The Rush to Market: New Product Launch

September 29, 2016

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By Norm Bour

If there was such a thing as a horse race in the vaping world, this was it. With an August 8 deadline looming, we saw a flurry of new products rushing to market. Some of them went “on sale” with days to spare and some just under the wire. No doubt there were some that missed the mark, which we may never know about.

The good news is that they were not really racing against each other; they were racing against the recently announced FDA deeming regulations timelines. This “first milestone” stipulated that any products needed to be on the market no later than August 8, 2016 to avoid expensive PMTA approval for now. The definition of “on the market” was unclear, but for the most part these last minute launches had a web site and the ability to take orders.

We don’t really know how many there were, but there have been conversations and rumors that they numbered in the hundreds.

And the one thing we really needed was innovation, not just more of the same. We found it in two pieces of hardware. Both different, both innovative.

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Form and Function Combined

XOLO (pronounced Zolo) is the brainchild of Taman Powell, Ph.D. Like many, he found vaping a better alternative that cigarettes, but was frustrated with the complexity and inconveniences of modern vaping products. An Australian and a London resident, he compared them to “a screwdriver from Dr. Who,” to reference the classic sci-fi TV show. He wanted something small, discreet and with the ability to change liquids easily and without a mess.

With individually sold flavor pods, the XOLO is designed to look good and to vape the same. It looks like a piece of jewelry, which many manufacturers try for, but few hit. It also comes in multiple color choices.

The XOLO also has another founder involved that many know: Oliver Kershaw, head of ECF Forum, the largest vaping community in the world.

The brief story was that two years ago he was working on his own mod design and was introduced to Powell. Rather than work solo (pun) they combined teams and forces and two years later launched a collaborative effort.

“We thought we had a bit more time to bring this to market,” Kershaw confided, “but the new regs timetable was shorter than planned. We had to compress a four-month timetable in half that period.”

Kershaw, a longtime vaper, was focused on performance, whereas Powell, a business school professor of strategy and innovation, was concerned about design. They came up with the right combination.

“What we wanted was a product that was super convenience, super attractive and delivered that great vaping experience to smokers,” said Kershaw. “Add in the flavor within a closed-tank system that delivers measured dosage and have something that hopefully even a non-vaper would appreciate.”

When asked about their launch plan they had just one mission: get it out in the US before they took it anywhere else. “If it does well there, other places will follow.”

The product will sell for $65 and the flavor pods will be $12. For information: http://xolovape.com/

We were looking for discreet devices, and they have one.

The Ultimate in Stealth Vaping

Two significant camps of vaping are the Cloud Chaser that want maximum cloud volume and those that want to vape in peace where they want, when they want, and without disapproving glances from the public.

The Lattitude product may allow you to vape where you want, when you want- and no one will know.

Using a unique filtration system, the small palm sized mod allows you to vape your liquid of choice and exhale back into the device. The vapor is totally contained and is odorless. The ultimate in discretion.

This product has been in development since 2014 and is the brainchild of Yuval Shenkal, an Israeli inventor and engineer from San Diego. He and several associates took

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the inkling of an idea and after 24 months finally brought it to market.

“Imagine sitting in a theater or ballet or anywhere that vaping is not allowed. You could enjoy your pleasure with no one even knowing,” says Lee Mills, CMO.

They feel this product will appeal to the soccer Moms smoke behind closed doors and don’t want to put out vapor clouds, as well as thought that might enjoy thumbing their nose at heavy handed rules and restrictions.

The consortium of specialists in different areas had all the entrepreneurial skills to take this to market and started a crowdfunding campaign, which got squashed before it began. The XOLO project faced the same pattern and both projects were able to raise capital and fund it themselves.

But the Latitude team did not have vaping connections when it came to manufacturing, regulatory experience and distribution. That challenge was overcome by going to one of the largest manufacturers of devices in the US: JSPR Technologies.

The Walnut, California based powerhouse is the parent company of Council of Vapor, the manufacturer of many products they design and sell for others

They also are one of the largest liquid manufacturers in the nation with almost 50,000 square feet under one roof.

The two companies worked on the initial design and came up with the final product of this innovative model.

