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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ban E-Cigarettes—for the Children?

This is an old article, but it is definitely relevant right now.

Ban E-Cigarettes—for the Children!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to decide soon whether to uphold or overturn a federal judge's preliminary injunction barring the FDA from seizing electronic cigarettes as an "unapproved drug-device combination." Over at AOL News today, I debate the FDA's attempt to ban e-cigarettes with Harvard Medical School professor Jonathan Winickoff. He does not question my argument that smokers can dramatically reduce their health risks by switching to e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a propylene glycol vapor without burning tobacco (or anything else). Instead Winickoff argues that e-cigarettes are a threat to the nation's youth, enticing them with "fruit and candy flavors" into a nicotine habit that may ultimately lead to smoking. I do not want to say categorically that no kid in America has ever decided to experiment with nicotine by shelling out $80 for an e-cigarette starter kit and $20 for each ten-pack of cartridges instead of buying a pack of cigarettes for $4.50. But I suspect that sort of thing does not happen very often. More to the point, when conventional cigarettes are readily available to minors, it is hard to see how introducing a much less hazardous alternative will hurt them.

In any event, the logical response to Winickoff's concerns is to impose age restrictions on e-cigarette sales, which most distributors already do. In his view, however, such precautions only make the product more attractive to underage consumers. "The advertising warning that 'this product is for adults only' appears tailor-made to appeal to kids," he writes. By that logic, e-cigarette distributors who want to prevent underage consumption of their product should pass it out for free in schoolyards and tell kids it's good for them. But I suspect Winickoff would object to that strategy as well.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rebuilding an Atomizer is Not Like Tying a Shoe

Written by: Storm Before the Calm

Am I not “in the loop” and truly part of the vaping community if I am not rebuilding my own atomizer?  When I go to a vape meet and I hear someone talking about RBAs my vision goes blurry and they are suddenly speaking a foreign language.  When I say that I couldn’t possibly rebuild anything I get the rebuttal that it is “not that hard”.

I got a new coffee maker for Christmas.  It holds water to keep hot, so I can have hot water for tea anytime.  It has temperature controls so that I can have my coffee at just the right temp as soon as I pour it in my mug.  It’s chrome, it’s hi-tech, and it is already broken.  I broke my brand new coffee maker because I put the water in the wrong container and then I turned it on and burned it up.  If I can’t even figure out how to use a coffee maker, how can I possibly rebuild my own atomizer?

Who needs a coffee maker when I have that great drive-thru coffee shop around the corner, which happens to be right in front of a vape store.  Today, instead of just buying some new heads for my tank, I asked about re-buildable atomizers (RBA).  As soon as the person started talking, my vision started to blur.  I fought through it, though, and managed to gather this information.

First, why do people even rebuild atomizers?  The answer I was given, cost.  A coil and wick can be replaced for pennies on the dollar.  I get this theory.  When I first started vaping I used pre-filled cartos, then I realized how much money I could say by filling them myself.  All this time I thought people were just rebuilding them because they enjoyed rebuilding things and were just nerds like that.

The next think he told me about was that there are different kinds of RBAs.  This went completely over my head.  Drip types, CE styles, blah, blah, I have no idea.  The foreign language has kicked in. So, I held up my Vivi Nova tank and said what about this?  He then squirmed and said “not exactly an RBA.”  Not EXACTLY?  What does that mean?  … more foreign language.  This is what I gathered: RBAs have a coil and a wick that has a configuration specific to the type of RBA you have. For the coil you use resistance wire.  There are options on what the wire is made of and it is typically just your preference.  This wire is connected to the positive and negative posts in your RBA. Then there is something about mesh (blurry vision again.) You roll the mesh up and oxidize it with a torch (I don’t have a torch, do you?) and then wrap your coil around it.   He then went on to saying something about a multimeter.

STOP!!  What?  Just give me a new head for my Vivi.  This is too much.  The guy smiled at me and said RBA's have a definite learning curve and are not for everyone and then handed me the easy stuff. 

My conclusion is that although it may be cheaper in the long run to rebuild, that is not the reason why people do it.  They do it because they like to fiddle with things.  These are probably the guys that took apart their flip action alarm clock when they were 8 just to see how it worked.  Well, have fun guys.  While you rebuild your atty, I’m going on a hot date.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Can Electronic Cigarettes Challenge Big Tobacco?


A curious television commercial aired across the U.S. last month that, until its final few seconds, was indistinguishable from an ad for cigarettes — even though such advertising has been banned from broadcast TV for four decades.

