The Juice Judge: Clever Vape, Fluid, FanceeJuice, Avail, Vapor Shark

The Juice Judge

Juices are rated on a scale of 1-5 based on flavor, vapor production and throat-hit.

 

Clever Vape’s Brooklyn Pop

Clever Vape’s Brooklyn Pop, presented in a glass eye dropper bottle with an eye-catching label, won me over before I even tasted the juice. I am a sucker for unique labeling and packaging and Clever Juice has provided a strong case in this area. Brooklyn Pop, true to its description, is a refreshing cola juice with a subtle black cherry tone. It tastes fresh and light and may become a staple in my juice rotation.Vapor clouds were gorgeous and satisfying on this 50/50 mix while throat hit was above average. You can grab a 30ml bottle for $14.99 or flavor boost it for an additional $4 at clevervape.com.

VAPE VERDICT = 4.6

Flavor=5, Vapor=5, Throat Hit=4


Fluid’s Tangsicle

Fluid’s Tangsicle is a tasty orange dreamsicle juice that is more reminiscent of Hi-C than Tang with a cream accent on the backend, most noticeably on the exhale.If you like orange this juice is pretty tasty. Some folks at the table found the orange a little overpowering while others found it spot on in terms of its name and description. Our tester bottle was a 50/50 mix of PG/VG and vapor clouds were large and chewy. Throat hit was average. A 30ml bottle costs $15.99 and vapers can select PG/VG mix or add menthol at no additional cost at fluidvaper.com.

VAPE VERDICT = 4.0

Flavor=4, Vapor=5, Throat Hit=3

FanceeJuice’s Cloudarita

It took a little bit of vaping and some at the table never got it, but this juice does taste exactly like a lime margarita. The flavor is there, but at first it was a little faint. Toward the end we could nearly taste the salt on the end of the drip tip. This was an overall very tasty juice and receives high marks in the flavor category. Vapor production was stellar with voluminous clouds pouring from a fresh cartomizer. The only area it was average in was throat hit. On their website vaper scan select cloudiness, (PG/VG mix) and they also offer a margarita box where you can get a big juice of Cloudarita and blueberry, lime, watermelon, strawberry and mango mixers to mix a perfect margarita in the atomizer.FanceeJuicetouts their juice as premium e-liquid, and it costs $20.99 for a 30ml bottle. fanceejuice.com.

VAPE VERDICT = 4.3

Flavor=5, Vapor=5, Throat Hit=3

 

Avail’s Piña Colada

If you like Piña Colada and getting caught in the rain … I can’t recommend getting it from Avail. This juice tastes like it’s large batch created, rebranded and resold. In a word, it’s gross. It only tasted marginally like coconut to one person at the table while others mentioned that it was unvapeable. Vapor production is average and we cannot say why as the bottle did not represent the mix of PG and VG. Throat hit was nonexistent. Their site currently is in launch status and has no pricing information.But, you can view their other juices, which are hopefully better, at availvapor.com

VAPE VERDICT = 1.6

Flavor=1, Vapor=3, Throat Hit=1

Vapor Shark’s Ice Tart

Vapor Shark’s Ice Tart is a mentholated Pixie Stix juice. The jury is out on this one as the menthol is not very fresh or crisp and fades very quickly while the Pixie Stix flavor is very muted. Vapor production is average and the bottle did not represent the mix of PG and VG. Throathit was average for a mentholated juice. While vapers can choose the level of nicotine on the site it does not appear you can select the mix of PG/VG. A 30ml bottle is approximately $14.99 and is sold at vaporshark.com.

VAPE VERDICT = 3.0

Flavor=3, Vapor=3, Throat Hit=3

A Chat with The Daily Caller Reporter Guy Bentley

June 28, 2016

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By Tony Ottomanelli II

The Daily Caller news organization reporter Guy Bentley has written countless articles on vaping and E-cigarettes. If you’ve ever read an article on vaping that has been shared across social media, you’ve undoubtedly read his work.

Bentley believes vaping to be very fascinating, for many reasons — first and foremost that it is likely the best option for those who wish to quit smoking. So, rather than choosing to create head-turning headlines, Guy simply covers stories and logically breaks down the facts about vaping because he believes in it.

“The only valid research data is truthfully based on the proper statistics,” he said. Thus, studies summarized on inaccurate data are not valid research results.

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What he finds interesting about E-cigarettes and vaping is the Public Health factor involved. He noted how people have not had success using all of the smoking cessation alternatives. For instance, nicotine gum, the nicotine patch or even the pharmaceutical solution known as Chantix have all been highly suspect in their efficiency.

“Vaping is something completely born of the market,” Bentley said. He said that he became intrigued by the vaping industry due to the giant “wave of innovation” and how vaping has been “proving to be a very effective solution” for those who are trying to quit smoking.