Keith Nash, VP of Marketing for JSPR said, “This was a project that was very exciting to us when we first met. We have made many different devices but we knew that this could be a real game changer. We are just as excited to be chosen as one of the authorized distributors of this great product.”

Retail price was undetermined at price time, but was expected to be in the $89 range.

Like the XOLO, this project is a combination of different companies with like-minded people and complementary skills. The vape space is ripe for such collaborations and we will see more in the future. With PMTA costs so expensive most companies cannot cover it without help.

Noted industry Bonnie Herzog, Managing Director, Beverage, Tobacco & Convenience Store Research with Wells Fargo Securities, has been saying for years that this industry will only grow with innovation. If we look at the less than 10-year history of mechanical devices and cigalikes, we have come a long way. How much further we go will be wonderful to watch.

Aside from these two hardware designs there may have been numerous liquids that got in under the wire. Do you know of any unique and innovative products that are new on the market? Please let us know and we will profile it.

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.

Pennsylvania House Finance Committee Votes To Repeal 40% Tax On Vapor Products

In what can be considered a victory for hundreds of Pennsylvania vape shops, today the state’s House Finance Committee voted 19-4 to repeal a burdensome 40% wholesale tax on vapor products.

The tax on vapor products also applies to e-liquid sales and comes with an additional 40% retroactive levy on shop inventory, which is set to go into effect Saturday, with tax payments due 90 days later.

More than 400 vape shops currently operate within the state, and since the tax hike passed as part of the state budget earlier this year, pro-vaping advocates tell Fox News that more than 50 businesses have been forced to close.

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Vape shop owners rallied against the 40% tax on vapor products at the Pennsylvania State Capital Monday, which aided in the law’s repeal during a vote held by the House Finance Committee earlier today.—Photo courtesy of ABC News.

While critical in furthering efforts to replace the troublesome tax legislation with a bill that would instead enforce a 5-cent-per-milliliter tax on e-liquid, today’s victory was a small one.

House Bill 2342, which was originally sponsored by Rep. Jeff Wheeland, a republican in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, still needs to pass through the full House and State Senate before landing on Governor Tom Wolf’s desk to be signed into law.

Senior policy analyst, Bob Dick, who works with the Commonwealth Foundation, an organization that champions free markets and limited government, told Fox that vape shop owners do not deserve to be taxed out of business to further enable Harrisburg’s overspending.

“It’s unconscionable that Harrisburg was willing to drive Pennsylvanians out of their businesses and out of their jobs for $13 million in revenue while at the same time handing out millions in state subsidies to multi-billion-dollar corporations like Amazon and Netflix,” Dick told Fox.

He added, “Today, the House Committee took a critical first step toward righting this injustice. We urge the full House to act swiftly to pass this legislation and send it to the Senate and, ultimately, to Governor Wolf for his signature before even more vape shops are forced to shutter their doors.”

For additional information on the evolution of this story be sure to check out our article “Pennsylvania Vape Shop Owners Protest 40% Tax Increase On Vapor Products.” And for today’s coverage, visit Fox News by clicking here.

Pennsylvania Vape Shop Owners Protest 40% Tax Increase On Vapor Products

Small business owners and smoke-free advocates flooded the State Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Monday to protest a 40% wholesale tax on vapor products.

This tax, which includes e-liquid, passed as part of the Pennsylvania state budget, and since then vape advocates say that of the 400 plus vape shops in the state, more than 50 were forced to shut their doors in the midst of what several called “unfair policies.”

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Vape shop owners rally against a 40% tax on vapor products at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg, PA on Sept. 26, 2016.—Photo courtesy of ABC News.

Amid the vitriol and outrage that permeated through the air at the hearing, the voice of reason seemed to come from Representative Jeff Wheeland, a Republican in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who represents the state’s 83rd Legislative District.

Rep. Wheeland questioned the nature of the tax increase and is sponsoring House Bill 2342, which offers a compromise for tense businesses in the form of a five-cent levy per milliliter of e-liquid sold in-store. So far the bill has 60 co-sponsors and its passage seems possible.

However, there are just a few days remaining in the fall legislative session, so supporters of the bill hope that the tax reform will pass before the House breaks until its next session.

