Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Norwegian Union of Vapers meeting with the Ministry of Health and Care Services

The Norwegian Union of Vapers (NDS) is doing a fantastic job here in Norway in an effort to educate politicians, our government and the general public. Many of you might be aware of the demonstrations held in four Norwegian cities on the 12th of December. As I've said earlier getting the media to cover vaping in a balanced way is extremely important to educate the public, but NDS have also managed to get a meeting with the Ministry of Health and Care Services, which was held just a couple of days before the demonstrations on December the 10th. The minutes from this meeting was emailed to all members and is also available on the NDS web-page in Norwegian here. I've translated the minutes below:

On the 26th of November 2015 NDS received an invitation from the Ministry of Health and Care Services. 
In the invitation the following emerged:
"The Ministry is aware that NDS has objections to the proposal on the regulation of e-cigarettes that are currently out for consultation. We would like to invite you to a meeting where you will be able to present your views and provide input. The Ministry is interested in increasing their understanding of how the proposed regulations will affect consumers in practice.
We emphasize that the meeting will take place at an administrative level, so the focus will be on the technical issues associated with the regulation of e-cigarettes, not political."
NDS always wants to improve everyone's understanding of vaping, so the invitation was of course accepted. The meeting was held on December the 10th 2015 and Helge Andersen and Kjell Marius Jenssen represented NDS in the meeting.
Minutes:
Meeting with the Ministry of HealthThe Ministry began the meeting by expressing great interest in vaping equipment, this set the agenda and therefore became the basis for the meeting's content.
We started by presenting the product's development from cigalikes, cartotanks up to modern tanks and larger boxes using a combination of oral testimony, drawings and equipment we had brought with us. We were very careful to explain that cigalikes (and similar equipment) has a closed form factor that only serve the producers, while the other more open solutions give further options, and that bigger and better equipment also had the characteristic that users reduced nicotine content automatically.
2 ml tank and 10 ml filling bottle limitations
The focus was then naturally turned to the 2ml tank limitation in TPD - and how it excludes 70-90% of the equipment on the market today. In addition to this, the provision makes no sense considering that smaller tanks means that users must bring additional e-liquid, and then refill while out and about (risk of leakage, loose bottles, etc).Then we turned to the 10ml restrictions on filling bottles, as this have a lot of the same problems. Not user-friendly, more devices to keep track of (keep away from children, pets, etc.), more garbage, environment etc.
We experienced great understanding of the above issues as seen from the users' side, while we got the clear message that the ministry believed it is obliged to follow TPD.
E-liquid
Then we talked about what e-liquid really is, what it contains etc. We stated that NDS is not against regulations, but that these must be based on the real damage potential and risks of vaping. The Ministry was briefed on our previously communicated position where we suggest that the equipment primarily should be traded freely and that e-liquid can be regulated as a foodstuff.
While we talked about this, we also got the final confirmation that Norway will not take any action when it comes to banning flavorings.
Online shopping
- E-Commerce. Registration Requirements for foreign retailers, with associated functional requirements to verify that the buyer is at least 18 years. If this is done it, buying from foreign online stores will be allowed. We argued that manufacturers of vaping equipment are small and that this can be prohibitive demands for them.- All rules for Norway in adaptation to EU / TPD will also be applicable to non-EU countries. This means that the rules can not be circumvented by ordering products from non-EU countries.
Censorship and other taxes/regulations
- There will be no censorship in relation to private reviews on vaping, this applies only to commercial initiatives and sponsorship. It will therefore not be necessary to close down NDS after May 2016 even if the rules are introduced. The Ministry was informed about how the Facebook page works and how much it means to many people's introduction into vaping, and that it often accidentally makes them stop smoking.- 2% nicotine content, over this = drug- We discussed taxes a bit, and what should be regulated / taxed etc. We got some deviant / hesitant answers here (which means they're in preparation when it comes to this). When we asked whether for example a battery purchased on a vape shop would subject to taxes, while the same battery bought in a battery shop would not - we got the response that these are the things that are beeing discussed - how far one should go and so on. The Ministry seemed to understand the point (battery / cotton / thread ) etc. "Intended use" was mentioned.At least we got to point out that large fees on a tobacco-free product, which is at least 95% less harmful than tobacco, would be met with strong opposition from our members, and that it would not help in the fight for a tobacco-free environment in Norway, but rather the contrary.
On our questions related to the kind of equipment that can meet the new requirements, such as leak free stuff, child safety, quality equipment, the Ministry answered that Norwegian authorities are awaiting a response from the ongoing standardization work in the EU.
Generally
We brought with us the poignant stories of cessation from NDS members. The Ministry politely said no thanks to these, as these where were already read and known to the Ministry. The Ministry was also familiar with other material previously sent them, such as our objections to the various provisions of Article 20 in the TPD.Finally, we discussed with them the NDS views on Norwegian health authorities' propaganda against vaping such as the horror picture on NIPH's (Norwegian Institute of Public Health) Facebook Page. We got the impression that the people we met were not familiar with this, and they expressed a generally balanced view of vaping.
Summary
The NDS representatives experienced the meeting as positive. It is positive that NDS is being considered as a serious player who can be consulted. The meeting led to a good basis for further cooperation and contact. The fact that the Ministry believes that TPD should and must be introduced in Norway was not surprising and must still be combated with all available means.
I agree with what NDS is saying in the summary here. It seems to me that the Ministry at least have some understanding, and in a way they almost seem to agree with NDS. However, the sad part is that they seem to believe that even if they strongly disagree with the TPD provisions, even if they think it would be bad for public health, they can't really do anything about it. It is now this we have to convince them that they actually can. We're not part of the EU, and we have the option to say no to the TPD, if our politicians have the balls to stand up to the greedy monster that the EU has become!

