Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Time for a Xmas break :)

2014 is coming to an end and it has been a year of quite a few ups and downs for us vapers. We had the TPD approved in Febuary, the WHO reports this summer and finally the COP-6 farce in October. But I've also seen vapers and others fighting hard throughout the year, pretty much debunking all the various theories and attacks that the ANTZ has launched. As we're soon entering 2015 and regulations are getting closer it's important that we keep on fighting. Especially here in Norway I've seen the media turning a bit in the right direction after some fantastic work by the Norwegian Union of Vapers (NDS) and independent vapers and of course SIRUS, and I'm hoping the rest of the world will follow in 2015. Winning the media over will be the key to success, and in my opinion this is where we need to focus our work in 2015.

It's been my first year as a blogger and I've enjoyed it a lot. I've learned a lot, and I'm looking forward to keep on doing it in 2015 as well. I already have a couple of cool reviews lined up for you guys. But now, it's time for a proper Xmas break, so I'll probably not be posting again until January. If you're after some good blog-reading this Xmas I recommend having a look at the Vaping Militia 2014 Authors Choice.

I hope you all will have a fantastic Xmas and wish you a happy new year. See you all in 2015.

AspireAtlantis Subtank

photo credit: Bugsy Sailor via photopin cc

Friday, 19 December 2014

New report from Norway: Electronic cigarettes - usage patterns, user groups and user culture

Last Friday (the 12th) the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS) released a report on e-cigarettes with focus on usage patterns, user groups and user culture. I talked to Rikke Tokle, who is responsible for the study, in January when the project was in the start up phase. She said back then that "the background for SIRUS to start this project is the desire for more knowledge and focus on the users and their experience with using e-cigarettes". 

Sirus published an article on their web-page on Friday where Tokle talks a bit about the report. The report and the article is only available in Norwegian at the moment, but I asked Tokle about this and the plan is to release an article in English based on the report later on. The summary of the report is also written in English, and is now available at the last pages.

With Christmas coming up and everything I haven't had the time to read the whole report yet, but I had a brief look at it and it looks like a good read (if you can read Norwegian of course), having a lot of statements from the users that Tokle interviewed in the study. The report is mainly based on interviews with 16 vapers recruited from different channels to avoid selection. In addition to this Tokle has also attended a "vape meet" and observed user controlled websites. So the main objectives of this report is to document how e-cigarettes are used, who uses them, how they got introduced to them and the users perspective on some of the political aspects of vaping. It's not a report that aims to debunk or prove any theories or health consequences of e-cigarette use, but it aims to document the user culture and the users views on things. I think this is quite an interesting angle as I can't recall having seen anything like it before. It's actually not a study of e-cigarettes but a study of e-cigarette users and usage.

As I've said before, I think if you really want to know something about vaping, you need to talk to vapers. A lot of vapers are very updated on vaping politics, the market and maybe most importantly the science and research done on the subject. There is still a lot of so-called experts in the media claiming that "we don't know enough yet" or "there is not much research done on the subject yet". In my opinion, with all the easily accessible research available just a few clicks away, such statements disqualifies anyone from being described as "an expert". SIRUS shows with this report that they have understood this and they have also done so in the media on several occasions as well, with Karl Erik Lund referencing up to date science on the subject (as opposed to certain others that points to out-of-date reports on products long gone from the market).

I'm looking forward to reading the whole report as it is the first report I've seen with this focus on the vapers and their experiences and thoughts on the subject. It is 134 pages long so don't even thing about asking me to translate the whole thing. Hopefully the above mentioned article will be released soon. However, with a lot of help from google, I've translated the article that SIRUS posted on their web-page for those of you who don't read Norwegian (which according to my statistics should be most of you):
A minority of smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes has plans to stop using e-cigarettes. This is shown the first Norwegian study of e-cigarette users.

The use of e-cigarettes is increasing, but there is currently little Norwegian research on the subject. In the report "Electronic cigarettes - usage patterns, user groups and user culture" Rikke Tokle has interviewed users of e-cigarettes, participated in "vape meets" and observed Norwegian vaping web-sites.

The report documents the perceptions and attitudes of users of electronic cigarettes in an early phase dispersion product. The phase is characterized by a lack of clear rules for the application and acquisition, and that the media conveys inconsistent messages about risk.

- E-cigarettes seems to be a successful smoke substitute because the product addresses both the physical addiction to nicotine and the psychological addiction to action and smoke ritual. Vaping is a way to keep the "smoke habit" without smoke, says Tokle.

Many of the interviewees stated that they aim to vape nicotine free [e-juice] and that they actively step down on nicotine strength with the goal of total nicotine freedom.

A harm reduction alternative to tobacco

- For smokers e-cigarettes can be a harm-reducing alternative to tobacco cigarettes because nicotine is delivered without exposing the user to tar and many of the harmful gases released during the combustion of tobacco, says Tokle.

I the report she shows that the motives for using e-cigarettes are closely related to the informants' smoking career and addiction. Quitting smoking emerges as the primary motivation for the use of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes seems to be crucial for many of the informants' freedom from smok today. The health aspect is the primary reason for wanting smoking cessation.

Used by various groups

The report indicates that the use of e-cigarettes have gained a foothold in different groups of smokers. For daily smokers vaping is an important and integrated part of the day. They vape in situations where they have previously smoked.

