Vaping From the Outside: Educate the Masses AboutVaping

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By Susan Oser

I was in a chatroom the other night. Two of my friends recently converted, and got kits to celebrate their first day of vaping. One of them was ready and had said that he was interested in quitting.

The day came, and it was great chatting with them about their new kits, as well as chatting with other regulars on their show. However, there were a few people in the audience who made me want to put my hand through the screen and smack their typing hands. They made lewd jokes about vaping to those who said that vaping was just a trend, or said that vaping was worse than smoking.

There was one chatter in particular who had quit smoking 22 years ago, and he was very proud of this fact. According to him, he had tried vaping before and thought it was worse. When I asked this chatter where he got his information, I never got a response; he just kept going on and on about it. What made it more annoying was how he told my friends to quit vaping now and save themselves, or if they’re coughing and choking, go back to smoking they’ll feel better.

Now, I’m happy that this person quit, but he didn’t need to go on a rampage about vaping being no better. Of course, when I saw this, I put on my activist hat and looked for links to not only help my friends, but to try to give this man the facts. I kept repeating in the chat that it’s not smoking, it’s vaping.

My evening in the chatroom raised a question that I’ve asked on my own show and would like to put to you, the reader: How well have we been educating the public on vaping? Are we only sharing the information among ourselves, and not with the world? Are we aware of the misinformation that’s out there?

From what I’ve seen, there’s room for improvement. Almost every day, news stories report the dangers of e- cigarettes, or the latest proposed e-cigarette bans. It almost seems like we are fighting against something, rather than fighting for something. Where is the education?

Has someone ever thought of coming up with a show that offers an educational service to the public about vaping, e  cigarettes and smoking cessation? What about contacting more than one news station to do a positive e -cigarette story to appeal to those who are undecided? If something like that exists, I’d like to hear more about it.

Maybe we should talk to other activist groups and find out how they do it. Perhaps they have an answer or a clue to something we’re missing. Maybe once they hear about our struggles and what we’re about, they can support us. Talk about a great way to reach out to the public in a positive way as a vaper right?

Vapers have a scarlet letter emblazoned on their chests, and about most of the community doesn’t realize it. This is why we need to share what we know with the rest of the world. You never know who might be interested. You never know who could help us. You never know who might be listening.

Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet (http://vapenet.com/) (https://www.facebook. com/CreativeAngelwriter). For her day job she is an online tutor and part time freelance writer. She is a passionate activist for vaping rights. Find her at http://angelwritercreations. weebly.com/ http://twitter.com/angelwriter78 and https://www.facebook.com/Angelwriterspeaks?ref=hl . You also can buy her knitted accessories (esp for you the vapor) at https://www.facebook.com/knitzyknitz. To contact her, email angelwritercreations@gmail.com.

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Let’s Ask GRIMMGREEN

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By Nick Green Photo by Metal Jeff

How does NamberJuice plan on dealing with the upcoming FDA deeming regulations? And how do you see the regulations affecting the industry as a whole?

-Alex

Hey Alex. The climate of the industry is certainly changing. Obviously, NamberJuice is doing everything we can to stay ahead of the curve. We already produce our liquids in a worldclass, AEMSA-certified, ISO 9001:2008 clean lab. We practice GMPS, and our liquids are tested by a third-party facility on a regular basis.

Additionally, all our bottles come in tamper-evident and childproof packaging, including childproof caps. Which, in this day and age, is a no-brainer, in my opinion.

The worrisome part of the proposed FDA regulations is that they want to ban things like fruity flavors and flavors that appeal to children. What we’re doing, in addition to what Namber-Juice and other juice manufacturers are doing, is educating the public. To make a difference, we need to show up and testify at state and local government health committee meetings.

I do believe that, in the end, real science, like the studies being done by Dr. Farsalinos (Konstantinos, formidable e-cigarette researcher), will prevail in the face of overwhelming bureaucracy.

-Nick

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So, I’m pretty new to mech mods, and I just recently picked up a EHPro Maraxus. Would my LIR 18650 2200 mAh 3.7v battery work in this mod, or is it something I should watch out for? Can anyone give me a lil insight?

-A Timmeh Ree

Hey there! Battery safety is a long process to explain, but I’ll try to keep this brief. Mod batteries are the things you do not want to skimp on. Cheap atomizers, sure; clone mods, absolutely. Cheap batteries? Never!

It generally depends on what kind of atomizer you are running on your mod, as well as what Ohm your atomizer is set to. The most crucial piece of information you need is your battery’s amp limit. The lower Ohm you use, the more amps you need from the battery.

If the battery cannot supply the amps that the atomizer requires, bad things tend to happen. Batteries heat up, short out or, in more extreme cases, vent toxic gasses.

From what I can tell, there is no amp limit listed for your battery. I assume that it is not intended for the purposes that you want to use it for. What I would do is pick up some new batteries – I recommend MXJO 18650. They have a nice, high mAh, as well as a continuous 35a limit. It’s important to know the limits of your batteries and to stay well below those limits when you are building.

