Being your own worst enemy.

worstenemy

(Part 2 of 3 – read part 1)

Ahead of the curves.

“Sir, you’ll need to stop smoking that here,” the airline employee spoke quietly to the man sitting across from me at the gate. He was a younger guy, sporting a full, Grizzly Adams beard, skinny jeans, and square tipped shoes that made his feet look huge. He had been boredly flicking a thumb across his iPhone screen and openly puffing away on an electronic cigarette. I had been thinking that his behavior was a little bold; the uncomfortable glances from the other travelers awaiting our California-bound flight were pretty noticeable. This was in 2011 and they may not have known what exactly he was puffing on – but it was clear that he was violating some rule of public decorum that undoubtedly existed. Hell, even I – as a person who doesn’t mind confrontation for good causes – only dared to vape in the bathroom stalls while at the airport. You have to know where and when you’ll actually make a difference by taking a stand, right?

Anyway, I anticipated a muted response from the gentleman. He looked like some tech nerd Silicon Valley executive; I’m pretty sure his jeans cost more than my luggage. He exhaled vapor and said, “Eat me. It’s not smoke and there’s no law against it.”

Okay then.

I share that story because I have recently discovered that the exact same vaping is my right, so screw you attitude has somehow made its way from random, contrarian individuals to what seems to be the vape “industry.” And although I obviously agree that vaping is a 95-100% less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, I’ve been around long enough to know that you can only selfishly taunt the establishment for so long before you end up in the cross-hairs. And to be honest, I’m a little pissed off that, by now getting involved and trying to support the health and societal benefits of vaping, I am also – in effect – being associated with how the industry is perceived today. I support you in having the ability to manage your nicotine in a much less harmful manner; I do not support your tendency to be a dick.

To be clear, I have all of the respect in the world for visionaries and innovators in any industry, and those who recognized the potential of vaping technology back in 2007 (or before) are no exception. They realized that smokers hated the smell, the smoke, the ash, the health challenges, and the constant criticism from others – and that vaping was a legitimate alternative. I honestly believe that those early entrepreneurs only screwed up in one primary way – they used words that were associated with the tobacco world in their slogans, products, and businesses names. Smoke, smokingcigarette, cigs, (even the old grand-daddy e-cigarette) cause confusion and guilt-by-association. In that way, I guess the industry framed itself from the beginning; in trying to quickly associate their product with something familiar in the consumer’s mind, they also set the foundation for the current misunderstandings and hatred.

In case you think that I am starting to sound like nothing more than a critical armchair quarterback, I will admit that no one should fault those early visionaries. Hell, if I had been starting a business to sell a completely unique new product, of course I would try to put it into some sort of context that a consumer was already familiar with. Even with the perspective of the current regulatory and PR challenges, this is a completely forgivable misstep. But it’s also the reason that we shouldn’t continue doing it. Why do I keep seeing marketing and advocacy for the vape industry still associating it with clear smoking terms?

As a quick aside, another pet-peeve I have in this situation is those self-righteous, anti-vaping warriors who sit around guzzling wine or lighting up joints, and criticizing those who are dependent on nicotine. You know who you are, you’re hypocrites, and you suck.

Back to my airport douche with the attitude – whom some of you may have actually cheered for. I can respect, and definitely understand society’s occasional need to rise up and demand that the establishment makes a change. But that only works if the change is worthwhile to humanity. If the establishment is oppressing individuals because of how they were born, people will stand up with you. If the establishment is oppressing individuals because they look a certain way, people will stand up with you. If the establishment is suppressing or maligning a new discovery that will improve the health and quality of life for millions of family, friends, and neighbors, society will go out and shut down freeways with you.

But to boldly demand your right to vape at the gate while waiting for a plane? Society will tell you to shut the hell up.

So lets take a brief look at the score. You’ve got a technology that initially appealed to cigarette smokers who were tired of the health risks and social stigma associated with tobacco. You’ve got some early users who quit smoking and realized they could sell the devices to others like themselves. Online and brick-and-mortar stores started appearing; either catering to those specifically looking for electronic cigarettes because they already knew about them, or educating cigarette smokers about this much safer alternative. Either way, it was about providing health and/or social benefits to the community. Cool, I can get behind that. In fact, I did.