Occasional smokers often tell about double use and situation dependent use, where e-cigarette usage is "for fun", as opposition, or are motivated by practical reasons.

"Versatility" also seems to affect patterns of use in that vaping can be done at several and "new" places, such as inside nightclubs, workplaces, dining places, while reading, or in front of the tv. This seems to increase the frequency of use compared to conventional cigarettes.

Smokers are the primary audience for e-cigarettes according the informants in this study, which is supported by the fact that all of them has a smoking career. The informants can be divided into three user groups:

  • The first group are those who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking and to maintain smoking cessation. This user group appears to include the majority of vapers today.
  • Activists and committed "enthusiasts" can be referred to as a separate group. Vapers that may be linked to this group is characterized by enthusiasm for e-cigarettes. This becomes apparent through participation in forums like the one run by the Norwegian Union of Vapers, wishes to recruit smokers to vaping, and for some, working closely with the authorities to influence regulation. This group also houses the "particularly interested", where vaping also has a hobby aspect.
  • A third group that differs from the former are "trendsetters" and the recreational users of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes appears here more as a selected accessory than as a smoking substitute. The news value and the "future element" of e-cigarettes is positively described. The informants that may be linked to this community seems to be mainly gifted young adults. Some are active in the nightlife.
Dissatisfaction with current regulations

Views on current regulations and the authorities' handling of e-cigarettes are characterized by discontent. The informants appear to be particularly frustrated by the current market situation and the ban on sale of nicotine e-juice from Norwegian retailers, as several of them states that this affects the weakest and most dependent smokers. Several of them also believe that online shopping exclude older people. The planning of orders in relation to shipping and customs can complicate smoking cessation and the transition to vaping for some.

The informants instead calls for regulation and standards for increased product safety. Some of them, especially those very involved informants, also express fear of over-regulation that could lead to narrowed product variety, higher prices and standardized products with little appeal to smokers. There is also scepticism about decisions made in the EU's tobacco products directive that will prohibit threshold values above 20 mg / ml nicotine.

There are differing opinions on how e-cigarettes should be distributed. The proposals range from pharmacy and liquor store to night clubs, kiosks and grocery retailers. There is consensus among the interviewees that there should be 18-year age limit for the purchase of both e-cigarettes and e-juice.

Subtank Fivepawns

Friday, 12 December 2014

Is this the official gateway theory debunking week?

I can't help but noticing that this week the gateway theory has been given
another couple of devastating wounds. This thing seems to be pretty hard to get rid of, it has already been dealt enough damage to kill it several times. Maybe this is because it was never based on reality or common sense in the first place, so real facts can't kill it cause it's supporters don't really care for those anyway?

Yesterday I wrote about the Penn State study that showed e-cigarettes are in fact less addictive than cigarettes. Today I saw that The Health Survey for England 2013 found that E-cigarette use rare in non-smokers. (Yeah, I'm a bit slow, I know it.) I don't really see the need to write a long comment on that, but I'll try to express my thoughts on this very briefly: Well, duh!?

I'd also like to recommend one of the most amusing comments of this week: Dick Puddlecote's comments on the survey that he published yesterday. Make sure you follow the last link in his post as well as it is also quite an amusing read. Have a nice weekend!

AspireAtlantis Subtank

Thursday, 11 December 2014

BIG Surprise: Vaping is LESS addictive than cigarettes

A lot of you have probably read about the new study from Penn State’s College of Medicine that concluded that the addictiveness from e-cigarettes is lower that that of cigarettes. The study was released on the 9th, I think, and was commented quite a few places. Klaus Kneale from ecigadvanced.com has written a great comment that you can read here.

The fact that e-cigarettes seems to be less addictive than cigarettes isn't really shocking to most vapers. I can tell from my own experience that I don't get the nicotine cravings are not as strong as they used to be and I can go a lot longer without my e-cigs than I could without a cigarette when I was smoking. Coincidentally I actually had a go at this this Sunday, when I left was going to a meeting. I was about to put some vaping gear in my pocket as I usually do when I go out, but decided that since it was probably going to be a short meeting I didn't need it. The meeting ended up lasting for 3 hours. Back when I was smoking I would have been trembling anxiously within an hour... but now I didn't even think about it before I got home.
The researchers suggest that this reduced addictiveness may be related to the products’ inability to deliver nicotine as effectively. While this is almost certainly true, other researchers and preliminary evidence suggests that, in the absence of smoke (and many other constituents found in tobacco cigarettes), nicotine just isn’t as addictive when delivered via vapor.
My thoughts exactly, Klaus. When I first read about the study this was the first thing that came to my mind as well. I wrote a couple of posts (here and here) about the addictiveness of nicotine earlier as well, referring to the work of Professor Peter Killeen among others. Killeen has also commented on vaping on youtube, and I highly recommend you watch this and listen to what he has to say about it:


What I personally find quite interesting is this part:
"We know nicotine is a big player in the addiction to cigarette smoke. Inhaled cigarette smoke is very addictive, and it's very fatal to a large proportion of people who use cigarettes or other forms of inhaled tobacco. How about vaping? How about inhaling nicotine? A lot of the assumptions that the scientists have made over these decades about the addictive properties of nicotine are wrong. They are wrong because they are always looking at nicotine addiction in the context of cigarettes and other inhaled tobacco products. Nicotine by itself has never been shown to be addictive. Nicotine by itself has never been shown to be addictive in individuals who have not smoked cigarettes prior to using nicotine"
The reason I put the last part of the quote above in bold is that this is one of the reasons that the gateway theory is invalid. As Steve K's puts it, this is Another Hole in the Gateway.