Watch the ABC affiliate broadcast on this issue and read more about it here.

From Gearhead to Advocate

September 28, 2016

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By COREY NOLES

They never could have fathomed what it would become.

Just a few short years ago when Danne and Heather Reinke started 3D Vapor in East Alton, Illinois, they had dreams of owning their own business and being able to help people quit smoking. In not much more than a year, 3D Vapor had become one of the hottest names in the industry.

Fast forward three years, and the battlefront looks very different. Instead of facing up against other manufacturers and other distribution companies, Reinke finds himself fighting against a set of overreaching regulations and a public image war that threatens to squash the industry that he helped shape.

These days, he’s wearing a suit more often instead of his trademark Dickies shorts red 3D polo. Visits to legislators, conference calls with advocacy organizations and hands-on involvement with regional advocates are taking up a larger portion of his time.

It’s not taking him away from the business he and his wife built — it’s ensuring it stays alive in a burdensome regulatory landscape.

Where it all started

Danne, an ASE Journeyman Mechanic, first discovered vaping in November 2012. After finding success at kicking his cigarette habit, he quickly graduated from various starter rigs, he picked up an Empire mod and a Noble box mod at Vape Bash in Chicago.

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While he and Heather were at Vape Bash, he purchased 50 CE4 clearomizers with 900mah pass-through batteries. When they returned home, he posted them on a Facebook group and they sold the next day. The following day he purchased 100 starter kits and 100 CE4s, and again, sold out almost immediately.

The next Monday he ordered 500 with an assortment of MVPs, Egos, mechanical mods, RDAs and some variable voltage mods.

“We even did delivery for awhile,” he said, sitting in the breakroom of the company’s Wood River, Ill., warehouse. “But that’s when we knew it was time to open the store.”

Reinke found a location just a block from where he worked as a mechanic for the previous 10 years. While he got the shop ready for opening day in the evenings, he was literally bombarded with people coming to check out the new store and make the switch from smoking to vaping.

“I even took everything home at night because we didn’t have an alarm yet,” he said, noting that they already had more than 200 customers before they opened the doors.

On opening day, Danne went to the bank and drew $220 of the $250 they had to their name to be able to make change for the day. When he pulled up to the store there was no way to prepare for what he saw. They sold the store completely out of product the first week.

“The line that morning was long,” he said, adding that there were so many people crammed into the 1,400 sq. ft. store front that the door glass was accidentally broken out.

For months, an employee opened the store every day, while Danne came in at lunch. That went on for six months until it just wasn’t possible anymore. By June 1, 2013, 3D had launched a second store.

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The shift to distribution

In November 2013, Danne and Heather visited ECC in California for the first time — and in 2014 they were there doing business. With only a 10×10 booth crammed tight full of everything they carried, 3D made an impact with six-figure sales numbers they never anticipated.

Earlier that year, like many others, they learned the hard way about the Chinese New Year and what that means for imported product. Seeing that as an opportunity, he began stocking up on items and reaching out to area stores encouraging them to buy from him and avoid the hassles of importing.

In the process he started carrying a handful of e-liquids: Space Jam, Alpha, the Standard. Right as it began to take off, he noticed a juice floating around a high-end mod group on Facebook that people were going crazy about.

An admin of the group had been including the juice, which he manufactured, with every purchase he shipped out — to the point that people began clamoring for the juice.

It’s name?

Boosted.

“He said he was going to change my life”

Cory Vigil, owner and founder of Boosted, said recently that the first time Danne called him he told Cory he was going to change his life — Cory hung up on him.

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“We talked back and they had asked for samples of my two flavors — Boosted and Anti-Lag,” Vigil said. “I shipped it out five times before I got it correct. I even charged them for samples.”

The two had never met, but Vigil said Reinke had to have been pretty annoyed with him by the time he received the shipment.

Within a few days, 3D placed an order. Vigil scrambled to get it filled. In a few days, Reinke called again and order 500 bottles. Without quality boxes or experience producing such large amounts, Vigil managed to slam it out and get it shipped.

“Then I got the call,” Vigil said. Dan called me to say UPS held the shipment due to damage. My heart sank.”

