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Latest E-Cigarette News, Stories and Opinions

Lawmakers Pushing For New E-Liquid Safety Standards

By Shanon Steeves

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The electronic cigarette industry has grown larger and faster than any market analyst could have predicted. Just four years ago, sales of e-cigs and relates accessories was just $20 million, whereas sales in 2013 reached the milestone marker of $1 billion. That’s a phenomenal jump in very short period of time. This sudden widespread growth has prompted lawmakers to consider new rules and regulations for the devices, including a rule that would limit the amount of nicotine found in e-liquid.

There’s currently no limit on the amount of nicotine e-cig companies can include in their e-liquid. Lawmakers say that placing a “cap” on e-liquid nicotine will reduce the amount of incidental poisonings. When e-liquid isn’t properly stored in a safe location, kids or pets may access it. Lawmakers hope to prevent incidental ingestion of e-liquid, however, by passing new rules that essentially limit the amount of nicotine in this substance.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports a spike in the number of phone calls made involving incidental consumption of e-liquid. While 

There is a word for the toxic candy-flavored liquids found in electronic cigarettes: poison. Protecting our nation’s children from exposure to poison is basic common sense, especially when it can have dangerous and fatal consequences like liquid nicotine,” said Senator Dick Durban

E-liquid comes in a variety of different nicotine strengths, ranging anywhere from 0 mg (nicotine-free) to 24 mg. This wide variety allows users to tailor their vaping experience to better fit their needs. If you’re trying to taper off tobacco cigarettes, for instance, you may want to choose a high-nicotine strength and gradually work your way down to a lower strength.

In addition to a possible cap on nicotine strength, some lawmakers are also hoping to implement child-proof safety caps on e-liquid. Adding a safety mechanism such as the ones found on medicine bottles will inevitably lower the rates of incidental consumption.

But not everyone is thrilled with lawmakers efforts to regulate the electronic cigarette industry. One vape shop owner claims lawmakers are just trying to control a profitable business.

Honestly, I feel like they’re just trying to get control of a profitable business," said Jake Weaver, e-cig proponent and manager of a local vape shop.

When will these changes take effect? These rules are merely “proposed” by lawmakers, so there’s no guarantee they will pass, and even if they do, it will likely be on a state-level.

E-liquid photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Philly Indoor Vaping Ban Now In Effect

By Shanon Steeves

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You might want to think twice before vaping in Philadelphia, as a new law banning e-cig use indoors took effect earlier this month. While electronic cigarette stores and “vape shops” still allow indoor vaping, it’s banned in most other public establishments.

Of course, Philadelphia isn’t the only city to ban indoor use of electronic cigarettes. New York City, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles have passed similar measures this year as well, prohibiting residents and guests from using the smokeless nicotine delivery devices indoors. People are still allowed to use electronic cigarettes in these cities, but they are generally prohibited from using them in public facilities

Back in May, the Philadelphia City Council approved a measure to treat electronic cigarettes the same way as tobacco cigarettes, with a 15-0 vote. This move immediately created a backlash of controversy, with critics saying it encourages people to smoke rather than vape.

Electronic cigarettes use a special heating element to warm liquid nicotine (known as e-liquid) to a precise temperature — just enough to turn the e-liquid into a breathable vapor mist. This is in stark contrast to tobacco cigarettes, which are burned to create thick smoke that’s filled with thousands of different chemicals.

Since there’s no fire or combustion taking place, electronic cigarettes are generally viewed as a safer and healthier nicotine alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Nicotine alone isn’t what makes smoking dangerous; it’s the thousands of other chemicals like acetone, acetic acid, benzene, ammonia, butane, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and lea.

It’s not combustible. You’re not grappling with the same toxic chemicals,” said a 43-year-old IT professional from Philadelphia.

In addition to banning indoor use of electronic cigarettes, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter also signed a bill banning sales to minors. Currently, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate sales of e-cigs. This may change in the upcoming years, as we’ve seen several documents of “proposed” regulations, but these remain in a state of limbo as the general public submits their comments.

Without federal regulation, states and cities are forced to pass their own laws to govern these highly popular nicotine delivery devices — and that includes passing laws to prohibit sales to minors. Perhaps this will change in the future when the FDA releases its final standards for regulating e-cigs, but in the meantime local agencies must step up to make sure these devices are used by adults.

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V2 Electronic Cigarette photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Electronic Cigarette Misconceptions Debunked!