Fivepawns Stingray

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How many e-cig studies can you fit in your hand?

Yesterday Steve K made me aware of this "Decent Article Derailed by Japanese Study". Reading the original article I see that the Japanese horror story and the following copy-paste journalism is still doing a lot of damage, kind of destroying an otherwise pretty good article about e-cigarettes. And then there is this:
The combination of uncertainty and the small handful of studies published to date mean that e-cigarette use is a gamble. There’s just not enough information to say for sure whether they are bad for you, or rather just how bad they are for you, considering the initial argument that they are far less harmful than tobacco.
Small handful of studies? I do realize that USB memory sticks today can fit a shitload of data, so technically this might be true, but seriously I do not think that was what they meant by this. Have a look at this study by Frank J. Domino, MD, published yesterday. The authors found and reviewed 99 full-text research papers. Is that a handful? Or how about all the studies collected on ecigalternative.com. Can those fit in your hand? As I said above, I assume that when they say a handful that is figuratively speaking, and in my opinion, if you are capable of using a handy tool called google, you should be able to dig up a lot more than a handful of studies. In fact I would say that Dr. Farsalinos studies alone would be around a handful... maybe two. But still I see the same thing in the media all the time: There is not much research done in the area yet. How is it even possible to state that when you obviously are able to access the internet... oh wait.. I just got it: Copy-paste journalism again. Damn...


AspireAtlantis Stingray

photo credit: M Prince Photography via photopin cc

Friday, 5 December 2014

YOU can get the truth out there!

Last Friday and on Tuesday I wrote that Norwegian media was pretty quick to retract the horror story was published in media all over the world that week. And still I haven't seen many non-Norwegian media doing this yet (although I wrote about one on Tuesday). But today I was made aware by Dan MacDonald (author of argvargen.wordpress.com) on twitter that Swedish News agency FinWire (@FinWire) has published an article retracting the news. They did this after Dan saw their original article and made them aware of what Norwegian media was writing and Dr. Farsalinos' statements on ecigarette-research.com. It's a perfect example of what we as vapers can achieve if we just keep on fighting. I strongly urge vapers in other countries to write to their news agencies, newspapers and any journalists that might be able to get the story out. Dan made it happen and so can you! Now let's hope the Swedish media picks this one up.

Here's the article they published, translated by google and yours truly:
AFP recently reported that e-cigarettes contain up to ten times more carcinogens than regular tobacco, citing research by Japanese researchers. Other prominent scholars however, tone it down and thinks that what was reported in the media does not match the actual research. The Norwegian NRK wrote in an article last week:

- Even in the worst product tested the values of the carcinogen formaldehyde that were
six times lower than in tobacco, says Konstantinos Farsalinos, which is considered a world-leading researchers in the right e-cigarettes.

Even Karl Erik Lund at the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and drug research is sceptical after reading the Japanese report.

- We've made chemical content analyzes for 7-8 years and all analyzes performed so far goes in a completely different direction than the news agency reported here, said Lund to NRK.

- This is uncritical dissemination of a comment that does not reflect the content of the report and are liable to scare smokers from harm reduction nicotine intake, says Lund.

coolfire Stingray

Thursday, 4 December 2014

E-juice review: Devil Kiss and Danger Island by No1Ejuice

No1Ejuice says they want to provide "all the top brands" of e-liquid from one shop, and they are starting to have quite a good lineup of top-brand juices: Ben Johnsons, Five Pawns, Suicide Bunny and Mad Alchemist just to mention a few. They also keep working on adding new premium brands to their list all the time. Their prices are not bad either, and they do have some pretty good offers from time to time. To me it looks like they aim to be a juice vendor first and foremost, but also stock some basic starter kits and some of the most popular equipment from Aspire, Kanger and even Vaporshark at decent prices. But they also have their own range of e-liquids, currently consisting of 4 juices after they recently added a two new ones. Today I'm reviewing one "old" and one "new" juice from this range, Devil Kiss and Danger Island.

Devil Kiss 
Tested on: IGO-W8/Sigelei 100W (@ around 30-35W)

Devil Kiss is one of the two juices they started out with in this range. Well, to be honest I don't really know if they started with one or two juices when they started, but at least this one was there first time I visited their web-page. They describe it as a "succulent sweet grape flavour followed by a subtle hint of mint taste that will leave you feeling like you had a sweet delicious treat". Well, to be honest I don't think this description quite hit the spot. Now this might have to do with me trying it on a dripper and high wattage, but to me the mint taste are not a subtle hint. To me the mint and the grape are pretty much equally present. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. On this kind of setup I think their own description of the juice is a quite a bit off, but on a lower wattage setup it might be. So why didn't I try this? Well, even though the description wasn't spot on, that doesn't mean it's not good. I was actually going to leave some to test on the Nautilus, but I found myself chain-vaping and suddenly I was going to drip some more and the bottle was empty. The taste is pretty unique, I've not tasted anything like it before and as you might have guessed (since the I emptied the bottle without noticing) I kind of liked it. I do think this might be a hate/love juice though, at least on high power like this. A lot of flavour, and a very distinctive and unique flavor... that's like the recipe for a love/hate juice. The samples I got was 6 mg/ml nicotine and they are all 70/30 PG/VG. Throat-hit was pretty strong as you can imagine on this setup, and 6 mg/ml was perfect as well. Anything more and I'd get dizzy for sure.