-Nick

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Crowd Chasers: How to BLOW UP in the Vape Space

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Sticky Strategies: How to Retain Loyal Customers

By Maria Verven

Getting just one customer to walk into your “shop” (I use the word loosely to cover both online and brick and mortar shops) can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.

In my April column, I outlined several strategies successful vape space businesses are using to attract new customers. Since any business that sells vaping products can’t use Google Adwords or Facebook advertising, many have turned to special events and social media to generate sales.

Driving new traffic to your shop is just the beginning. Once there, a new customer may take up to an hour of staff time learning how to use vaping hardware and experimenting with different brands and flavors of e-liquids. Translate all this into dollars and cents, and you’ve spent at least $100 per customer getting him or her into your shop and teaching how to use the devices.

All this time and money will go down the drain unless you have a solid strategy to retain customers by offering incentives and good reasons to visit your store again.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

David Collins, owner of the e-liquid manufacturer California Vaping Company, was curious. Also owner of a marketing company for real estate agents called Real Estate Marketing, Collins successfully has created marketing campaigns for hundreds of agents, helping them make more than $10 billion in sales.

Collins conducted a little experiment to see if vape shops were following up with their customers. He paid anonymous visits to seven vape shops, spending about $100 in each store.

Only three of the seven stores followed up.

“The personal touch was just killer,” Collins said after the employees from those three shops called to ask him how the devices were working and if he had any questions.

“In the world of marketing, it takes at least eight contacts with a product to create brand awareness,” Collins said. “Following up via text, e-mail or even snail mail not just once but several times will build a more loyal following and can make a significant impact on your bottom line.”

In most cases, Collins said vape shops don’t ask for customers’ contact information, so they’re unable to follow up with customers after their purchase or lure them back to the store with deals and discounts. This is a huge missed opportunity, Collins said.

“Vape shops should encourage or entice customers to at least give them their e-mail addresses so they can follow up with them,” Collins said. “But the trick with e-mail is you don’t want to overdo it,” he said, adding that the ideal e-mail frequency is about once a week.

Since e-mail is so ubiquitous, vape shops can cut through the clutter by sending postcards or a newsletter via snail mail, or using SMS (short message service) to send text messages promoting store specials.

“Let’s say you start carrying a new e-liquid brand or a new flavor. Or better yet: you keep track of which brands and flavors your customer purchased,” Collins said. “You could send a text alerting them when you’re offering a special discount on the brands and flavors they prefer.”

Unique E-Liquid Lines: A Key Retention Strategy

Developing a unique e-liquid line that’s only available in your shop is a key strategy many vape shops are using to retain their customers.

Otherwise, customers may Google the brand name of the e-liquid they bought at your store to see if they can find it cheaper elsewhere.

But if they can only buy that special yummy flavor from you, they’ll keep coming back to your shop over and over again to replenish their supply.

Thanks to a unique partnership between VapeMentors, which offers educational programs and resources for vape space businesses, and California Vaping Company, anyone, regardless of budget or experience, can easily develop their own line of e-liquids.

“It’s important not to have any more than six flavors of any one brand, because a customer will decide they like or don’t like a brand based on just one or two flavors,” Collins said. The more brands of e-liquids the better, he advised.

However, Collins cautions against creating a brand of e-liquids with the vape shop’s name. “Think about it: when you go into a grocery store and see the grocery store name on a product, you immediately assume it’s the low-cost brand,” he said. An e-liquid branded with the vape shop name also limits distribution, since other vape shops won’t want to promote a competitor’s e-liquid line.

Creating a brand is easier said than done, Collins said, adding that the most important consideration is identifying and appealing to a certain target market.

“If your target market is a 40-something-year-old guy, consider what music they were listening to when they were most impressionable—18 to 20 years old,” Collins said.

“For me, it was Led Zeppelin. So a brand called Zeppelin Vapes would really appeal to me.”

For more information on the best practices in creating a line of e-liquids, visit www.VapeMentors.com.

The original Vaping VampTM, Maria Verven is partner and chief marketing mentor of VapeMentors.com.

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MASTERING the Vape Space: Secrets to Running a Successful Vape Shop

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VapeJune2015-_Page_022By Norm Bour 

The vaping industry is not for wimps. A few years ago you might have been able to succeed with a half-baked plan, but those days are gone. Shops are closing and everyone has excuses, but what are the real reasons?

“Stores are closing, not due to saturation, but because of bad business practices,” Jim Root, president of The Vapor Association, said. Root has been visiting vape shops across the country, gathering information about the regional differences between retailers and gaining a better understanding of the issues facing brick and mortar shops.

“If we look at any other industry, we are in line with most,” Root said. “But since we’ve seen explosive growth, the ones that close are noticeable.”

The number of vape shops has escalated from an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 shops in 2013 to between 6,000 and 8,000 shops, according to various trade directories.

But, this growth is slowing down and there actually could be a drop this year.