By Shanon Steeves

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The electronic cigarette industry is growing larger and more widespread with each passing, with some analysts suggesting it will reach the $2 billion mark by the end of the year. This massive influx in popularity has spurred lawmakers to act fast in an attempt to regulate this new market. However, it’s also created a shroud of misinformation.

Electronic Cigarettes Are Expensive

Some people assume that electronic cigarettes cost more to use than traditional tobacco cigarettes. While the initial cost of a “starter kit” might be more expensive than a pack of tobacco cigarettes, you’ll almost certainly save money in the long run.

We talk about the true cost of smoking in a previous blog post, but smoking just 2 packs per day can total more than $8,760 over a one-year period — and that doesn’t include the increased cost of healthcare and other smoking-related expenses.

Electronic Cigarettes Cause Cancer

It’s a well-known fact that smoking tobacco cigarettes contributed to cancer. A Florida woman was recently awarded a mind-boggling $23 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) for a wrongful death lawsuit against her late husband who died of smoking-related lung cancer.

Since there’s no fire/combustion occurring in electronic cigarettes, they don’t produce the same cancer-causing chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke. This means users can enjoy nicotine without exposing themselves to carcinogens.

According to Cancer.org, cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 different chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Some of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke includes the following:

  • Cyanide

  • Benzene

  • Formaldehyde

  • Methanol (wood alcohol)

  • Acetylene

  • Ammonia

Overcharging Will Shorten Your E-Cig Battery’s Lifespan

The lithium-ion batteries used on most modern-day electronic cigarettes are designed to last for years. While you may have heard that overcharging your e-cig battery will shorten its lifespan, this is merely a misconception.

Electronic Cigarettes Can Explode

This is a relatively new myth to enter the electronic cigarette market. Contrary to popular belief, e-cigs, batteries and related accessories do not explode unless tampered with.

If a user modifies his or her battery in such a way that causes it to draw more power and/or release more vapor, it could increase the risk of an explosion — if the surrounding conditions are right (e.g. stored in a hot car during the summer). But normal electronic cigarettes will not explode, so you can continue to enjoy them without  worrying about your device suddenly exploding for no apparent reason.

Disposable e-cig by the makers of Zig Zag manufactured by VMR Products: photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Taking a Look Back at The History of Electronic Cigarettes

By Shanon Steeves

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Electronic cigarettes are a booming business that’s only going to grow larger and more widespread in the years to come. In fact, a recent report by Citi Research suggests the industry will reach $3 billion next year (source) — a substantial growth from 2010 when the e-cig industry produced just $416 million.

While electronic cigarettes have just recently entered mainstream popularity, they’ve actually been around for quite some time. The world’s first smokeless nicotine delivery device was invented by Herbert A. Gilbert. Although the device was never commercialized, its patent described it as a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” in which burning tobacco and paper was replaced with heated, flavored air (sound familiar?).

Gilbert’s device ultimately fizzled due to lack of commercialization. Fast forward to the early 1990s, however, and a similar device began to take shape. Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik began researching nicotine alternatives after losing his father to lung cancer. Lik diluted nicotine in a propylene glycol solution (a technique still used today) to create a pleasantly smooth vaping experience. When a user inhaled, he or she would breathe the nicotine vapor in the lungs, at which point it was absorbed by the body.

In 2004, Lik’s electronic cigarette device was introduced into the Chinese market as a smoking cessation product. People immediately began to flock to this revolutionary new device, and thus the e-cig crazy began.

Up until this point, e-cigs were typically made of a single piece. It wasn’t until 2006 when manufacturers began experimenting with new designs, including a 3-piece design. One of the new designs featured a nicotine cartridge, atomizer and a battery — all of which could be removed for easier cleaning, maintenance and repairs.

Electronic cigarettes have come a long ways over the years. Early models were lacking at best, offering little-to-no variation in terms of design and minimal choices of e-liquid flavors. Now, however, there are dozens of different types of e-cigarettes and literally thousands of different e-liquid flavors.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a set of new rules to regulate the electronic cigarette industry. These rules included prohibiting sales to minors, requiring companies to display ingredients on the label, and prohibiting companies from giving out free samples. It’s important to note that these rules are merely “proposed,” and they haven’t taken effect as of yet.

