attempting to do so in a technically incorrect way.

Downtown2-300x225Ultimately, city officials decided to wait on making a decision. Even if the city has the right to regulate e-cigs under smoking laws and officials believe they would be protecting public health by doing so, it seems they want to take time to make sure they do things right. That just gives them more time to learn about the issue. More information has almost always been to the benefit of e-cigs.

This is the first I’ve seen of bars and restaurants (or one of their representative organizations) stepping up to fight for electronic cigarettes — particularly the ability to allow customers to use them indoors. It shouldn’t be a surprising thing.  There was a strong cultural connection between smoking and drinking for a long time. Bars ultimately lost a lot of business when indoor smoking bans went into effect.

For many places, the ability to recapture that social atmosphere without the smoke could lead to a lot more business without the secondhand complications.

You can read more about the Black River Falls decision here.

Vapers Credited with Political Victory in New Mexico

November 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

new-mexico-map-magnifying-glass-600 304It seems the District 24 representative seat in New Mexico has changed hands and it’s vapers that made the swing possible. Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Thomson lost the seat to Republican Conrad James by less than 400 votes according to local reports. Apparently a last minute push by local vapers against Thomson for her anti-vaping views made all the difference.

You can read more about the results here.

conrad-jamesIt sounds like Thomson (pictured below on the right) is one of the many classic anti-smoking advocates which can’t seem to accept vaping. She co-chairs the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Oversight Committee there and has been pushing for harsh regulations on electronic cigarettes. That led to some vapers seeking local and even national support for James in the recent election.

James (pictured on the left) had the seat once before, but lost it to Thomson 2 years ago.

Thomson spoke to the Albuquerque Journal about the loss saying that vapers probably didn’t make a huge difference. But on the topic of e-cigs, she said, “My gut is that they’re probably not as dangerous as regular cigarettes, but we don’t have the science to prove that, and I go on science.” If that’s so, and there is no science, then on what science is Thomson basing her suggestions that e-cigs be regulated?

DSC_7442_copy3Though Thomson was not at the most recent meeting of the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Oversight Committee, the group did decide to push for a tax on electronic cigarettes along with an age restrictive provision. This is likely to be in line with Thomson’s views on the products.

With this win (and others), republican representatives now outweigh democratic reps in the state house.

According to the Journal, Thomson raised at least $176,000 while James raised something closer to $125,000 for his race. It seems vapers really can make quite a difference.

Minnesota Teen Smoking Rate Plummets Just as E-Cig Use Enters the Picture

November 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

minnesotaFrom 2011 to 2014, the smoking rate among teens in Minnesota dropped from 18.1 percent to 10.6 percent. This is according to a new study from the state’s Department of Health. It appears as though electronic cigarettes might be influencing this decline.

You can read more about the study right here.

Youth Tobacco Surveys throughout the country have been noting a decline in tobacco use by teens for decades. In the late 2000′s, these rate declines appeared to stagnate a bit. However, it appears that in the last few years smoking decline has been revitalized by something.

Minnesota-Spoon-624x452Anti-smoking groups are very quick to lay claim to the credit for these declining rates, but many experts are suspecting that electronic cigarette may be the real silver bullet which is making a difference. The survey found that 12.9 percent of teens had used electronic cigarettes at least once in the 30 days previous to the survey. A similar statistic isn’t even available for 2011 because electronic cigarettes were almost completely under the radar of regulatory groups — and teens too.

Tobacco sales have always found their foundation in teen use. Addiction, quite plain and simple, is strongest when it grabs hold of an individuals as early on as possible. The likelihood of someone becoming a smoking drops off almost entirely if they make it to the age of 21 without becoming addicted.  This is why some cities and states are attempting to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

Opponents of electronic cigarettes are quick to claim the devices might re-glamorize smoking and some recent TV ads certainly make that seem possible. However, many experts agree that a strong, unimpeded marketing and advertising push for the products is exactly what the world needs to truly see tobacco cigarettes made obsolete. Many experts even believe that in the absence of smoke, nicotine is not as addictive and easier to quit.