In the television spot, the “cigarette” smoke, ash tip and flame look real. The carton looks authentic. The man smoking it looks satisfied.
The smoke, however, is vapor. The ash tip, plastic. The flame, simulated. The “cigarette” is a so-called electronic cigarette — in this case, an NJOY King, the first smokeless, nicotine-delivering, cigarette-like object that (at least according to its manufacturer) looks and feels and “smokes” like the real thing. Television commercials for NJOY Kings began running nationally in early December, making it the first smoking ad to run since Jan. 1, 1971, when Virginia Slims ran one final commercial a minute before the midnight deadline during The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. (President Nixon had signed legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio the year before.)

E-cigarettes, invented in 2003, currently account for less than 1% of the $80 billion U.S. cigarette market. But they are growing rapidly: UBS projects that sales, which have doubled every year since 2008, will reach $1 billion in 2013. Numbers like that have put Big Tobacco on notice. “Consumption of e-cigs may overtake traditional cigarettes in the next decade,” predicts Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog. “And they’ll only evolve and improve as time goes forward — at far less risk. The technology portion of it is sort of like Apple. This is just Version 1.”

The Birth of the E-Cigarette

If e-cigarettes do start to take significant market share away from traditional cigarette makers, they’ll likely be led by NJOY, which has captured about a third of the e-cigarette market. The company was founded in 2006 by patent lawyer Mark Weiss, who had discovered an electronic cigar while traveling through China the year before. The technology was crude, but Weiss saw a business opportunity. Four years later, his brother Craig, also a patent attorney, took over as CEO.

The company’s strategy and professed ideals are to some extent a function of the fact that Craig Weiss doesn’t smoke at all. In short, NJOY claims it isn’t trying to create new smokers. It doesn’t market its product to children under 18, and it became the first independent e-cigarette maker to partner with the We Card program, which helps enforce the legal smoking age at convenience stores in the U.S. It doesn’t sell flavors like piƱa colada or bubble gum, only traditional menthol. And Weiss says his company is only going after current smokers, the 45 million Americans who light up on a regular basis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 69% of smokers want to quit completely, and many of them are looking for alternatives. “Can you think of another consumer product in the world that the people who are buying it, while they’re buying it, are thinking, ‘God, I wish I wasn’t buying this?’ ” asks Weiss.

Many smokers try to quit for the obvious health benefits and the cost savings of not lighting up. For decades, tobacco has been the leading cause of preventable disease globally, and state and excise taxes have pushed prices of cigarette packs in places like Illinois and New York to upwards of $10 and $12 each.

But NJOY discovered something that smokers dislike almost as much as the high cost and the gloomy health implications. “Odor is a big thing for smokers,” says Weiss. “It’s their clothes and their hair, and it’s probably the biggest complaint that nonsmokers who are either cohabitating or co-working with smokers have about smoking.” Weiss believes NJOY has addressed this trifecta of problems: the NJOY King doesn’t burn tobacco; one e-cig (about $8) lasts about as long as two packs of conventional cigarettes; and it’s odorless.

A Virtual Cigarette

When NJOY created its new e-cig, the goal for Mark Scatterday — the King’s developer and also a nonsmoker — was to essentially create a virtual cigarette. The King is the same length and diameter as a traditional cigarette. The ash tip resembles glowing embers when in use. The cigarette itself has a papery feel to it. The “filter” is even a bit squishy.

Scatterday and others realized that to make a successful cigarette replacement, it had to not just meet the chemical needs of the user — delivering nicotine, that is — but also reproduce the full experience of smoking. For many smokers, the feel of a cigarette, the hand-to-mouth movement, the taste, even the physical act of holding the pack are almost as important as the nicotine itself. That’s one reason nicotine gum and patches have such high failure rates. Scatterday says his priority was figuring out how to “bridge the gap between your typical e-cigarette and an analog cigarette.”

NJOY doesn’t make any health claims about its product, and its electronic cigarettes aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. E-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, which means they don’t contribute to the wide array of deadly health problems related to smoking, which include lung cancer, stroke, heart attack, emphysema and high blood pressure.

A study released last year by researchers at the University of Athens has shown that the nicotine vapor in e-cigarettes led to an increase in airway resistance, making it harder to breathe and leading to lower levels of oxygen in participants’ bloodstream. Still, a number of doctors have come out in support of e-cigarettes as cessation devices for those wanting to quit; several have written publicly in support of NJOY and have criticized the methodology used in the University of Athens study.

But this much is clear: e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes, and the three companies comprising Big Tobacco are beginning to either buy up electronic-cigarette companies or create their own versions.