Some of the boxes were trashed, others were returned.

By that time, Vigil had invested every penny he had to his name and Danne said even the 500 bottles weren’t going to cut it. To help Vigil get the job done, Reinke paid for half the order up front.

“I was so scared to ship the order and my wife was studying for the BAR exam,” Vigil recalled. “I asked if I could take her car and drive the order to him [from Colorado].”

Immediately after it was bottled, Vigil loaded in the car and drove 14 hours straight.

“I was so tired I didn’t even want to be paid,” he said. “When I got back, 50 people were there waiting to meet me…I didn’t even make it out of the state before Dan called to reorder.”

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pair of multi-million dollar companies and a lifelong friendship.

“These people are my family,” Vigil said. “If someday all of this ends, we’ll still be together.”

Ready for war

That this might end was something that worried the Reinke’s immensely in May when the FDA Deeming Regulations were announced. He felt the industry was doomed — for a brief time.

Now, he — along with countless others in this industry — is ready for battle.

And he intends to see this industry win.

As for 3D Vapor, the Reinke’s plan to register as a manufacturer.

“We’ve prided ourselves on customer service for years, and that’s not something we plan to just stop,” Heather said. “We’re going to do what we have to do to protect that.”

Danne Reinke said he feels the regulations are crushing our first amendment rights to tell customers of how vapor changed our lives.

“I think people are finally starting to get scared,” he said. “That’s what we need to see. That’s what gets them to make a call and get active.”

Corey Noles is the Editor

TPD Regulations Continue to Rock EU Vapor Market

September 27, 2016

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By Ian Jones

The summer of 2016 has been a rollercoaster few weeks for vapers in the UK and Europe. Despite fierce opposition, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) began to be implemented in May, forcing vendors across Europe to adhere to numerous restrictions on the sale of vape gear and e-juice. Then in June, the British public voted to leave the EU, leading some observers to wonder if this could exclude the UK from these regulations. We spoke to various vape businesses in the UK and Europe, both big and small, to find out how it has affected them so far, and how they see the future of the vaping industry.

What Is TPD?

The TPD is a series of rules that place restrictions on the manufacture and sale of of tobacco and related products. In 2014 e-cigarettes were added to the list of products covered, under Article 20. This means all countries in the European Union (EU) have to regulate vape-related products in the same way as tobacco, similar to the deeming laws in America. Each EU member state can place further restrictions, but they all have to comply with the central rules of Article 20. Some of the restrictions include e-liquid to be sold in bottles no larger than 10ml, a maximum of 20mg/ml of nicotine, a ban on advertising and a ban on the sale of variable wattage/variable voltage devices.

Although Article 20 began to be implemented in May 2016, some countries adopted the ‘grandfather clause’ which means the regulations are phased in, to help vape businesses transition smoothly. The UK implementation has allowed for two grandfather dates. One allowing current products to be made up to Nov 2016, and the other allowing them to be sold through to May 2017.

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What Impact Has TPD Had?

Chefs Vapours are one of the biggest e-liquid and concentrates stockists in Europe, and were forced to make drastic changes in the wake of these regulations. “We decided to split our company in two to protect us from losing our business,” says Rhiannon, a spokesperson for Chefs Vapours. “We now have a food flavourings website which sells everything that does not contain nicotine, and a vaping website which sells everything that does contain nicotine.” The new flavourings website means this branch of their business will be safe by the time the laws are fully enforced. However, the ban on advertising has had an unexpected effect. “We have also had to stop advertising any vape related products but this has not affected business for us. We are improving in sales month to month.”

Tristan runs UK-based vape business Spiritus Vapes, and while he believes the grandfather dates were helpful, he has concerns for the future. “We’re a reseller of US products and realistically, most of them are going to exit the EU market rather than go through TPD registration.” Echoing the worries of many people in the vape industry, he says “As it stands we’re ok but May 21st 2017 will see almost every product we have on our site disappear overnight.”

Hing Wong runs the Cigtronica vape shop in Manchester, England. “In practical terms we will be reducing the number of items we will be selling, mainly the less popular flavour and strength combinations.” Despite this, he is less concerned about the other regulations relating to marketing, packaging and age restrictions. “There is little or no change as we have already adopted a responsible approach in these areas.”