Vapour UK

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Review: Vpark Maxtank Pro

Vpark was a new name for me until this tank was sent to me for the purpose of this review. In addition to making sub-ohm tanks, Vpark also delivers some regulated box mods (30,50,100 and 150 W from what I can see) and even a tube mod which can deliver up to 50W. There is also a mini version of the Maxtank with 1.5 ml capacity (18mm diameter). The Maxtank Pro looks like just another Sub-ohm tank but it does have some interesting features I haven't seen elsewhere.

In the box

The Maxtank Pro comes in a pretty small cardboard box with some foam inserts. Nothing too fancy in other words. In the box you get:
  • The Vpark Maxtank Pro with a 0.1 Ohm Ni200 head installed
  • A 0.3 Ohm Kanthal head
  • A simple black driptip for those of us that don't need the extra air-control on the one installed. 
  • The user manual
Specifications
  • Size: 22mm diameter, 64mm height
  • Juice Capacity: 2.5 ml
  • Top filling
  • Threadless coil-heads
  • 0.1 Ohm Ni200, 0.3 Ohm Kanthal and 0.5 Ohm Kanthal heads availible
  • Adjustable airflow, also on driptip
Look and feel

The Maxtank Pro looks good in my opinion. I've got the black version with orange details (o-rings and those little rubber spots that is supposed to make it easier to unscrew the top-cap I guess). It feels pretty solid as well, and the threading on the top-cap is nice and smooth.

In use

The Maxtank Pro has a few features that makes it a very nice tank to use. First of all, the top filling is great. As I said, the threading is nice and smooth and once the top-cap is off you can poor juice in there from just about any kind of bottle you have without spilling too much. There is no small holes you need to get your juice through as you can see in the picture. The air-control is nice and smooth as well and gives you more than enough air when it's fully open. Then there is the threadless coil heads. Just turn your tank upside down and you can easily change the heads without draining your tank completely. Keep in mind though that you need to be down to about 1/3 of the tank to do this or you'll have juice flooding out your drip-tip. All of these features are very well executed, making the tank easy to use and a good option for your first sub-ohm tank. No tools required, and no small parts that you can loose while filling and the fact that I've had no leaking issues whatsoever also makes it a good option when you're out and about. On the other hand, the juice capacity is quite small so you probably need to bring your juice bottle, which is a drawback.

Performance

When it comes to performance, I'd say it is ok. It's on par with the vast majority of the sub-ohm tanks that I've tried, but it's not quite up there with the best in my opinion. I have to say I find the flavour a bit muted compared to for example the UD Zephyrus. I did, however, find the flavour on the Kanthal coil slightly better than the Ni200 head and it's not at all bad, just not up there with the very best. Also, it does not have all the coil options you get if you go for a TFV4 (or the mini version). This is also one of the reasons I'd say this is kind of an entry level sub-ohm tank. I have read somewhere that an RBA head is coming for the Maxtank Pro though, which might make it a lot more attractive to experienced users.

Pros and cons

+ Excellent top filling
+ Easy coil replacement
+ Good airflow control
+ No leaking
- Flavour
- Juice capacity
- Limited coil options

Conclusion

As I've already said, I think this is a good entry level tank. Gives you a lot of flavour and vapour compared to what you're used to if you've just taken the step into sub-ohm tanks. However, if you've been in this game for a while, there are other options that can give you more flavour, at the cost of a bit more hassle. Because this is the big plus of the Maxtank... it's hassle free, easy to fill, easy to clean and easy to change coils.

Big thanks to Heaven Gifts for sending me this tank for review.


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

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Norwegian vapers protesting against the TPD

Vapers gathered outside the courthouse in
Trondheim
Today was the day Norwegian vapers hit the streets to show that we're not at all happy with our governments attempt to implement the TPD. I was attending the demonstration in Trondheim, where somewhere between 40 and 50 people gathered to protest against the governments disguised TPD implementation. Now I know this might not sound to impressive, but you have to take into account that Norway is not a very big country, and only a bit less than 180.000 people live in Trondheim. Besides... those 40 to 50 people made sure we were noticed when walking down the busiest shopping street in town.

Loads of banners and posters

A lot of work had been done before the demonstration, making posters, flyers and contacting the media to try to get some attention. The media, however did not seem too interested here in Trondheim, and only one local newspaper from a bit further north in Norway said they would come (and they did). So we were pretty happy when another guy with a camera came along while we were standing outside the courthouse, asking for someone in charge. He was from rus.no, who writes about substance abuse and addiction, and he had noticed our little ad in Adressa, the biggest local newspaper in Trondheim.