I started sharing my vaping experiences with every cigarette smoker who I happened to be near; you can always tell them by the yellow finger-tips, raspy voices, and constant look of guilt while in public. I gave away many of my own devices (if I really liked you), or I told you where to get your own. I was not an entrepreneur and I had no financial interest in people vaping; I suppose I became somewhat of an accidental activist. And in the meantime, I just continued on with my life; kids, job, car payment, vaping – same as many of you, I imagine.

Then I had the experiences that I explained in my previous post and realized that – seemingly out of nowhere – the entire world was against vaping. What the hell? A society that made motorcycle riders wear helmets, gave clean needles to heroin addicts, and showed second-graders how to properly put condoms on – all in an attempt to reduce the risks associated with known human behaviors – was now aligned against a technology that could positively improve community health to a degree never before even imagined.

T*ts McGee for the defense.

My own first step in a personal quest to bring reason to the establishment was to attend a city council meeting. I had read that the council was going to discuss the defining of electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. Changing the definitions of words to push any agenda was far too close to George Orwell’s 1984 for my comfort. That, and I vaped and knew that the next steps would inevitably be over-regulation and taxation. As I sat in the parking lot of the council chambers, vaping and finishing my coffee, a noticed a number of BMW, Lexus, and other higher end cars pulling into the lot. Young men in shiny suits, slicked back hair, and emitting monstrous clouds of vapor stepped out; accompanied by girls with too much make-up, and too little clothing.

I glanced at the council agenda, hoping that there was something else on there that would have brought out these ghosts from my senior prom. Alas, no. They were clearly there for the same reason I was. Then I discovered that the anti-vaping crowd – who had apparently arrived much earlier because they had taken all of the seats directly in front of the council, probably so their handmade signs would be more consistently visible – were just the opposite; not nearly enough make-up, and far too many clothes.

One after the other, members of the public got up to address the council. First, crazy cat lady #1 said she was a life-long activist for the American Something Association and urged the city in the strongest possible terms to ban vaping and smoking outright. Next up, one of the Miami Vice kids. He spoke passionately of his right to vape wherever and whenever he wanted, because there is no smoke, no second-hand smoke, and that vaping was awesome. (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)

When crazy cat lady #2 got up to speak, she had a visual presentation to accompany her three minute monologue. “Here we have photos of a vapor shop selling to clearly underage children, and the next slide is that same shop’s social media post calling out kids at a local school to get their vaporizer supplies at a discount.” And it went on and on. At the end of her 240 long seconds, I was as low in my seat as possible. The meeting hadn’t even been about vaping and children; it was now. Crazy cat lady #3 (who seemed to know several of the council members on a first-name basis) then passed around blown-up printouts from social media outlets showing women in lingerie (at most) holding vaping devices between their breasts, some with liquid bottles lined up on their asses. “This is what vaporizing is about,” she said. “How can anyone say this is about health?”

The clerk then called on one of the Lost Girls, who carefully navigated her spiked Lady Gaga-esque heels down the stairs to the podium, breasts bouncing and barely contained by the fabric of her dress. She kept flipping her hair and loudly chewing gum as she read (rapidly and with no apparent punctuation) from a report on the lack of particulates in exhaled vapor. She was followed by a guy who provided sales statistics indicating that the majority of vaping liquids he sold contained either 3 milligrams of nicotine, or none at all. He concluded that they were not, therefore, tobacco products. Sales stats? You mean, these were the local vape shop owners? Are you kidding me?

Ultimately, the council ended up decimating the reputation of vaping in their city – which the local papers gleefully reported. Vaping was to be considered tobacco, and was to be restricted everywhere that cigarettes were. I knew one thing right away; if I was going to continue trying in my own little way to urge reason in this debate, I would need to really look at what the industry had developed into while I was happily vaping away and living my life. Otherwise, I could potentially get blindsided again, right?

Hardcore.

lipsmontage

Have you ever seen that 1979 movie where George C. Scott plays a conservative Midwesterner who had to navigate California’s underground porn industry in search of his runaway teen daughter? That was me looking into the vape industry with an outsider’s perspective. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but as an adult professional who had been vaping solely for harm reduction purposes, investigating the image, advertising, and culture that was the most visible component of the vaping world – I was highly disappointed.