Paul Willemsen is the CEO of Hisvape, a well-respected vape business based in Germany. He points out that while most vape businesses could survive the TPD legislation, the real danger comes from the ability of individual countries to impose further rules and regulations. “First they initiate the TPD, which most vapers could live with. But TPD leaves freedom for national governments to install even stricter regulations. Now there are countries which forbid online sales like Austria. There are plans to forbid most of the aromas, other than tobacco. Also there are big taxes raised in several countries, like for example in Slovenia, who are adding 4 EUR per 10ml.”

An opposing view comes from an unexpected source. Hon Lik, commonly regarded as the inventor of the modern e-cigarette, said in a recent interview that he believes vaping regulations will have a positive impact as they will increase public confidence in vaping and improve the quality of vape gear. However, it should be noted that Hon currently works for the Blu cigalike brand, which, due to their design, will be one of the least-affected by these regulations. Even so, Hon admits that these regulations may place restrictions on innovation in the vaping world.

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What About Brexit?

In June 2016, the British public voted in a referendum and made the shock decision to leave the EU. Some vapers see this as a way to block the TPD regulations. “This may change things as far as TPD is concerned, as we may not have to take on the same laws as the EU,” say Chefs Vapours, but they admit with everything happening so quickly there are no firm facts about what could actually happen.

Realistically, it doesn’t look promising. As it stands, Britain is still part of the EU and will be for at least two years, while exit negotiations are ongoing. The new vaping regulations will be implemented long before the UK leaves the EU, and while the laws can be changed afterwards, by that time the new rules will be in full effect.

Tristan agrees. “With public pressure and science on our side we’ll see things change, but the damage is already done. The onerous testing and reporting is here and will likely stay in one shape or another. The days of it being a cottage industry are gone.”

Paul Willemsen also believes that leaving Europe would not help, other than a protest vote. “Leaving the EU will not help our business in any way. The only way to show this group of corrupt politicians in Brussels that we are no longer interested in how they deal with us, is to leave the EU. But it would be a big fall back.”

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How Does TPD Compare to the FDA Deeming Regulations?

While things look gloomy for European vapers, they measure up well next to the stringent restrictions placed on American vapers. Spiritus Vapes CEO Tristan describes the FDA deeming rules as ‘mind-boggling’ in comparison. “With TPD, we’ve ended up with something that’s at least workable. Looking at the deeming regs I just don’t see how any company could possibly hope to make it through to the other side.”

Paul Willemsen sees the FDA’s deeming regulations as a sign of things to come. “It will not take long for the EU to take the same steps.” He points out that America and Germany are two of the major backers of the pharmaceutical industry, suggesting that their financial investment in tobacco-based products is behind the government crackdown on vaping.

Conclusion

It is clear that 2017 will see the European vaping industry undergo dramatic upheaval. Small businesses will be unable to afford the increased costs, and while delayed implementation has helped in the short-term it looks likely that only the biggest companies will survive the upcoming upheaval.

Even so, the TPD regulations are mild compared to the draconian restrictions being passed in America. “The deeming regulations are definitely worse,” says Hing Wong. “The federal agencies have taken a purist, almost ideological rather than pragmatic, approach to the issue.”

However, it is unlikely that vapers will take this lying down. After trying a sub-ohm vape, who would want to revert back to a cigalike? In all likelihood, the DIY scene will experience a boom as flavouring concentrates are largely unaffected, and seasoned vapers will take to illegally-importing their vape equipment from a country with fewer restrictions, such as China. It seems inevitable that the vaping regulations will lead to an increase in vaping goods on the black market, with much less quality control than we have now. This will put consumers at a much greater risk, clearly defeating the point of these regulations.

Anti-Tobacco Organization Threatens Scientist’s Career Ahead of Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum

CASAA_FB_PostOn Sept. 26, The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) wrote on Facebook that:

“Late last week, Dr. Christopher Russel (@nicotinesurveys on Twitter) along with others received warning letters about their attendance at this year’s Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) in Brussels. The letter was sent from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and a European anti-smoking group, ENSP. Although organizations like CTFK have perpetuated the narrative that ‘we just don’t know enough about vapor products and tobacco harm reduction,’ it is clear that their intentions do not include seeking more information. So much so that they are willing to threaten researchers who are working to develop an evidence base that may support harm reduction policies.”