Outside the courthouse a speech from NDS (Norwegian Union of Vapers) was given, flyers were handed out to people passing by, some of us talked to people that stopped, wondering what this was all about and there was even a raffle where all the profits were given directly to the pulmonary department of St. Olavs hospital here in Trondheim. Hopefully this might get the attention of some doctors as well.

After protesting outside the courthouse, we walked through town, down the busiest shopping street. Some were handing out flyers to smokers and others who looked interested... and some made some noise. Eventually we ended up at Dampoteket, Trondheims only vape shop which opened just a couple of weeks ago. 
Vapers - Make some NOISE!

Although we had hoped for a bit more attention from the media here in Trondheim, I'd say we made ourselves noticed. In Oslo on the other hand, we've gotten reports that the media showed a bit more interest. The protests were even covered by national television (TV2), so I'd say it was a great success. I'm not sure how many turned up in Oslo, but what I've heard so far is that it was more than expected. Getting the attention of the media is crucial in this matter so having TV2 covering the protest is great. The focus from TV2 was that vaping will be treated in the same way as smoking in the governments proposal, which might not be the whole truth but still a good place to start and something that most people will understand. I guess the general public won't understand much if we start talking about mg/ml and all the technical stuff. This might actually be part of the problem as well; the politicians making these decisions have no idea what they're deciding on, so keeping it a bit simpler might not be such a bad idea. One thing people will understand is the health benefits presented on TV2 by Yvonne Johnsen and although the proposal made by the government suggests that 2nd hand vaping is equivalent to 2nd hand smoking, Yvonne and others were at least given the opportunity to say that we do not at all agree with this. Even if they were not able to explain properly why we don't agree, hopefully more media will pick up on and follow up on this, and hopefully our politicians will actually start doing their jobs and listen to people who know stuff rather that people who own stuff. Yeah I know it's a lot to hope for, but if the media takes the bait, at some point they will be forced to listen. 

I haven't heard that much from the protests in Bergen and Kristiansand yet, but I do believe quite a few people turned up there as well. Having these demonstrations in more places than just Oslo will show our politicians that there are vapers all around Norway, and none of us are happy with what they're trying to do.

I really do hope we'll see some good balanced articles and news reports on this next week and I'll make sure to keep you up to date. I'd also like to thank all the vapers showing up today fighting, not only for their right to vape, but for the lives of all the smokers that still have not made the switch. And a huge special thanks to all the dedicated people who have made this possible, you know who you are. 

TV2 covered the protests in Oslo



Vapour UK

Friday, 11 December 2015

Worth reading this weekend (December 11th)

Weekend again! Yay! I know I complained about too much to do before Christmas last weekend. This week I haven't done any of the the preparations I should have done so my goal is to at least get started this weekend. Like that's going to happen :) Here's this weekends recommended reading, for those of you that have done all the shopping and have time to sit down and just relax:
  • Yesterday Aaron Biebert spoke at the White House OMB and the offices of several lawmakers in Washington D.C. His speech was published on Facebook and well worth a read: Speech to White House OMB.
 Have a nice weekend!

Vapour UK

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Do we really have a tobacco epidemic?

I don't believe I can even count the times I've read or heard about the tobacco epidemic and the worldwide tobacco problem since I started this blog and really got into keeping myself up to date on the vaping debate and harm reduction. Last week I wrote that Norwegian smoking prevalence is dropping faster than ever and the fact that it looks like Snus, and lately e-cigarettes, have been playing quite a big role in making this happen. Now, obviously, both Snus and e-cigarettes (can) contain nicotine, and Snus is even made from tobacco. Still I would argue that none of these are part of the problem, but rather part of the solution to the tobacco problem. So how can a tobacco product be the solution to the tobacco problem? I guess this very question is usually asked by "the other side", along with another question: How can we solve the nicotine addiction problem with nicotine? I bet most of you can answer that question, and I bet most will start out with something like this: "You see nicotine is not really the problem...". So what is the problem then? How many of you would answer "tobacco" to this last question? I'll have to admit I've answered that quite a few times.

Yesterday a commentary (in Norwegian) by Håkon Olav Leira was published in Tidsskriftet (Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association) titled "E-cigarettes - an important measure against harm from smoking". Being an MD, PhD, Post doctor and actually treating patients with smoking related issues on a daily basis means Leira knows what he's talking about. (Have a look at his public linkedin page if you're in doubt)
E-cigarettes can be a good alternative to regular cigarettes, which can save many years of life lost and money better spent elsewhere. Sadly, the minister of health and central health communities wants to restrict access.

I treat patients with severe smoking-related illness on a daily basis, provide advice on smoking cessation and reduction of cigarette consumption, and have been thrilled with the possibility of now being able to offer yet another means of smoking reduction, e-cigarettes. My impression from my own practice is that e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are more attractive to experienced smokers than patches and nicotine gum.