Save for some exceptions (and it’s quickly obvious who they are), it looks like the industry is dominated by snickering twelve year-old boys, dangerously narcissistic girls, and opportunistic carnival barkers. And people wonder why the general public and the lawmakers show no respect. They’re trapped between douchebags in the airport, sponsored vape athletes (vapeletes?) who think blowing rings is a marketable skill, and liquid manufacturers who apparently believe that stuffing a 30ml bottle into a girl’s butt crack will convince you that ‘vaping is for you.’ Gosh, why aren’t the forty million mature, hard-working, cigarette-smoking Americans jumping onto that circus train? And do you actually expect career politicians and health agency directors to put their reputations on the line to support a vape jellyfish? (Now, if one of you figures out how to blow a vape poodle, or a vape Notre Dame Cathedral, then we might have something.)

For those who don’t have the time (or the interest) in looking into the industry’s current image, here is my five point summary; developed after many months of reviewing daily social media, vape magazines, vape conventions, and vape shops:

  1. Look at my (or my girlfriend’s, or a model I wish was my girlfriend’s) breasts, butt, lingerie, or lips while vaping demurely.
  2. Look at the bottle of liquid and unique device in my hand as I drive (or walk, or ride a bike, or play Xbox, or stand menacingly on a railroad trestle, or…).
  3. Look at this coil of wires that I made. Now look at it when it’s hot. Now look at it when it cools and turns colors.
  4. Look at me inhaling a bunch of vapor and blowing a monstrous cloud; I may even measure it, or do it simultaneously with someone else to see whose is bigger. I can also blow vape rings, big and little. And I’m on a competitive vaping team where we do all of these things against other teams to win free stuff.
  5. Look at the liquid that I manufacture in my garage and market specifically to get the attention of Intellectual Property attorneys, so they can sue me and take my parents’ house.

Look, I know I’m being harsh; I get that you are just having fun. But I suspect that vaping may just be a fad for the majority of younger folks who are currently doing it; it’s just the FurbyTickle Me Elmo, or MySpace of the moment. If you don’t vape to avoid cigarettes, or if you have 150+ watt devices stuffed into each front pocket, or you get together with friends in a garage (or parent-funded vape shop) to chase clouds, then you will eventually lose interest. And if you are allowed to continue defining the vape industry, then we (as a society) are going to lose millions of opportunities to actually help people who struggle with cigarette smoking.

Tobacco harm reduction is not a game, and turning this technology – this potential lifeline for people and their families – into a freak show, significantly weakens the chances of it being accepted by the general public and the health community.

Taking back the industry.

I’m sorry, but we need to take it back. And I challenge the legitimate business owners, investors, harm-reduction supporters, manufacturers, marketers, and former smokers whose lives have been improved through vaping (a.k.a. paying customers) to take the lead. Vapor companies, you should read a book on strategy for Pete’s sake, and stop focusing on the current fringe to make quick cash. Instead, look to that future mass market – those millions of adult smokers who just want to stop smelling like burnt leaves, getting winded walking to the car, and drowning in their own obliterated lungs. That’s where the future of vaping is. From a business perspective, you are stepping over dollars to pick up pennies, and from a humanity perspective, you are allowing human beings to die, out of your own ignorance. In that respect, many of you may be no better than Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and Public Health agencies. Ask yourself, how would your stores, products, marketing, and advocacy look different if you were actually focused on saving the lives of cigarette smokers?

Additionally, every day that you continue neglecting to professionally present vaping as a way to improve the quality of life and health for adults dependent on combustible cigarettes, you are adding months or years of work to the CASAAs, SFATAs, AVAs, Greg Conleys, Cynthia Cabreras, and Clive Bates’ of the world – who try to unwind stupid regulations, clarify misunderstandings, educate the general public, and oppose that small army of crazy cat ladies, who are always more than happy to show up and highlight the stupid crap done by those who have hijacked vaping. And at what cost? Smokers who may have tried vaping today if it had been presented positively, will continue to light cigarettes and shake their heads at this ridiculous fad.

I guarantee that those who stand to gain the most from the failure of the vape industry definitely have a strategy. And they know that their corporate survival is at stake in this war for cigarette smokers, gum chewers, and patch wearers. You have a significantly more compelling mission on your side, one that can motivate the general public to change the establishment; you can win this. But not if you continue to let teenagers, cloud chasers, ass models, kitchen-sink liquid mixers, and 200 watt device manufacturers speak for your industry.

And definitely not if you continue to let your opponents frame the debate.

Read now:

Part III: Winning your right to live.

 

Published by

MIT Brickman

Navigating the Tobacco Control and Public Health maelstrom.

28 thoughts on “Being your own worst enemy.”