For more on this story, please refer to the Jim McDonald article titled: “Scientist’s Career Threatened By Anti-Tobacco Organization”, which was featured on Vaping360.

Vaping In Smoke-Free Areas, Do You Have The Right?

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Vapers gather for a meet and charity fundraiser at The Vape Supply Co. in Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 27. Photograph by Chris Mellides

The use of vapor products is growing in the U.S. at a rate where roughly 4% of adults currently own and operate these devices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most states have banned cigarette smoking in public spaces, including parks, restaurants and workplaces, most of these states do not have clear laws in place that specifically prevent the use of vapor products where smoking is prohibited.

This has no doubt created a grey area, where vapers can choose to interpret the law as they see fit, with no real guarantee of facing any repercussion for choosing to vape in smoke-free locations.

In a 2014 study led by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, 952 vapers were asked how they viewed vapor products and where they use them most.

“Overall, 60% of e-cigarette users said they had vaped in an area where smoking was banned. Among 18-29 year-olds, nearly three quarters had used e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas, while older adults were less likely to do so,” according to Reuters.

In a country-wide effort to curb teen smoking, vapor product use in public spaces where smoking is prohibited is a topic of great debate, and one that won’t soon fade away.

For a more detailed read, check out the latest from Reuters on Fortune.com. The article can be found here.

Vaping From The Outside: Who Do You Believe?

September 25, 2016

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By Susan Oser

I recently just got news about the death of my cousin’s father- in-law who died of complications related to COPD. My aunt has a niece on her maternal side of the family who recently got diagnosed with Stage-4 Lung Cancer. A neighbor that lives below her is just starting her lung cancer fight.

These are people, who if educated by the community, probably could have been saved and lived longer if they knew all the good things about e-cigarettes. Perhaps they probably heard, but got the wrong information. Maybe their doctors told them not to start vaping and that it was harmful. Maybe they didn’t get any information at all. Whatever the case, I almost feel like we’ve failed these people and countless others who are, have been, or will have a smoking-related disease, diagnosis, death.

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These are the stories that should mean more to us than any vape drama, polarization between factions, being vape famous, self-proclaiming yourself as the vape savior, etc. These are the stories that to me are at the heart of what it means to be an advocate for vaping and why we are in this business. This is why I personally don’t want vaping to die.

Even my boyfriend who has been vaping for almost 2 years and my cousin who just started a few months ago share my personal stories and connections. I feel like from what I’ve done, I’ve made a difference in the world and a difference in someone’s life. We don’t have enough of these stories being told publicly.

But why should you take my word for it? I don’t own a juice company. I’m not a mod maker. I’m just an ordinary vaper with a vape show writing about vaping things. Granted, I have tried creating vaping accessories with which others have been successful, and I’ve failed. I’ve even tried selling vaping things for charity, with all the advertisement in the world, and no one has bought a thing.

Even vaping gear I’ve made ESPECIALLY for charity events have only brought low bids. And yet, because I’m not this “big name” in the community, the whole of the community feels like they should not give a damn about what I do and what I say because I’m not part of the “vaping establishment”.

Let’s face it. As much as we bitch about the greater establish, we have one within our own community. We just don’t see it because we are so blinded by the big names and the

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Because I am that outsider. Your customer at your shop is an outsider.
The average viewer of my vape show is an outsider.
It’s why the greater public doesn’t know as much about vaping as they should, and we’ve failed at connecting with them.

shiny things. Most of us are too much above it or in the thick of it working for companies and having connections with the “right” people to go far in this industry. However, with the bans and rules coming into place, do those messages still mean anything to you anymore?

Now, let me be clear, I’m not whining saying I want to be famous or popular. I’ve been there done that. In fact, it’s a kind of strange dichotomy. Because even though people notice you, they notice you mostly for the wrong reasons and want to take advantage of your good graces and sometimes screw you over with a smile on their face. Sometimes it happens without you knowing it until it’s recorded on hidden camera, discussed on online vape shows and videos, and plastered all over the vaping section of the Internet.

