Thursday, March 5, 2015

Politicians can tax sin, but not medicine.

The FDA has ruled that propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings, and nicotine are all safe for human consumption. The FDA currently regulates all of these items, including nicotine, as part of their broad function of regulating what we put into our bodies. The only odd-man-out in this bunch of components is nicotine.

As we’ve discussed before, propylene glycol is used as a drug delivery system for many creams and all nebulizers on the market. Vegetable glycerin and food flavorings are regulated as food additives and stabilizers. Nicotine, however, is only regulated when used for “smoking cessation” purposes.

The reason for this was once a single fold issue, being that nicotine is a common component in pesticide, and to regulate it beyond the realm of “smoking cessation” would force the FDA to overreach into the bounds of the US Department of Agriculture.

The second fold is now the admittance of vaping as a form of smoking cessation.

You see, if the FDA steps in and is required to study the effects of vaping they’re going to study the reasons why, the results of, and the health impact from vaping. This includes, but is not limited to, smoking cessation.

So, why is it so scary that the FDA look into vaping as a form of smoking cessation? It’s not for the everyday commoner like you and I, but instead, our elected officials in state and federal office who are fearful of losing tax revenue generated by current tobacco users.

To tax vaping and e-cigarettes like standard tobacco (we’ve not seen anyone use the term “analogue” in a while, so we’re gonna try and bring that back), you have to prove its harmful and detrimental impact on society as a whole. It’s easy to prove with tobacco, but much harder to prove with vaping, for two reasons:

First, it’s hard to prove that vaping should receive what are essentially sin taxes because it’s not any more harmful than drinking soda with caffeine in it.

Second, if it’s proven to have significant health benefits as a form of smoking cessation, then vaping builds an image similar to that of nicotine gum and patches, which are medicine.

So, FDA, we encourage you to go beyond your currently regulation of e-liquid components, and research and regulate all four components of e-liquid in the state that they are combined. We’re ready to once-and-for-all put an end to this political babble bullshit and move on with a healthier, happier, far less harmful lifestyle.

Companies Doing Business the Right Way!

Recently we began having trouble with the bottles from one of our e-liquid suppliers, High Caliber. We’ve got to say, Richard and his crew are fantastic at what they do and hold their production and facilities to a high standard. They don’t just use the name High Caliber, they earn it.

So, when the tips on bottles began to break, we gave the High Caliber crew a shout. Immediately they stopped production for a quality control check and to fix the issue. Not only did they stop their manufacturing process to perform integral quality control checks, they accepted 90% of our current inventory (we kept some in stock because we needed to) and got us a replacement stock.

This isn't the only aspect of e-liquid manufacturing in which High Caliber is truly a leader. They've also created a topnotch facility that keeps the outside contamination to a near zero-sum. From masks and respirators, to positively pressurized production facilities, everything that High Caliber does is correct.

It’s not just correct by personal and e-liquid manufacturing standards, either.

The International Standards Organization, or ISO for short, is a non-government organization that sets forth standards to “give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency.” They have standards, practices, and measurements that allow companies to build cleanrooms for manufacturing of any product that could be impacted by biocontaminates. In this case, the product that could be impacted by biocontaminates is the e-liquid.

There are simple but effective ways for e-liquid manufacturers to keep biocontaminates from infiltrating the product they’re producing.

First, the clean practices of those who produce the liquid. Much like individuals in medical fields, those producing e-liquid should be wearing clean clothing such as lab coats and scrubs, clean footwear, and in our industry’s case, respirators. External items, such as a sticky foot pad outside of a cleanroom, will ensure that biocontaminates do not enter the room with the producers.

Second, the positive pressurization of the manufacturing facilities keeps biocontaminates from infiltrating the room and getting into the e-liquid. So, what is positive pressurization, you may as?

From Wikipedia:

Positive pressure is a pressure within a system that is greater than the environment that surrounds that system. Consequently if there is any leak from the positively pressured system it will egress into the surrounding environment.