  1. Nice. And it’s hilarious that as I’m reading it I’m thinking I wish my shop were closer to you, because it seems like your kind of place. It’s pretty low key. No mega watt devices, cloud comps, or even rebuildable product. I’d close before selling anything that infringed on anyone’s trademark. I have a Moog Theremini that customers can play if they like (through headphones), and some cool art.

    Having said that, I do fully support cloud chasers, though I really get the conundrum. I think the big thing with that is education. I was on a panel at a show this weekend, and we were specifically asked about the issue. I think it’s important to let people know that even though there is virtually nothing wrong with volume vaping, vapers need to try and step outside themselves and understand that visually, it can be absolutely horrifying to non-vapers. IOW, if a reporter has a camera and asks you to blow a cloud, only give them a little wisp. They can’t handle, and don’t deserve the rest. Never feel ashamed of what you do, but by all means be an ambassador. When Joe or Sue Q Public see haze, the only context they can process that in is “pollution”, and that’s bad for our goals. Show people how awesome vapers are, even without vaping. It’s tough, but please understand these guys and gals help us a lot. This weekend at a show, some vendors that specialize in volume vaping paid ridiculous amounts of money in a silent auction because the money was going to our state chapter. Also some of the most reliable people we have in our state to make phone calls and emails belong to this community (volume vaping), and they are just terrific.

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  2. Please note that most places around the world do not allow the positive statements to be made in adverts, for example: even the mild “Use of this product may help with quitting smoking” is totally banned from use in both the USA and the EU, because it sounds like it may be a medical claim. They may not even state that “Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking”, however true it may be.
    The only way that adverts of any sort can be worthwhile is by glamourising the product, and nice restrained low-key adverts get nowhere, and the low-key one-to-one discussions is where most converts are made anyway.

    But basically I agree with your sentiments,

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    1. Yeah tell me about it. We try and spread the mission to vendors that they can make zero cessation claims. I tell them to learn to hate the word “quit” and fall in love with the word “switch”. Health claims are prohibited, but are a little trickier. Technically we can quote existing science but we just can’t make them as ourselves. Ex. “Public Health England released a landmark review late last year, and THEIR assessment was that vapor products were at least 95% less harmful than smoking.” If the FDA Deeming Regs go through, I believe even that would be illegal. They specifically make it illegal for a vendor to tell a consumer that vapor products are less harmful than smoking. IOW the gov’t legally require vendors to lie to their consumers. If they come well for sure be working with the lawyers in our ranks to figure out how to deal with that, while we are figuring out how to unspool the entire thing and send it back to hell. If we fail, welcome to black market city. It’s a phased implementation that’s rolled in over 2 years. At the end of that 2 years, it isn’t possible that any non-large tobacco owned companies could exist. Even small tobacco owned companies would be forced out of the vapor market. It’s not designed to be survivable. There’s a bunch of people working really hard on it though, and I’m confident (mostly) we’ll win. But I’m the opptomist of the crew. 🙂

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  3. Parts 1 and 2 could have been pulled directly from my own mind. As a vaper and “part-time advocate”, I have always tried to look at vaping from the outsider’s viewpoint (like a non-vaper and a non-smoker). Our image is one of rudeness and immaturity – and, at least in the US, most advocacy organizations are not willing to address it beyond general statements of “we don’t condone this type of marketing or behavior”. I know that some will hate me for this opinion but to me these organizations have not stepped up and confronted this – and therein lies the problem. Maybe it’s over the “freedom” issue, that vapers should be able to vape “however” they want – regardless of how it appears to those outside of the vaping world; maybe when it comes to companies it’s the idea that advocacy organizations “are not supposed to tell them how to run their business” – that it’s no tup to advocates to “self-regulate” the industry; but I suspect it is because these organizations have decided that they must focus on the legal side of things (legislation, regulations, ordinances) to the exclusion of ALL other issues. The leaders have decided to “bet on the number” they feel has the strongest odds of winning, but I think they have ignored the fact that the game is rigged BECAUSE they have NOT strongly addressed (or even seriously discussed) the image problems surrounding vaping. To me, this is a fatal flaw – and it’s why while others can be optimistic I am pessimistic about the future of vaping. In today’s world, image is everything. With those opposed to vaping, they keep throwing out the examples of “bad” vaping because it WORKS. Sure, we can counter this by saying “that’s only one shop” or “that’s not the typical vaper” because that likely IS the truth; but since when did the ACTUAL truth matter to a career politician? Politicians judge “truthfulness” based mostly on one thing – who is going to be the bigger threat to my getting re-elected? When I started in (vaping) advocacy, I was told by advocates and vapers alike that we can and will self-regulate; meanwhile, the opposition labelled vaping as “the Wild West”, where there are no rules. Currently, just looking at it from an image perspective and from as close to an outsider’s view as I can get, I would have to agree with the opposition’s assessment. Until the bigger organizations and their leaders actively and solidly address these image problems, we are allowing the opposition the means with which to decimate the users, the sellers and the manufacturers. If we, as a community, do not distance ourselves LOUDLY from these image problems, we will ALL be judged based on that image. This means any sympathy we garner over trying to better our own health and the health of others is worth nothing to those that make the laws and the regulations; and with “all things being equal”, they will decide on what benefits THEM the most – the votes and financial support from industries that lose money if vaping, as an industry and a technology, survives.