Therefore I'm puzzled by the significant resistance our Minister of Health, Public Health and experienced colleagues have shown towards legalizing e-cigarettes. Most recently in the discussion taking place in this journal this summer e-cigarettes was presented almost as a stimulus to continued smoking. The fight against tobacco is in this discussion turned into a fight against all nicotine, where we run the risk of winning the battle but lose the war.
The discussion he's talking about is the discussion that followed Sanner and Grimsruds attack on e-cigarettes, where they were challenged over and over again to produce any evidence of nicotine harm and the gateway theory, but in my opinion failed horribly. It all ended with them saying that it's not possible to prove nicotine is addictive because addiction is a complex problem. Then they accuse me of conflicts of interest because I have some ads on my blog. In the same comment, they state that the fact that the authors of the only source they point to in this question was kicked off the FDA TPSAC by a federal judge due to severe conflicts of interest... does not change anything at all. Go figure.

Anyway, back to Leira's article. After telling us that the Directorate of health estimates that smoking causes 8000 deaths, 150 000 – 180 000 lost "Quality Adjusted Life Years" and costs 80 billion NOK every year it's time for some math:
In an article in "NRK Ytring" in August 2014 the president of the Medical Association (NMA) and director of the Institute of Public Health (NIPH) state that we should phase out smoking tobacco within 2035. In a follow-up article in "Bergens Tidende", the Minister of Health, Høie, was quoted saying that he envisions that with active policy measures, the smoking epidemic is over in 2050. If we multiply 150,000 lost QALYs and 8000 deaths per year with the NMA/NIPH's 20 years and the Minister of Health's 35 years of waiting, this gives us roughly 150 000 to 200 000 deaths and 3 million to 4 million lost QALYs.
Those are some pretty big numbers for such a small country. He then makes a very important point:
To put it very simply: It is the smoking of tobacco that is dangerous, much less tobacco itself. Tobacco is not harmless, but cancer occurs primarily when organic material is heated to 700 ° C in cigarettes and pulled into the lungs. Although tobacco has been in use for 500 years in Europe, lung cancer was a very rare form of cancer before the invention of the cigarette manufacturing machines in the late 1800s.
You see, the world does not actually have a tobacco problem, it has a smoking problem. So instead of asking how a tobacco product can be the solution to the tobacco problem, we (or they) should be asking: "How can a tobacco product be the solution to the smoking problem?" The answer, of course: Make sure you don't light it!

Leira finishes his commentary with some advice to the Minister of Health, quite different from the advice Sanner and Grimsrud gave in their article earlier on, which can be summarized as "regulate the hell out of vaping to make sure our eyes are not bothered with anything that remotely resembles smoking".
E-cigarettes contain controllable chemical substances and may, in principle, not contain any harmful substances beyond nicotine. Today, e-cigarettes are banned from being sold in this country and therefore unregulated, and we risk that many will import dangerous models from rogue manufacturers. We should rather do as the UK, who after a review of current research will allow e-cigarettes next year. According to the news the government may come to allow a tasteless version next year, but this will unfortunately not appeal to the group who need it the most. Similar devices are already legally sold under medical license, and have negligible prevalence.
Therefore, my advice to the Minister of Health is: Allow the sales of e-cigarettes with flavours and make them subject to content control, preferably through the Norwegian Medicines Agency. Encourage smokers to replace cigarettes with snus, e-cigarettes or nicotine gum. And finally: increase taxes on smoking tobacco and lower taxes on the replacement products. The goal for the health authorities must not be a tobacco-free society by 2050, but a cigarette and smoke free society much earlier.
I don't think I agree with the part about content control through the Medicines Agency, but apart from that, Leira makes an extremely important point in what our goal should be. Neither nicotine nor tobacco is the problem in itself, but the way it is consumed makes it a problem. Recognizing this will give the Minister of Health some invaluable tools and ability to come up with policy measures that will end the smoking epidemic much earlier than 2050, dramatically cutting down those horrible numbers I mentioned earlier.

I've heard lots of stories from fellow vapers about doctors with very positive attitudes towards vaping, after seeing the effects it has on their formerly smoking patients. It's great to see one finally going public with this, something I've been missing. It's the doctors treating former smokers on a daily basis that really see, and in many cases are even able to test, the effects vaping has on real people. I'd like to encourage them to do the same thing Leira has done: Share your thoughts in public! I'm sure a lot of doctors have the same experiences as Leira, and it's important that our politicians gets this information before it's to late.

Super E-Cig Box Mod Bundle

Monday, 7 December 2015

Review: Bellus RTA by UD

Not long after I reviewed the Goblin mini by UD, they released the Bellus, and people seemed to like it a lot. At least people in some of the facebook groups I'm in embraced it, saying it was the best thing since internet porn. As I've stated earlier I loved the Zephyrus from Youde and obviously I was pretty pleased with the Goblin mini as well, so I had high hopes for the Bellus. If this thing performs like the Goblin mini and has the looks and capacity of the Zephyrus... well then it's would be the shit right? Let's see...