Electronic cigarettes photo courtesy of Chris F via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Possible Merger Between Two Big Tobacco Companies

By Shanon Steeves

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Reynolds American and Lorillard, two of the country’s largest tobacco companies, shocked consumers and industry analysts alike last week by announcing a possible merger. If both parties agree to the deal, Reynolds American (second largest tobacco company in the U.S.) would purchase Lorillard (third largest tobacco company in the U.S.) for an undisclosed sum.

Why The Possible Merger?

The tobacco cigarette industry has struggled to recoup its ever-dwindling customer base. According to data released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. smoking rates dropped to an all-time low of 19% in 2011, down from 42.4% in 1965. Granted, rates are likely even lower in recent years, but the CDC has yet to release this data.

The possible merger between Reynolds American and Lorillard signals a shift in business strategy by two of the leading tobacco companies. The tobacco “powerhouse” this merger would likely create could turn things around for these two struggling companies.

E-Cigs Playing a Role In Merger Talks

According to an article published by Time, electronic cigarettes were a “driving factor” in the discussions of a possible merger between Reynolds American and Lorillard.

You might be surprised to hear that both of these Big Tobacco companies already have their own electronic cigarette brands. In 2012, Lorillard acquired Blu E-Cigs for an estimated $135 million. Blu is estimated to hold roughly 40% of the e-cig market share in the U.S. In 2013, Lorillard also acquired the British e-cig maker SKYCIG for an estimated $49 million.

Last year, Reynolds American launched its first electronic cigarette product Vuse in select U.S. markets. Due to its success, however, Reynolds American pushed Vuse nationwide last month.

How The Merger Will Affect The Tobacco and E-Cig Industries

It’s still too early to determine exactly how this merger — if it goes through — will affect the tobacco and e-cig industries. Reynolds Americans and Lorillard are two big names in the tobacco business, so consumers can expect to see some changes occur. The merger may lead to new e-cig products, higher or lower prices, and greater availability.

This transaction in our view will be very positive for the global tobacco industry and could be the just the beginning of future transactions with e-cigs/vapor being the underlying catalyst,” said Bonnie Herzog, analyst for Wells Fargo.

Electronic Cigarette Convention Anaheim CA 2013 photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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E-Cig Industry Growing at a Rate of 10 New Brands Per Month

By Shanon Steeves

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Electronic cigarettes are a $2 billion industry that continues to grow larger and more widespread with each passing month. In fact, some analysts predict will surpass the tobacco cigarette industry within the next decade. This rapid growth has spurred lawmakers to act fast in attempt to regulate the industry, which we saw earlier this year when the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a set of new rules governing the use, sale and distribution of e-cigs.

So, just how fast is the electronic cigarette growing? According to a recent survey published in the journal Tobacco Control, there are more than 10 new brands being released each month.

Researchers scoured the Internet to determine exactly how many e-cig brands were available. At the end of the study (January 2014), they found 466 different e-cig brands and a mind-blowing 7,764 different e-liquid flavors.

Researchers with the journal Tobacco Control noted that the e-cig industry has grown at an average rate of 10.5 new brands and 242 new flavors per month over the past 2 years.

The report also reveals that the most popular flavor category of e-liquids was fruits, whereas chocolate came in a distant second.

It seems that new brands don’t want to be compared with cigarettes, which are associated with the image of cancer,” said Shu-Hong Zhu, director of the Center for Research and Interventions in Tobacco Control in San Diego.

One of the reasons why so many smokers have switched to e-cigs is the because of the massive selection it offers. Traditional tobacco cigarettes are often limited to regular or menthol flavors. E-cigs, on the other hand, can be used with thousands of different e-liquid flavors, including cherry cola, pineapple, toffee, banana, blueberry, and more.

With the FDA regulation on the horizon, however, some e-cig companies may be forced to drop certain flavors from their lineup. One of the proposed rules published by the FDA is to require all companies to list their ingredients. If an e-cig company offers 100+ different flavors, it must go through each and every flavor to detail exactly what it contains.

Of course, it could take a while before the FDA’s proposed regulations take effect. The proposed regulations are currently in a public commenting period, meaning the general public is free to submit their comments to the FDA regarding these proposed regulations.

So, what’s your favorite e-liquid flavor?

E-liquid varieties photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

(Source: vaporvixxen.com)

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FDA Funds Projects To Research and Study E-Cigs

By Shanon Steeves

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It’s been just months after the U.S.Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of new regulations governing the use, production, sale and distribution of the smokeless nicotine delivery devices known as e-cigs. However, a new report reveals the FDA’s plans to fund dozens of research projects on electronic cigarettes.