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  4. Ya, the whole competitive vaping thing. Iv left at least one forum due to this short sighted narcissistic attitude. Vaping is in no way competitive. It only shows the maturity level of the participants. I agree, the greed involved and the lack of maturity in the business has dealt us a blow that is very hard to overcome.
    F`ing kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!

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    1. Mitt made an excellent point about “volume vapers” but you’re comment screams immaturity and close mindedness, while condemning competitive capers for their immaturity. What people have an issue with, it seems, is separating vaping as a hobby from vaping as strictly a smoking cessation tool. From my own personal experience, I started vaping 4 years ago after 16 years of pack a day smoking and I,have not had one cigarette since. So it was purely a means to quit smoking. But it evolved for me personally into a hobby that I am very passionate about. And I’m not a 16 year old jumping in on a fad. I’m 30 years old, I have a family and a full time job, and at the end of the day it is fun for me to sit down and build a complicated coil structure, or cloud chase in my garage. It is my way of enjoying the little free time I have we’re all here agreeing that vaping is near harmless when compared to cigarettes, so why does it matter if I find enjoyment in the rebuildable aspect or volume aspect of it? I don’t think any vaper should have to only vape a certain way, because for many people like myself it has become a hobby. Though, I disagree with the idea that I should be shown to vape anytime or anywhere I want. Just because it is less harmful than smoking doesn’t mean we need to disregard the fact that some people just genuinely don’t want you vaping around them. I take no offense to that. As for the marketing and the image presented by a woman with a bottle of a liquid pressed between her breasts, I agree that it is damaging to the image of vaping as a whole and don’t see any reason for it other than short term money making.

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  5. Absolutely brilliant, Mit! You’ve touched on numerous points that I’ve been echoing since the arrival of the Aspire Atlantis (late ’14), which is when this industry started trending in its current direction.

    I cannot wait for the third installment.

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    1. Mr. Flynn – I am actually very curious how you tie a change in industry trajectory to the release of a particular type of tank. Could you please expand on that? Thanks!

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      1. My guess to his thought is that it was the first “subohm” tank that had replaceable coils. Prior to the release of this tank the volume vaper scene and ultra hobbiest cloud chaser was smaller as it had a boundary for entry (making a coil yourself) but that tank spawned a slew of sub ohm style tanks going as low as .2 ohms allowing for volume vaping from your first kit. To top it off many shops no longer carry mouth to lung starter kits, at least not updated ones, and are pushing people toward these big airflow high watt volume vaping devices from the gate. I would have to agree that the creation of the sub ohm tank definitely shifted the extreme hobby side of vaping into the mainstream.