Basically, all it means is that the pressure inside of the cleanroom environment is greater than the pressure outside of the cleanroom environment, and thus, whenever physical items are introduced into the cleanroom environment, air particles with possible biocontaminates are not. Only clean air can get out, but dirty air cannot get in.

Third is the introduction and sanitation of contact devices. These pieces of manufacturing equipment are qualified to handle production of materials in a clean environment and can be sanitized to bring the level of biocontaminates within a cleanroom down to a specified level.

Using these standards to create a cleanroom environment is what the FDA is going to require of the e-liquid manufacturing facility, among many other items on their regulatory agendas. Working with companies who are ahead of these standards and who have implemented these practices since their inception helps keep the quality of products flowing out of brick and mortar vape shops at the highest caliber.

Highest caliber. See what we did there?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Navigating an Increasingly Political "Vapescape"

There has been plenty written about the faux experiments put on by a group of PhDs out of Portland State University. The conditions under which the experiment was performed, and the results, were rather far from real-world scenarios. They were performed by researchers who failed to report on all variables, or even assess that there were more variables.


“According to the Reddit post and author’s email, the atomizer had a resistance of 2.1 Ohms. This means that at 3.3 volts, the energy delivery was about 5.5 watts and at 5 volts it was 12 watts. It is more than obvious that the findings of very high levels of formaldehyde are a result of overheating. Lack of experience on e-cigarettes and no contact with vapers can result in such erroneous and unrealistic results, which can create confusion and misinformation both in the scientific community and among users and potential users of e-cigarettes. Finally, it is extremely important that every study evaluating vapor chemistry from e-cigarettes should mention in detail the equipment used.”

The technical point has been argued, so we’re not going to continue to beat on that. What we’d like to talk about in this blog is navigating the political landscape surrounding vaping, and how you (from average Joe to advanced vaper) should be prepared to handle the debate and help to share knowledge with others.

For those uninterested in the politics, there’s no reason you should push yourself into the conversation. It’s your vice, and you’re welcome to share your opinion or withhold from discussion. Don’t let someone push you otherwise.

For those of you, however, who are would like to participate in the debate and would like to continue to inform others about the reality of vaping, read on!

Whether liberal or conservative, your personal politics should not play into your discussion with others about vaping. Instead, let the values of vaping play to the political audience you’re communicating with. Whether discussing the job creation brought on by the industry boom or the positive viewpoint some vapers may have of e-cigarettes in regards to health and well-being, there is a talking point that appeals to just about any position on the political spectrum. Just make sure your talking points stay pro-vape!

Along the road on this new and exciting journey, you may also find yourself agreeing with media you often think wrong, and disagreeing with media you may often think correct. For example, if you’re a CNN support and notice that CNN is speaking of the latest studies in a positive light, you’re welcome to disagree with what they discern as “truth.” Conversely, if you do not often agree with the media produced by FOX News, but see that they are accurately supporting vaping with facts, while dispelling vaping rumors and myths, you’re welcome to accept their reporting and use it to support your vaping discussions.

Take mind that media politics don’t just occur at the higher levels. Many of the conversations start at the local level. Plenty of hype comes from your local TV station or newspaper looking for the shock story of the day. When you see reporting like this is when you’re most valuable as an educated vaper. Find ways to share in your local news conversation, logging onto social media to discuss vaping matters further with a broader audience. Be polite and be concise to ensure you are well-received by others in your communications. Don’t be afraid to disagree with local outlets you may otherwise agree with. Just because they get it wrong sometimes, doesn’t mean they’re always wrong, and as an informed citizen regarding the subject matter it is not unreasonable for you to participate in a newsworthy conversation.

What, where, and with whom you chose to discuss and/or not discuss vaping politics is up to you. All you need do is stay truthful in your support of vaping, and take the political conversation for face value.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2015 is now here, and with a New Year comes some New Year resolutions. Some folks are going to want to lose weight, others are going to want to save money, and for many, there’s the pledge to quit using tobacco.

As with all of our communications, we can’t market our products as a smoking cessation device because at this time they’re considered only recreational, much like the tobacco many folks currently consume. Regardless of the nicotine e-liquids can provide to tobacco users who crave the chemical, or that there is a very similar fulfillment of oral fixation provided by the physical motions of vaping, we have not read conclusive scientific evidence to say that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. We can only hope that there is some on the way.