Danger Island 
Tested on: Aspire Nautilus/Sigelei 100W (@ around 15W)
 
Danger Island is one of the two juices they recently added to the range. It's a
coconut/watermelon blend with a touch of creaminess. This time they are spot on with their description. As I said above, might have to do with the equipment and wattage used. Usually I find coconut kind of a hard taste to like in e-liquids. It usually gets to sweet and kind of sticky, and once it sets in the wicking material I get a feeling it gets even sweeter and more dominant. In this juice however I don't get that feeling. The melon kind of balances it out, and renders it more mellow. Again I discover a taste combo that I hadn't even thought of myself, and it works pretty well. It's not to sweet either, making it an easy juice to like if you ask me. None of the flavours are especially dominant over the others, and none of them very strong. It is a bit difficult to describe... I think soft is kind of the best word I can think of, this is a soft juice, or maybe calm. It would work great as an all day vape, the only thing I'm worried about is that it might be a bit boring in the long run.


I do recommend trying these juices out, especially the Devil Kiss, as they are both unique, interesting  and at the moment pretty cheap as well (£3.50 if you hurry).



Disclosure:
  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • The juice was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.
  • This review contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

E-cigarette regulations, who wants it and why?

Ivo Vegter
We all know there is a lot of organizations and individuals out there calling for strict regulations or even bans on e-cigarettes. Looking at the proven benefits of vaping and the research done on them, e-cigarettes could (and probably will) save the lives of millions of smokers, by replacing the most deadly consumer product on the planet with a product that will do anywhere from 95 to 100% less harm to its users. So why is it then that some people and organizations are so eager to get rid of them?

Via the NDS (Norwegian Union of Vapers) official Facebook page I came across this great article by Ivo Vegter that sums up a lot of the reasons, and I though it deserves to be shared as much as possible: Only Big Tobacco and Big Pharma want e-cig regulation. It's a great read with a lot of good links to relevant information. Highly recommended by the Vaping Giraffe.
The tobacco industry is not unique. Both it and the pharmaceutical industry would like to monopolise the e-cigarette action. And government is only too happy to sacrifice public health to big business lobbyists. The truth is that they are safe to use and effective to quit smoking. If governments were consistent, they’d hand e-cigarettes out like condoms.
I totally agree Mr. Vegter. Sadly though, I think it's more likely that they'll ban condoms, arguing that they might be a gateway to unprotected sex.

Fivepawns Stingray

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The "10-times-more-harmful-than-cigarettes-scare", copy-paste journalism and what made the difference in Norway

As most of you probably are aware of on Thursday last week media all over the world, including Norway, started reporting the 10-times-more-harmful-than-cigarettes-scare. I'm still seeing some of the slower ones running this story, as it's still turning up in my daily google news searches. The story was fed to the media by news agency AFP, and from there it got published uncritically all over the world, doing a lot of harm, and ultimately scared a lot of vapers back to smoking cigarettes. I think this is a good example on how the media of today has turned into nothing but a tool for people with an agenda and a couple of braincells to spread their message all over the world, without anyone questioning whether the information is true or not. The vast majority of so called journalism today apparently consist of just copy-pasting the most shocking news, as fast as you can, so your employer can sell their ads at the highest price possible. It doesn't really matter that much if the information is true or not, since as soon as your horror headline has been clicked, the ads are doing their job; generating income for the website owner.

It was today I saw there first story from a source outside Norway where they actually question this information: http://goo.gl/RZtcSj. Inquisitr finally seems to have found the statement posted by Farsalinos at ecigarette-research.com. About time I would say. It's quite interesting to read the comments below this article. Have a look at the link posted by Norbert Zillatron, connecting the Japanese scientists to the WHO: http://goo.gl/6Co9bw. Now read the first paragraph again and connect the dots.

There might be other media as well that I'm not aware of that are coming forth now, but here in Norway the media started reporting that the horror story from Thursday wasn't all true already on Friday morning. Some actually already on Thursday evening. I've been wondering this weekend why this happened here, and not everywhere else in the world.

I contacted Karl Erik Lund at SIRUS and asked him a bit about what happened as he was doing a great job in the media, explaining the true story. He says that a journalist working for nrk.no that was also about to publish the horror story called him to ask about it and when hearing Lunds points of view on the story decided to publish a whole different story, debunking the horror that other media had published during the day. The race of true journalists may not be totally extinct anyway, at least there is one here in Norway. However it is a bit worrying that she seems to be a bit alone, even in her own organization. The horror story was actually aired on national TV at about the same time as her debunking story was published on nrk.no. The story was aired 19.12 and the article published 19.23. This is the clip where the horror is presented on TV on Thursday evening (thanks Helge Andersen for putting this on youtube):


Translation:
"E-cigarettes contain 10 times as many carcinogenic substances as regular cigarettes. This is shown by a study conducted by the Japanese National Institute of Health. The World Health Organization advocates to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and also showed that the vapor from these cigarettes are dangerous to fetuses and young children."