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      2. I made the switch almost 3 years ago at the age of 40 and was pushed by the shop into a basic mouth to lung setup with higher nicotine. I never felt satisfied with that kind of device and it was very hard not to go back to smoking. It made my throat hurt and made me cough. I even tried going the kayfun route that was growing in popularity at the time, and it just wasn’t satisfying. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to rdas with higher wattage, lower nic and dtl that I felt satisfied. For me it was more about having that feeling of a lungful of vapor, not throat hit, that did it for me. When I tried to pass off my old gear and liquids to friends, they had the same experience as me. I am very private with my vaping as I was with my smoking. I go outside and find a secluded area to vape or do it at home or in my car. I don’t hang out at vape shops and I couldn’t care less for cloud comps. I feel that people need to be respectful of others and be able to control themselves. I work in a bar and have seen both types of vaper being oblivious to others as they pull out their device and start using it, drawing looks and comments from others. It is not exclusive to cloud chasers. I agree that shops should offer both styles to appeal to different types, but this idea that people are only being pushed one direction is ridiculous, as is the idea that you should only do mtl low wattage as a beginner. Is it not possible that the market is appealing to the way most people tend to lean and are seeking out now, which is toward more vapor, higher airflow and lower nic? Like it not. Now, I am only speaking from my own experiences and I know that there are people that have a different experience. I think that some peoples comments about subohming seem to imply that it has ruined vaping. But the hatred towards vaping hasn’t only come from the side of cloud chasing bros. When I first started people had the negative attitude because they saw it as something for hipster looking fat guys with beards and wearing newsboy hats or fedoras, with all due respect to understudy below. And at that time, the idea of dtl vaping was rare and a 15 watt vamo was high wattage. So I don’t think seeking out higher wattage and more airflow is simply the extreme hobby side of vaping being pushed into the mainstream, but the need for people to find a satisfying alternative to smoking in many cases. Even my 64 year old mom prefers to use a subohm tank. People can ruin the image of vaping from all sides.

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  6. You put my thoughts eloquently into words. There is a time and place for every form of vaping, but in order to fight the bad press, we need to change public perception to focus on those of us who finally quit smoking successfully. Vaping is no worse than the patch or gum, but it works. I smoked for 45 years and this month is my one year vapeaversary. I build, I blow clouds, but not in public areas. My friends who vape don’t follow the vaping news, don’t even know about the band trying to be put in place. They just quietly vape at home or in smoking areas, happy to finally not be lighting up. Somehow these people need to become another face of vaping for the government to take note of. A face for them to understand and become sympathetic to.

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  7. It needed to be said.

    Of course there are forces, legal and social, at work which created this danse macabre. It is easy to miss key factors that led to this panoply of narcissism and anarchy. Most notably the restrictions already in place before the crazy cat ladies took the stage in opposition to vaping: The definition of smoking as a disease and anything designed to ‘cure’ it as making a health claim.

    Everything written does exist in the industry today. It is understanding that this was the path of least resistance when telling the truth is illegal and will shutter business with one letter from the FDA (see Sottera v FDA 09-cv-00771). Thus the strategy became survive and grow any way possible to reach a critical mass which could engage against the already overly restrictive regulation of this lifesaving disruptive technology.

    Naturally, the opposition does not remain static. Knowing they had created, in the words of Campaign For Tobacco-free Kids (CFTK), a “wild west of products containing highly addictive nicotine”, they only had to wait. The industry could not disappoint. When truth is outlawed, the only tools are innuendo and inference to move the message. Sex sells, and so does the rebel image, this is low lying fruit. Even if only a handful of companies in the sea of industry were the outlaws, the opposition was ready to exploit their presence.

    Most do not understand how this game is played, or where the pillars of power are. (Hint: Big Tobacco and Pharma are distractions.) This is a long game, not won in minutes, months, or years. It involves principles that are far more universal that just the right to vape, and there are allies most vapers haven’t even realized exist. The win, when it comes, will be worth something far beyond the vaping community.

    Keep writing, it is enjoyable to read.

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  8. I want to start off by saying that I am a vaper & I am not trying to start anything, but I think my opinion might be unpopular with some or a lot of vapers. There is one thing I dont understand. I see a lot of vapers & online reviewers, etc… saying that Vape & Vape products are not Tobacco or Tobacco products. Now I agree that Vaping is less harmfull than traditional cigarettes, but unless you are vaping 0mg nic then where do you think the nicotine comes from? It comes from tobacco. I have seen two e-juice companies that make their e-juice from nicotine that is artificially made in a laboratory out of the hundreds/thousands of e-juice makers. I can understand why you dont want Vape products to be called Tobacco products but if the nicotine comes from a Tobacco plant how can you say its not a Tobacco product?

    Again not trying to start any drama but just trying to see others point of view. Mabie I am missing something here.

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  9. I certainly agree with the part about cloud chasers and the like. It is unfortunate that adolescent youth (or the maturity of), nearly all male, have taken over the vaping industry and much of the discussion. If any vape shop is selling high watt or mechanical devises (nearly all vaping blowups are from mechs), and claims as its core mission to help smokers switch to a low risk alternative, they are lying. They are in it for the money.