What can help you quit smoking in 2015, though, is becoming part of a larger anti-tobacco community. This we know for a fact, that an important part of ridding your life of tobacco is having people there to help you in that fight. Having folks to talk to and share your stresses with is something we see help users of all kinds reduce their dependencies on drugs (and make no mistake, nicotine and other chemicals are drugs). Much like people who are addicted to and abuse other substances, tobacco users need support systems in place to ensure that, when they decide to quit, they can stay on the right track.

In 2015, stay on the right track with us. Whether or not you’d like to involve vaping in your resolution to quit using tobacco isn’t as much a concern to us as you quitting tobacco. If all that takes is having some honest, caring, and concerned individuals to talk to, then our doors are always open to you.

-The Vape Shop

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Keepin' It Clean

We’ve spent plenty of time campaigning against the evils of unregulated e-liquids produced in China. There is no guarantee that these liquids are being produced in clean environments, let alone that they’re meeting manufacturing standards established here in The States that e-liquid manufacturers use to ensure the safety of their products. As the knowledge base of e-liquid creation grows here in the United States, we’re finding that we may have another evil to campaign against; homemade e-liquid.

We’re not talking about the liquid that you, the consumer, order online and play with as a hobby. Albeit we don’t suggest it for everyone, we can’t stop you from making your own decisions. We do encourage that you use industry leaders who offer American E-Liquid Manufacturing Safety Association (Or AEMSA) certified products if you plan on making your own e-liquids for personal consumption.

The folks we're talking about believe it is acceptable to take their home-brew product to market without meeting any industry standards.

You may be wondering, “How does the vaping industry, an industry that is still in its infancy, already have so many regulatory standards in place?” That is a great question, and we hope that this blog helps to give you a quick-and-simple explanation of how our industry already has strong regulatory standards as it relates to the chemical compounds that create the e-liquid you consume.

First, because of the common use of propylene-glycol and vegetable glycerin in pharmaceuticals, the FDA has set forth regulatory guidelines for the use of these chemicals for oral consumption. In fact, many of the medicines you consume involve these chemicals as base. As such, the FDA has standards of what these products can and cannot be derived from, and also what level of purity these chemicals must be at to be considered safe for human consumption.

Second, similar to propylene-glycol and vegetable glycerin, food flavorings are also regulated by the FDA. Orally consumed items, such as foods and medicines, are supplemented with food flavoring for many different reasons. Due to their abundance on the market, the FDA seeks to establish standards for consumption of food flavorings as an interest of public health. Not every commonly consumed flavoring on the market is approved or regulated by the FDA, and it is important that our industry use flavorings that are. Using flavorings approved by the FDA ensures the safety of the consumer, and continues to be a cornerstone of self-regulation as related to e-liquid production.

*As a side-note, click here to view the FDA’s information on a commonly used food flavoring, and why they have not approved it.

The fourth key component to e-liquid, the one that is not regulated by the FDA in the form that we consume it, is liquid nicotine. As the FDA explains on its website “only e-cigarettes that are marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently regulated by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).” (Source Here: Knowing that government entities are yet to regulate this key component in our consumer e-liquids, the AEMSA has set forth self-regulation related to nicotine liquids, offering multiple facets through which an e-liquid manufacturer may qualify their nicotine liquids as safe. The basics of this self-regulation involve e-liquid manufacturers providing third-party lab verification that their nicotine liquids meet AEMSA purity standards. Another e-liquid standard set forth by the AEMSA is the concentration of nicotine in e-liquids, which the AEMSA caps at 36 mg/ml.


We set out to scratch the surface of e-liquid manufacturing self-regulation in this blog, and hope that this has helped you develop a basic understanding of what’s going on with the chemical compounds that are e-liquid.