“Vaping is a brilliant private sector mechanism for a public health need,” he said. “I’m interested in it from those aspects.”

A life-long interest in technology only served to further his interest in the industry.

“This is an absolute textbook example of the baptists and bootleggers problem (meaning moralists and merchants)” Referring to the public health community as the Baptists and the pharmaceutical industry as the merchants.

“There are those in the public health community that seem to be militantly against nicotine use,” Bentley said. On the moralistic side, the public health sector, the “baptists,” believe they can take the abstinence only approach, claiming these nicotine delivery devices are hazardous.

Then on the merchant side, the “bootleggers,” we have the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries who see vaping as a threat to their business.

Bentley said that he doesn’t consider his work necessarily “PRO-Vaping,” yet he believes ”we need evidence on these products and in a free society, grown human beings should be able to choose what products they consume.”

In essence, he is fascinated by the phenomenon of the vaping industry. He said that e-cigarettes and vaping devices “are voluntarily being used by individuals trying to quit smoking, they’re not a burden on anybody and they’re not causing an economic drop either.”

Bentley is motivated by the fact that there are so many questions surrounding the topic.

“What we need to find is why is there so much misleading research on the subject,” he said. “Who is interested in that research? And why is the media being so complacent?”

Within his profession, many of his colleagues are under pressure to receive attention by garnishing sexy headlines. Reporting on something far more dramatic is a great temptation for a lot of reporters.

“A lot of people within the media will simply glance over a press release without looking at any other bits of information or do any other types of independent research or try to listen to any other types of opinions, ultimately sensationalizing the negative stories about vaping and e-cigarettes,” he said. “When considering stories about research studies, the media members are not looking into how these studies were conducted or whether they are credible, they simple gaze over the bullet points and report them as facts.”

Bentley believes the people suffering the most from the mass amount of misinformation floating around are those who have been smoking for 20, 30 or even 40 years — because they are the ones asking “Why should I switch to vaping?”

“It is unquestionable that vaping is safer than regular cigarettes and for the FDA to clamp down on the independent industry is absurd,” Bentley said. “The fact that someone will still have the ability to pick up a pack of regular cigarettes at the gas station, but the vape shop down

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the street will be shut down is entirely counterproductive.”

The biggest fear is that smokers who are desperate to quit smoking could have their right to seek out a healthier alternative completely taken away from them.

“There will be an obvious economic impact with thousands of
people affected from not being able to bring paychecks home,
jobs will be lost, small businesses will be closed down, people who
may not be able to work any other type of strict background
requirement occupations will have their businesses stripped out
from under them,” he said.

“There are a number of ramifications, but now is not the time for vapers to lose hope or give up. If vapers can mobilize themselves into a coherent constituency, then they can make a huge impact. So, now is the time to mobilize. Contact your legislators, make your voices heard in a reasonable, rational, and positive way. If vapers want to defend their right to vape and protect the industry that is helping them to quit smoking, this is what they need to do.”

The public health movement has been very skeptical and outright hostile towards the private sector and the free market. One reason is that vaping remains unregulated by any public health bureaucracy.

It is clear that there is a general hostility and skepticism of free enterprise and private sector solutions to address a public health issue. The public health movement, in most aspects of lifestyle regulation, in regards to what you can vape, eat, drink, smoke is essentially an anti-choice movement.

The vaping phenomenon could very well be one of the most significant public health advances in human history.

Keep Receiving Compliance Information From FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products

GOVdelivery-bannerHave you been taking advantage of the compliance updates from the FDA Center for Tobacco Products? As the effective date for the deeming rule—August 8, 2016—approaches and as various provisions of the rule take effect after that, the organization would like to continue delivering CTP announcements about key dates and other compliance news straight to your inbox.

If you want to keep those types of compliance highlights coming your way, please sign up here.

And, any time you want additional information about FDA’s tobacco compliance and enforcement activities, please visit CTP’s Compliance & Enforcement webpage.

Papa Murph’s Premium E-Liquid: Do it Yourself at the Start & Build a Community in the End

June 27, 2016

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Photos & words by Tony Ottomanelli II

Ever tried or heard of Papa Murph’s Premium E-Liquid? Held in unicorn style bottles, Papa Murph’s has certainly become a favorite for many vapers residing in the state in which it has derived, Colorado.

Brendan Murphy previously worked construction, and if it were not for vaping, he would still be working those long hours of exhausting work, a job that certainly takes its toll on anyone’s physical condition.

However, all because of the technological breakthrough of nicotine delivery by vaping e-liquid, Murphy now has a successful premium e-liquid brand. The line gave his career a true purpose, something that provides for his wife and three children, something he can call his own.