    The part I disagree with the author on is being associated with cigarettes. You appear to be saying it can be avoided, and that would have avoided many issues, but that simply is not true. The tobacco control industry was going to attack vaping no matter what it was called. Besides, how could it not be associated with cigarettes. It looks like smoking a cigarette, is used to a great extent by people who smoke cigarettes, or formally have, and contains nicotine. The connection is intimate and unavoidable.

    The problem is not that vaping is associated with cigarettes or tobacco. The fundamental problem is that people are grossly misinformed about the relative risk of different tobacco products (even many in the vaping community). The general public believes all tobacco products are equally risky, when the reality is that different tobacco products have vastly different risk. It is easy to deceive the public into believing vaping is a big risk when they have already been deceived into believing smokeless tobacco has the same risk as inhaling smoke. One lie leads to another.

    A basic mistake the vaping community has made is trying to run away from tobacco with the claim that we are not tobacco, instead of attacking the basic lies of tobacco control. All tobacco control has say is, “No, you are tobacco”. and the game is over with no recourse. The vaping community has already burned its bridges. You have played right into the hands of TC. You are just a pawn in their game.

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  10. Part of the problem I see is there’s a lot people in the industry who have fallen into it by shear luck.
    They had a dead end job, have no clue about business and it’s now become a way of life for them.
    They get more money than they ever dreamed about, and It’s gone to their heads, much like the rich kids of Instagram who are always wanting to show off something better than the rest of them.
    While they think what they’re doing needs to be done, it isn’t, and all they are doing it competing with each other trying to grab a market share of relatively small niche.

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  11. Thank you for this.

    I’ve been vaping for over 6 years and I’ve seen the industry change so much in this short amount of time. When I first started you didn’t see hot models promoting products or many young guys. And while we cared about vapor production, no one would’ve imagined trying to blow the monstrous clouds they do today.

    I used to attend vape meets all over the country. It was fun hanging out with my vape buddies and watching some of them become successful vendors. I’ve stopped attending because it’s now about scantily clad women and cloud competitions. That’s just not for me, and it’s not what vaping looks like for me. I don’t want to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (I’m not even 40 yet!), but it’s definitely given the face of vaping a douchey look. I can understand why this new look isn’t helping our cause one bit.

    I still advocate for vaping, calling and emailing my lawmakers, and others across the country. I even educate anyone willing to listen. But I’m finding it hard to remain a part of this changing community because of the douche factor.

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  12. I feel the same sir. I started vaping at the end of 2008 and from then to now, forget it. I went to all of the vape meets, tried to get involved and in 2011 it all started changing into a pierced up, tattooed up blowing clouds and nasty women with no clothes on walking around the meet like they were queens. The big boss over the vape meets was and still is after nothing but money. I quit because I want more out of life than thinking that “Under the Thunder doom” is a great way of life. I vape at home and want nothing to do with those people. It started out for good causes and wound up becoming a nasty mess.

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  13. Here’s the problem, by the way. Vape shop employees have *tremendous* influence on the brands a shop picks up. Vape shop employees are 18-24 males who want to be cool. As a result, the vape industry markets to vape shop employees, not to ex-smokers. When an e-liquid company tries to market to adults, they can’t get into any vape shops.

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  14. I’m only in it for the nicotine!
    Following Dr Farsolino’s advice, I mix my own unflavored juice at 50 mg/ml. I can vape less frequently and go longer between vapes.
    I exhale through a small towel which I always carry, showing no visible aerosol. Yet still my local county and the nearest local city have passed restrictive vaping laws. I no longer fly, I no longer patronize several once-favorite restaurants. I dropped out of my supervised cardio-rehab program (45 years of smoking 4 packs of Pall Malls a day took it’s toll) because I was asked to quit vaping on the premises.
    If the actions of “show-off” vapers (over-sexy ads, cloud chasing, hyper-stinky flavors etc.) drive me back to smoking….

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    1. No, you drove you back to smoking. Be an adult and accept responsibility for your own choices.

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  15. I feel like picking on people for being passionate about it like saying Crossfit is ruining working out. There is nothing wrong with choosing to keep it simple but if people want to that stuff..a lot of times with 0 nicotine juice, let them. I did grow out of cloud chasing and though I use a 150 watt box now, I always tell people my setup is overkill for the tank I use. Exluding those people from the battle is going to only hurt the cause. I think the biggest thing that hurts vaping is people refusing to accept that while it’s not tobbaco smoke, it’s an item being breathed out in the atmosphere and it’s important that vapers recognize that in that regard it’s just like smoking and they got to respect others who do not want to be around that.

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