What I am saying is that there are more voices out there than the “vape famous” who are saying what the big guys are saying and always have. People like me, the average vaper and the average observer tend to see things others don’t. It’s why my column has its name. Because I am that outsider. Your customer at your shop is an outsider. The average viewer of my vape show is an outsider. It’s why the greater public doesn’t know as much about vaping as they should, and we’ve failed at connecting with them.

Yet, if there’s someone like a VaperJoe’s, a GrimmGreen, Phil Busardo, and other big names and companies saying the SAME THING, they’re believed more than someone like me who’s been saying it for so long until I’ve been blue in the face. Sadly, we’ve become a celebrity culture in which unless you’re that next Internet sensation, no one is going to believe and listen to what you have to say.

Voices like mine are being drowned out by the vaping popularity contest, drama and bullshit that’s embedded itself within the industry due to lack of foresight and plain ‘ol human nature at its worst. This includes the cliques that I encounter, the big events that are more about show and money than people, the giveaway shows where you’re popular just because everything is free, and on it goes. It’s frankly why a lot of people within the industry, especially the veteran vapers and the advocates are bitter at this moment. The focus was lost and we got attracted to the celebrity shiny really quick.

Now, just imagine if I did have a juice line. Imagine if I made and sold millions of dollars worth of a product or idea that the vaping community could use and still continued to write. Imagine if I was connected to the biggest people in the industry and was on their shows all the time (which would not be a bad thing in and of itself). Would you still feel I had that hidden agenda? Would you still feel that I sold out to the community? Would you think I was getting too big for myself?

I hate to tell you, but just like anything else, fame is fleeting. Eventually, those numbers will go down and your popularity will become just another YouTuber story of the past. Your part in all of this will be ignored just as much as mine, but only because you’re no longer the flavor of the month. Voices like mine might just last a bit longer because I refused to fall into the trap and stuck to my own rules, not the rules that are dictated to me or rules that I “should” follow if I want to “make it.”

Having said that, don’t you think that now with everything that has happened in terms of the FDA regulations, a voice with no juice line or mod equipment label on back is NOW worth listening to just a bit more? I surely think so.

Who are you listening to now that so many things have and will change in the vaping industry? Are you willing to give the “little-guy-in-vaping” a chance?

Contact Susan at angelwritercreations@gmail.com. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and at her personal website http://www.angelwritercreations.com. If you like this rant and want to hear more, Susan hosts VapeTVLive on Thursday nights at 11pm – midnight EST.

Fact Or Fancy: FDA Media Manipulation

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In journalism, a source will sometimes provide clear and accurate information just ahead of a public announcement that could potentially save a reporter time, while preventing inaccurate and potentially damaging information from reaching the public, due to the hurried efforts made by journalists to outscoop their competition.

This is done under the condition that the information provided to the reporter and his or her media outlet may not be publicized until an agreed-upon time. The process is called an embargo, and is an accepted and perfectly reasonable agreement between parties.

Now, what if you were the journalist and your source was the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose embargo came with the knowledge that you not only have to be tightlipped with the public, but that you could not disclose any embargoed information with third parties?

You would in effect be silenced from speaking aloud any information given to you by the FDA until the embargo date and time expired.

It’s easy for this hypothetical to be viewed as simply that, a hypothetical, but according to Scientific American, the longest continuously published science and tech magazine in the country, their findings say it’s true.

Bloomberg View columnist, Megan McArdle writes that the FDA “is often releasing announcements about peoples’ research. And that information can dramatically move markets.”

Markets that include, but are not limited to the vapor product industry.

“This raises the specter that the purpose of such embargos has moved beyond controlling the flow of market-sensitive information, and onto ensuring that stories are produced by a select group of reporters given limited information, which will then shape the subsequent coverage of the issue,” McArdle wrote.

And by shaping the coverage of an issue, the potential to sway public opinion and change government policy in a way that would favor your organization’s self-interests is a tempting proposition indeed.

You can read more about the FDA embargos, and the Scientific American findings in McArdle’s article, which can be accessed here.

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