“I see huge consolidation and a drop in the number of stores over the next few years,” Michael Guasch, CEO of Molecule Labs, said. Guasch predicts that the consolidation will affect the oversaturated e-liquid market, as well as brick and mortar stores.

“It’s easy to blame competition,” Root said, “But we don’t hear Pepsi complaining about competition from Coke, do we?”

Successful Shops Across the Country
Since November 2014, Root has met with more than 600 shops in 37 states. He’s now nearing the end of his cross-country tour. We asked him to share some noteworthy shops that are doing well and the reason for their success. In each case, they carved out a unique niche:

RU Vaping, near Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., is a great example of customer service enhanced by technology. Using an ultrasound machine (for about $100), they clean every mod and RDA they work on. “For the cost of the machine, they’re stepping up well beyond normal customer service,” Root said.

Smoke Alternative is a shop just for beginners. No mods, no high-end devices. Just starter kits and e-liquids, and lots of them. Their goal is to help cigarette smokers make the switch, and they’re crushing it in Pittsburgh, Penn. At the other extreme is the Charlotte, N.C.- based The Art of Vape, which only carries high-end mods and high quality e-liquids. No starter kits, no beginners, just aficionados in this shop. They are also doing extremely well in their 2,000-square-foot shop that converts to a lounge on weekends.

Some pockets of the country have a particularly high density of vape shops. It’s no surprise that Southern California, Ground Zero of the vaping movement, is home to hundreds of vape shops.

But Oklahoma City, Okla. is home to a staggering 300-plus shops, despite the fact that there’s only about a million people in the entire metro area. Back in October 2013, when I talked with the owners of Vapor Hub, they complained there were about 70 to 80 shops. So there’s been four-fold increase in 18 months. Just as in any other city, some will excel and some will fail.

It All Starts with Good Customer Service
Successful vape shops do several things right. Here’s a list of three areas that must be done right for a vape shop to succeed:

Customer Service: Customer acquisition, service and retention are paramount in the vaping industry, since we’re helping people switch from an insidious habit and teaching them how to use these new devices. Customer service starts when you walk into the shop to the way you’re treated during the sales process. Many shops forget all about customer follow-up, but it should be the first step in your customer retention strategy.

Adequate Inventory: Shops actually will close due to lack of inventory or improper product selection. Starting with the list of products that will sell the best, VapeMentors also can make recommendations on which distributors to work with that can easily fix this problem. If money is an issue, we can even help you secure financing.

Proper Branding & Positioning: In the eyes of the public, every vape shop is the same. But the unique vape shop examples listed above disproves that assumption. Every shop should develop their competitive position and then brand and market it strategically.

In this issue of VAPE, be sure to read about the latest Vape Shop of the Month, Waldo Vapes, in Waldo, Mo. They excel in all of these areas.

The vape space is generous to vapreneurs willing to listen and learn, but unforgiving of novices. This may well be the year when we’ll see a huge shakeout and a drop in the number of vape space businesses. Those left standing will be the ones that get it right.

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors, which offers online educational programs, services and resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also host of Vape Radio, a podcast series that interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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By Alyssa Starr

Communication never has been a one-way street. Consistent dialogue, feedback and courtesy, I believe, are some of the top keys to effective open communication. As the editor of VAPE, I don’t necessarily consider myself a member of the “media,” at least when it comes to the media our industry feels is battling against our cause (except for when I had to pay for WiFi at a recent event in order to promote said event). VAPE has and always will strive for and promote vapers’ rights, culture, business and news.

One of our most exhaustive investigative pieces debuts in this issue: Legislative 50. Myself and our trusty executive assistant, Erin Hedrick, scoured the country for information about legislation in all 50 states. However, the important piece of this puzzle was communication. We called shops in each state to get your opinion about the current state of affairs, how it’s affecting your stores and what you’d like to see changed in the future.

Some results surprised me. A lot of stores refused to speak with the “media,” even when hearing about the all important topic we were discussing. Some stores sent us straight to their corporate offices, which ironically is exactly the hoop that a lot of legislators make vapers who want to be heard jump through. Erin was even hung up on once.

However, the majority of people had a ton of points to communicate. Vendors want to fight. They want to save their businesses. They want to be responsible owners. They want to help you quit smoking. I am here to remind you, the readers, that VAPE is and will always be a two-way street. I invite you to call me, email me, write me a letter to the editor. Each voice in our industry is powerful, and we must speak up and speak out to preserve what we have worked so hard to build.

Happy reading! Alyssa Starr

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The Not-So-Great Vape Escape: Sociologically Reflecting on the Anti-Vaping Movement

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VAPE-April201596The Not-So-Great Vape Escape: Sociologically Reflecting on the Anti-Vaping Movement

Words and photos by
Anthony J. Ottomanelli II

For the year 2014, Oxford Dictionary named its Word of the Year “vape” due to its ever-increasing popularity. Coincidentally, 2014 is the same year in which I was able to quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, with professional assistance all due in part to Oxford’s Word of the Year. Proud to say, I’m now at a level of full-time vaping and have not had an actual tobacco cigarette in one whole year. In fact, after smoking a traditional cigarette a few weeks after turning solely to vaping, I became ill and nauseated. Therefore, I’ll never go back. Vaping is here to stay in my life. However, is it here to stay in my town state or even my country?