Lorillard recently acquired e-cigarette maker Blu, which has an estimated 25% of e-cig market share, according to Wells Fargo’s Herzog. And Reynolds American is currently testing an electronic cigarette called Vuse. The only major tobacco manufacturer that hasn’t made a move is Altria, formerly Philip Morris, the maker of such brands as Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims.

Analysts at both Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs compare the growth in electronic cigarettes to the boom in energy drinks. Many of the big beverage companies failed to foresee the future popularity in energy drinks and reacted too late. The same thing may be happening with e-cigarettes.

While NJOY is independent from the three major tobacco manufacturers, there are rumors that Altria will attempt a takeover of NJOY. But for now, NJOY executives seem more interested in taking down Big Tobacco than cooperating with it. “Cigarettes haven’t evolved in 70 years,” says Weiss. “The last product innovation was the filter in 1952 and the flip-top box in 1954.”

Weiss isn’t shy about his vision for NJOY. He doesn’t want to just compete with large tobacco companies. He wants to beat them. “Our mission at NJOY is to obsolete cigarettes,” he says. “Do I believe that’s possible? Absolutely.”

Read more:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Are e-cigarettes blowing smoke?

Tyler Bush, manager of The Vapor Bar in Grapevine, Texas, puffs on an electronic cigarette. "Vaping" is an alternative to tobacco smoking, and customers can pick liquids with their preferred flavors and nicotine levels. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
New Year's Day usually means a new start, a chance to reboot and begin healthier habits. And one of the most common health-related resolutions is to quit smoking.

A recent trend in that arena, however, has some medical and cessation experts somewhat concerned. The trend has been in the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic devices that emit vapors to simulate the inhalation of tobacco smoke.

"I've had mixed reviews on them, because they are not (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved and they are not regulated in any way," said Kate McNally, program coordinator for the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities. "The results people are going to get will be very random. And so they are not an evidence-based strategy for quitting tobacco, although I know some people have had success, and I've had other people say they just tossed it on the shelf and it didn't help them at all."

Sold over the counter at most convenience stores, e-cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices that plug into either a wall socket or a computer to charge, rather than being lit with fire. Most of these gadgets look like cigarettes, but instead of producing smoke, they emit what manufacturers call a harmless vapor.

Mixed message

But according to a researcher at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock pediatrician who studies and teaches ways to prevent kids from using tobacco, there are several problems with using these e-devices.

Echoing the Cheshire Coalition's McNelly, the researcher, Susanne Tanski, noted that such devices are not regulated by the FDA. And, Tanksi said, the FDA has warned that manufacturers are not to market these devices as smoking cessation devices or as safer than conventional cigarettes since there is no proof of their effectiveness or safety.

"This is like buying vitamins from a street vendor," Tanski said recently in a Norris Cotton publication. "You really have no way of knowing what you are getting or where it comes from, yet people willingly inhale these unregulated chemicals into their lungs."

Teresa Brown, cessation specialist for QuitWorks NH, said the studies that have been done indicate that levels of nicotine from e-devices are all over the board, with some cartridges containing a little and others contain a lot. She said that some studies have shown that certain brands of e-cigarettes even have as much as double the nicotine found in other smoking cessation aids.

Some of the devices also have turned up positive for carcinogens.

"There definitely are detectable levels of carcinogens," Brown said. "There is inconsistency not only with the nicotine but with the carcinogens."

When smoking an e-cigarette, air is inhaled through the plastic device, in the same manner a traditional cigarette is smoked. As described by Norris Cotton officials, the inhalation creates a vacuum that engages a battery, which in turn initiates a heating element to warm chemicals housed in a replaceable cartridge. If there are carcinogens present in the cartridge, this heating process causes them to multiply, Brown said.

Other concerns

The stabilizer used in many e-cigarette cartridges - propylene glycol - also is also cause for concern, according to Tanski. Propylene glycol is found in products such as deodorant and hand sanitizer, according to the Norris Cotton Center, but "no testing has been done on the short- or long-term effects to humans of inhaling it repeatedly and deeply once it's been vaporized."

At the recent C. Everett Koop Tobacco Treatment Conference. which was sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, an official from the Maine Health Center for Tobacco Independence also pointed out that contaminants such as diet medications and erectile dysfunction drugs had been found in some of the e-cigarette cartridges.

Further, the Norris Cotton Center's Tanski said, the storage of the e-cigarette's nicotine replacement cartridges and refill bottles are colored and flavored, potentially making them attractive to small children and pets. A single refill bottle of nicotine can contain as much as 100 mg of nicotine. If ingested, 10 mg of nicotine is a toxic dose for a small child, according to Norris Cotton officials.