In the box
The Bellus comes in a nice presentation box, with some drawings on the back showing the different parts and explaining how to fill it. You also get quite a few spare parts.
  • The RTA
  • A spare tank section
  • Spare o-rings
  • Spare screws for the build deck
  • A single coil adapter (blocks one of the air holes if you want to do single coil builds). 
  • Spare rubber ring for blocking the fill holes on the top (I have no idea what to call it).
  • A couple of pre-wrapped coils, guess around 1.2 Ohms as I've set them up in a dual coil setup that comes out around 0.6 Ohms. 
  • Some cotton. 
Specifications

  • 304 Stainless Steel
  • Pyrex Glass tank
  • 5ml capacity
  • Dual or Single coil setup
  • Spiraled drip-tip and chimney
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Top filling
  • 2-post build-deck
  • Outer Diameter: 22mm
  • Height: 45.5 mm (without drip tip & 510 thread)
  • Net Weight: 56g (with drip tip), 50g (without drip tip)

Looks and feel
Just as I think the Zephyrus looks great, I also think the Bellus looks great. They're pretty much exactly the same size (I think the Bellus is around 1mm higher), except for the driptip that is a bit longer on the Bellus. Of course you can just swap those if you've got both, or use one of your favourite tips. I haven't really bothered to try any other, but I guess most will fit. It's a very clean design, nothing to fancy.

Might also be worth mentioning that the pyrex tank section on this is exactly the same as the one used on the Goblin mini, so you can get them in different colors as well. You can also get the RTA itself in black now, which I think looks pretty awesome.

In use
The Bellus has a 2 post build-deck, which I love. Gives you a bit more room even if it is quite a small deck. Now I haven't tried that many different builds on this, but I guess you can't fit huge clapton coils in there and you should probably stay on max 2.5mm diameter coils. I also like the "snap-on" design of the deck. I haven't really seen this design before. When you're happy with your build, the deck is just pushed into the housing at the bottom of the tank, and there is really only one way to make it fit. If you keep your coils on the same height as the post holes they should be perfectly aligned with the air holes. When it comes to wicking, all you have to do is trim your wicks at the right length (search the internet, or trial and error) and they will be pushed down towards, or into, the juice channels when you push the deck in place. The locking ring at the bottom keeps the deck in place. There is also a single coil adapter included if you want to do single coil builds. This is just a rubber/plastic part that will seal off the juice channels and airflow on one of the sides.

A great thing about this design is that you can access your deck without draining the tank, just turn it upside down and pop the deck out. This of course means you're free to inspect your coils, change your cotton or recoil without wasting juice. Very nice if you manage to burn your cotton, or just want to change your coils for whatever reason. Love it.

Filling this tank is done through the top. The design is a bit different than on the Zephyrus, which had some rubber thing that you pushed into the fill hole to seal them off. On the Bellus there is a rubber ring fitted in the top cap that will seal the holes once the cap is back on. Easy to fill and as long as the tip of whatever bottle you use to fill it fits in the holes it shouldn't be to messy either. If you manage to spill some juice however, it will go down your chimney as you can see... so don't do that. Good threading on the top-cap so it screws on and off pretty easily and it doesn't come loose once it's tightened down.

Airflow is controlled by just twisting the airflow ring either way, opening up or closing the 32 holes in it. Fully open I find it gives more than enough air for the builds I've tried so far. Perfect fit as well, not to tight so easy to turn, and not too loose so it will stay wherever you leave it.

I've had no leaking issues with this tank. You might have some juice coming out of the airholes when filling it, but once it's filled and I've started vaping, I've had no leaking.

Performance
Again, this is the best part. UD delivers once again. Great flavour and vapour production, on par with the Goblin mini at least. I think the Zephyrus is one of the best, if not the best, sub-ohm tanks when it comes to flavour. I'm starting to think that the spiralled driptip actually has something to do with this. On the Bellus you get the same drip-tip design, but here you also get the spirals in the chimney, all the way down to the chamber. You also have the airholes pointing directly at your coils... and all this seems to work really really well. If you liked flavour of the Goblin mini, you're going to love this one as well.

Pros and cons
+ Insane flavour
+ Fantastic vapor production
+ Looks great (you can also get tank sections in different colors)
+ Top filling
+ Build deck accessible without draining the tank
+ Easy to build and fill
+ Good airflow design
+ Good juice capacity for a relatively small tank
- Not much, really. If I'd have to say something it would be that the deck is a bit small, limits your build options a bit.

Conclusion
Try one, you'll love it. Not much more to say, really. I think the list price is around $35, but you can get them somewhere between $20 and $30 a lot of places, which is money well spent. Has quickly become one of my favourite RTAs.


Big thanks to Gearbest for sending me this Bellus for review.

Vapour UK


Disclosure:
  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • The device was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.
  • This review does not contain affiliate links.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Worth reading this weekend (December 4th)

Damn, this week just started and it's already weekend again? I have a feeling I'll end up spending December 23rd at a shopping mall, desperately searching for something that will make my loved ones happy. Actually when I think about it that's what I usually do on the 23rd, thinking that next year... next year I'm going to buy all the presents in July. Yeah right, like that's going to happen.