The next evening however they aired this "apology":
"In Dagsrevyen [Newsnight] yesterday we said that e-cigarettes contain 10 times as many carcinogenic substances as regular cigarettes with reference to a study conducted by the Japanese National Institute of Health. We emphasize that this result was only detected in only one of the cases that the Japanese scientists examined. The results in general showed that the level was lower in e-cigarettes than in tobacco."

Two people made a huge difference here in Norway, I believe ultimately saving lives: Kjersti Strømmen, a true journalist that actually did her job properly and Karl Erik Lund, who always speaks the voice of reason when this kind of madness comes along. Big thanks to both of them. I really really hope Strømmen will continue to dig a bit more around on the topic of e-cigarettes, and I hope (and I really believe he will) Lund will continue his efforts to get the truth about e-cigarettes out, to regulators, politicians and the general public. But Strømmen and Lund was not alone. I've been asking around a bit and a lot of people from the NDS (Norwegian Union of Vapers) Facebook group did a lot of commenting on articles and sending emails to journalists, using whatever contacts and means they had available. I think this combined effort was what made most newspapers publish "clarifying" articles the morning after, linking to Farsalinos and Lunds statements. The work of Lund, Strømmen and Farsalinos, of course, gave all the emails and comments the weight they needed to make the media turn around in this case.

AspireAtlantisFivepawns

Friday, 28 November 2014

Norwegian national TV reports that yesterday's scaremongering was... scaremongering

Karl Erik Lund at SIRUS does
a great job minimizing the 
damage done by the media
yesterday.
UPDATE: Since I posted this, several other Norwegian media, among them the ones with the most scary headlines, have published similar articles. Happy giraffe today!

Yesterday the shocking news that e-cigarettes contain 10 times the amount of carcinogens that we've found in cigarettes was reported by most major Norwegian media. Today I'm really happy to see that NRK, the government owned broadcaster here in Norway, reports this: "Scientist rejects horror news about e-cigarettes" (in Norwegian). This was actually published yesterday evening I think. The article presents Dr. Farsalinos as the world leading e-cigarette researcher who used most of yesterday rejecting the news. They've even linked to ecigarette-research.com and Dr. Farsalinos comments on the case and the Japanese report that is in fact edited by Dr. Farsalinos himself.
It was a big international news agency that today reported the dramatic conclusion of the Japanese research. The news was forwarded by media all around the world, also in Norway
Karl Erik Lund, head of research at SIRUS (Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug research, a government funded organization), says in the article that "this is risk communication at it's worst". NRK called Lund to hear what he had to say about the matter and after reading the research he is disappointed that journalists don't actually check if the information they're given has any truth to it, but just reports it uncritically. He says that the article will possibly scare ex-smokers back to smoking and in contrast to the medias rendering of the report, the actual results are neither surprising nor scary:
The findings in the report is consistent with other research in the area. It strengthens the knowledge that e-cigarettes have lower concentrations of cancer dangerous ingredients than tobacco
Lund goes on to talk about the enormous variation in the products that are in the market today, when it comes to quality and security and what he feels needs to be the goal of future regulations:
At their best they are absolutely brilliant to replace smoking, at their worst, they can be hazardous products. The purpose of product regulation must be to weed out potentially dangerous products
Since yesterday however Dr. Farsalinos have updated the information on his web-page and it turns out that the research report that I, and Lund, and a whole bunch of others were, thought to be the source of the news, really isn't:
After my comment, Prof Kunugita contacted me again. He mentioned that the newsmedia reports refer to a recent evaluation of a newer-generation device, in which he found 1600μg formaldehyde per 15 puffs. It is true that this level is 10 times higher than what is present in tobacco cigarettes. However, this is an unpublished result, a single extreme case out of the many products he tested, and we do not know what went wrong in that case (e.g. high power levels, low levels of liquid inside, malfunctioning device etc).
Still, the media frenzy is completely inappropriate. This confusion shows why it is important for a new, systematic evaluation of aldehydes release, taking into consideration realistic conditions and puffing patterns together with evaluation of temperatures of evaporation. This is exactly what we are preparing to do, starting in a few days.
This still doesn't change the fact that a lot of yesterdays headlines were untruthful. As Farsalinos say, it is true that they have, in one extreme case where something obviously went wrong, found the alleged levels of formaldehyde. But that doesn't make the claim that "scientist have found that e-cigarettes contain 10 times the amount of carcinogens compared to tobacco cigarettes" true. It is still a lie. If they changed it from plural to singular form, saying e-cigarette instead of e-cigarettes it wouldn't be a flat out lie any more, but even then it would be highly misleading.
 
Back to the NRK article. It also has some statements from the Norwegian Cancer Society who urges the authorities to start working with regulations now and don't wait for the EU directive to come in 2016. The Cancer Society has been sceptical to e-cigarettes all the way, and refused to recommend this to people, based on the evergreen "we don't know enough"-argument. Even if they use this argument in this article, they are talking about regulating, not banning, which might be a positive trend.