All Over — Locals Battle Against Turning Empty Storefronts Into Vape Shops

November 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Vape-Bar-cleanYour average small storefront brings about a half million dollars into a local community in the form of sales, taxes, payroll, rent, and more. Empty storefronts are unsightly wounds on a local community’s economy. But that doesn’t keep locals from raising alarms and starting fights when someone brave enough comes along to put a vape shop in at one of these locations.

There remains a problem with the United States economy — one that may never get fixed. It is nearly impossible for most traditional (i.e. non-offensive) small store businesses to make enough money to survive. This includes hardware, toy, stationary, and specialty grocery stores. But less traditional (i.e. more viable) businesses are fought by locals when they want to move into an otherwise vacant space. This includes massage parlors, tattoo shops, and recreational (bars, dispensaries, etc) outlets.

People really don’t buy stuff in small stores anymore. Superstores like Walmart, K-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and more have made small outlets nearly obsolete. What they haven’t put out of business, online options have. All in all, there’s very few ways to make a storefront profitable these days. This is an old argument, but it’s flaring up again in light of the new opportunity vape stores now offer.

HappyVape1The need to fill a vacant store front and the benefit of a new business to a local economy doesn’t keep locals from complaining if the new business isn’t to their liking. That’s exactly what’s going on in San Fransisco where a young couple if fighting for their right to open an electronic cigarette shop and hookah lounge. Locals are fighting to keep this business from opening in an area that already possesses (according to one local) a shady massage parlor, a cannabis dispensary, a billiards joint, and a tattoo parlor.

Another argues that the corridor is in jeopardy because we are not attracting neighborhood services that we need — hardware stores, stationary stores, toy stores, specialty grocery stores and many more. Notice anything about what is there versus what they claim they want there. What’s there is what’s still profitable and can’t (or won’t) be replaced by big stores or online sales. What they want there are businesses that almost certainly can’t survive and — more than likely — aren’t at all necessary.

s1s-1024x768So on one side, you’re arguing for an amoral business front and profits before the health of locals (if you know nothing about e-cigs, that is). On the other side, you are anti-business and would rather a storefront be empty forever than allow a promising new product be sold in your area because you’re too close-minded to see the opportunity. This is the problem with everything needing to be 100% one way or the other. Like everything else, can’t we offer the freedom of consumers to choose, but then the controls that require only a certain age buy the product and the known risks be openly stated? That’s what we do with tattoos, alcohol, and driving a car.

But that’s what would-be vape shop owners are fighting against — locals that would rather a vacant shop stay vacant than a vape shop move in. These kind of scorched earth tactics help no one and only slightly de-ruffle the feathers of people who love to have ruffled feathers.

Nova Scotia’s E-Cig Regulations Plan No Longer Bans Flavors

November 6, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

ns_can_flagNova Scotia’s Health Minister Leo Glavine introduced regulations recently which will hammer electronic cigarettes in almost all ways that tobacco too is controlled. This includes prohibiting sales to anyone under the age of 19, disallowing stores from displaying, advertising, or promoting the products, and banning the sale of all flavors other than tobacco and menthol.

However, recent amendments to the proposed regulation now grant electronic cigarettes a pass on the flavors ban. This means that sellers there won’t be restricted to only offering tobacco and menthol flavored e-cigs and e-liquid. It appears, though, that there will still be controls set on how sellers can market and advertise whatever flavors they sell.

e-eigarette-250x166Many electronic cigarette opponents are calling the change a big win for Big Tobacco. They argue that flavors — particularly sweet ones like candies and fruits — target and appeal primarily to teens. As teens are the demographic on which future tobacco profits are founded, it certainly sounds like a reasonable grievance to those that don’t know anything else about the industry.

But in reality, this is anything but a win for Big Tobacco. The availability of a wide range of flavors has already been shown to better allow electronic cigarettes to snag smokers away from tobacco. Flavor variety also appears to be a crucial component in helping smokers quit smoking entirely through the use of e-cigs. Simply put, it makes transitioning to e-cigs more likely.