Anyway, when you're done playing around with the Norwegian smoking statistics I posted a link to earlier today, here's some more goodies you can enjoy this weekend:
  • Actually I'm not sure you'll enjoy reading this first one, as it is quite sad. Norbert Zillatron reports from Germany and it doesn't look good: Vapemail from Germany. Might make you cry, but still worth reading.
  • Next up, Dick Puddlecote's piece on Modern Day Follies might also make you cry... or laugh.
Have a nice weekend!

Vapour UK

Smoking prevalence in Norway dropping faster than ever

Yesterday I came across this blog post, which apparently an answer to someone asking for data on what happened to smoking trends in Norway when Snus became widely available in 2000. The post links to the Norwegian statistical institute (SSB) and their report on smoking habits, released in February this year.

Smoking habits in Norway, trendlines added by Atakan Befrits
As you can see prevalence has been dropping from 1973, but started dropping faster around 2000, and then even faster around 2009.

I haven't found any good statistics on vaping, I'm not sure they even exist yet, so I don't think we can be sure that vaping can be attributed the increased decline from 2009, but I wouldn't be surprised. But to be fair, from these data we can't really say for sure. What the data does show however, is that vaping has not led to an increase, or a graph that flattens out, like we would have seen if the gateway theory was valid.

I've never used Snus (for some reason SSB calls it snuff, which I believe quite a few will associate with something else), but I can't really remember that Snus was not available here in Norway. So to be honest I'm not sure why Befrits says it became widely available in 2000, and I couldn't find data from before 2008 on the SSB web-page. However, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have some more data in their Public Health Report from 2014 (in Norwegian):

Daily smoking and use of snus 16-25 years old, 1985-2013. Shows "Men, daily smoking", "Women daily smoking", "Men, daily use of snus" and "Women, daily use of snus", in that order on the top.
Same as the above graph, but for people aged 16-74.
As you can see, the use of Snus, especially among young people, really started increasing around 2000. At the same time, again especially among young people, smoking prevalence starts to drop dramatically. This strongly indicates that Snus, which like e-cigarettes is a much lower risk product, is replacing smoking. Also notice that from around 2008-2009 the Snus graph, especially among men, is still increasing but not quite as fast as between 2000 and 2007. Still, from the first graph (and Befrits trendline) we see that smoking prevalence is dropping even faster from 2009. This makes it even more reasonable to believe that vaping has played a part here, but again, a lot of other factors, like anti smoking campaigns, needs to be taken into consideration here. Looking forward to seeing the next report from SSB that is to be published in January 2016. Hopefully they might have some numbers on vaping as well.

It's also interesting to see that prevalence is dropping the most among young people:

Personally I believe this shows that people are very aware of the dangers of smoking, and it seems also that they are aware that Snus is better for your health. I know a lot of former smokers that have used Snus as an aid to quit smoking. In other words, most people seems to understand, and use harm reducing products.

As I said it's a bit difficult to see how vaping and e-cigarettes have contributed to the decline in smoking prevalence here in Norway, as the data on vaping is quite limited. Most people (95%) have heard of e-cigarettes and 15% have tried them according to SSB. E-cigarettes were included in the yearly survey that SSB does on smoking from 2013. The Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS) released a report on e-cigarettes earlier this year with some more numbers estimating around 50.000 weekly users in Norway and around 500.000 have tried e-cigarettes. Their numbers also shows that e-cigarettes are mainly used by smokers, to quit or reduce smoking.

It's good to see that we're moving in the right direction, and even if it's not surprising, it's great to have these numbers to show anyone claiming that vaping will lead to more smoking. On the SSB web-page you can even get more numbers and generate your own graphs. Looking forward to seeing the next report from SSB released in January next year to see how the graphs develop. And it might be even more interesting to see how the TPD will affect this when another year has passed... if we're not able to stop it that is. Not all hope is lost yet... on the 12th of December we hit the streets to convince our politicians that the TPD is not the way to keep those numbers going down as fast as possible.

Vapour UK

Friday, 27 November 2015

Worth reading this weekend (November 27th)

Another busy week with very little spare time to write has gone by, and 2015 is coming to an end, a bit faster than I like. I haven't even started thinking about Christmas shopping yet, except that I'm thinking I can save some money the presents I plan buying for myself today, since it's black friday :) Here in Norway we also have another important event coming up for us vapers. It's just around 2 weeks until we hit the streets to express our views on the sneaky TPD implementation planned by our government. Hopefully it will get some attention in the media, and hopefully a lot of smokers will unpack their first vaping kits this Christmas.

Anyway, between not thinking about Christmas, work, and trying to figure out how to get rid of my beloved car that have finally decided to die on me, I have managed to sneak in some reading. So if you're already tired of Christmas and want to take a well deserved break from the shopping madness, here's a couple of good ones that I'm sure you'll enjoy:
  • There is indeed a lot of junk science about e-cigarettes and vaping out there, and sadly a lot have gotten some attention in the media as well. The Ashtray blog has gathered some of the, giving you some insight in exactly what is wrong with them: Exposed: 18 E-Cig Studies That Are Killing Smokers
  • This week we also got a newsletter updating us a bit on what has happened since the first teaser from the guys behind A Billion Lives. If you're not subscribing to the newsletter yet, I highly recommend it. They got some criticism for using this quote in their teaser: "165,000 kids die of secondhand smoke, every year". Dick Puddlecote has his own take on the subject: A Billion Lives, My Take 
Have a nice weekend!