"These cartridges and refill bottles must be kept safely away from children or pets. A single cartridge can have 10 times the nicotine in a cigarette and could be lethal if ingested," said Tanski. "I don't recommend this product as a nicotine replacement therapy or smoking cessation aid . They are not safe or reliable."

Alternative methods

Instead, most experts recommend trying methods that are more proven before resorting to e-cigarettes.

"The front lines for people who want some assistance," said McNally, "would be the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray . Those are the top lines of defense. Those are FDA-approved, they have specific amounts of nicotine, and research shows they work."

In addition, she said, some people also have success with medications like Chantix and Wellbutrin.

Quitworks NH's Brown points out that combining medications can increase a person's chances for success.

"So, if you just use the patch, your chance of success is doubled if you use the patch and the gum," she said. "It's tripled if you use the patch and the gum and talk to a counselor on the phone."

"It's 2013," she added. "There's all kinds of things out there to help."

Friday, January 4, 2013

E-cigarettes: no smoke without ire

E-cigarettes: no smoke without ire

Puritans and the powerful – and tobacco smokers – can't take the fact that electronic cigarettes are harmless and enjoyable.

The Guardian,
'The battery-powered fag seems to inspire anything from curiosity to annoyance – as well as contempt in some proper smokers.' Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
I've long been a decorative smoker. One daily roll-up hasn't imperilled my health much, and it's rescued me from the ranks of the self-righteous. I've relished the dash of badness, but my indulgence has come at a price: complicity. My more heavily addicted husband has smoked from the age of 19. So long as I join him in the odd postprandial drag, I'm a bad influence.

Last month I switched to an e-cig. I'm a convert. Sleek, black, and easily confused with a fine-point felt-tip, this newfangled "nicotine delivery system" is dead cool. The gently warm vapour ingeniously replicates the reflective pause of a real fag, the same quiet little buzz. But it doesn't stink up your breath, cover surfaces with ash, turn the air acrid, stain your fingers, brown your teeth, reduce bone mass of the jaw, promote gum disease, or – wait for the drum roll – cause cancer. Nor does an e-cig give anyone in your vicinity cancer.

Why, then, are so many nonsmokers queasy, nay denunciatory, about electronic fags? Why did the EU's tobacco product directive released last month propose effectively banning any e-cigs that deliver remotely enough nicotine to make them an attractive alternative to tobacco? Isn't a "tobacco product directive" reaching beyond its remit by seeking to regulate a product containing no tobacco? Why is the sale of a device that administers a mild stimulant about as energising as a cup of coffee already illegal in Denmark, Belgium and Norway? Why do some airlines specifically ban e-cigs, which don't foul the air on planes?

Socially, the battery-powered fag seems to inspire anything from curiosity to annoyance – as well as contempt in some proper smokers, who consider the counterfeit ciggie cowardly and naff. Fine, call most of us cowardly for being afraid of cancer. What I cannot sanction is the annoyance.
Web forums teem with sniffy disgust towards anyone who substitutes one addiction for another – though there's no evidence that addiction to nicotine, in the absence of the tar and chemical additives of commercial tobacco, is any more damaging than addiction to caffeine. With e-cigs, it seems you haven't "really quit", even if you've really quit tobacco, the very substance that sheepish smokers yearn to eschew. In desperation, rabid anti-smokers deride e-cigs as stupid-looking and pathetic. Apparently we're in danger of "renormalising smoking" after having lavished endless initiatives on making smoking socially unacceptable among all but a sad, quivering few.

Nonsense. If electronic cigarettes became a socially acceptable norm, lung cancer and emphysema rates would plummet. The trouble is that smokers have been demonised medically and morally: not merely bad for public health, but bad, full stop. E-cigs neatly separate the rational, research-backed concern for the health consequences of tobacco from a purely cultural revulsion for a "filthy" habit marking you as evil.

For anti-smoking fanatics, e-cigs must be enraging. They can't clamber on to that handsome high horse, because what's to get upset about? Those plastic vapour sticks aren't gunking anyone's lungs or even stinking up the drapes. And those dreadful cheats seem to be enjoying themselves! They're getting away with something horrid scot-free! It isn't fair! They should get cancer! Imagine the dizzy swoon of indignation deprivation: what's upsetting is there's nothing to get upset about.