NRK is, as I mentioned, the government owned broadcaster and I think generally regarded as one of the most neutral and credible sources of news here, so this article will make a great impact on the public opinion here in Norway. I just hope the same will happen in other countries as well.

ecigarette black friday savings halo

Thursday, 27 November 2014

E-cigarettes contain up to 10 times carcinogens.... NOT! (Updated)

Important update: Read Dr. Farsalinos' statement on ecigarette-research.com about this: 
http://goo.gl/GY3Ibj

Today a lot of major newspapers picked up on a Japanese study that apparently has found that the vapor from e-cigarettes contains up to 10 times the amount of carcinogens compared to traditional cigarettes. The Daily Mail is just one of the, and almost all major Norwegian newspaper picked up on the story with headlines like these: "Scientists say that e-cigarettes are very carcinogenic", "This is very dangerous" and "Scientist made shocking discoveries in e-cigarettes".

None of the tabloid media has from what I've seen yet provided any link to the original study, but apparently this is the one they are referring to: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/11/11192/htm. As you can see this study has Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos listed as an external editor. Dr. Farsalinos commented on this on his own facebook page today:
In the study you mention (table 1) the highest level they found was 8 times LOWER than tobacco cigarettes!!!
Later he refers to this article to show the amount of carbonyl compounds found in cigarette smoke: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18062674
Here they found 200ug/cigarette in mainstream smoke (what you inhale) and 880ug/cigarette in sidestream smoke!
And when asked if vaping still is safe he answers this:
If you don't vape with a dry wick, you are much better than smoking...
Cause basically, if you read the research in question, what they found is these compounds come from oxidation of e-liquid or wicking material, not from vaporizing.

Also have a look at the conclusion of the original study:
Studies have shown that e-cigarettes emit toxic carbonyl compounds, generated from thermal decomposition. These substances can have adverse health effects; however, in most cases, the levels are lower than those in tobacco cigarette smoke. It is important to expand the research in this field, to better understand the source of carbonyls emitted from e-cigarettes and find ways to reduce them.
So from the FACTS I mention above I can only draw the following conclusion when it comes to this "sensational" story that hit the world today: This is pure propaganda, based on lies probably fed to shitty journalists, hungering for their next big scoop, by ANTZ or Big Pharma themselves.

UPDATE: I also recommend reading this post from ecigadvanced.com on the subject for further information: http://goo.gl/eFFDEZ, and also this post from the Ashtray Blog: http://goo.gl/eshOZC

AspireAtlantisFivepawns

photo credit: TaylorErinn via photopin cc

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

BMA reveals the secret to targeting children when advertising: Sex(!)

On November the 10th the first TV advert showing actual use of an electronic cigarette was aired, after ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) did some changes in the rules. Not surprisingly there has been reactions from the anti vaping movement. The ad has been accused of sexualising and glamourising vaping.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has written a letter to ASA urging them to ban the ad. They say they are concerned that VIP's latest TV ad made no reference to the fact that the product was intended for use by smokers or "existing nicotine users", and called for a "consistent approach to portraying a negative image of smoking". So basically they are, as Steve K so nicely put it, complaining that VIP is not stating in their ad that the product they are trying to sell is shit. And in a way they are also complaining that VIP is not saying that this product is meant for people that wants to quit smoking, something VIP is probably not allowed to say. From what I know you're not allowed to promote e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking, right? This in fact makes it much harder to for advertisers to target the people they really want to target, the smokers. These restrictions actually forces advertisers to promote e-cigarettes as a lifestyle product and basically target everyone. Mark Porter, the BMA’s council chair, states this:
"We believe that this advert breaches the new advertising rules by glamourising and sexualising vaping, and appealing to non-smokers."
Well, Mark, if you're not allowed to say that vaping is healthier than smoking what do you expect? Our friend Mark also couldn't resist using the re-normalizing smoking argument:
"We have repeatedly highlighted our concerns that the promotion of e-cigarettes may have an adverse impact by re-normalising smoking and indirectly promoting tobacco smoking."
First of all, Mark, smoking has never been "de-normalised", and if it had been, why on earth would vaping re-normalise it? If vaping will normalise anything it would be quitting! And of course they had to drag the children into this. According to an article in the BMJ by senior news editor Annabel Ferriman the BMA also said this in their complaint:
The adverts for VIP e-cigarettes, first shown on 10 November, have breached guidelines, by glamourising so-called “vaping”—the act of using an electronic cigarette—and by targeting children.
I highly recommend reading Joanne of redheadfullofsteam.com's post where she rips this BMJ article apart piece by piece and I'll leave you with her comments on the above statement:
Sexualized ads targeting children? I can only imagine, and I have to admit that I am clutching at straws here, that the same arcane mental process that leads some health professionals to believe that adults hate flavors is also responsible for making them think that the primary marketing hook for kids is sex. Even if I started drinking now and continued without a moments’ break until next April, I would never understand the logic behind this insane sentiment.
Fivepawns Stingray

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Sigelei 100W Box Mod - Power to the people

As I told you when I did the review of the IGO-W8 a couple of weeks ago I've been using mainly mechanical mods since I started vaping almost three years ago now, but I was thinking it was time to try out some regulated mod and see what all the fuzz with all these watts was about. There is a bunch of high watt box mods (like 50W and above) on the market today they just keep getting more and more powerful. Price-wise they vary a lot and you can get them from around £50 and all the way up to what... £500(?). The one I'm reviewing today is in the lower end of the price-scale. It's the Sigelei 100W, priced at £59.99 at UKEcigStore.