Vapour UK

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Juice Review: Trixie 2 & Nia 9 by 13 Sins

I was pretty happy with the first 2 juices from 13 sins that I reviewed back in September, so I was looking forward to trying out these two. Both these juices are 30/70 PG/VG ratio. I might have told you last time that the other 2 were 40/60, but having a closer look I see now that Suzy 6 is actually 50/50. Sorry about that. Anyway, these last two, being pretty high on VG might be more appealing to the cloud chasers out there.

13 Sins comes from the people behind T-juice, and I think it's worth mentioning that all these juices are tested for the nasty stuff that seems to trigger lawsuits at the moment, and you can find the test results on their web-page. It's great to see they take their responsibility seriously. (The other T-juice tests are also available here.)

So, onto the juices:

Trixi 2
Tested on: UD Bellus RTA (Dual kanthal @ 0.6 Ω, 40 watts)
 
"A full on vape sensation, packed full of cool zingy freshness. An electrifying combination of stimulating mint, lemongrass and lime, coupled with the smooth fruitiness of apricot and apple and just a slight lick of aniseed. Trixi is a tantalising temptress of the taste buds."

I didn't even have to open the bottle to smell the citrus in this juice. It has quite a strong, fresh smell, quite mouthwatering to be honest. And the flavour ... is even better. It's true to the description, has a huge amount of flavour. The lime and lemongrass comes across as the strongest, along with the aniseed that gives this juice an extra dimension, and quite a bite. The mint, apricot and apple is not very pronounced, I guess the mint is there playing along with the aniseed and gives a bit of sweetness, and the fruits give the juice it's kind of undefinable fruitiness. A great, refreshing juice and I'd say this is my favourite among the 13 Sins juices so far.

Nia 9
Tested on: Smok TFV4 (TF-CLP2 Core @ 0.35Ω, 40-60 watts)

"A fragrant and inescapably alluring blend of chai spice, mingled with complex notes of wild red berries and vanilla cream. Nia is a subtle, yet sensory enslaving ADV, with facets of blackcurrant and tangy citrus, which leave the satisfying, sweet aftertaste of warmed sugar on the palate."

The Chai spice was the first thing I noticed when smelling this juice, and vaping it for that matter. To me this is the main flavour of this juice, the juice is kind of built around these spices, in a successful effort to enhance and pronounce it. You can definitely taste the citrus as well, playing quite an important role. I said Trixi was my favourite among the 13 Sins juices, and I stand by that statement, but Nia is not far behind. Great juice!

Thanks to ecigarettedirect for sending me these juices for review.

13 Sins E-Liquid
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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.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Worth Watching this Weekend (November 20th)

Clive Bates in "A Billion Lives"
Right now I'm on a train on my way home from a meeting in Oslo, which is around 500 kilometres from where I live. Train takes quite a while, I was bored but happy to see that they had free Wi-Fi on board, so I could log on and do some reading. But actually I ended up watching some videos instead, hence the slightly different title this Friday.
  • I got an email newsletter earlier this week from the guys behind the upcoming documentary "A Billion Lives", saying that this Friday they would release their first teaser. And so they did: You Are Being Lied To - A Billion Lives. Really worth watching, and I have to say I can't wait to see the whole movie. Also worth mentioning is that they're now selling T-shirts if you want to show your support and help giving this movie the attention it deserves.
  • Finally, I also recommend this one by regulatorwatch.com about e-cig regulations in Canada. Good stuff, well balanced and very well presented.
Have a nice weekend!

Vapour UK

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Norwegian vapers protest against the government's disguised TPD

One of the proposed banners. Ok, ok I'll translate:
YES to age limits, to childproof caps, to freedom of choice,
to vaping, to a smoke free environment, to better health
to reasonable regulation. NO to the EU TPD article 20.
Vapor is not tobacco!
The Norwegian government's proposal to "legalize e-cigarettes with nicotine", which turned out to be an implementation of the TPD, have kicked of a bit of activity in the vaping community. Up until recently I have a feeling that most of the debate have taken place in the comments sections whenever (not too often) vaping and e-cigarettes have gotten some media coverage. Actually, a lot more has been done... NDS and quite a few dedicated vaping advocates have been working to convince politicians, letters and emails have been sent and so on, but we have been struggling a bit to get the coverage we need in the media so the general public also can see what is going on. As I've said earlier, I do believe the media will be the key to winning this battle. Anyway, after the government's proposal got some media coverage, NDS also managed to get some attention in the media, backed up by SIRUS and Karl Erik Lund among others. Still, we do need to get more attention to this matter. We need to make sure that the government is not able to just sneak in these draconian regulations without anyone other than vapers noticing. So now, Norwegian vapers hit the streets to protest. Have a look at this:
You are hereby invited to Trondheim on December 12th 2015 at 2PM. Dedicated vapers and the Norwegian vaping community, Norsk Dampselskap (NDS), will join together in a protest. There will be a peaceful demonstration against the Norwegian government's proposal to implement the EU's Tobacco Products Directive §20! The directive, as it stand now, will be a nail in the coffin for the vaping community, and it will change the way we vape forever! You are welcome to join us in the protest, and join us in the fight against this law! After the demonstration you will have the possibility to attend a vape-meet at the shop "Dampoteket", which will also be the end point of our protest march. Vapers unite! The news media will also be invited.
This is the English version of the invitation to a peaceful demonstration to express our views in Trondheim (which is where I'm located). At the same time, December 12th 2PM, there will also be demonstrations in Oslo in front of the Parliament building, in Bergen and in Kristiansand. Who knows, maybe even more places, there is still time. There is a lot of people working hard to get the media to cover it, writing speeches (hopefully) and hopefully we'll see some banners and maybe even t-shirts? I guess it's still a while until December 12th so a lot is still in the planning phase and quite unclear yet, but I'll try to post updates as more info becomes available.