The EU situation is more unsettling still. The pharmaceutical industry profits from popular but far less effective methods for quitting tobacco such as patches and gums, and spends more than €40m a year lobbying the EU. In the UK in 2011, nicotine replacement therapies were worth £117m in turnover, largely due to NHS freebies. It's in Big Pharma's interest to quash the e-cig, now that 7% of Europeans have tried one and in 2013 they are expected to attract more than a million Britons.
Keep an eye on the UK, whose politicians talk righteously, but whose coffers benefit from a whopping £9bn annually in tobacco taxes, dwarfing the £2.7bn smokers cost the NHS each year. (Yet because smokers die seven to 10 years younger, and place little demand on the service once dead, smoking may actually save the NHS money.) If all British smokers switched to e-cigs overnight, the Treasury would be traumatised. The government will never admit to banning e-cigs because it needs the taxes it rakes in from you killing yourself, but watch this space.

You want real evil? What's truly evil is attempting to deny people addicted to a profoundly damaging substance the opportunity to transfer that addiction to a product most medical professionals rate as 99% harmless. The gathering European opposition to electronic cigarettes is the result of kneejerk cultural prejudice, puritanical vindictiveness, corporate collusion, and the unconscionable greed of tax authorities that won't be able to heap the same punitive, confiscatory, opportunistic duties on a product that doesn't hurt anyone.

Sure, there's a sacrifice in leaving real tobacco behind for a mere simulacrum. You miss dancing on the dark side – the risk, that hint of wickedness. But since your detractors can't have kittens any more, you get something in return: glee.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Updates Of The FDA’s Public Hearing

ECig Advanced was wonderful enough to write a brief synopsis of the FDA Public Hearing on electronic cigarettes.  They also have a link where you can listen to the very long session.  I encourage any e-cig smoker that wants to protect their rights to vape to get involved.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

German Study Finds No Formaldehyde Emissions Detected from E-Cigs

Electronic cigarettes are booming. Germans love to smoke, but love dying not so much, and so an estimated two million people in Germany have already turned to the vapor cigarette, which many view as a healthy alternative to conventional smoking.
Some are warning of possible health risks, claiming that the long-term consequences cannot yet be foreseen, the old 'you cannot prove it is safe' impossibility, and studies to-date have been mixed.

"In the e-cigarette, vaporized substances create an aerosol of ultrafine particles which become even finer when inhaled into the lungs. These tiny nanodroplets disperse over time. In contrast, the combustion process discharges solid particles that can remain in the surrounding air for a considerable time", says Dr. Tobias Schripp, scientist at Fraunhofer WKI and co-author of a new study.

E-cigarettes come in many different guises, yet they all have one thing in common: they only emit vapor when switched on. Credit: © Fraunhofer WKI

No formaldehyde emissions detected

The Fraunhofer experts conducted a series of test chamber measurements to analyze emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ultrafine particles and formaldehyde, with particular emphasis on the quantity, concentration and distribution of particles. Tests were conducted using volunteers in an 8-cubic-meter test chamber, where conventional cigarettes were compared with e-cigarettes containing a variety of liquids.

To ascertain how the distribution of particles develops over a number of minutes, and the amount of propylene glycol released in the longer term, the vapor was in addition pumped directly into a 10-liter glass chamber. This test was performed on different types of e-cigarette, all containing the same liquid.

"In general, the emissions of VOCs and ultrafine particles when smoking an e-cigarette were lower than the equivalent emissions from a standard cigarette", says Schripp.

Furthermore, the researcher and his team were not able to detect any formaldehyde emissions from the e-cigarette. Conventional cigarettes, on the other hand, exceeded the guideline value of 0.1 ppm (parts per million) for indoor air quality under the given test conditions. Vaporized propylene glycol was released into the air from both electronic and tobacco cigarettes, as it is also often used as an additive in tobacco.

Pulmonologists fear that this solubilizing agent can irritate the airways when inhaled in large quantities.

"While it is true that the electronic cigarette contributes less to indoor air pollution than tobacco cigarettes, it is not entirely emission-free. Consequently, it seems reasonable to assume that bystanders are exposed to the released vapor and thus 'passive vaping' is possible", says Schripp, summing up the results of his measurements. He also criticizes the product labeling strategy, which in many cases provides inexact or inadequate information on the liquids used. As a result, e-smokers often have no reliable way of knowing what potentially harmful substances they are inhaling and exhaling.

The scientists' aim in carrying out this study is to provide measurement data suitable for use as the basis for future investigations. "However, the study does not claim to provide any kind of toxicological assessment", stresses Schripp.

Published in the Indoor Air journal and presented at the 10th German Conference for Tobacco Control.