In future blogs we’ll aim to discuss other aspects of e-liquid manufacturing, such as equipment used in manufacturing, clean facility designations, and material handling standards. For a comprehensive understanding of the regulations our industry is setting forth, check out AEMSA regulations here. If you’re too lazy, don’t worry, we’ll have another blog up soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014: A Pretty Good Year

2014 has been a pretty good year for the vape industry. We’ve grown from a niche industry to a mainstream industry with business and consumer bases growing at exponential rates. Attention has been given to both sides of the conversation regarding the health impact of our products in comparison to tobacco and we’re seeing the results are in our industry’s favor. Adding more validation to our industry, The Oxford Dictionary titled vape as Word of the Year. Any one of these happenings alone is good for our industry, but combining all of these happenings makes 2014 the year of the vape!

Of course, there’s a long way to go for the vape industry to replace the tobacco industry. We understand that we are not as big as the Phillip-Morris and Winston-Salem’s of the world. As individual companies, if this industry stays true to its roots, we’ll likely never be that big. Regardless of size, we have been our own driving force behind the vape industry’s substantial growth in 2014. The devotion of time, energy, and money by small businesspersons and entrepreneurs to our burgeoning industry has lead to a development of a consumer base that is well-educated regarding the products they consume and who are much more comfortable spending money with their local retailers. The internet still offers a good resource for many consumers who’ve been involved in the vape industry for an extended period of time, but the establishment of small shops across the world has put vape products in the hands of consumers who would have otherwise continued to consume tobacco.

Thanks to these small shops popping up all over the world and the rise in education of vaping products the industry has also received much more attention from the scientific community. Even though the ingredients most commonly scrutinized, such as propylene-glycol, have been proven perfectly safe for oral consumption, a new wave of research is being produced in regards to the vape industry. Some of the latest research we’ve combed through came out of Belgium, with reporting that shows an increased likelihood of quitting or reducing tobacco consumption when subjects used vaping products.

It’s cool that we can all use the word vaping and feel like people will know what we’re talking about, too! We, as folks participating in the vape industry, have known and used the term for some years now. In 2014, thanks to the mainstream growth of the vape industry, and the multiple uses for the word vape, The Oxford Dictionary titled vape as their Word of the Year! The substantial increase in the use of the word, and the diverse ways in which word is used, both as a noun and as a verb, lead to that title by being appropriated by The Oxford Dictionary. No doubt, the word vape will have continued increases in usage as the vape industry continues to grow its participation.

Any one of these happenings by itself would have made for a good year in our industry, but thanks to a combination of these happenings, 2014 has been a banner year for the ol’ vape industry!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why we don't sell "Weed Stuff"

Oh, the fun of front-paging a subreddit.

That’s what we managed to do a couple of days ago in r/electronic_cigarette, and it was really cool! We got a lot of quality feedback on our sign and how we should/should not promote our products. Some of the feedback was curious, asking “Why don’t you sell weed paraphernalia? You’re just alienating customers by not broadening your market.” We felt compelled to offer a response.

We operate our shop in a town that has, since 1999, employed vague ordinances and threat of legal action to prevent the sale of paraphernalia. If we attempted to sell items related to the consumption of marijuana or other illegal drugs we could get shut down, fined, or whatever else happens when a business goes up against the city. Whatever it is, we’re not interested in finding out.

Also, it’s not a part of the business we’re interested in involving ourselves in. We’re interested in offering alternatives to tobacco users and developing a community support system grounded in helping folks quit tobacco. Establishing any directives other than this would muddy the way people view our motive. Honestly, like anyone in business, we’re in business to make money. We’re not in business to only make money though, and that’s why it’s important for us to keep our focus on vaping as a tobacco alternative or recreation for recreation sake, not the use of recreational drugs.

We’re not saying that we approve or disapprove of other shops offering different types of products. It’s their choice to sell what they can legally sell. It just doesn’t fit us.

The reason we put the sign together is because people continue to come to our shop, receive personal attention from our staff, and end up leaving dissatisfied when they realize that we don’t offer marijuana-related products. We’re hoping that this sign helps to educate our customers about what we don’t offer, and saves us some time in fumbling around the subject.

We’re cool with you if you smoke weed, we just don’t have anything for you. Sorry!