I really hope as many as possible will be able to come to one of these demonstrations. The more people that turn up, the more attention we'll be able to get. Foreigners are of course welcome as well, we'll teach you some slogans in Norwegian :)

For those of you who want to attend, Facebook events have been created for each of the locations here:
(If you don't speak Norwegian, don't be afraid to post in English in there. I'm sure you'll get answers to all of your questions.)

Vapour UK

Friday, 13 November 2015

Worth Reading this Weekend (November 13th)

It's been quite a busy week for me this week and not much time for writing. The e-cigarette debate here in Norway is still alive and kicking and I hope I can give you some more news next week (or maybe this weekend if I can manage to sneak in some writing time). Until then, here is some of the stuff I've enjoyed reading this week:
Mark Drakeford now wants to ban vaping
... in your own home!
Have a nice weekend!

Vapour UK

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Juice Review: Raspberry Crush, BlackJack Twist and Blueberry Burst by Halo

Ecigarettedirect.co.uk have done some redesign of their Halo-brand and the Halo range of UK made e-liquid have gotten new bottles, new logos and quite a few of them have gotten new formulas as well. They've also added quite a few new flavours as well. All the juices are 60/40 PG/VG.


Raspberry Crush

Tested on: Steamcrave RDA (Dual 26/32 Clapton @ 0.32 Ohms, 30-60 watts)
 
This is one of the new flavours of in the range, aiming for a fresh, natural raspberry taste. The smell of this juice is in fact very spot on. I'm not sure I've come across a juice that actually smells this true to the description. It simply smells like fresh raspberries... and I should know as the kids love raspberries so I smell it quite often. There is nothing else in the smell, no added sweetness or cream or anything, just raspberries. Tasting the juice it also tastes like fresh raspberries, and it does have quite a bite to it as well. Kind of the same sensation you get when vaping menthol juices. I think they're pretty true to their description and have managed to create a natural raspberry flavour without the synthetic feeling they were trying to avoid. Good juice.

Black Jack Twist

Tested on: Steamcrave RDA (Dual 26/32 Clapton @ 0.32 Ohms, 30-60 watts)

The smell of this liquid reminds me of a liquorice/aniseed candy from my childhood, not the real Black Jacks though, don't know if I've ever tasted those. They were called "Lille Jan"... I guess some of my Norwegian and maybe Swedish readers might remember them. The flavour is not that far off either. Pretty sweet aniseed/liquorice flavour, and pretty strong as well. Might be a bit too much for me as an all day vape, but still a great juice that I'm sure will bring up some memories. Definitely a juice I'd recommend if you're into aniseed juices, or liquorice. As I said, personally not an all day vape for me, but that doesn't mean I don't like it, it's just one of those juices that has a lot of flavour, and it's a great flavour too, but to much can potentially ruin it for you :)

Blueberry Burst

Tested on: Steamcrave RDA (Dual 26/32 Clapton @ 0.32 Ohms, 30-60 watts)
 
Blueberries are one of my favourite berries, but I still haven't really found a pure blueberry e-juice that actually tastes like pure blueberries. The smell of this one, however, gets my hopes up. It kind of smells like blueberries at least. Also when tasting the juice, it's pretty close to what I'm looking for, but still a tiny bit missing. I mean, it does indeed taste great, but even if this probably is the closest one to the blueberry flavour I'm used to it's still not totally spot on.... and I finally figured out why: What I've been looking for is actually wild bilberries, that I guess most Norwegians would call blueberries (since the Norwegian name for them is "Blåbær"... Blå=Blue and Bær=Berries). Looking at Halo's description it all starts to make sense: "European blueberries and bilberries". I might have to get some Norwegian juice-maker to duplicate this flavour, cause it is indeed a small difference I believe. Anyway, putting away my childhood memories of fresh wild bilberries, I think this is a well made juice, pretty close to bilberries, that doesn't give you that artificial flavour that some blueberry juices tend to give you. Great juice for fruit and berry lovers.



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.