You can read more about the changes right here.

When the regulations were first brought forward, John Haste of Canada’s Electronic Cigarette Trade Association called the proposal a “knee-jerk” reaction based on incomplete science. Perhaps those behind it are starting to realize that there is possibility among these mostly alien (to them) products.


Editorial Argues University Should Ban Tobacco but Allow E-Cigs

November 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

St-Edwards-University-065C12BBSt. Edward’s University is a liberal arts Roman Catholic university in Austin, Texas. Its local student paper is Hilltop Views which had a fairly surprising editorial this week on the issue of smoking and electronic cigarettes. The crux: ban tobacco cigarettes and allow e-cigs.

You can read the editorial right here.

What’s surprising is that St. Edwards is still a smoke friendly campus — an increasing rarity in this age. So anything that moves the campus towards meaningful action against smoking is a good thing. Still, it’s hard to change things when smoking is such an ingrained part of our culture (even now). But it seems electronic cigarettes offer a unique opportunity in this sort of debate — the ability to ban cigarettes will still allowing something that mostly sates the needs of users.

St-Edwards-University-4AAA407C-300x209The editorial makes a few surprisingly good points. The writers argue that e-cigs offer far less primary and secondary harm (including citing a couple studies). Beyond that, however, the editorial also points out that users of electronic cigarettes are predominantly current and ex-smokers.

What the writers finally settle on, is that smoking should be free to be done by anyone provided it doesn’t impact the health of those around them. Electronic cigarette offer that and more.

E-Research Foundation Launches Comprehensive Vapor Products Research Site

November 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

tumblr_neaxnw1cPQ1qc8949o1_1280A relatively new voice in the debate over electronic cigarettes has emerged with a fairly impressive resume. The E-Research Foundation (ERF for short) is a non-profit (pending) organization dedicated to funding, promoting, and disseminating research which helps us better understand electronic cigarettes and vapor products.

Their new website is going to be a housing location for existing knowledge on vapor products and a launching ground for new research. Generally this will be peer-reviewed and published studies from credible sources. Already, the site has a list of studies totaling 92 at the time this post was published. It certainly makes it hard to take anyone seriously when they claim there’s no research into electronic cigarettes or vapor products.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a need for more research. For opponents to the products, it seems there is no amount of research that will be enough to convince them maybe these products have something to offer. But ERF isn’t going to be getting involved in advocacy and lobbying. They exist to be a neutral player in all this. They fund research and share it with the world regardless of whether it supports the industry or not.

LouLincwithAEMSACertainly there will be claims that they are biased — after all, their leadership includes prominent e-cig advocates Lou Ritter  (American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association), Cynthia Cabrera (Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association), Peter Beckett (Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association in the UK), Linc Williams (We are Vapers) and more. However, the organization itself is designed with a singular focus on advancing medical and scientific research. Though commentary on each of the 92 studies it currently has listed would help provide a clearer picture of current research, the organization is comporting itself like a scientific entity first and a media outlet never (something that the industry has been lacking thus far).

All industries need entities like this. Although some create them purely as propaganda machines — and ERF may be called that and worse — it always helps to have something out there focusing on the science so that it can move at a pace faster than agonizingly slow. And that’s the pace you end up with if you leave things in the hands of regulators.

Here’s an interesting note to end on. ERF is also an acronym used for Extreme Reaction Force. This is a riot squad which responds to detainee problems in military detention centers like that in Guantanamo Bay. They are always suited up and ready to respond when things go bad. Now ERF (the e-cig one) might not exactly be the shock troops of the industry when it comes to regulatory advocacy and public relations, but they will certainly be a good source of the science that always needs to be on hand when these fights break out.

Spain’s E-Cig Industry is Getting Brutalized By Pharmaceutical Industry Blitzing

November 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

spain-pictures-hd-wallpaper-11It seems that in the last 12 months, the number of electronic cigarette shops in Spain has plummeted from around 3,000 to just about 300. These numbers come from the country’s national e-cig trade organization ANCE. The reason: pharmaceutical company lobbying and media attacks against electronic cigarettes.