According to an article published by Reuters, the FDA has invested over $270 million in 48 different research projects involving electronic cigarettes.

So, what’s the purpose of these FDA-funded projects? One project aims to asses the risks associated with these devices by counting the puffs, or draws, taken by e-cig users. How does the number of puffs affect the potential health risks of electronic cigarettes? This is something the FDA hopes to identify with this project.

Another project, as noted by Reuters, will scour Facebook posts to determine how many people are modifying their electronic cigarettes to release more nicotine. When used in moderation, nicotine has minimal adverse health reactions. In fact,  some studies have found the chemical to improve cognitive bran functions and even protect against memory loss. But consuming large amount of nicotine — by modifying an e-cig or through other means — may have a negative impact on users’ health.

The FDA must tread carefully in the uncharted waters of electronic cigarettes. If they regulate the industry too heavily, it may persuade some users to revert back to smoking cigarettes. The CDC reports that smoking kills nearly half a million people in the U.S. each year, making it the leading cause of preventable death. Electronic cigarettes offer a safe nicotine alternative that doesn’t rely on combustion or smoke — the precursor for cancer-causing chemicals.

There shouldn’t be regulations akin to those for cigarettes without evidence of similar health impact, especially since the preliminary evidence is positive for the industry when it comes to comparing the contents of e-cigarette vapor to tobacco smoke,” said attorney Bryan Haynes. His Richmond, Virginia-based firm Troutman Sanders represents e-cigarette manufacturers.

Of course, it may take some time before the findings of these 48 FDA-funded studies are released. Researchers close to the project told Reuters that data may not be available until 2018 — and that’s probably a rather optimistic prediction considering the tedious work involved in these studies.

In the meantime, you can check back with our blog here at Vapor Vixxen for all of the latest e-cig news!

Researcher testing the nicotine levels of e-liquid.

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The White House Modifies Proposed E-Cig Regulations

By Shanon Steeves

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hoping to gain regulatory authority over electronic cigarettes, tobacco vaporizers, and other smokeless nicotine delivery systems. Earlier this year, the administration proposed a set of new rules, including prohibiting sales to minors, preventing companies from handing out free samples, and forcing companies to display their product ingredients.

Granted, most of these proposed regulations are lax and shouldn’t deliver a significant blow to established electronic cigarette companies; however, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has apparently modified some of the FDA’s proposed regulations.

So, what prompted the White House to change the FDA’s proposed e-cig regulations? According to an article published by Reuters, the original set of regulations proposed by the FDA included a line that would ban “non-face-to-face” sales of e-cigs. This was primarily included to ban the use of e-cig vending machines, which could allow minors to get their hands on the device. However, White House officials feared the wording could be misinterpreted as banning online sales of e-cigs, so they quietly changed it.

The White House omitted the line regarding “non-face-to-face” sales, making it clearly state “vending machines.” Of course, this is a good move for everyone involved, as it keeps the electronic cigarette thriving with local and online sales, and it still provides the FDA with regulatory authority over this booming $2 billion industry.

Once the proposed rule becomes final, FDA will be able to use powerful regulatory tools, such as age restrictions and rigorous scientific review of new tobacco products and claims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death,” wrote the FDA.

There was plenty of worried faces when news of the FDA’s plan to regulate e-cigs first broke. Both consumers and e-cig companies alike feared the FDA would crack down hard on these new devices. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case, which is likely due to outspoken proponents of the device, urging lawmakers to tread carefully. Electronic cigarettes offer a safe nicotine alternative to tobacco cigarettes, and cracking down hard on this industry may prompt some users to revert to smoking.

The FDA’s proposed rules have not taken effect as of yet. They are currently in a public commenting period which allows people to voice their concerns and opinions. For more information on how to submit your comments, visit http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm198169.htm. Comments can be submitted either in writing or electronic message.

Blu E-Cigs photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Japan Tobacco Buys UK E-Cig Company Zandera

By Shanon Steeves

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Japan Tobacco, Inc. announced plans to purchase the British electronic cigarette maker Zandera for an undisclosed amount earlier this month. This move signifies Big Tobacco’s shifting policies towards e-cigs, as more and more tobacco cigarette makers are releasing their own e-cigs.