Of course, like most vapers, Murphy is a former smoker who found vaping as his answer to quitting smoking. After a while, he was so fascinated with the effectiveness of vaping, he quickly transformed himself into an advanced vaper, learning more and more about the hobbyist side of the vaping culture. He quickly became curious about how e-liquid was manufactured and processed. So, Murphy watched a DIY video and began experimenting.

‘Murphy said the shop, VapeWize, established in the Denver area with two locations, is basically responsible for ultimately assisting in what changed everything for him. A lot of other vape shops would initially sample his e-liquid and for whatever reason, eventually just pass on it. Yet, for Murphy, VapeWize was the main shop who was seriously the first to tell him their honest opinion about the juice he was making. They told him he might have something special happening with his product.

That’s when Papa Murph’s was born. VapeWize was one of the first shops to carry his juice line. Murphy is extremely grateful for the relationship he has developed with the proprietor’s of VapeWize, Shaune and Sarah Walter.

He also spoke very highly of his distributor, Underdog Vape Distribution. He refers to them as family. Scotty and Ben from Underdog Distribution are not similar to any ordinary distributor, they are more focused on developing close positive relationships with their clientele. According to Murphy, amongst them, “it is essentially family-based. We’re in this together. We are like a family. At least that’s exactly how it feels for me.”.

The vapor industry is amazing in every way to Murph. It has truly turned his life around and given him opportunities he may not have been able to gain prior access to otherwise. He is very much impressed by the advocacy movement that

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has sprung up ahead of the looming FDA regulations.

How does he feel about the future of the industry?

“Deep down, I’m very optimistic,” he said. “ All these stats people are throwing out there about 99% of the vaping industry potentially being terminated — I just think we’ve come much too far and have dived so deep into building a culture around the industry that for anything that drastic to occur is difficult to imagine becoming a serious reality.”

Murphy highlights the message vaping sends and the symbol it stands for by mentioning the highly successful and largely admirable action of establishing beneficial agendas like the Vape-a-Vet Program — Murphy expands on this topic by asking, “When have you ever a tobacco company do anything for veterans?”

On the Vape-A-Vet program’s website, it states, “The primary focus of the project is to help Veterans “conquer” tobacco habits by providing a healthier alternative at no cost to them. Both active duty and prior service members are eligible (vapeavet.org).” There is no doubt, this is a program where the character that defines the culture of vaping is full of strength and passion.

The vaping community is certainly amazing in that way, we are here to help and that means, help for anyone who needs it.

“The business is entirely unpredictable, some days I’ll have zero orders, other days I’ll have over 20 orders to process.” Murphy said. “Not just the business, but the industry as a whole is completely unpredictable.”

He continues to clarify, “there is always some new locally-driven legislation opposition to vaping that we have to fight, whether collecting signatures for petitions, writing your state representative or the introduction of some new bill you have to support…it is continuous.”

Murphy said that is the reason activism is a necessity for all vapers.

“There is no other choice but to fight for your right to vape, we’re not just gonna give up,” he said. “We’ve all come too far, no matter if you own your own business or if you are merely a beginner to vaping. We’ve come too far, they can’t force us to go back to tobacco products after this huge impact vaping has had.”

Murphy also believes in giving back to his customers — the ones who ensure that his business can continue feeding his family. He regularly hosts events where he gives away 30-40 bottles of product as a thank you to the community.

“I’m in complete awe of how much this vaping phenomenon has had on my life. Vaping turned my life around towards a direction that is more healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally,” he said. “I own my own business, I can spend more time with my children and my wife, I can provide for them and I can help make a positive difference in the community and the vast amount of amazing people I’ve had the chance to meet — it has all been so rewarding.

“I want to build more than just a random business relationship, I want to get to know all of my customers personally.” Murphy often delivers local juice orders himself, rather than simply sending a package, he prefers to meet his customers face-to-face, greet them and thank them.

He said however, that one of the biggest hurdles in the industry is finding new and creative ways to market his products in an industry that has become quite saturated.

“It can make things slightly more difficult to build your brand,” he said.

The line consists of three flavors. First, there is Granny’s Custard which “is the indulgence of granny’s most delicious graham cracker custard with a creamy finish that will leave you wishing it was endless.”

The second flavor is Getaway, which is “packed with tropical fruits and infused in a way that is sure to leave your mind at ease like your perfect Getaway!”

The third flavor in the collection is Wake N’ Vape, “a delicious hot cup of cappuccino with nodes of smooth vanilla and a hint of caramel that are bound to wake your taste buds up.”

Each flavor comes in 0, 3 or 6mg of nicotine.

My personal opinion is that what ultimately makes Papa Murph’s stand out among many other juice-lines is the positive attitude behind the owner and founder. Murphy is by far one of the most generous, honest, down-to-earth, and professional entrepreneurs and well-rounded vaping business innovators whom I’ve met.