Once more, the “United” States is steadily and surely becoming divided on yet another topic that has been spun into a developing unnecessary social issue lingering over the edge of becoming a much bigger societal problem. Basically, vaping has entered the territory of being identified as a potential threat to health and humanity. Sadly, the continuous surge of vaping propaganda, whether in support of or against it, is now a potential fortune to be had on both sides of the coin, naturally another American Masterpiece. As a sociologist I am inclined to relentlessly question such behaviors, values and overall methods. It is therefore my sociological duty to pursue any type of resolution that only can be fueled by ideals of rationality and logic.

The primary reason why there has been so much skepticism about vaping is simply because it appears to resemble the action of smoking traditional cigarettes. If the public is told that vaping is just as bad as or worse than smoking cigarettes, then they’ll regrettably believe in these counterfeit claims. Even though vaping is a long way away from sharing any similarities of smoking tobacco-based cigarettes, besides the obvious appearance of how it is administered, the general public will remain as the most gullible. We tend to believe the first thing we hear about something unfamiliar or even more popular nowadays; we usually also believe whatever is reported to us by the mainstream. Over the past 10 years or so, we’ve heard nothing nearly as negative about vaping as we have been hearing very recently. If you have yet to hear anything so robustly negative about vaping, then you’ll certainly be seeing it very soon, coming to a theater near you. Vape bans are rapidly spreading all over the county—whether big city-living or small-town slumming—these bans are everywhere.

During the summer days of 2014, in the tourist-attracting, scenic town of Golden, Colo., there were restaurant patrons seated on outdoor patios who supposedly became exceedingly irritated with all the people smoking or vaping outside or simply passing by on the sidewalks. From this, there were apparently numerous complaints of ruined appetites and spoiled meals directly linked to the impossible concept of second-hand vapor. The 2015 vaping/smoking ban in downtown Golden was based on these unexplainable disturbances in which only City Council was able to vote on this subject matter. A writer for the Denver Post, Josie Klemaier, wrote the Golden City Council concluded that local businesses would suffer the cost of decreased business opportunities from losing customers (http://www.denver-post.com/golden/ci_26432351/golden-passes-outdoor-smoking-vaping-ban). Keep in mind, this vaping/smoking ban is not merely for indoor public locations, this ban inexplicably forbids the use of vaping devices and traditional cigarettes anywhere outdoors. We can’t embrace the art of vaping inside somewhere, nor can we partake in it outside.

This anti-vaping movement merely is based on the notion that if these deliciously-scented, quick-to-disappear vapor clouds were to come into contact with any potential customers for all the small-businesses downtown, then the consequence would be an economic backlash of unpredictable measures. Since my family owns a restaurant in downtown Golden, I can speak on behalf of a few local business owners and assure any skeptics that the ideas of lost business or a tarnished customer base will not be an inescapable effect from the mere sight or smell of vapor’s presence. In hindsight, realistically, the vaping/smoking ban may very well create exactly what it claims to be attempting the prevention of.

Although no action has yet to be taken by any Golden locals or outsiders, there still are many individuals to discuss this controversial topic with. From my steady inquisition of questioning nearby residents, mainly those who live downtown, where the ban is forced upon the public to obey it thus becomes clear that many want to do something, even if that something is to speak out on the issue. One resident living right in the middle of this mountain town’s downtown, Daniel Chafetz, said, “To impede on an individual’s right to vape or smoke in the open air is downright offensive to the very concept of American rights, which is supposed to be out-lined in our nation’s Constitution as having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Just imagine how our Founding Fathers would have reacted. If the Golden City Council members were properly educated, (story continues below)

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(continued from above)… they would be much more concerned about polluted air than the occasional smoker/vaper on the street.” (http://www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_27566792/golden-city-manager-mike-bestor-announces-retirement)

Keep in mind, this Golden resident who made these comments is a non-smoker and non-vaper, yet Chafetz still maintains the Golden ban is pure hypocrisy, shameful and unconstitutional.

Considering this, many Golden residents who I was able to speak with concerning the smoking/vaping ban that went into effect Jan. 1 all seemed to have identical words to express. I had brief interactions with local residents and out-of-towners in downtown Golden. Many of the locals whom I had brief interactions with would simply reply “It’s so stupid. It makes no sense!” As if that vocal result was not entertaining enough, the responses I received from tourists or non-residents seemed to also reply with the same blanket-statement each and every time, also very amusing, they would typically state, “I had no idea that was even a legitimate thing here.” The next best thing was the other most-popular reply I heard was along the lines of simply stating, “I didn’t even know we couldn’t smoke. You aren’t allowed to vape either? Why?” All of these recorded statements surely were all characterized by an obvious state of pure bewilderment.

