Labeling, Self-regulation and Consumer standards
I’ve been thinking about doing another blog post for the past few days. [actually, i have several topic ideas and i hope that you'll hang around]
Some basic regulation or standards might not always be a bad thing.
Now, before anyone gets their panties in a wad and start an outcry–i think that it’s important that we review a few things and we look around at the electronic cigarette market that we are a part of building. I’m assuming that most of the people here, reading this post, are basically some pretty smart people. i don’t have a doctorate and i journal on the 5-6th grade reading level and i’m absolutely not mechanically inclined, but I’m a pretty smart chick. just like most people here, i want to keep all of my rights intact, i want people in my own country to have jobs and i want to see mom and pop shops and dreams happen and thrive.
While i can’t say that i agree with all of the decisions and regulations that the FDA makes, i do believe that at it’s core—it’s a well meaning office. originally, the labeling acts were put into force because people, especially children, were dying from medications that weren’t regulated. formulas weren’t always made the same way or dosages weren’t given correctly due to these facts. the idea behind it was to help save people’s lives.
My thoughts on what i’m about to say are strictly from my own opinions and based on my own experiences. i used to make soap and for a little while, i sold said items along with other hand-crafted bath products. i had a gorgeous website and shot my own product images and designed all of my own labels, brochures, catalogs and so forth. i used environmentally friendly, socially responsible harvested materials, and organic ingredients whenever i could [it could get expensive] and i was very much aware that soap and cosmetics were regulated by the FDA. while proprietary formulas need never be disclosed, i feel it’s important to disclose ingredients. most of soaps and all of my ointments and salves were herbal based. —-a lot of people don’t want to include which herbs are in their formulas or recipes—but i feel that this is not only important, but i think it’s a responsible thing to do. a lot of people want to “guard” their secrets, because someone else might make it. well, you can make a comfrey salve using all of the same ingredients as my salve—but i doubt if your salve is going to be exactly like mine. but let’s say that it is—then good luck to you and i hope you enjoy it. but for everyone that wants to make the salve there are going to be another dozen people that don’t want to take the time to make it—that’s the target audience.
WTF? why am i talking about soap and salves on an ecig blog site? simple, as a community and a constantly growing community of “buyers”–i feel that it’s important that we take control of the products that we buy and hold each other and the businesses that we support accountable to produce good quality products and to label such products. we should make the standards and the accountability through our own expectations and yes, we should expect an ingredients label on every ejuice that we purchase. now, I’m not saying that anyone should write their exact recipes on the bottle. have you noticed that some businesses have their own pg/vg ratio for a flavor and they won’t disclose it? well…i don’t need to know what your exact ratio is, but i would like to know if it’s heavier on the pg than the vg. the label would give me an idea of this because an ingredients label goes in the order of which ingredient has the largest amount in a product–first. of course this isn’t solid, because if it’s an equal amount of ingredients in a formula then the manufacturer decides which order it’s in—and that’s OK. it’s OK, because we aren’t trying to go around and steal people’s recipes. the purpose is to be informed consumers. …now we come to “natural” and “artificial” flavorings. i call bullshit on not actually being specific, especially on the natural flavoring part. sure, I’m assuming that the flavoring agents used are all FDA regulated and approved flavoring agents. having studied and created herbal crafts for years, i sometimes wonder about these ‘natural’ flavors going into a product—are they single or multiple herbal extractions? are they distilled? in certain grades, some herbs should only be used in certain mannerisms and not in others. i love chamomile tea and it’s great for an upset tummy, but to someone with hay fever allergies it could be quite awful. some herbs are bronchodialators and can really help open up the breathing passage ways of the lungs, but too much of it and going outside in nasty weather can leave that person prone towards getting really sick. now, again, I’m not saying that this is the case with any of the ejuices that we are purchasing from online stores or from each other. I’m just saying that it’s OK to expect information as a consumer to help us in making our own choices. recently, i read a post where someone said that a particular company wouldn’t tell you anything about their ejuices. well, since we don’t have any regulations in place saying that they have to then the only thing that we can do is decide if we should or shouldn’t purchase from such companies. i choose not to do so. i don’t want to hurt any company out there. i just want to be able to make informed decisions and i can only do this when you are willing to give me information.
For the most part, we know that ejuice is pg and/or vg plus natural and artificial flavors. well, if you look at any DIY thread, you know that sweeteners tend to be added as well. that’s an additional ingredient to the previous three ingredients that everyone touts as being “the only things in ejuice”. i know that i would like to know which sweetener is in the juice I’m vaping.
So, what all of this rambling boils down to is simple. if “we” start making our own expectations known and start asking the businesses that we support to have a basic level of standards and consumer information then “we” are actively participating in our own regulations and bar raising so that outside entities that doesn’t understand our use of ecigs won’t feel so rash and obligated to take over and save us from ourselves. it doesn’t have to be set regulations, just basic standards of expectations and hopefully, businesses would want us to be informed and it can be a great marketing tool as well. [but that's another blog at another time]
Vape on and be happy