Now first of all ... safety again:
Your own safety is of course the most important thing. You didn't switch from cigarettes that would kill you slowly just to get your face blown off really really fast in a vaping accident, did you? With these regulated mods it's not so much you need to think about to vape safely, but there is one thing: Batteries. Playing around with this tool tells us that on full power this mod will drain around 16A from your batteries (remember you have 2 of them in there so the voltage over them is double). This means... don't buy the cheapest batteries you can find. Actually.. don't ever do that. Make sure you get a battery that can do 20A continuous draw, like the Sony VTC5 (or VTC4 or if the 5 is out of stock again) or the new improved AW 18650s. Now ... back to the Sigelei.


Some specs: 
  • Chip: Yihi SX330 V3 100 Watt chip
  • Batteries: 2 x 18650s (not included)
  • Output Power: 10 Watts - 100 Watts
  • Output Voltage: 1.5 Volts - 6.0 Volts 
  • Output Current: 30.0 A
  • Minimum Atomizer Resistance: 0.15 Ohms
  • Input Voltage: 6.2 Volts - 8.5 Volts
  • Input Current: 1.3 A - 20.0 A
  • Efficiency: 95% 
  • Screen size: 0.96" OLED 
  • Fire Method: Regular Button
  • Adjust Power Method: Up and Down Button
  • Software upgrade: No 
  • Connector: 510
  • Integrated charger: No
  • Material: Aluminium alloy 
  • Dimensions: 102x56x23mm

In the package:
The package includes the mod itself, a user manual, a cute little screwdriver that fits the small screws that are also included to secure the battery lid. You actually don't need to use those as the lid is also held in place by magnets. But probably handy if you're going to do some extreme sports while using this mod, or if you just don't want the 2 screw holes open.

Design and looks:
I got the silver version of the mod. It is quite a big mod, and quite heavy once you've popped in your 2 18650 batteries. It might just be me but it feels and looks a bit cheap. It might be the colour and coating and maybe the buttons that makes it look a bit like plastic, but honestly I think the black version looks better. And I don't like the font where it says 100W. It doesn't quite look 2014. They could have used the font that they use on the box or just removed the text all together. The display looks good though. Anyway it's not the most beautiful mod in my eyes, but in a way that doesn't really matter that much either, and design is not the reason you'd go out and buy one of these quite bulky 100W mods.

In use:
As I said it is a quite big and heavy mod. Maybe a bit big for everyday use, but I've ended up using it every day anyway. If you're using this with a multi-coil dripper and put it on 100W it will damn near kill you. I did this with the IGO-W8 and it was the first time I've coughed after vaping in like a year. Huge amount of vapour with just a quick push of the button. And I had to write down a "note to self: get some lower nic juice" as I got kind of dizzy after 3-4 hits. This mod really delivers the wattage it promises.

I've also used it a lot with the Aspire Nautilus, and for me around 15W is the sweet-spot with this combo. And it is a great combo indeed. Gives you a lot of flavour and vapour. And another great advantage of this is the huge battery capacity you get from 2 18650s. I think I went around 4 days without needing to recharge, and even though I use other mods as well, this was my main vape these days. So this really is a great combo if you're going out camping or something like that where you're not able to charge for a few days. Since this is a dual battery mod you can of course step the voltage down to below what the batteries give you, but not lower than 10W.

Now a couple of things I miss in this mod. First of all, I miss a USB charging option. You need to take your batteries out to charge them. I guess with the huge battery capacity you might say it's not needed, but for my use it would actually come in quite handy. If you're bringing this as your only mod for say camping it would be great to be able to charge it in the car, or when you make a stop on your way there. Another thing I noticed was that when the display shows somewhere 20% and 30% battery left, it actually starts cutting the power. I was at 30W on the IGO-W8 when this happened. I then mounted the Nautilus and turned down to around 15W and was able to keep going for a while again, but when it hit around 20% I think, it started cutting power again. So... you actually should recharge at 30%-ish. Then there is a minor issue with the power adjustment. Just clicking the adjustment buttons will change the power in 0.1W increments. Now if you want to adjust a lot it you can just hold the button down and it will start adjusting faster and faster... and a bit too fast in the end, so you suddenly end up at 10W or 100W (depending on which way you were going) pretty fast. They could have put the limit on how fast it would go a bit lower, making it easier to hit your mark, but it's not a really big issue, just takes a little bit of getting used to.

Conclusion:
The Sigelei 100W is a real workhorse. It gives you a lot of power at a really reasonable price. It is one of the cheapest 100W box mods out there at just £59.99. It has some issues as I've described above, but some of them takes just a little getting used to, like remembering to charge at 30% and so on. In my opinion this is not the mod you go buy to take pictures of and add lighting effects in photoshop to show off your vaping forum friends. This is the mod you go buy if you want a really affordable mod that will give you lots of power for your multicoil drippers, or if you want huge battery capacity for your clearomizer tanks... or both, which is true in my case. It is actually a really flexible mod that can be used with a lot of different setups. So if you don't mind it's looks and it's minor quirks but need a flexible, powerful mod you'll get a lot of that for your money here.