After my social-interaction methodologies were embraced by many of the Golden street wanderers, I decided to try and acquire information by collecting any rational explanation from those who had the power to strip away such freedoms to begin with. With limited resources and ticking time, I tried to contact a few key members of Golden’s City Council, especially focusing on the city manager, Mike Bestor. Bestor never answered any of my requests for a comment. Then I read the local newspaper, The Golden Transcript. The Transcript featured a story involving Bestor announcing his retirement, just barely after one month had passed by since the ban went into effect. According to the Transcript article, the retiring city manager is stepping down to pursue other adventures. What could possibly be more adventurous?

Overall, the public is just too afraid to educate themselves on the factual information about vaping and perhaps explain to their children what vaping is and why people choose to partake in it. It’s almost far too obvious; the shortsighted anti-vaping affiliates are fearful. Fearful that there is something new out there they should learn more about; fearful of their own confusion; fearful because they honestly have no clue what vaping literally consists of. But the antidote to their fears is already here, vaping is that antidote because vaping has unquestionably changed lives and will continue to change lives, allowing former smokers to drastically alter their lifestyles for the better. However, people tend to fear what they don’t understand. Yet, we must understand this: our fears are our own and can never be overcome unless we unlock close-mindedness and walk into the direction of those fears.

Nevertheless, no one in particular is saying that vaping is a health craze; we’re just expressing how much we believe it to be much healthier than smoking tobacco cigarettes. Regardless, perhaps the scientific research published by prestigious medical journals and other publications are being “spun” by the mainstream media, interpreting scientific findings incorrectly? Or, is our country’s populace simply fearful of what they don’t know the slightest thing about? Is it the fact that there are not yet any long-term studies able to be conducted on the health risks of vaping? Are all of these vape bans happening in cities and universities across the country merely just a pawn in a much bigger chess game of financial gain from other opportunities consisting of unrelated profitable business ventures? Are small town governments receiving payoffs from private enterprises? The possibilities are endless, yet not nearly as everlasting as the vast amount of vaping propaganda that has swiftly saturated the market as well as stamping a permanent stain in the social fabric of America’s uncertain perspective about vaping, our vision of tomorrow and foresight for the future. Then again, the very act of vaping itself is our future, so I guess everyone better learn how to share because the time is now, the end is not here and the future we must share is much closer than it is near.

 

Eurozoned: The King’s New Vape

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VAPE-April201590 Eurozoned: The King’s New Vape

By Dave Cross

Once upon a time there was a king so exceedingly fond of new vape gear that he spent all his money on acquiring mods, atomizers and all manner of wicking materials. He cared nothing about appraising his soldiers; he preferred to sit in front of Ye Olde YouTube reviewers seeing today’s greatest thing … and it was always better than the other thing he purchased the preceding day.

His magisterial desk was replete with mods of every hue and, instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The king’s in council,” here they always said. “The liege’s busy recoiling an atomizer with Ni200 wire and some Muji cotton.”

But heed this, there is no Hans Christian Andersen tale residing in these words. If anything it lends itself more to Albert Camus: “A man defines himself by his make-believe as well as by his sincere impulses.” No swindlers will come to call on our enthroned regent. And yet all of us, including our fictitious highness, encounter weavers coming to call.

The weavers do not come bearing magnificent invisible clothing; ours take to language and video to create scenes of vaping equipment that consistently break new boundaries. Like a razor bearing additional blades, the equipment we are being sold for our tomorrows is clearly an improvement on the things we used last month—it has to be otherwise they’d not have invented it?

“That would be just the temperature-controlled mod for me,” thought the king. “If I used it I would be able to discover which mods in my kingdom are unfit for their atomizers. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get one right away.” And the king paid a vendor a large sum of money to order an improved vaping experience without delay.

We exist within a vaping fairy tale—Snow White and the seven drippers, the Sleeping Beauty of the regulated display. Entirely made-up characters like Rip van Twisted pepper our consciousness with words like “whoooeee” and insist we believe that “she’s a real performer!” as they sell the notion of a cloudier future.

The message displayed on mods across the globe “New coil up, same coil down” carries such Animal Farm redolence that it strikes me we ought to be circumspect. Again, breathe easy, I’m not arguing that we are at the behest of a committee of pigs but that message is tinged with tones akin to “all vapers are equal, but some vapers are more equal than others.”

Orwell’s Benjamin the donkey knows, like Eeyore before him, how it is: “Life will go on as it has always gone on—that is, badly.” He is, of course, not applying himself to global politics, as literary experts would have you believe, but simply to vape life. Benjamin knew that the quality of my vaping experience coming from a mech mod and a Kanthal coil is nigh on indistinguishable from the one I’m now obtaining courtesy of chip-inspired supervision.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is not captive in a tall tower, his flaxen locks cascading out the window in the hope that Professor Glantz will climb up to join him and share his view. There is nothing made up regarding his initial findings linking coil temperature to toxin manufacture, which has driven his desire to pursue further crowd-funded research.