Originally founded in 1949, Japan Tobacco, Inc. produces dozens of tobacco cigarettes and related tobacco products, some of which include the following:

  • Cabin
  • Camel
  • Caster
  • Hope
  • Mevius
  • Peace
  • Pianissimo Peche
  • Sakura
  • Salem
  • Seven Stars
  • Winston
  • Gelora Djaja
  • Wismilak Spesial
  • Wismilak Slim
  • Wismilak Diplomat
  • Wismilak Diplomat Mild
  • Galan
  • Galan Slim
  • Galan Mild
  • MilDay
  • Hamlet
  • Benson & Hedges

Zandera is the parent company of the electronic cigarette brand E-Lites — a popular type of e-cig used widely in the U.K.

The financial details regarding Japan Tobacco’s acquisition of Zandara remain unknown, but the tobacco company stated that it will use both “cash” and “debt” to acquire the British e-cig maker.

Our investment in Zandera provides the JT Group with an excellent entry-point in to the fast-growing e-cigarette category,” said Masamichi Terabatake, Japan Tobacco International executive vice president and deputy CEO.

With E-Lites’ well-established brand and product portfolio, we are able to offer adult consumers another important extension to our growing range of emerging and innovative products such as tobacco vapor pods (Ploom),” he added.

A recent study conducted by the health charity organization ASH found electronic cigarette use in the U.K. has tripled from an estimated 700,000 users in 2012 to 2.1 million 2014. There’s an undeniable “boom” in the e-cig industry, with some analysts predicting the use of e-cigs will surpass tobacco cigarettes within a few years.

Of course, Japan Tobacco isn’t the only Big Tobacco company that’s entering the e-cig market. Lorillard, Reynolds American Inc., and several other e-cig makers have also either created or purchased e-cig brands.

So, why are tobacco cigarette companies shifting their focus on e-cigs as opposed to traditional cigarettes? The reason is due in part to decline of smokers over the past half a century. In 1965, approximately 42.4% of adults in the U.S. smoked cigarettes. In 2011, just 19% of adults in the U.S. smoked (source).

Electronic cigarette offer a safer, healthier, easier, cheaper, and all-around better way to consume nicotine. Using a special heating element, it’s able to create nicotine vapor without the use of combustion or smoke.

V2 electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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FDA Extends Period For Public Commenting On Proposed E-Cig Regulations

By Shanon Steeves

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to extend the time frame for public commenting on newly proposed electronic cigarette regulations through August 8 — an additional 30 days.

Why is the FDA extending the period for public commenting? It’s likely due in part to the influx of comments they’ve received. According to a report published by ABC News, the FDA has received over 33,700 comments on the proposed electronic cigarette regulations, whereas the 120-day commenting period for menthol tobacco cigarettes received 176,000 comments (note: the initial commenting period for e-cig comments was just 75 days — now extended to 105).

Currently FDA regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. Proposed newly ‘deemed’ products would include electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, certain dissolvables that are not “smokeless tobacco,” gels, and waterpipe tobacco.

Once the proposed rule becomes final, FDA will be able to use powerful regulatory tools, such as age restrictions and rigorous scientific review of new tobacco products and claims to  reduce tobacco-related disease and death,” wrote the FDA on its website.

We first broke the story of the FDA’s new e-cig regulations in March. While some e-cig companies and users feared lawmakers would crack down hard on these smoke-free nicotine delivery devices, the proposed regulations were rather lax.

Like all rules proposed by the FDA, there’s a period for which the public is free to comment.

The move to regulate electronic cigarettes is part of a larger law signed into action by President Obama. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act addresses advertising, promotions, packaging, and sales involving electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, nicotine gel, water pipes,

Here’s a brief overview of the FDA’s proposed e-cig regulations:

  • No free samples
  • Prohibit sales to minors under the age of 18
  • No vending machines in public areas where minors are allowed to access
  • E-cig companies must register their products with the FDA
  • E-cig companies must clearly list the ingredients used in their products
  • Products touted as having “therapeutic benefit” will be regulated as a medical product; thus, resulting in greater restrictions
  • New products may only be marketed after the FDA has reviewed them

Most e-cig companies view the FDA’s proposed regulations as a positive element to this dynamic, ever-growing industry. Like all industries, electronic cigarettes require regulation to ensure a safe and lasting environment.

NJOY electronic cigarettes photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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