Thanks a lot to Michael from UKEcigStore who sent me the mod for review. And he also provided me with a 5% discount code: vapingiraffe that you can use if you want to give the Sigelei a go.

HighRollers
Disclosure:
  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • The mod was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.
  • This review contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

"Particulates" in E-cigarette vapor - another fabricated issue

If it looks the same it's the same thing right? No!
The gateway argument and the risk of life-long nicotine addiction has been the e-cigarette opponent's (and Public Health's) best friend for a while, but this might be about to change... nah... who am I kidding? They'll be best friends forever. What I mean is that it should change, cause these arguments are getting weaker every day. I've written some pieces (here and here) on nicotine lately, questioning whether this dreaded drug really is addictive, and on Sunday I wrote that one of the biggest e-cigarette opponents, the CDC, have released their latest numbers and those pretty much debunks the whole gateway theory.

So what do our dear Dr. Glantz and his friends do when the bogus arguments they keep feeding their fellow e-cigarette opponents is starting to wane? Do they change their mind and say "sorry we're out of arguments, you guys were right"? Nah... they just manufacture some new issue. This time they are concerned about "ultrafine particles" or "particulates" in e-cigarette vapor.

The really, really short version of their new issue is this: "Inhaling a lot of fine particles has been shown to be a health hazard. E-cigarettes produce a lot of fine particles". The really, really short reason this is bullshit is this: "There is a big difference between inhaling solid particles and liquid particles (that should be called droplets)". For a much longer and very good explanation I highly recommend reading Clive Bates' latest blog post. Or, if you're in a bit of a hurry, or just want a simpler version, Carl Philips has written a simple version on his blog. Actually I recommend reading both when you have the time.

Fivepawns svd


photo credit: EnvironmentBlog via photopin cc

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

E-cigarette ads on Norwegian TV soon?

Norway currently has very strict rules regarding e-cigarettes. Nicotine e-liquid or e-cigarettes containing nicotine at all can't be sold, there is an 18 year age limit, and advertising is totally banned. This means Norwegians can buy their equipment from all over the world, including from Norway, but have to order anything containing nicotine from a EU country as this is legal for personal use (as long as you intend to use it to quit smoking).

However, when it comes to advertising, there are loopholes. The most obvious is the internet. There is nothing stopping companies with sites based in other countries from targeting a Norwegian audience. But there is also a loophole when it comes to TV adverts. Actually it's kind of the same thing... TV channels broadcasting from other countries are not bound by the same advertising rules as the ones broadcasting from Norway.

There are actually quite a few channels doing this. I think the original reason that some channels chose to send from the UK in the first place was the pretty strict rules we have here regarding how often you're allowed to send commercials. For example, you're not allowed to interrupt a movie to show adverts. I'm not an expert (so if anyone know this better than me feel free to comment) but actually I don't think you're allowed to interrupt any program, which has lead to some weird solutions. A football match for example, you'll often see as 5 programs in your EPG: A short pre-match, the first half, a really short discussion during the break, the second half and then the "after the match"-program in the end. This way they are able to legally squeeze in 4 commercial breaks.

Anyway, this has lead to some channels moving to the UK and these channels are bound by the British rules for advertising rather than the Norwegian ones. This of course means that they are allowed to do like ITV and start airing e-cigarette commercials. Whether they will do this or not is of course up to the channels owners. There are also other bans in Norway that these channels can avoid: You're not allowed to send adverts for alcohol or lotteries and gambling games (with the exception of Norsk Tipping which is owned by the government). Regarding alcohol adverts, none of the channels are currently doing this even if they are actually allowed to. When it comes to lotteries and gambling, most channels have chosen to send those. So what will they do regarding e-cigarettes?

There are two companies owning channels broadcasting from the UK: SBS Discovery and MTG. SBS Discovery says that they have discussed it, and if it's legal and anyone wants to do it, it is possible that they will send these commercials on Norwegian TV. MTG on the other hand say they will not as they consider this the same way they consider alcohol commercials: they want to follow the common code and norms in Norway. Without them saying this I guess this is also the reason they allow lottery and gambling commercials; since the government owned company Norsk Tipping is advertising on both TV and radio they feel that it's ok to send adverts for internet casinos, online betting and so on.

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

CDC's newest numbers debunks their own gateway theory

CDC's latest study released on Thursday this week (November 13th) shows that current e-cigarette use have doubled among middle school students and trippled among high school students from 2011/12 to 2013. During the same period smoking rates have been pretty heavily reduced. Dr. Siegel has taken the time to find the relevant numbers in the study and as usual given us the rest of the story on his blog:
During this time period, current e-cigarette use among middle-school students increased from 0.6% to 1.1%. At the same time, current cigarette smoking declined from 4.3% to 2.9%. 
Among high school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 1.5% to 4.5%. Concurrently, current cigarette smoking dropped from 15.8% to 12.7%.
Now if the gateway theory was in any way true, we would see more and more people starting to smoke as e-cigarette usage is going up. But, as CDC's numbers clearly shows, this is not the case. So, Tom Frieden and the CDC... can you please stop dragging out the gateway theory now? I know that common sense is not something you guys like to use, but now you got your numbers supporting it, so stop it please? I have another theory you could look into instead: The firewall theory.

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