Reviewers lauded news of the technological leap that encompassed a facility to banish dry hits, dirty wicks and counter toxin production. Rip van Twisted, when he descends from supping moonshine in the mountains, will be “sick as bits” to discover how the regulated market has moved on.

Back to our king.

The monarch dispatched his most trusted old minister to the vape shop to inspect and collect his new addition. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how it looks and performs, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

The minister knew he was being charged to return with a tale of excellence and set about forming the perfect coil. Never was a happy ending harder to achieve due to the springy wire and the coils required to reach a frighteningly low 0.15Ω. Once finished he shuffled off to the store.

The merchant pointed out the process to change temperature but the emissary was too busy trying to convince the box that he didn’t want “voltage.” He bit his lip when the resistance reading began bouncing up and down. He kept his own council when the display suddenly began showing gibberish.

Eventually, having unscrewed and reattached the freshly primed RTA, he drank deep in heavy VG vapors. “Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t notice any real difference at all.” But he dare not say.

The vendor invited the wizened ambassador to inspect the wick after the custard was finished. “Look at the luster,” they implored him. “Have you ever witnessed such a regal display after a full tank?” The poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see.

“Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be his Majesty’s vaper? It would never do to let on that I couldn’t see passed the blackness.” So the old envoy enthused: “What a wonder, what a delight, I shall inform his kingness by nightfall!”

“What’s this?” thought the king, as he vaped his new mod. “I can’t tell the difference. Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the king?” It simply wouldn’t do to announce a taste of burnt cotton to the court. “Oh! It’s incredible,” he said. “It has my highest approval.”

“But it’s just a box like all the others,” a little child said. “Only much more complicated.”

*Similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental, apologies to Hans Christian Andersen and fantasists everywhere.

Dave Cross is a writer, biker, vaper, ever-more rotund punk and perpetual disappointment to his parents. According to his wife he is frequently wrong about most things. Follow Dave Cross on Twitter @MawsleyX.

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The War on Regulations: Where Does the FDA Stand?

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VAPE-April201576 The War on Regulations: Where Does the FDA Stand?

By Mark Benson, Guest Columnist

Is the FDA balanced in its approach to the vaping industry?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently is in year four of a “two-year” review of the vaping industry. This is a review that has been hampered by legal issues, slow movement and even today, four years after the review was launched, there still is no definitive timescale for new regulations. This has caused many in the vaping community to question whether the FDA is balanced in its approach to the industry and whether the ongoing review is fair.

The FDA has history with the vaping community.

Many people may not be aware that the FDA only a few years ago attempted to effectively ban electronic cigarettes outright. This move had been rubberstamped by the administration only for a High Court challenge to rule against the ban forcing the FDA into an embarrassing U-turn. Against this background it is not difficult to see why many people believe the FDA is unbalanced in its approach to the sector with a potential bias against the industry.

That said, the role of the FDA is to effectively protect U.S. consumers and ensure that all products and services are safe. This slow approach to vaping regulations is in the eyes of some of the overcautious, while others believe passionately this is an issue that needs to be addressed correctly. If it was not for the number of false dawns, when the FDA has apparently suggested regulations were around the corner, many people would agree with the latter comment. But it is the confusion, misinformation and news vacuum that appears to be playing into the hands of the critics.

Local authorities are introducing vaping regulations.

There is no doubt that the ongoing FDA investigation/review of the industry has caused a significant information vacuum. This has allowed critical politicians and local authorities to jump on the bandwagon to restrict electronic cigarettes with many attempting to treat them in a similar fashion to their tobacco counterparts. The fact that these types of products are different in so many ways does not appear to have been appreciated by critical politicians with many seemingly more interested in replacing falling tobacco tax income.

It is ironic that we could see the release of data on 100 long-term medical trials into the use of electronic cigarettes and 99 would be very positive with perhaps one asking uncomfortable questions. We can only guess why politicians seem keen to focus on the negative research as opposed to those which seem to support the industry. There are those who will suggest this is paranoia at the highest level from vaping supporters, but just this week (as of press time) we saw a U.K. professor confirming it was more difficult to interest the wider press in positive vaping research, with a greater appetite for sensationalism/controversial headlines.

Is the FDA stalling?

There is a growing belief that the FDA has let down the vaping community due to the fact it has taken so long to arrive at the situation today with no regulations in place. Even if the FDA had come out and suggested strict regulations of the industry, with data to back the move, then at least we would be moving forward and any confusion would be removed. There is a growing suspicion that the FDA is stalling on the introduction of federal electronic cigarette regulations creating the information vacuum referred to earlier that has allowed local states to take the lead.

At this moment in time, could you realistically defend the position and the actions of the FDA?

Mark Benson is the SEO and social media marketing manager for OK Premium Quality Electronic Cigarettes.