ANCE vice president Alejandro Rodríguez chimed in on massive decline of the market. “There has been a very intense attack by pharmaceutical companies which has generated bad publicity in the media.”

This wasn’t the only reason for the sudden decline however. It appears the number of e-cig shops grew a bit too much in very little time. At 3,000 stores across the country, Spain had roughly one store per 65 square miles. Focusing further on city environments, one could even find areas with two or three shops in rather close proximity.

clopinettes21The combination of the two has hammered the industry there and presumably even sent some e-cig users back to tobacco cigarettes. You can read more about the decline right here.

Spain’s government has not issued any formal regulations for electronic cigarettes, but for some time, their popularity there has been exploding. This seems to have led to some fairly heavy-handed anti-e-cig efforts by pharmaceuticals companies that were losing sales of their smoking cessation products.

Numbers across Europe have indicated that electronic cigarettes are causing a decline in smoking cessation sales. Though cessation products are supported as “approved” by many government regulatory groups, it appears the general public is starting to realize that they don’t really work. Studies have found that their success rate in real world situations is no more than that of quitting cold turkey and long-term smoking remission is close to 99%.

If nothing else, this seems to have led pharmaceutical companies to fight e-cigs as aggressively as possible.


“Smoking” Electronic Cigarettes — An Internal Industry Debate on Terminology

October 31, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

lsWithin the vaping community — particularly among business owners — there is a bit of a debate over whether the term “smoking” is acceptable when talking about the use of electronic cigarettes. While some don’t see the potential problems, others wish to distance the industry from smoking as much as possible. To them, the small connections (like terminology) are just as important as the big ones (like regulatory consistency between tobacco and electronic cigarettes), and all should be fought against.

Vapers always have plenty to argue with outsiders about. If it’s not whether electronic cigarette use should be allowed in public, it’s whether a wide variety of flavors should exist, whether the products actually help with smoking cessation, and whether they really do less damage than tobacco cigarettes.

vapeSmokeLgBut this is a debate going on primarily within the community. And though it mostly comes from business owners hoping to differentiate their stock from tobacco products, it can still be a contentious topic. One vape shop owner I’ve spoke with has and will fire employees who repeatedly use the term smoking.

There’s not a lot to be said in favor of use of the term. Mostly, people will relate e-cigs to smoking whether you like it or not. The term smoking is so ingrained in our vocabulary that it sounds weird and almost intentionally evasive to call an act so like it anything but. (I, for one, still find the term vaping somewhat awkward to use in casual dialogue.)

There is, however, a long list of reasons why smoking is problematic terminology for electronic cigarettes. First off, they don’t create smoke. The vapor that electronic cigarette replace tobacco smoke with is the reason these products are so much less harmful (99% less harmful according to many experts).

smoktechpyrex-smallBut beyond that, there is a public relations and education component to keeping tobacco and electronic cigarettes as separated as possible. With individuals that are willing to listen, arguments about e-cigs can often be made very effectively. On a broader scope though, people make judgements with their gut. If something is called smoking — even if it is distinctly different — people may view it with all the anger and frustration with which they view actual smoking.

This also makes it all the easier for politicians to argue that legislation should treat anything that looks like smoking, acts like smoking, and is called smoking as smoking.

l_dekcell-cpa-1415Meanwhile, there are quite a lot of businesses out there that use some derivative of smoke or smoking as part of their brand. Even one of the earliest companies in the industry was Smoking Everywhere. There is an ease of branding when you use words with which people are already quite familiar. But again, opponents to the products relish every opportunity to say See!! Even they say it’s smoking and smoking is deadly!!

Like most things, there isn’t exactly a “right” answer (other than perhaps moderation). Given ten or twenty years of growth, smoking may no longer be a term that belongs to an obsolete combustible product which kills half its users. It may simply be a colloquial for predominantly harmless nicotine consumption through electronic devices (a possible future for the e-cig market).

Till then, the terminology debate continues.

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