NATO Conference Ends 15-Year Run

June 26, 2016

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By Norm Bour

“All things must pass” is a popular cliché as well as a song title, and after 15 years the annual trade conference known as NATO is calling it quits.

The National Association of Tobacco Outlets was founded in 2001 and initially included tobacco companies of all shapes and sizes. Over the years they added hookah and most recently, vape. Don Bores, the original founder of NATO said in a 2014 interview on VAPE radio, “They thought I was crazy when I took an e-cigarette out of my shirt pocket, took a puff and put in back in my pocket.” This was in 2008 and as recently as 2015 vape companies represented as much as one third of their vendors.

Frank Armstrong is the current NATO president, and has been a board member since 2003. He is the owner of Blue Ridge Tobacco, a chain of eight tobacco stores in North Carolina and Virginia. They have been ahead of their fellow smoke shop competitors and have been carrying cigalikes and vaping supplies for several years.

The association has 51,000 members, a powerful force, and consists of tobacco outlets, convenience stores, wholesalers and manufacturers.

This recent show was significantly smaller than in years’ past with just over one hundred vendors and several hundred attendees. As the speed of communication has increased, many business owners feel less need to learn from live events since they get information much quicker from other sources.

There is no question about it: the competition for attendees at tobacco shows is just as challenging as for vape shows. Since 2013 when I started VapeMentors, I have attended dozens of shows and each year the numbers increase, which results in smaller attendance for everyone.

When asked why they are ending the 15 year run of live events, Armstrong stated, “When we look towards the future, which could be just a handful or years to many times that, we have to acknowledge that one of our primary missions is to protect our members- and not orchestrate conventions. Threats come from many places including new deeming regulations, but more from state and local issues which have increased over the years.”

He confessing that NATO reached a major decision and determined that their time and resources were best spent on those state and local regulatory issues. “That will help us do best for our industry,” he concluded.

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The Vaping Presence at NATO

Of the 105 vendors, just a handful were vaping companies, mostly liquid sellers, as is common. There were a few familiar names, but the biggest was Lost Art, here for their first-and last show.

In just two years they have become a significant presence and when we asked cofounder Ryan Thomas why they exhibited he responded: “We decided to attend NATO because it was something different, and a possibly untapped market.” Overall they were pleased with the level of interest though most that visited their booth were not familiar with their company.

They also took advantage of one of the most unique sponsorship offerings I have ever seen: a phone charging station with Lost Art logos plastered on every side.

Judah Arama was on the floor representing Helium brand e-liquids. The Florida-based company has been in liquids since 2008 and their parent company, VPR Brands, is one of the few publicly traded vape industries.

They initially manufactured for others but launched the Helium brand with a new twist. In an effort to keep consistent texture and flavor they decided to offer coolers to their retail sites which keeps their bottles at 20 degrees below room temperature.

“The intent is to keep the liquid between 70 and 75 degrees,” said Arama, “and we found this kept the flavors more consistent.” He specifically said that the end purchaser is not required to chill their liquids since that time lapse would be insignificant.

This does bring to light an issue for many manufacturers since it can take many months to consume a finished product that was made up to one year earlier.

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The Importance of Education

NATO will be missed since they held a unique educational place in the world of conventions. This event covered just 15 hours over two days, but six of those hours were dedicated to educational programs and the balance for exhibitor hours.

This year they brought in Bonnie Herzog, Managing Director Beverage, Tobacco & Convenience Store Research, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, as well as Don Burke, Senior Vice President, Management Science Associates, Inc. (MSA), one of the market leaders in tracking c-stores and product sale.

Some data they shared included:
• Last year, 2015, was a banner year for the sale of analog cigarettes. WTF??
• Vapors, tanks and mods (VTM), plus e-cigs, are in 27 percent of all convenience stores.
• The potential market and upside for vape products is huge, as estimates show that the worldwide tobacco market is a $900 billion business, yet vape is just one percent. But in the US, vape is estimated to impact 52 percent of the tobacco market. Yes, that is why overseas manufacturers are seeking our US dollars.
• The top liquid flavor category is fruits with a 96 percent approval rate, followed by deserts at 86 percent. Tobacco and menthol continue to drop in popularity at 36 and 34 percent respectively.
• The ages of vape consumers was higher than they expected with ages 31 to 40 being the “sweet spot” followed by Gen Y’s close behind.
• Most vapers start because they want to get rid of tobacco addiction and less than 10 percent vape just for fun.

The closing speaker was the man everyone loves to hear, but few believe: Mitch Zeller, Director of FDA Center for Tobacco Products. He told the audience that the final deeming regulations “would be released soon,” and assured everyone that they listened to the feedback and concerns from “tens of thousands that offered their thoughts and opinions.” By the time you read this his words of solace may be real or possibly not.

NATO will be missed.

- Norm Bour

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 1.2 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.

 

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