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Lifting the Fog: Innovation Prayer

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VAPE-April201570 Lifting the Fog: Innovation Prayer

By CJ Caswell

Can we take a moment to reflect on just how badass this industry is?

We have gone from zero to light-speed in fewer than five years. Five years ago, the Puresmoker Prodigy was nice tech. The idea of an iStick 50w would have been laughable. The major stages all have happened in fast forward: from the first tepid steps into mechs driven by CR123 camera batteries, to the standardization of the 510 connector, then on to the domestication of the tank system into user-friendly systems like the eGo. Recently, we enjoyed our own version of the horsepower wars. A few e-liquid makers are starting to become household names nationwide: I’ve had people visiting my town in Kansas ask me if I carry their favorite brand of premium juice, and I’ve been able to say yes. We’ve got devices of every size and shape, rapidly increasing in quality and technological integration. We have flavors that can rival Coke in likability and fine liquors in complexity.

I had to say all that because it is completely inexcusable to be ungrateful. I really like my industry. That being said, there still are some things we could use in this market that haven’t been developed, and I’m going to throw three of them out there. You’re reading a vape shop owner’s prayer. These things need to be made before I find some spare time and have them made myself. And while the poverty wage wizards in China obviously hold the key to making any of them affordable, anyone can play with the ideas and could probably find a way to commission one done right.

1.) The Tester Tank
Has no one else noticed that there is no clearo or tank on the market that makes the “perfect” taste tester? The requirements are simple:

    • It must be cheap, because people break things and most shops have scores of flavor options.
    • It must be bottom coil, because top coil wicks dry out and you don’t want a customer starting off their experience in your shop with a dry hit.
    • The coil must be removable, because things get gross after a while.
    • They must be top-fill with a bottom that can’t be unscrewed, because if it isn’t, every customer who removes the tester from the battery is going to hold it by the tank portion, unscrew it from the coil base, and spill the liquid everywhere, and no amount of warnings or signage can change that.
    • And finally, it must be extremely unlikely to leak.

It could be single or dual coil, and while pyrex would be nice, plastic has advantages so long as the liquid doesn’t sit in there long enough to absorb any chemicals. Less capacity is actually better than more, as testers that don’t get filled as often tend to start tasting bad. The testers at my shop needed very good flavor since we sell high-end juice, so after starting with weak CE4 clearos, we switched to dual coil tanks with bottoms that screw off. New customers help that juice escape too often. We need a miracle, and I doubt we’re the only shop with that issue.

Unfortunately, our savior does not yet exist. The RBC, the T2 and T3, the iClear 16, the Vision Nano, the Aspire BDC, all fail to make the cut in some way. You see the problem: a removable bottom coil needs to have a coil base that can be unscrewed to access it. I bet anyone could solve this issue with 30 seconds of thought, because all you need to do is make it impossible to unscrew it without actually meaning to unscrew it.

2.)  More 26650 Regulated Mods

The way I read it, development of the 26650 battery got screwed over here, because the 18650 is the battery that Tesla automobiles uses in their electric cars. Every major battery maker pushed their R&D money into that platform, trying to grab the contract (it eventually went to Panasonic), and abandoned 26650 batteries in the process.

In an alternate universe, the 26650 could be a better battery. But even in this sad continuum, the platform still has advantages, especially now that so many people have moved to regulated mods. The big cell can handle marginally higher loads and, most importantly, has a much longer lifespan, with 4000 mAh being standard. The prom queen 18650 still struggles to hold 2500 mAh in high-amp form, which means users of the iPV2X or XPro constantly ask me if they can either buy magnets for the compartment door or just leave it off, so often do they change their batteries. An 18650 mod will never last as long as a 26650 mod. You could make a fantastic regulated mod in the 50-80 watt range that could fire down to a .2 Ohm load safely, ready to pair with the new Arctic tank or even a few drippers. And it would last all day.

Even if it didn’t, unlike the iStick 50, you could swap the battery. It would not be small, but of the popular models out right now, only the iStick is really pocket size. Really, (story continues below)…

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a good 26650 just needs to be small enough to fit in the hand comfortably, which is why I loathe the tendency for designers to look at that big battery and put it in a huge mod, like the Babel or the EHPro Mars. When I used the Mars, I loved the battery life, but that thing was a pain to run around with. Besides, something about those giant phallic bastards just screams “compensating.”

So what are the choices right now for reasonably-sized 26650 regulated mods in the 50-80 watt range? The only one I’ve seen is the Itsuwa Chain Reaction, which only fires down to a .5 Ohm load. The pickings are quite slim.

3. A New Spinner
When I say “Spinner,” I’m including similar devices like the Smok Winder and the Aspire CF VV, but you know which was first. The Spinner battery is a classic device for beginners or people stepping up from an eGo starter kit battery, and I mean no disrespect. I like selling it in starter kits as a first rig, since people seem to stay satisfied with it longer than they do a fixed-voltage battery. But it has its downsides. The most obvious is the shape. Do you have any idea how many customers put their Spinner in their back pocket and happily stop thinking about it, only to sit down and hear a nice loud CRUNCH! informing them that they just crushed their equipment and are sitting in their own juices?

The long, thin stick shape was inspired by cigarettes and needs to go. We certainly don’t need all that length: anything longer than a 900 mAh eGo is foolish and a pain to carry in a front pocket. You can’t stand it on its butt end, as it’s too easy to topple, and yet most good clearos and tanks are bottom fed and should be oriented this way to stay soaked. We can do better than this, can’t we?

Aside from the tobacco companies, the industry seemed to just forget about the beginner’s market following the release of the Atlantis, but it’s still very much there. If you want to keep stealing all this lovely market share from analogs, then more design variety in the entry-level eGo-style realm would be a great idea. Those are my seemingly useful ideas at the moment. If you want to use one, just go ahead. All I need is a hefty kickback, a Lexus, my face on the dime (to hell with Roosevelt), and your sister’s phone number, and there will be no legal ramifications out of me.

CJ Caswell

Army combat vets can be dangerous, and things only get worse when they hold degrees in history and economics, like CJ Caswell. On top of that, Caz owns Manhattan Vapors in Manhattan, Kansas. He insists that this happens because his life is epic, a product of natural born awesomeness.

Vaping From the Outside: The She-Vaper

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By Susan Oser

April is a special month for women, especially April 14, 2015. This is Equal Pay Day, when women celebrate the fact that, for at least one day, their pay is the same as their male counterparts. Now, this might not mean much to you, but if you think about such a male-dominated industry as vaping and e-cigarettes, it can and should mean a lot.

I’ve been involved with several professional women’s groups for some time. Being involved in these groups has helped me not only learn about activism, but to support those women who have taken the plunge and stuck their necks out into a world or a career that is dominated by men. Because of that, I’d like to honor those women in the community and say to you, “You go girl!”

While sex does sell, it is nice to see a few women in the industry who are not just those flashy models with a mod in their hands in sexy poses. I’m talking about those women who are the owners of their own juice line, accessories line, show hosts and more. Women such as Rhonda Sellers of Angel’s Heavenly Designs, Jeannie K of the Jeannie K Show, Tinker Evol of Evol Pixie Premium E-Liquid and Jenee Fowler (to name a few) are taking the idea of women in vaping to a whole different level. They don’t let the idea of just being a woman stop them. In fact, they are doing what they’re doing because they have a passion for the industry and want to help the community live a better lifestyle.

This can even be seen with online broadcasters (such as myself) who have changed the face of what the female vaper is all about. We are NOT just a pretty face. Just to clarify, I’m not just talking about those women who are partnering up and working with their husbands or boy-friends to make a living. I’m talking about those women who are going out there and striking out on their own, walking to the beat of their own drummer, and in some respects changing or creating their own rules for success. These are the women who have earned respect and support within and outside of the vaping community.

As for myself, I have to admit that I’m still kind of new at this. So far, I have my own show (as well as cohost a show with biker granny who is a great artist and vaping activist), am trying to get a knitted accessory line (and kind of struggling with it) and writing about vaping. With my learning experiences as well as this industry being a new creative outlet for me, I know that I’ve been crossing my own boundaries in my own way, and I’m pretty damn proud of that.

I don’t worry about the fact that I’m female. If there are men who don’t like what I do, I’m fine with that. What I’d like to see and do within my own vaping life is to network and get to know those powerful female figures in vaping who are currently kicking ass.

 I think that as the women of vaping come together and show that we can work as a team or create some organizational support for ourselves, it will teach the rest of the industry that while there may be catty drama, and we may have some political, religious and philosophical differences, at the end of the day, we all have that one thing in common: vaping and our rights as vapers.

Women who come into the industry might inspire not just women who vape, but all women, to take the plunge and start a business. If you are a woman and are looking to get into this industry, what are you waiting for? This is an industry with a lot of potential. If you are remotely interested in networking and forming some connections at local vape meets, women’s organizations and national vape conventions, research online for resources and try to connect with the women who were mentioned in this article as well as myself. We’d love to get to know you and help you out in any way.

Someone on a vape show once said, “We need more women in vaping. Where are they?” My response to that is simple: There are women in vaping. Some of them are well known and some of them not so well-known. You just need to open your eyes. In fact, talk to a few people and you just might find them. If you do, make sure you support them NOT just because they are female, but because they support the same industry and movement that you do (as a vaper).

Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet (http:// http://vapenet.com/); (https://www.facebook.com/CreativeAngelwriter). For her day job she is an online tutor and part-time freelance writer. She is a passionate activist for vaping rights. Find her at http://angel-writercreations.weebly.com/ http://twitter.com/angelwriter78 and https://www.facebook.com/Angelwriterspeaks?ref=hl. You can also buy her knitted accessories (esp for you the vapor) at https://www.facebook.com/knitzyknitz. Contact her at angelwritercreations@gmail.com.

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